Despite a sharp crisis between them and authoritiesTwelfth Shiites insist on Saleh’s candidacy [Archives:2005/878/Front Page]

September 19 2005

Hassan Al-Zaidi
SANA'A- Sept. 17- The Twelfth Shiite Current in Yemen issued a communique, the second of its kind following the events of the Sa'da uprising by urging President Saleh to change his decision and stand in the coming presidential elections scheduled for September 2006.

The joint communique was issued by Shiite elements from the Capital and Ibb Governorate following a statement by the Twelfth Shiite Association in last August insisting on President Saleh to stay in power, as the country is in need of him in the difficult situations experienced locally, regionally and internationally.

Such statements have not showed a unified viewpoint and have not been endorsed by the Supreme Twelfth Shiite Council, which was formed during Sa'da uprising including symbols and representatives from the Shiite Current in Yemen.

Some Twelfth Shiite figures have made up a council for them and issued a letter in their first meeting to President Saleh stating they have no link to al-Houthi and his followers. They claimed al-Houthi never represented the Twelfth Shiite Current but he is a Zaidi cleric, appealing to the President to not harm the Twelfth Shiite figures who back his regime and party.

Observers of the Islamic movements in Yemen believe that the Shiite's support for President Saleh and his party comes as part of causing disturbance and trouble to the Islah Party and the Wahabi movement, thought of as a threat to the future of Twelfth Shiite Movement in the country.

“The Wahabi Movement has strong adherence to Bani Umayah who fought relatives of the prophet”, a Shiite activis revealed to the Yemen Times.

During the 80s, Yemen witnessed a great influx of traditional Twelfth Shiite volumes that were also reached areas prior dominated by the Zaidi movement. These volumes caused a change in the minds of al-Zaidi affiliates and a rapid growth in the Twelfth Shiite Current (al-Ja'afari) supported by Iran. The Shiite Movement started to establish education and science centers and provide students with books for free as a kind of support from Shiites in Iraq and Iran.

According to recent estimates, around 14 thousand Twelfth Shiite volumes entered Yemen during the 80s and 90s.

The Yemen's 2004 strategic report argues that the Shiite Current in Yemen faced severe calamities during Sa'ada events after it started to develop and spread in different parts of the country. The report added that the Revolutionary Shiite Movement, intellectually and politically represented by the Faithful Youth will suffer a heavy loss, contrarily to other traditional currents.

The report by the Yemeni Center for Strategic Studies, owned by the Muslim Brothers Movement in Yemen, stated that the creed affiliation is expected to grow high among people of Shiite orientation.

It anticipated the occurrence of bloody confrontations leading to the killing of some religious symbols and the detention of others, as well as harassments of the prominent Shiite figures and marginalizing their role in the society.

Large numbers of Shiite figures in Yemen are still in prisons following arrest campaigns by the security apparatuses during and after Sa'ada bloody clashes between al-Houthi followers and the government troops which broke out on June 18-2004.

Despite the killing of the rebellion leader cleric Hussein Badriddine al-Houthi on the ninth of September 2004 and the revelation of the involvement of Shiites in the rebellion, the situation in Sa'ad is still unsafe.

The Sa'ada events resulted in hunting operations for the Shiite elements, confiscation of their books and the closure of their religious centers. In addition, mosques of the Shiite movement are now under government control.

Despite the Shiite's declaration and support for President Saleh, a sharp crisis is still going on between the authorities and the Shiite movement, a situation exacerbated by poor communication and an exclusive political process.