What distinguishes the leaders of the Al Qaeda organization, wherever they may be, is their political ignorance and their desire to appear in the media. This is a positive thing as it always helps to expose the danger that they pose to those concerned and to public opinion. The most recent example of this was Al Qaeda’s statements on Yemen.
In a recording that was posted [on a website on] Wednesday, Abu Basir Nasser al Wahayshi, the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, declared Al Qaeda’s support of the southern Yemenis who are calling for secession. This can be considered a crucial matter to those who hesitate in declaring their position on secession in Yemen.
The Al Qaeda organization believes that the separation of the south from the rest of Yemen is a “right granted by religion,” according to al Wahayshi. He didn’t say this merely to justify secession; this is what Al Qaeda really believes, as it strives to cause disorder and instability because it does not believe in [the concepts of] states and regimes. Al Qaeda believes in the Caliphate and it knows that any stable, secure country would not be suitable for its activities and its destructive endeavors, as Al Qaeda can only grow and gain strength in collapsed states where it finds tribal and sectarian rivalry.
That is what happened in Afghanistan and this is what is happening today in southern Pakistan. This was also the case in Iraq following the collapse of the former regime and the outbreak of chaos and after the fire of sectarian clashes ravaged Iraq. The same thing is happening in Somalia, which is considered a new indicator of the Al Qaeda threat. Whoever looks at a map can see that Somalia, which really is a fallen state, is not far from Yemen. Therefore weakening the Yemeni state, separating part of it and transforming it into areas for training and attracting new fighters to join Al Qaeda, means that the organization will control the Strait of Bab al Mandeb. This automatically means that Saudi Arabia, and of course the Gulf States, and also the navigation of the Red Sea, would have fallen into the claws of the new Al Qaeda state. This indicates a new draining [of resources] for the regional states and signs of evil events to come, and only God knows when this would end.
Therefore, it is vital today that the central leadership in Yemen is supported. It is not a bargaining chip or an issue that can be neglected or put off as the threat is larger than many believe. Its evil will spread and will not only concern Yemen or Saudi Arabia alone.
For its part, Riyadh decisively announced its position regarding what is happening in Yemen as Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz, Saudi’s Second Deputy Prime Minister, stated that his country will cooperate with Yemen “without any reservation”. This was further reiterated by Prince Saud al Faisal who said that his country “is with Yemen all the way.”
Some might say that the separatist calls in the south of Yemen have no connection to Al Qaeda from near or afar and that their intentions are sincere and their demands are fair. But what they, and others, must realize is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Moreover, tribal and sectarian rivalry does not build states nor will it solve any problems. Grievances do not legitimize oppression and this is something that we must realize in our Arab countries where it has become clear that citizenship and the nation are still somewhat immature concepts to people of the Arab world whether they are politicians or citizens.