Al-Houthis and government breach cease-fire [Archives:2006/974/Front Page]

August 21 2006

Mohammed Bin Sallam
SANA'A, Aug. 20 ) Army troops attacked followers of Badrudin Al-Houthi last Thursday in Sa'ada governorate's Al-Masnaa area. Media reports said the attack, in which army tanks and heavy artillery were used, resulted from clashes between groups of Al-Houthi followers and what they alleged is a group of drug traffickers doing business between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

The sources didn't mention details about losses due to the attack and clashes, while Al-Houthi followers say they often have confrontations with drug traffickers active in that border area.

Security authorities previously arrested Al-Houthi supporter Shaie Hassan Saraah while he was hospitalized at a Sa'ada hospital due to a traffic accident. His colleagues rescued him and took him to the hospital, after receiving assurances from Sa'ada's governor that he and his companions wouldn't face any punitive measures from security forces there. However, police arrested him and his three companions and subjected them to investigation.

On the Monday before last, a soldier shot a Bani Khalifa citizen for writing a slogan against the United States and Israel, the same slogan the Al-Houthi movement insists on circulating and shouting.

Abdulmalik Badrudin Al-Houthi, brother of religious leader Hussein Al-Houthi, sent an Aug. 9 message to President Ali Abdullah Saleh offering reconciliation between the Houthi movement and the state due to the consequences in Lebanon.

In his letter, Abdulmalik stated, “Our stance at this stage is no different from the official stance and doesn't contradict it so as not to detract from it,” clarifying, “These circumstances actually prepare us to remove differences and solve the problem. By dictating such stance's unity, the problem can be solved completely.”

As the movement's most prominent field leader, Abdulmalik further declared, “We demand an opportunity to activate the popular stance,” noting that, at this stage, he doesn't think the main concern is silencing any voice rising against what he described as Israeli and U.S. arrogance.

He also proposed a type of coordination in activating popular and official stances, justifying his proposal by saying it's incorrect if the official stance is serious and prevents a clear and supportive popular attitude from emerging.

In the letter, a copy of which the Yemen Times received, Abdulmalik asserted that the nation's current situation and developments in Lebanon prepare the movement and the government to solve the great problem between them, as Hezbollah ideology is near to the goals of Al-Houthi followers, particularly the severe enmity toward Israel and its U.S. ally.

The Yemeni army fought fierce battles with followers of Hussein Al-Houthi from June to Sept. 2004 before killing him, but that didn't end the war, which erupted later.

September.Net web site disclosed last Thursday that President Saleh urged Sa'ada's governor to complete previous efforts to resolve the conflict resulting from and causing the Sa'ada events. He also urged convincing remaining Al-Houthi elements entrenched in mountain areas to come down and work as good citizens, pointing to the positive dealing and response to Abdulmalik's previous message to the president, asking him to seize the opportunity of Hezbollah's victory over Israeli aggression to solve the Sa'ada war's consequences and the endeavor to unify the internal front.

This development comes at a time when published news of an attack the state launched last Thursday using tanks and heavy artillery against a group of Al-Houthi followers in Sa'ada.

The 2004-2005 Sa'ada events have remained stagnant despite all reported efforts and mediations to solve the problem before the upcoming presidential election. The eye-catching thing about these events and their ramifications is that the moment the president announces a truce or reconciliation, events erupt anew and in a fiercer manner.