Sa’ada war seems endless, more web sites blocked [Archives:2007/1056/Front Page]

June 4 2007

Mohammed bin Sallam
SA'ADA, June 3 ) Tribal and media sources report that the human situation in most Sa'ada districts worsens daily, with a total absence of health, educational, water and electrical services. Guerrilla war tactics by Houthis have made all governorate districts unsafe and possible targets of their attacks.

The sources add that, following weeks of calmness, Yemeni army forces have renewed their offensives in the semi-destructed city of Dhahian in an effort to take it over; however, they faced fierce resistance from Houthis.

Moreover, army forces positioned in a camp east of Sa'ada city waged a violent attack on Dhahian, employing Katyusha missiles and heavy mortars during the past two days. They also attacked nearby Bani Mu'ath where many Houthi loyalists still are hiding.

Sources further reported that army mortars in Dal'an, located north of Al-Talh in Sahar district, attacked moving Houthi groups, including more than 20 armored vehicles in various areas.

They add that Yemeni army forces have been attempting to seize Al-Nadhir city for two weeks and now are positioned near Sha'arah. They also seek to occupy Azd Mountain and nearby mountains. The confrontations incurred large human losses, but the sources didn't give an exact number.

In an interview with Saudi Arabia's Okadh (or Okaz) newspaper, Prime Minister Ali Mujawar demanded Iran turn its official assurance regarding its stand with Yemeni unity and stability into reality, further criticizing several religious institutions in Qum for accommodating Houthi leaders and promoting their ideas via their media outlets in Tehran.

Mujawar also requested Libya to use funds provided to some Yemeni personalities for the sake of Yemen's development, as this will be in the interest of both countries.

He added that military operations in Sa'ada will end soon, hinting that such operations now have been suspended after President Ali Abdullah Saleh's announcement in order to save further bloodshed and give Houthis a chance to lay down their arms and surrender to authorities.

Sa'ada Governor Mutahar Rashad Al-Misri noted that government forces completely control Al-Saifi district after dispelling Houthis from it, adding that Houthis now are encompassed in small areas within that district, as well as many other areas, and have no other option but to surrender.

Several members of Parliament criticized the Yemeni government regarding various issues, including the Sa'ada war, restricting freedoms, price hikes, overlooking pensioners' demands and the absence of development projects in Ibb governorate.

They also criticized restrictions on freedom of opinion, alluding to the halting of Nass Press and Without Chains mobile news services, and demanded questioning the government about this step, which contradicts the Yemeni Constitution. Additionally, they denounced blocking and, as well as the London-based

Further, the MPs criticized the state's monopoly on television and radio, as well as preventing the private sector from establishing nonofficial channels, considering such a monopoly to be against the open market followed by the state in the economic field.

Sultan Al-Atwani, secretary-general of the Nasserite Unionist Party, demanded the government submit a report about the Sa'ada events on the grounds of the parliament's mandate to end the Sa'ada war, indicating that Parliament has no information about what's happening in Sa'ada.

Media sources report that European Union ambassadors have pledged to provide required military, medical and humanitarian aid to those displaced or injured in Sa'ada, assuring their stand with Yemeni government efforts aimed at strengthening security and stability in the governorate.

The sources add that Interior Minister Rashad Al-Alimi met with the European Union ambassadors to Yemen, informing them of the latest developments in the Houthi rebellion in Sa'ada, as well as the government's efforts to treat such sedition and avoid bloodshed.

The Yemeni armed forces-affiliated quoted Al-Alimi as saying, “Our political leadership, represented in President Saleh, has spared no effort to treat the issue via peaceful means; however, [Houthis] insist on implementing their destructive plan, which targets the country and its stability.”

He went on to say that the situation in Sa'ada is under control and the Yemeni armed forces are capable of settling the war in no time, but they are keen to preserve citizens' lives and bloodshed.

Yemeni or opposition member and former mediation committee member Abdullah Al-Hakimi, who now resides in Cairo, warned about the Sa'ada war's continuity, noting that it has become a national enigma threatening Yemen's present and future. He added that such a war will cause more and more human and military losses and that the country no longer is capable of bearing its consequences.

“When the regime doesn't know what Houthis want, as its leaders have declared, Houthis in return don't know what the regime wants from this war. The worst type of war is one whose fighters don't know what they want; it's a blind war where nothing is seen except mortar shells, destruction, killing and bloodshed,” Al-Hakimi declared.

As for Libya's involvement in the current Sa'ada crisis, Al-Hakimi clarified that “Libyan President Moammar Al-Qaddafi is working to establish Al-Beit (the Prophet Mohammed's descendants) International Association, a cultural and social project whose role has turned political. Libya's role has changed from being pro-government, which has affected the two countries' bilateral relations”.