Saturday,25 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1216, (2 - 8 October 2014)
Saturday,25 November, 2017
Issue 1216, (2 - 8 October 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Yemen’s crisis deepens

Al-Qaeda and Shia Houthi rebels are going face to face in a new war that could see Yemen split in two, writes Nasser Arrabyee

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Al-Ahram Weekly

A new war has started in Yemen after Houthi rebels took control of the capital Sanaa.

Al-Qaeda is leading this new war against the Shia Houthi with obvious support from the defeated forces.

Over the last three days, Al-Qaeda killed more than 30 Houthi in four different attacks outside the capital, including 15 killed in one suicide bombing in Mareb, in the east of the country.

Al-Qaeda seems to be implementing a threat it issued after Houthis took control of Sanaa last week, saying it would cut off the heads of Houthis and tear apart their bodies.

Houthi fighters are still in control of Sanaa, although they signed a UN-brokered agreement with transitional President Abdu-Rabu Mansour Hadi to withdraw from the city and hand over their heavy weapons.

The Houthi wants to establish an Iranian-supported Shia state, not only forming a new government, as they said at the beginning of their uprising two months ago.

Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates seemed to be confused by what’s happening in Yemen. They wanted to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood (the Houthis’ main enemy), but they do not want the Houthi to expand their influence.

The defeated military and tribal leaders of Yemen’s largest Islamic party, Islah (the Yemen Muslim Brotherhood) have no option now but to use Al-Qaeda to take revenge on the Houthi.

Al-Beidha and Mareb provinces in the east and southeast of the country are where Al-Qaeda is most active.

After Al-Qaeda killed about 30 Houthi followers in these two provinces over the last few days, by suicide bombings, kidnappings and ambushes, the two extremist groups appear to have decided on engaging in a new and mostly likely devastating war.

The Houthis accused defeated General Ali Mohsen of turning to Al-Qaeda to fight against them. Although General Mohsen told the media he is now in Saudi Arabia, Houthis say he is still somewhere in Yemen establishing a branch of the Islamic State group to confront them.

Inside Sanaa, Houthi fighters took control over all luxurious homes and business centres owned by fugitive General Mohsen, in addition to his military base, the 1st Armoured Division.

The head of the national security agency, Ali Al-Ahmadi, was also one of the main targets of Houthi fighters inside Sanaa.

Earlier this week, three men were killed and four others injured in clashes between his guards and Houthi fighters at the gate of Al-Ahmadi’s home.

Houthi want their followers and friends released from the state intelligence prison, including Iranians and Lebanese.

Because of this pressure, two Iranians and eight Yemenis were released despite that they were all tried and convicted of spying for Iran. They were arrested last year along with two Iranian ships (the Jihan 1 and Jihan 2) laden with smuggled weapons.

Dozens of armed tribesmen camped out around the house of Al-Ahmadi, considering what happened as shaming. One the organisers, the majority of them from Shabwah, where Al-Ahmadi is originally from, told Al-Ahram Weekly that southerners will never feel safe in Sanaa after this incident.

“If the head of the most important security agency is not safe, how we would be safe?” Said Hussein Haitham wondered.

Yemen is facing the danger of dissolution more than ever before. If the Houthi are not integrated into a civil state, the south will secede.

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