Al Qaeda leader insists it fights along with US-supported Sunni groups in Yemen
The leader of Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) claims that his group fights alongside Sunni fighters loyal to the government of Mansour Al-Hadi supported by the United States as well as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.
|AQAP leader Qasim al-Rimi told the group's media arm al-Malahem that his followers were de facto aligned with an array of forces in the complex conflict saying: “We fight alongside all Muslims in Yemen, together with different Islamic groups,” he said, including “the Muslim Brotherhood and also our brothers among the sons of (Sunni) tribes.” These alliances are all fighting against the Shia Houthi rebels who are supported by Iran. However, AQAP along with the Islamic State members in Yemen have also attacked the Hadi government now located in the southern port city of Aden. The Hadi government formerly in exile in Saudi Arabia has conquered much of the south of Yemen whereas the Houthis still control the north and west including the capital Sanaa.|
While al-Rimi did not elaborate on what he meant by “alongside”, many Sunni tribal militias, as well as the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood movement and conservative Salafis, are allied to the exiled Yemeni government fighting against Shia rebels known as Houthis who seized control of the capital Sanaa in 2014. The militias receive extensive funding and arms from the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition, which has supported President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi with air strikes and ground troops since March 2015.AQAP was formed in 2009 after the merger of smaller jihadist groups. It has formed alliances with many Sunni tribes around the country. AQAP has taken advantage of the civil war to extend its influence in many areas controlled by the Hadi government.