The blessed Shaam and the wisdom of Yemen – The withdrawal from Al-Mukallah
Al-Qaedah has proven to be very responsive to the quickly changing situations and events on the world; this adaptability is one of the major reasons for their durability and success. It looked like Al-Qaedah was about to end when their core leaders were surrounded on Tora Bora in the Afghan invasion of 2001. After the US spent billions of dollars and wasted thousands of American lives trying to annihilate Al-Qaedah, here it is today, stronger and bigger then ever, spread over multiple fronts on the world. While the US was focusing on short-term tactics, bombing everything in sight, Shaykh Usama bin Laden, Rahimahullah, was focusing on long-term strategy, inciting the Ummah to mobilize and pick up arms against the modern crusade.
This constant sharp strategic vision, built on years of battle experience, is the secret to their success, with the Help of Allah. We saw how they successfully reacted on the Muslim revolutions, and how they steered these revolutions with their Dawah-combined Jihad; through considerate daughter organizations for example like Ansar Sharia in Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Al-Qaedah gained wide acceptance amongst the Muslim civilians in various countries, especially in Shaam, due to their sensible Sharia politics, their sacrifices and their credibility.
After that we witnessed the patients and wisdom with which they reacted on the extremism of ISIS. Instead of being impressed with their power and gains, and foolishly joining ISIS, like some Mujahid movements unfortunately did, Al-Qaedah however realized, through their long experiences, that the temporary hollow momentum of ISIS will soon disappear. We are now seeing that their momentum is indeed fading away like it previously did with the extremists in Algeria. Moreover, joining ISIS would have ruined the Jihaad completely on many fronts, like it was ruined by the extremists in Algeria previously. Thanks to Allah and thanks to the patients, the wisdom and the experience of the Al-Qaedah leadership this did not happen.
The Sharia politics of Al-Qaedah in Shaam and Yemen are very similar. The Mujahideen have a large acceptance in these countries. These two countries are also particularly mentioned by the Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam). He advised Muslims to join the two Mujahid armies in these countries, leaving out Iraq. In Yemen we saw how Al-Qaedah responded and maneuvered between the Houthi march and the Saudi led intervention. They managed to gain a wide acceptance among the Yemenis, and they managed to mobilize and guide the people in a popular Jihad. Combined with providing services, and seeing to the needs of people, and judging between people with the justice of the Sharia in the areas they control. They kept doing this until the US pushed Saudi Arabia to focus on Al-Qaedah instead of the Houthis. Forcing them to seek a political solution with the Shia Houthis, who still control the capital of Yemen in Sanaa, while attacking and bombing the Muslim population and the Mujahideen in the liberated areas.
Al-Qaedah understands the strategy of the US very well after years of war experience with the global superpowers. So we again saw a swift response from Al-Qaedah in Yemen as they retreated from Al-Mukallah before the US and the Saudi led Arab coalition had the change to drag them in to the same trap they previously set up for ISIS in Kobani, where ISIS lost thousands of fighters without any gains. This is not the final battle for the Ummah, so Al-Qaedah does not stand still and face relentless air strikes with their bare chests until the very last Mujahid is martyred, and the Muslims are massacred, displaced, and their houses are destroyed. Such fantastical scenario’s only exist in Hollywood wars, only a foolish Muslim without any knowledge about the Ghazawaat of the Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi wa Selam) and without any knowledge about war-fare in general, especially guerilla war-fare, is bound to fall in such a trap. Fath Al-Islam stayed grounded in the refugee camp of Nahr Al-Baarid for months, the result was that most of the Mujahideen were martyred and the camp was completely destroyed, displacing all of its residents. The one who does not learn form history will repeat these mistakes. Wise and experienced Mujahid leaders however, who care about their soldiers and the Muslim civilians, will not drag them to such an exhausting war, nor would they invite or provoke such a war.
When Al-Qaedah in Yemen (AQAP) left Al-Baydah people thought that Al-Qaedah retreated, but it turned out that Al-Baydah was one of the hottest fronts in Yemen in which the Houthis kept bleeding dry, without any losses from the Mujahideen. As for Al-Mukallah, when Al-Qaedah controlled Al-Mukallah they were busy with providing services like electricity, health care, waste treatment, water supplies, etc. But Al-Qaedah does not have to busy itself with these services anymore now that they have left Al-Mukallah, which will spare them much time and energy for military activities against the Houthis and the coalition. The cowardly coalition did not focus on the Mujahideen, rather they wanted to bomb and destroy the public services and institutions built by Al-Qaedah in Al-Mukallah. They wanted to destroy their achievements.
But they were surprised that Al-Qaedah did not fall for the trap as they left quickly Al-Mukallah, sparing the lives of innocent Muslims and sparing their built achievements which benefit the Muslim people. The Mujahideen understood and realized how the US and the Arab coalition wanted to drag the war to the Sunni people. In order to protect Muslim blood, and protect the built services and achievements, and to preserve their heavy weapons, it was necessary to retreat. We must not let the enemy dictate where, how and when the battle must be fought.
Ansar Sharia in Hadramout recently published a statement explaining this to the Yemenis: “Verily we did not withdraw except so that the enemy does not get the chance to move the battle to your homes and your shops and your streets and your mosques. They do not respect any ties or covenants with the believers. Here they are from the very beginning seeking refuge in a weak plot, using their dirty methods as always. They intentionally conducted heavy strikes from the air and the sea on civilian facilities, like an electricity plant and a market, which were established recently by the Mujahideen. And one of the public petrol stations in the Al-Ayun region, in which tens of Muslims were killed during its bombing. They targeted an economic institution, and sea ports of livelihood. When we saw this, we left to stop this malicious plan and restrain this dirty war. We will fight our enemy as we want, and not how he wants.”
AQAP could have stayed in Al-Mukallah and face the coalition using the civilians as shields, like ISIS does in its controlled territories. ISIS was able to stay in these territories by holding on to the civilians and preventing them from leaving so they could be used as a means of pressure against the coalition forces. This would be contrary to what the Shaira dictates, because Jihaad is dictated to spare and save peoples lives. Exposing innocent women and children to air strikes is not the goal of waging Jihaad. That is why Al-Qaedah rushed to retreat from Al-Mukallah after witnessing the barbaric nature of the coalition air strikes. We saw the same policy by Al-Qaedah in many other fronts, in Shaam we recently saw how Jabhat Nusra retreated from positions in Idlib to spare Muslim lives, when the regime excluded Jabhat Nusra from the cease fire.
AQAP realized that the war against the coalition in Al-Mukallah would be a long exhausting war, which would make the civilians suffer. The battle is merely in its beginning, this is the stage of guerilla war-fare, before we will reach the stage of armies facing armies under an Islamic State. Al-Qaedah made the Houthis regret entering Al-Baydah, waging exhausting hit-and-run guerilla tactics against them. The coalition will likewise regret entering Al-Mukallah inshaAllah.
The air strikes in Al-Mukallah by the coalition, after seeking political solutions with the Houthis in Kuwait, only exposed the tyrants who were pretended to help the Yemenis against the Houthis. They only confirmed the Dawah of the Mujahideen, this could be considered a victory in and of itself. The coalition promised the Yemenis for months that Sanaa is about to be liberated. But while the capital Sanaa is in the hands of the Houthis, the coalition convoys headed towards the liberated areas of Hadramout to fight against Al-Qaedah. This is the same policy they want for Shaam. They want the factions to stop the fight against the regime, and aim their weapons against ISIS, and factions like Jabhat Nusra. The US wants to give the Safawid-march time to breathe in Shaam and in Yemen, by directing the weapons of the Muslims, the rebels and the Mujahid factions against each other. But since Al-Qaedah retreated from Al-Mukallah the coalition will be forced by the Yemeni people to revive the war against the Houthis and liberate Sanaa, while this was exactly what the coalition was running from.
Al-Qaedah understood very well that the US and the coalition wanted to direct the war against the Mujahideen instead of the Houthis, but by quickly retreating from Al-Mukallah they forced the coalition to keep focusing on the Houthis. After retreating from Al-Mukallah the people will long for the justice of the Sharia implemented by Al-Qaedah. The coalition already started imposing unjust taxes which were lifted by Al-Qaedah, and the Muslims in Al-Mukallah already started demonstrating against the coalition. Winning these hearts and minds are major victories for the Mujahideen. Like the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi wa Selam) said in an authentic Hadeeth: “Faith is Yemeni, and wisdom is Yemeni.” And he also said: “O Allah Bestow Your blessings on our Shaam. O Allah bestow Your blessings on our Yemen.” Bukhari said: “Yemen was called so because it is situated to the right of the Kaabah and Shaam was called so because it is situated to the left of the Kaabah.”