Mohammed Jumaih
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Houthis in Sana'a
Writes/ Mohammed Jumaih
Published Since: Tow Years and 3 Weeks
Monday 05 November 2012 01:23 am


Recently, the Houthi group was remarkable active, and it has been noticed how deep the military moves of this group are; it has brought big military reinforcements, including light and medium weapons to the Capital Sana'a, in particular to Old Sana'a and the northern parts of it (Xinhua 21-10-2012). However, the Houthi existence in Capital Sana'a started long years ago, and the Houthis formed a group of (sleeper cells) during the six wars that started in 2004 and ended in 2010. That time, the Yemeni security forces arrested a number of spies entrusted with monitoring the military moves of the Yemeni army and monitoring the moves of the Yemeni Air Force before carrying out combat missions during the war. Among the arrested were officers in the Yemeni Air Force on a charge of spying for the Houthis; they told the group about directions of the Air Force before targeting their sites. Other Houthis were also arrested near some sensitive places inside the Capital Sana'a and the surrounding areas. In addition, other spies were accused of spying for the Iranian embassy and contacting Houthi leaders inside Sa'ada Province as the fighting intensified.
In the fifth round of battles, the Houthis managed to bring some of their fighters to Bani Hushaish (20k kilometers northeastern Capital Sana'a). Fierce battles flared up there for several days, after they have ambushed a senior security commander in Sa'ada Province, Mohamed Turaiq. The Houthis' missiles reached the vicinity of Sana'a International Airport, before the government forces managed to fend them off (Mareb press 5-6-2008).
This was during the period of war, which later turned out to be a dirty game between Houthi leaders and others from the former regime for material and political purposes, and its victims were the lives and properties of people. Then, after the outbreak of "Youth Revolution", the Houthis recorded their first public existence in the capital, where they joined the revolution, and covered themselves with its dress, just like their ancestors who made themselves out to be with September Revolution, after they failed to stop it from reaching the Imamate rule that vanished in Yemen in 1962. Since its outbreak, the Houthis have been trying to exploit the Youth Revolution for their Iranian-backed sectarian, ethnic project.
Lately, they have widened the circle of their alliances with some currents that oppose the main factions in the Youth Revolution, and have had coordination with some political and tribal figures. They also allied with some of the Zaidi religious groups that were not in line with their violent inclination, nor with their approach to the Faqih rule in Tehran. Still, recent reports indicated that there is cooperation between them and some figures loyal to the former regime in the provinces of Hajja, Amran, Sa'ada and al-Jawf.
The significant financial support Houthis receive from specific mullahs in Iran, Iraq and the Gulf helped the group expand their influence to reach some figures in the provinces that do not follow their sect, aiming at two purposes: the first to hide their realty as sectarian, ethnic movement; the second to be able to penetrate a strategic depth that is different from their ideological inclinations. All that was done with an Iranian coordination (The Guardian: 12 - 5 - 2012).
In fact, the Houthi presence in Sunni Shafa'i areas is not that great, but it started with some families linked with Houthis by "Hashemite kinship". The Houthis seduced some members of these families in Taiz, Mareb, al-Bayda, Hadramout and other provinces to join their movement and give priority to ethnic loyalty over the denominational one. In order to support their views in Yemen, the Houthis play on all strings. Among those strings are the "Shiite affiliation", which they use when addressing the moderate Zaidis, and the "ethnic affiliation" when addressing the Sunni Hashemites in order to win loyalties in the country.
After the Gulf Initiative was signed, the Houthis found that the political climate takes the wind out of their sails, or rather Tehran's sails. Thus, since the first day they declared war against this initiative - not because it has not achieved all goals of the revolution as they claim or because its signatories from the Joint Meeting Parties circumvented the revolution as they circulate, but - because they see the GCC deal as an approach to stability in the country, which the Houthis realize that its stability simply means frustrating the Imamate dream of expansionism, in its new Houthi dress.
However, every now and then, the Houthis try to have more than one string to their bow, including their consent to take part in the National Dialogue (ND) conference and nominating their representatives in the Technical Committee of the ND. During the last few months, and after the Houthis have realized that the political solution in the country is going in the direction opposite to Tehran's and their wishes, leaders of this movement began to bring large amounts of weapons and combat-trained elements to the capital Sana'a. This plan was based on the same grounds followed by the group in the beginning of its armed rebellion to control Sa'ada Province; large amounts of weapons and fighters were injected into Sa'ada and many sleeper cells were planted in the heart of this historic city. Those elements facilitated seizing control over Sa'ada after the outbreak of the youth revolution and the former regime lost the grip or loosed, enabling the Houthi militants to tighten grip around the entire province of Sa'ada.
Today, reports talk about nightly activity for the Houthis inside Old Sana'a City, where they stored large amounts of weapons, just as they did in Sa'ada City. It is notable that the Houthi strategy is based on seeking shelter in archeological cities, which they fill with weapons and fighters as the group knows it would be hard later to drive their fighters out of such ancient cities as Old Sana'a where it would be difficult for the army to attack in case the war broke out; targeting a historical city like Old Sana'a will be a national and international loss for the Yemeni army, which will be accused of attacking a city listed by UNISCO as World Heritage. This would, in their perception, enhance their position in this city in case of the outbreak of battles, to which they are undoubtedly preparing themselves for inside Capital Sana'a, especially after their recent military moves in the capital, and in particular in Old Sana'a.
Few weeks ago, following the anti-Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) film, the Houthis exploited that incident to make more media, cultural and political propaganda for their movement inside the Capital Sana'a. They did what residents in Sana'a called organized "media invasion" on the streets of the capital and the Old City with the Houthi posters and media propaganda (Asharq Al-Awsat: 26 - 9 - 2012). In conjunction with this "media invasion", the Houthis stored large quantities of weapons in the Old City and the nearby neighborhoods, taking advantage of the uproar that diverted people's attention away from their movements. And when the youths were busy with the protests against the anti-Prophet film, Houthi leaders were working on bringing their fighters and weapons to the heart of the capital, and specifically to the Old City, while piling up great deals of weapons and armed elements in al-Juraf district, in the north of Sana'a, which is linked with areas, in which the Houthis have tribal loyalty extending to the north of the capital.
It is not unlikely that the Houthis keep their eyes on the Yemeni TV channels located within the mentioned neighborhood, in case military situation flared up in Sana'a. They, as indicated by their actions, undoubtedly are preparing themselves for battles to come, because they think that the political process will fail and that the Yemenis will resort to arms, large amounts of which the Houthis have stored inside the capital and the surrounding areas such as Shibam Kawkaban to the west, other areas to the east and areas near the northern entrance of Sana'a, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua.
Despite all that, as the imamates have failed in 1967 to enter the capital - in the last attempt of the Imam's hordes before he takes his last breath - it seems that the "new imamates" will also fail in implementing their plot, existence of which can no longer be doubted, to tighten the grip around Capital Sana'a. According to the imamate inheritance, Sana'a is considered as the "political capital", while Sa'ada is considered as the "spiritual capital". The inevitable failure of them is attributed to several reasons: first and foremost is that a large majority of Yemenis have begun to realize what was repeatedly said by a number of researchers into the literatures of this movement that it is a racist, ethnic movement with imamate ambitions in a way or another, and that it is a part of what has become known as the "Iranian Shiite crescent" in the region. The realty of this movement was unveiled to the Yemeni public by virtue of its shameful position towards the revolution of the Syrian people. This position marked a fork between the revolution youths and the Houthis, who turned to search for certain elements from the former regime to ally with against components of revolution, though they earlier claimed to be a part of it. Moreover, the balance of power both politically and militarily in the whole country is not in their favor, as the majority of Yemenis have become aware of how serious the schemes implemented by Houthis in the country are, not counting, of course, the province of Sa'ada, in which the group has created a mini-state, like the one established by Hezbollah in Lebanon after seizing it at gunpoint.
Source: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Newspaper in Arabic
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