Yemen’s Houthis violence
A Houthis’ armed coup in Yemen is ongoing and is escalating in violence and danger on a daily basis, despite a truce agreed in April of this year. The civil war in Yemen has killed over 6,400 people and plunged the region into a humanitarian crisis in its severity.
Who is Ansar Allah?
Ansar Allah is an armed religious and political group taking Saada city in northen Yemen – a major centre. They are known as the “rebels” in relation to the group’s founder and spiritual father, Hussein Badr Eddin al-Huthi.
Ansar Allah was founded in 1992 as a result of the marginalisation and discrimination against them from by Yemeni government. They believe in the Zaidi sect of Islam. Badr al-Din spent several years in Iran and was influenced by Shiite Twelver doctrine and Khomeini, and he believed he could apply the same model in Yemen.
War started between the Huthis and the government on the 18th of June 2004 after accusing the government of creating an armed organisation like Hezbollah and the use of mosques to broadcast anti-American speeches and incitement of terrorism. Hussein al-houthi was killed in September and his brother Abdul Malik has led the group since then. Successive governments have fought seven wars against the Houthis up until now.
The government of Ali Abdullah Saleh and Saudi Government kept on accusing Iran in supporting the Houthis and interference in the internal affairs of Yemen and destabilization of the country. The Yemeni government accused Houthis of receiving money and weapons from Iran.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi asked Iran to stop supporting the Houthis in December 2009, and the new President of Yemen, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, confirmed and talked, during his visit to the United States in September 2012, about the Iranian interference in Yemen and mentioned that some cells were arrested in Sana’a.
Furthermore, the President of Yemen’s national security chief, Ali Hassan Ahmadi, accused Tehran of supporting Houthi military in late 2012 and mentioned that Tehran was trying to find a foothold in Yemen. Houthi was able to take control of the capital on September 21st 2014, with the help of the Republican Guard and Yemen’s Special Forces associated with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi accused the President Hadi for both corruption and supporting terrorism. On 19th January 2015, the Houthi attacked Hadi’s palace. After clashes with the presidential guard surrounding the palace, as well as at the Prime Minister’s residence, damage occurred to military, the presidential House complex and also missile bases.
Abd al-Malik Al-Houthi asked in January 2015, for clarification on several points concerning the draft Constitution and the ‘partnership’ and processing conditions in the Marib. President Hadi responded to the demands of Al-Houthi, and an agreement was made that Houthi rebels would release Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, Director of the Office of the President of the Republic who was kidnapped by the Houthis previously. Houthi agreed to withdraw from the presidential house and palace and also from Camp Rocket, but they did not comply with any agreement terms.
Houthi’s armed group continues to raid the homes and offices of political parties as well as the organisations of both the public and private properties, including using heavy weapons. They took control of the government media and they started to mock their opponents.
They stormed the headquarters of oil companies and changed the management structures, appointing those loyal to them into all the important governmental positions.
They pressured and demanded several positions including: Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Director, Vice-President of the Political and Security, Deputy or Deputy Agent of National Security, President or Deputy President of the Shura Council, President of the Boundary Commission and the Oversight Committees.
They chaired the Central Organization for control and auditing, and Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, led by insurance and pensions authority, and the chairmanship of Yemeni Airways, and President of the pharmaceutical industry, in addition to the posts of Secretary-General of the Council of representatives and the Department of Finance and Administration.
They attempted to impose Deputy Ministers in most departments, in addition to financial services and control of each Ministry, and all control and inspection departments in all ministries, government institutions and banks.
President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Khalid Bhaah resigned on January 22nd 2015. The Parliament did not hold a hearing to accept or reject the resignation, as required by the Constitution. The Houthi statement said they called the ‘constitutional’ Declaration on February 6th 2015, and they announced the dissolution of Parliament, enabling a ‘Revolutionary Committee’ headed by Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi to lead the country.
Despite military successes and an alliance with the GPC, the coup faced widespread domestic and international opposition. The President and Prime Minister were held under house arrest, imposed by the armed Houthis since his resignation. Finally Hadi managed to escape from arrest and head to Aden on February 21st 2015, where he announced the withdrawal of his resignation in a letter to Parliament, and declared the Houthi coup illegal. He declared that all the decisions made on September 21st are false and illegitimate history of occupation of the Yemeni Houthi by guerrillas.
Yemen’s Houthis violence is open-ended, with widespread murders, torture, shelling areas within neighbourhoods, hospitals and public markets and kidnapping are regular occurrences. Oppression of the media is also prominent, seeing the Houthi group targeting anyone who works within the media who supports human rights.
These crimes committed by the Houthis armed group are horrific and widespread and show no sign of abating any time soon.