The Qayfa tribe is a powerful presence in al Bayda

February 07, 2013

Chart: Qayfa Tribe Hierarchy

The Qayfa tribe is a powerful presence in al Bayda. The region in which it operates is considered semi-autonomous by local officials, even though it has no official standing as an administrative district in Yemen.[1] The Dhahab tribe, a Qayfa sub-tribe, has produced many sheikhs for the Qayfis.[2] It has also produced high-profile leaders for Ansar al Sharia, the insurgent wing of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), such as the deceased Tareq al Dhahab and Abdul Raoof al Dhahab.[3] However, the tribe is not united in support for Ansar al Sharia or AQAP. When Tareq al Dhahab seized Rada’a, located in Qayfa territory, in January 2012, members of the Hattaimah tribe, another Qayfa sub-tribe, moved to stop him.[4]

Click graphic to enlarge.



“Al Bayda: Four killed in tribal fighting and young woman killed in dispute over land,” Mareb Press, April 26, 2010 [Arabic]. Available:

“Al Bayda: More than 20 killed and injured in clashes between the Central Security Forces and Qayfa tribes in Rada'a,” Mareb Press, May 8, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:

“Al Sarhan tribe mocks the rumors of monitoring movements like al Qaeda members,” al Bida Press, March 21, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:

“An Informative Look at the Qayfa Tribe,” Hajjaj Forum, December 24, 2008 [Arabic]. Available:

“Genealogy of the Awlaki tribe,” Aldhama, February 14, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:

“President of the revolutionary committee in Rada'a explains the reasons that led to the fighting between al Hitam and the Central Security Forces in Rada'a,” al Baida News, May 10, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:

“Qayfah Quraysh,” Ansab Online, February 13, 2007 [Arabic]. Available:

“Rada'a city breathes a sigh of relief, donkey last to die in series of feuds: al Qurayshiyah had the most numerous, violent feuds and achieved the most in the era of unity,” 26 September, September 1, 2005 [Arabic]. Available:

“Surveillance of movements similar to al Qaeda members in al Sharya in al Bayda,” 26 September, March 19, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:

“Tribal fighting in Ma'rib and Shabwah kills one and injures at least 5 on Saturday,” Mareb Press, April 24, 2010 [Arabic]. Available:

[1] “An Informative Look at the Qayfa Tribe,” Hajjaj Forum, December 24, 2008 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Al Dhahab battle in Rada'a Ends after seventeen were killed including Tareq and three of his brothers,” al Masdar Online, February 16, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
Nasser Arrabyee, “Yemen al-Qaeda: ‘Death for the enemies of al –Qaeda’ wherever they are," Yemen Observer, August 2, 2012. Available:
[3] “Reinforcements Arrive in Rada’a, and ‘al Dhahab’ to ‘al Masdar Online’: Ansar al Sharia prepared to leave the area,” al Masdar Online, February 2, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] Nadwa al Dawsari, “Tribal Governance and Stability in Yemen,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 2012, Available: