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What is Houthi Movement ?

What is Houthi Movement?

  • The Houthis officially called Ansar Allah, is a Zaidi tribal political movement that emerged from and is based around Sa’dah in northern Yemen under the leadership of Hussein Badreddin Al-Houthi.
  • They developed in the 1990s and have been fighting the central government on and off since 2004. seeking an end to economic under-development, political marginalization and perceived discrimination in Zaidi areas, along with sought greater autonomy in areas where they are predominant.

How are Houthi’s opposing government?

  • The Houthis opposed the Government in the 2011 Yemeni Revolution but rejected the Saudi sponsored deal proposed by the GCC
    In 2014–2015 Houthis took over the government in Sana’a, which led to the fall of the Saudi Arabian-backed government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi .
  • Houthis and their allies gained control of a significant part of Yemen’s territory and are currently resisting the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen seeking to restore Hadi to power.

What is the history of Yemen crises?

  • To understand Yemen current conflict you need to look to its history, Yemen since the revolution on the Zaidiyyah Imam in 1962 the dynasty who ruled Yemen for centuries.
  • Yemen had several presidents who claim to be democratic but they only reached power by military coup the previous president until Ali A. Saleh in 1978 who was able to maintain power but he was untrustworthy tyrant.
  • A new movement emerged from Saada (north of Yemen near the Saudi border) in 1992 the Houthi who combine Zaidiyyah as a sect and politically has an ideology of mixed 1950’s Arab nationalist with today Iranian revolutionary ideology, the movement was armed from the beginning but in 2004 they started a civil war with Saleh government ended in 2011, but during this war in 2009 the Houthi militia crossed the Saudi border in surprise attack killing Saudi border guards and taking a strong hold in a mountain, the Saudi army responded and cleared the Saudi border from them.
  • Yemen population is composed of tribes and each tribe control a specific area and many tribes had feuds, Yemen tribal allegiance is much more important than the country.
  • In 2011 the Arab spring reached Yemen, Saleh was offered a deal sponsored by GCC countries to make a smooth transition of power and he accepted because there was several assassination attempts on his life ,the deal included an exile and immunity from prosecution of him and his family which they remained in Yemen because they still hold key positions in the government.
  • Its important to note that all factions agreed and signed on the GCC initiative for the new transition of power.
  • In 2012 the first democratically elected president Hadi hold office but he was surrounded by enemies as the army was loyal to Saleh because many of the army officers are of Saleh tribe, in 2014 the Houthi militia marched to the capital Sana’a with the army watching and held Hadi in house arrest, later on the picture was clear Saleh from exile arranged for an alliance with his old enemy the Houthi.
  • Right before Hadi execution he managed to flee to the south who’s tribes dislike Saleh and Houthi but the joint forces of Saleh and Houthi marched south to destroy the last remaining resistance composed of Hadi government and southern tribes. At this moment Saudi Arabia stepped in by announcing the launch of air strikes against Houthi and saleh forces and the establishment of Arab coalition from 10 countries with the largest participant are Saudi Arabia and UAE.
  • All Yemenis have weapons from daggers that they wear all the time to guns and machine guns while every tribe has its own armory. Yemen has primitive or no infrastructure.

The result of the coalition intervention was that Hadi and his allies didn’t fall and are being trained to engage the Houthi and Saleh forces as the coalition maintain a blockade from the sea to prevent Iranian weapon shipments and a no fly zone over Yemen and do help Hadi forces by air strikes,Saudi land forces are positioned by the Saudi border and in Eritrea who have Saudi and Emirates bases. Emirates soldiers do actively participate in certain battles.

Why Saudi Arabia is interested in Yemen?

  1. We don’t want to have a hostile government in our southern border.
  2. We don’t want another Arabian capital controlled by Iran.
  3. We don’t want ISIS and Al-Qaeda to grow in Yemen as they already have stronghold there.
  4. No one else care about Yemen and we only care because they are on our southern border and their problems would become ours sooner or later, if they were an African country no one would care.
  5. We don’t want to see millions of refugees coming to our border.
  6. Yemen do live on Yemeni expats wire transfers from Saudi Arabia who we want to reduce their numbers as the majority are low skilled workers but we will not be able to do so as the return of expats and cutting the wire transfer would plunged Yemen in extreme famine, But if we to keep this large number of Yemeni expats they would pose a security risk to us and would supply the Houthi and Saleh with money to be able to survive longer.
  7. Yemen control Bab al-Mandab strip which if Houthi coordinated with Iran they could simultaneously close Bab al-Mandab and Hormuz strips.

Current Affairs 2020

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