Despite some breaches, Sa’ada is calm [Archives:2007/1069/Front Page]

July 19 2007

By: Mohammed bin Sallam
SA'ADA, July 18 ) Tribal sources revealed that most Sa'ada districts are calm, save some individual breaches involving Houthis and pro-government tribal fighters, mostly described as revenge attacks.

Many observers expressed fear of reciprocal fighting between tribes, partly ignited by previously accumulated enmity and malice. Locals asked authorities to quell the disputes and make peace between warring tribes within the frame of ongoing reconciliation efforts.

An unknown group fired random shots at the committee in charge of implementing the ceasefire agreement in Al Ghubair, injuring two bodyguards. Despite the committee's statement, which held Houthi secessionists responsible for the attack, other sources revealed that the leader of the group responsible for attacking the committee resides in Al Ghubair.

Houthi field leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi denounced the incident and deemed it a criminal act. Al-Houthi also denied any connection of his followers with the attack, accusing a third party of attempting to cause tension and jeopardize security and peace in the governorate. “The committee knows well that Houthi fighters were exemplary in their dealings with them [the committee] during their field visits,” noted Al-Houthi.

Last Sunday, security committee spokesman Yasser Al-Awadhi denied any connection of Houthis with the incident, however, the security committee sustained accusations against Houthi followers.

Such accusations were directed towards Houthis following a meeting held on Monday, involving the security committee and Sa'ada governor Mutahar Al-Misri. The security committee hinted that the incident is evidence of bad intentions and covert plans aiming to jeopardize the efforts of the committee.

On Sunday, Al-Awadhi told 26 that the security committee was subjected to extensive rounds of gunfire in Al Ghubair, which killed two people. He hinted that the perpetrators of said acts do not belong to the Houthis and maintained that the incident will not prevent the committee from continuing their tasks.

Tribal sources revealed that there are attempts among some members of the two warring parties to foil the ceasefire agreement, especially after recent major reconciliation efforts made between both sides.

Al-Houthi described the security committee field results as promising and expressed optimism that the committee will work on resolving all pending issues. Additionally, Al-Houthi praised efforts made by Houthi members to maintain contact with the security committee.

In related news, Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Mohamed Riza Baqiri arrived in Sana'a last Monday, carrying a letter to President Saleh. The letter's details, however, were not disclosed.

Yemen News Agency reported that the Iranian envoy commended existing efforts to end the war in Sa'ada, especially those exerted by Qatar, and expressed Iran's readiness to provide support in this respect.

The visit is the first by a high-ranking Iranian official to Sana'a since the eruption of Sa'ada's last war; wherein Iran was repeatedly accused of supporting the Houthis. Iran however denied such allegations and some Iranian politicians described such accusations as political blackmailing conveniently timed with a U.S.-led, international campaign against Iran.

When Iran continued to be charged of backing Houthis, Iranian officials pointed out that the country is behind the Qatari mediation whose main objective is ending the war between the Yemeni government and Houthi loyalists. In response, outside officials maintained that Iran requested Doha to interfere for “tactic goals,” including giving Houthis the chance to recoup and reorganize themselves, according to an article by the chairman of Yemen News Agency Nasser Taha Mustapha, published last Sunday in Emirate Gulf News.