memri
February 11, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9179

Al-Qaeda Media Releases New Video With AQAP Leader Khalid Batarfi Citing U.S. Capitol Riot, COVID-19, Civil Unrest, Economic Crisis As Divine Signs of America's Collapse

February 11, 2021
Saudi Arabia, Yemen | Special Dispatch No. 9179

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

On February 10, 2021, Al-Malahim Media Foundation, the media arm of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a new video titled: "America and the Painful Seizure." The video features Khalid Batarfi, AQAP top leader, discussing several topics, including the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. [1]

Batarafi's appearance is highly significant, as it refutes a UN report released on February 5 that confirmed Batarfi was arrested in Yemen in October 2020.[2]

The 20-minute video, which includes English subtitles, opens with archival footage showing American rioters forcing their way into the Capitol building while the Capitol police try to repel them. It then shows text highlighting a statement by European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell condemning the riot as "an assault on democracy and the authority of the law" and stressed that the results of the U.S. elections "must be fully respected."

Note to media and government: For a full copy of this clip, send an email with the title of the clip in the subject line to [email protected]. Please include your name, title, and organization in your email.

(To view this clip in full, you must be a paying member of the JTTM; for membership information, send an email to [email protected] with "Membership" in the subject line.)

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

More scenes from the Capitol riot follow, as an Islamic nashid [song] praising Allah is played in the background.

The video then shows text highlighting a saying by Prophet Muhammad, which reads: "Allah, Glorified and Exalted is He, grants respite to the wrongdoer but when He seizes him, he will not leave him be." The text continues: "Then the prophet recited [a Quranic verse that says]: Such is the punishment of your Lord when he seizes the populations of towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His punishment is painful and severe."

Right after that, the video shows a well-dressed Batarfi sitting inside a studio, wearing his traditional Yemeni dagger on his waistband. In the background is a group of photos depicting Al-Qaeda attacks, including scenes from the 9/11 attacks.

Facing the camera, the AQAP leader gives a coherent speech in which he touches upon the Capitol riots, recent peace deals between Israel and Arab countries, and COVID-19.

He starts by praising Allah and addressing Muslims around the world, stating that many events have taken place recently, including the "pandemic, which struck the world and paralyzed the strong [ones] and which has caused disagreement between politicians and doctors."

Batarfi also notes the "normalization that the Arab tyrants established with the worst enemies of Islam and Muslims; the Jewish occupiers, and which every despicable Arab secularist dared to announce and brag about without any consideration for the followers of the nation who amount to millions, because they are supported and encouraged by the apostate rulers of the region."

Strongly decrying America's "injustice and crimes," Batarfi states that Allah has sent several warnings to the United States. These include hurricanes, pandemics, economic crises, and "the torture sent by Allah through His worshipers, the mujahideen, starting with the bombings in Riyadh, the first bombing of the World Trade Center in New York in 1993, and in between, the embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salam, the targeting of the destroyer USS Cole in Aden, the blessed 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, the military operations of the mujahideen in the Arabian Peninsula in Riyadh, Jeddah, Kuwait, etc."

He then points out that all these blows forced the U.S. to agree to hold talks with the Afghan Taliban, adding that despite the blows Allah has dealt the U.S. at the hands of the mujahideen, America has not refrained from acting arrogantly – not only abroad but also at home. Batarfi cites the political tension over the U.S. elections and the civil unrest. He further criticizes U.S. economic policies, which he says are geared towards benefiting a certain class at the expense of the poor.

Speaking on the DC riot, Batarfi asserts that what happened was the tip of the iceberg, which will usher in the "definite collapse" of the United States.

Concerning the political tensions over the outcome of the U.S. elections, Batarfi expresses his relief in seeing that American politicians are fighting like "bulls" and that America's "miserable people are demolishing her pillars [the Capitol building] and shaking her entity [institutions]."

Like other jihadi leaders and clerics, Batarfi perceives the COVID-19 pandemic as "divine retribution" for America’s "arrogance," adding that civil unrest, political turmoil, and the use of violence at the Capitol building are all part of "Allah's punishment for America's hubris."

He urges Muslim scholars, mujahideen, and reformers to work together to liberate the Islamic nation, reminding them that victory will arrive and that America and its allies must be defeated because that is the promise of Allah.

He further urges Muslim youths to defend Islam and not be deceived by empty slogans, warning them against pledging or committing to untrustworthy groups or repeating the "abortive experiments" of the past, in what could be a reference to the Islamic State (ISIS.)

The video concludes with footage of Al-Qaeda's attacks on U.S. interests in various countries, clips of Batarfi and AQAP fighters, and a photo of Mohammed Saeed Al-Shamrani, who was behind the Naval Air Station Pensacola attack in 2019. The text on the photo reads: O Aqsa, we are coming.

Share this Report: