Al-Houthi’s followers continue guerilla raids,opposition parties justify their stance on warAl-Houthi war costs may have exceeded YR 180 billion [Archives:2004/774/Front Page]

September 20 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
Recent news from Sa'ada, 275 kilometers north of Sana'a, shows that confrontations are going on fiercely between the government forces and Al-Houthi's followers led by sheikh , Abdullah Al-Ruzami, and have taken an appalling turn with incidents of suicide bombing.
Sources told the Yemen Times that during last week about 14 young men detonated explosive belts around their wastes amidst troops in a number of districts in Sa'ada resulting in the death of many soldiers.
Clashes are taking place in the Haidan district between the government forces supported from the air and by tanks, and scores of people led by sheikh Al-Ruzami, the successor to sheikh Al-Houthi.
Many observers think that clashes will continues for longer than the official media predicts. They add that President Ali Abdullah Saleh should declare an amnesty for the rest of Al-Houthi's followers, and set up rules to regulate religious schools, institutes and universities, and unify their curricula so as to ensure peace in Yemen.
They claim that it is a futile attempt to ask Al-Ruzami to surrender, because Al-Houthi earlier preferred to be killed than to give in to authorities.
They expect that the war bill will increase, reflecting itself the social conditions of the citizens, with elementary figures indicating that the state's budget has lost in three months over YR 180 billion, let alone the human and property losses.
Tribal, religious, and political leaders praised the President's pardon on Al-Houthi's father, aged 85, who has also been given the right to move to and live in any part of the country.
The children and two wives of sheikh Al-Houthi, who was killed last week, have been transferred to Sana'a to live in the house of Yahya Badr Al-Din Al-Houthi, member of Parliament and brother to Hussein Al-Houthi.
Ministry of Interior told last week the Sept 26 Newspaper, the organ of the Yemeni Army, that investigations have uncovered documents indicating Al-Houthi's receiving support from regional players, either through Arab intelligence agencies, religious sects, or charitable societies in the area.
“The information elicited by Yemeni investigators shows that those sides aimed, through supporting Al-Houthi, to spread havoc and instability in Yemen,” the newspaper quoted the ministry.
The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) denounced in a statement distributed on Thursday Sept 16 the official media campaign which they described as “artificial, defamatory to opposition leaders and misleading as regards the opposition parties' stances on the Sa'ada events.”
The statement said: “The JMP never took sides in this crisis. They stuck to reaching a peaceful solution to avoid bloodshed, and realized the consequences of a military solution and its destructive effects.”
It added: “The call of the JMP to refer to the Parliament for a solution was to treat the crisis by constitution and law and with the knowledge of the people. The constitution gives the right to express ones opinion, and does not allow anyone to use authority to try other people for their performance. The people through constitutional organizations are the only body who can prefer one opinion to another. Monopolizing fact and distorting others' opinion is a stand against the constitution and democracy.”
The JMP's statement went on to say: “The official media apparatuses are unlawfully arousing enmity and unfair hatred against others including the political forces which may result in sparking mischief jeopardizing the social peace and national solidarity.”
The statement showed clearly the JMP's stance on issues resolvable peacefully, concluding: “Our people are in need for the political means to solve disagreements, and to accommodate for the language of dialogue and middle-road solutions, and give concessions to serve the national interest and the stability of the country. Yemen is in need more than ever for peace and stability to create the atmosphere suitable for development, the fight against poverty, and investment encouragement. The state should find out solutions to internal difficulties far from hindrances to development and investment.”
The opposition parties urged the government not to solve its problems by creating other more costly problems. They also called for discussing how to responsibly contain the aftermath of the crisis, and study the reasons behind it so as to extract lessons and avoid similar treatments in the future. The JMP called on the government to stop antagonizing people against each other, stressing that “political reform is the best way to save Yemen from frequent problems.”