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Analysis: AQAP’s new emir reaffirms allegiance to Zawahiri, praises Taliban

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Thomas Joscelyn

March 23, 2020

Last week, al-Qaeda websites and social media channels shared an audio message from Khalid Batarfi, a U.S.-designated terrorist who was recently named the new emir of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Batarfi, a longtime al-Qaeda veteran, has a well-established media profile in jihadist circles, as he has regularly commented on current affairs since his escape from a Yemeni prison in 2015. But Batarfi’s latest message is one of his most important yet, because he has inherited the helm of one of al-Qaeda’s most important branches, albeit one that has suffered a string of setbacks.

Batarfi begins his address by reaffirming his and AQAP’s allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, whom he refers to as “our most excellent sheikh and emir.” He reiterates a version of the bayat (oath of allegiance) that is popular among the jihadists.

“I pledge allegiance to you, to listen and obey, during [times of] hardship and ease,” Batarfi says to Zawahiri. The newly named AQAP head says that he and his men will “endure” whatever problems come their way “as a price for this allegiance” and will not dispute Zawahiri’s orders. Batarfi explains that his bayat to Zawahiri is for the sake of waging jihad and for “establishing Allah’s sharia [Islamic law]” in this world. Moreover, his fealty covers “all of the brothers” in AQAP and they will remain “firm” in their pledge, staying on al-Qaeda’s path until “victory is granted by Allah” or they “achieve martyrdom” in service of Allah’s cause. (The title of his address is dedicated to this same motif, martyrdom or victory.)



Wait A Minute! I was told The Taliban Would Be Fighting Al Qaeda.  and if you believe that I've a bridge i can sell you.

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