Al-Malahem platform - AQAP, January 14, 2023

Khalid Batarfi Speaks for the 1st Time After AQAP Defeat in Abyan


Sun, 15-01-2023 01:29 PM, Aden

Aden (South24)

Yesterday, AQAP released a video speech by its jihadi leader Khaled Batarfi for the first time since the fall of AQAP's largest stronghold in Abyan, South Yemen.

In the speech broadcasted by "Al-Malahem" platform, Batarfi acknowledged the critical stage that AQAP is going through, after its losses to the pro-STC Southern Forces during the "Arrows of the East" military operation.

He said that AQAP suffers from poor capabilities and lack of supplies in the regions of Abyan, Shabwa and Al-Bayda. He called on the tribes to mobilize to support them, expressing his dissatisfaction with the position of the dignitaries and tribal leaders.

In the 18-minute release, the jihadi leader attacked external and internal parties, which he said were seeking to "destroy Yemen," calling for an uprising against them.

He claimed that there is an Israeli presence on the Southern islands of Socotra and Mayun, and an American presence on the Coast of Hadramout. The same allegations repeatedly made by the Houthis.

Batarfi renewed the attack on the STC and the UAE, and incited AQAP fighters to confront the Southern Forces in Abyan governorate. He said that the STC and the UAE had failed to sow discord between AQAP's and local tribes in Abyan and Shabwa governorates. He claimed that the tribes did not participate in the war against them.

He said that Saudi Arabia established the Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) to pass its plans in Yemen and to legitimize the intervention of Riyadh and Washington in the country.

Batarfi also escalated, in an unusual approach, his attacks on the Houthis and Iran. He said that the group that controls the majority of North Yemen has not taken any action against America and Israel as it claims in its slogans.

He said, "We cannot allow the nation's enemies to invade our land. We will not wait for Yemen to become lawless like Iraq and Syria."

Militant specialist Elisabeth Kendall commented on Batarfi's appearance by stating that " Batarfi never seems to change much. But he does finally seem to have lost that trademark fancy pen."

The speech comes months after the Southern Forces took control of AQAP's most strategic stronghold in Abyan governorate, east of the capital city Aden. In mid-September, the Southern Forces were able to take back control over Wadi Oemran in Mudiyah district in the center of Abyan governorate.

It also managed to achieve victories against the organization in Al-Musina'a area in Shabwa governorate, as part of the "Arrows of the South" military operation, which was launched in conjunction with entering Wadi Oemran.

AQAP has lost a large part of its two-decade-long presence in the center of Abyan in the districts of Mudiyah, Al-Mahfad, Al-Wadhea, and Lauder during the past months.

The speech also coincides with tensions in Hadramout governorate, due to the presence of the First Military District in Wadi Hadramout, despite massive popular demands to remove it for more than a year.

Over the past weeks, AQAP claimed bloody attacks with explosive devices against the Southern Forces in Abyan and Shabwa.

On January 6, two separate attacks with explosive devices killed 7 soldiers and wounded 8 others at the entrance to Wadi Oemran in Mudiya district, central Abyan.

AQAP had earlier announced an IED-based strategy to deplete the Southern Forces. These operations claimed dozens of lives.

According to "South24 Center's" annual report, AQAP attacks in the year 2022 left 67 dead and nearly 72 injured, including civilians.

The Southern Forces' victories against AQAP have won international acclaim. Ambassadors and representatives of the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand, during meetings with Aidrous Al-Zubaidi, praised these gains, according to STC's media.

South24 Center for News and Studies

YemenSouth YemenAbyanShabwaAQAPSTCPLCSouthern ForcesArrows of the East