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Daily News Analysis

Truce between Houthis and al-Qaeda declared in Yemen

Crescent International

Even as a truce has been declared between the Houthis and al Qaeda in Yemen, the Saudi regime will not stop its disruptive tactics to allow the people of Yemen to live in peace. The obscurantist Saudi regime wants to undermine Yemen and bring it under its control fearing that the rise of Houthis will undercut Riyadh's influence.

Washington DC, Crescent-online
October 17, 2014, 22:43 DST

Clashes between the Houthis of Yemen and al-Qaeda have subsided somewhat. Fighting had broken out as al-Qaeda affiliates of Yemen took the offensive, targeting the political gains made by the Houthis in recent weeks.

For instance, in September 2014, the Houthis brought the rebellion against the government to an end in a deal that granted them considerable share of political power. The Houthis are Zaidi Shi’is and comprise nearly one fifth of Yemen’s 25 million population.

Big neighbor to the north, Saudi Arabia’s influence over some of Yemen’s Sunni tribes as well as al Qaeda affiliates supported by US and Saudi interests in the area, often provoke sectarian clashes with the Houthis.

On October 14, Saudi military personnel engaged in border clashes with Yemenis, as it tried to install checkpoints inside Yemeni territory. Copying the US-Mexico border fence, and Israeli wall blocking off Palestinian land, Saudi Arabia is currently involved in building an 1800-km security fence to seal off its border with Yemen.

As with such fences, this is an attempt to illegally grab land from the other country. An October 17 Press TV report described the tension between Saudi Arabia and contiguous Yemeni territories:

“Local Yemeni sources have expressed concern that the clashes might be an excuse by Saudis to open a new war front against Yemen’s Shia Ansarullah movement. The movement has been at odds with Riyadh, which has been in control of the Yemeni provinces of Asir, Najran and Jizan since the 1930s.”

On October 9, an Al-Qaeda affiliated suicide bomber attacked a crowd of protesters in Sana killing at least 47 people. The target appeared to be the Houthis, who were organizing a march near the city’s Tahrir square. The power gained by the Houthis after the September truce is a major concern to Saudi Arabia—the Houthis were in control of the ministries and other major government institutions.

They (Houthis) want the northern part of the country to be one region instead of three and want to have a say in the drafting of the constitution.

In addition to their control over Sana, Houthi have seized important territory south of the capital, in areas traditionally controlled by Sunni tribes.

Al Jazeera quoted Yemeni residents and medical personnel in reporting that on Wednesday (October 15), suspected al-Qaeda fighters took over the town of Odein, near Ibb, and clashed with security forces and Houthi fighters.

Yemen is undergoing profound changes that are carefully watched by Saudi Arabia. Besides the increase in Houthi power, the southern half of the country is agitating for independence.

The South wishes to follow the lead of Sudan, and have demanded that the government evacuate its personnel by November 20.

Hiraak al-Janoubi head of the southern secession movement, also asked foreign firms to halt oil and gas exports immediately.

"The state of the South is coming and no power can stop us from achieving this," a statement from the secessionist movement declared.

Until 1990, the South and North were two separate entities. Union of the two parts propelled Ali Abdullah Saleh into power where he remained until February 2012.

He was forced out by popular protests. His exit was also facilitated by Saudi Arabia in order to give its Salafi allies a stronger say in the affairs of Yemen.

The Houthis’ recent gains have put paid to those plans, hence the Saudis’ frantic efforts to undermine them. In this, the Saudi regime will stop at nothing, not even openly supporting al Qaeda against whom it is allegedly waging a war.


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