AQAP Statement on Flooding in Jiddah
Gregory Johnsen, a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. Johnsen has written for a variety of publications on Yemen including, among others, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, The Independent, The Boston Globe, and The National. He is the co-founder of Waq al-Waq: Islam and Insurgency in Yemen Blog. In 2009, he was a member of the USAID's conflict assessment team for Yemen.
As I mentioned earlier today, AQAP has a statement out on the flooding in Jiddah. This is similar to what the group did last year - in Sada al-Malahim - to the flooding in al-Mahara and Hadramawt. Namely, use the government's poor response against it. In this case, attacking Saudi Arabia instead of Yemen.
This is an intelligent propaganda move, and I would expect to see more of it from AQAP, although it does avoid saying exactly what it would do, but in a statement like this that doesn't matter too much.
The statement basically runs along the following lines:
2. Condolences to those injured and suffering from the flooding
3. Sharp attack on the Saudi government for being corrupt, stealing money and lining their own pockets while the citizens whose care they are entrusted with suffer.
4. Call to arms (for those interested in that particular style of onomatopoeia in Arabic check out lamlama in the 10th paragraph).
I don't think we should underestimate how powerful things like this can be over time in eroding a government's moral legitimacy.
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