Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Is Al Qaeda Coordinating with the Huthis? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Second Deputy Prime Minister and Saudi Interior Minister, Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz, did not rule out the existence of communication or coordination between the Huthi infiltrators and the Al Qaeda organization when during a press conference held on Sunday he said “it is not out of the question that there could be communication or coordination between then.”

So it is possible that there is any form of coordination between the Huthi insurgents and the Al Qaeda organization?

The answer is yes. Both sides [Al Qaeda and the Huthis] have the same goal, which is to undermine the security and stability of Saudi Arabia, and Al Qaeda has always followed the famed proverb “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” After the Saudi forces began to engage the Huthi insurgents and subdue them, it became clear that the Huthis had planned this attack on Saudi Arabian territory for quite some time. This can be seen by the fact that the Huthi rebels organized weapons cache, monitored the region [prior to their attack] and also dug trenches along the border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. All of this took place at the same time that the Saudi security apparatus was conducting operations against arms and drug smugglers, and Al Qaeda members [in the border region]. Such operations are extremely difficult due to the length of the border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Also important is the answer Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz gave to a question on the arrest of those who infiltrate Saudi Arabia’s southern border, he said “infiltration cases occur throughout the year, and we continually arrest thousands of them.”

We must also recall that in October – nearly 28 days go – the al-Hamra checkpoint in northern Jizan was attacked by armed members of the Al Qaeda organizations who were disguised as women. This means that the border region remains a base of operations for Al Qaeda elements, as well as arms and drug smugglers, and the Huthi insurgents. It is therefore impossible that all of these elements are operating in the same volatile region without some form of mutual coordination. It is well known, for example, how the Taliban and Al Qaeda benefited from the drug trade in Afghanistan, and we know how Iran and its allies benefited and continue to benefit from Al Qaeda in several different regions from Iraq to Afghanistan.

Therefore it is more difficult to deny the existence of links between Al Qaeda and the Huthi insurgents than it is to confirm them, and all indications point to the existence of such ties and coordination. Al Qaeda and the Huthi insurgents today are both supported by Iran, whether this is with weaponry or in different ways, and there are reports that indicate that some Al Qaeda commanders are still residing in Iran.

What I mean to say is that there is a close alliance between all fanatical organizations in our region, whether in the media or through arms. More important than this however, is the rationalization used by [Al Qaeda and the Huthis], for this is more dangerous than the violence as it distracts Arab and Islamic public opinion, and prevents the establishment of a common awareness in the Arab and Islamic worlds. This prevents the establishment of the value and necessity of respecting the concept of the nation, more importantly than this; it also prevents the strengthening of the concept of citizenship, which is something that we see everyday. Let us recall the statement issued by the General Guide of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood [which denied] Saudi Arabia exercising its legitimate right to defend its territory from Huthi aggression. There are also the most recent statements made by Iranian officials about Yemen and Saudi Arabia, which support the Huthi rebels, and do not respect Saudi Arabian or Yemeni sovereignty.