Al Jazeera: Special Report on the al-Huthi group in Yemen

http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/29DFC95B-1B57-4533-840C-EBEB265E98B1.htm

Badr al-Din al-Huthi, spiritual father of the group.

A Shia’ insurgent group in the province of Sa’da in northern Yemen, it traces it’s origins to Badr al-Din al-Huthi, and is known as al-Huthis, the Huthi group, or al-Shabab al-Mu’amin (The Faithful Youth).

The founding: Despite the actual appearance of the group in 2004 due to the breakout of its first battles with the Yemeni government, some sources trace its actual roots back to the ’80’s of last century.

In 1986, Itihad al-Shabab (Union of the Youth) was formed in order to educate youth of the al-Zaydiyya sect under control of Salah Ahmad Falita, and Majid al-Din al-Mu’idi and Badr al-Din al-Huthi were amongst its teachers.

As a result of the Yemeni unification that occurred in May of 1990, and the opening of the public square to numerous parties, the Union (of the Youth) transformed from educational activities to political planning via the Hazb al-Haq (Law Party) that represented the al-Zaydiyya sect.

al-Shabab al-Mu’amin Assembly: The (al-Shabab al-Mu’amin Assembly) was founded during 1992 by Muhammad Badr al-Din al-Huthi and some of his comrades as a forum for cultural activities, before undergoing dissension and discord (amongst the members).

In 1997, under the leadership of Husayn Badr al-Din al-Huthi, the assembly transformed from cultural publications to a political movement carrying the name Tundhim al-Shabab al-Mu’amin (The Organization of the Faithful Youth). By this point, Falita and al-Mu’idi had left the the organization and accused it of violating the al-Zaydiyya discipline.

By 2002, the organization had taken the slogan, “God is Great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curses on the Zionists, Victory for Islam,” that they recited after every prayer.

Some sources indicate that the authorities’ ban on reciting the slogan was one of the most important reasons for the initial breakout of clashes between the group and the Yemeni government.

Leadership of the Group: During the first clashes with the Yemeni forces in 2004, Husayn al-Huthi, who had served as a representative in the Yemeni parliament after (wins) in the 1993 and 1997 elections, took charge of the leadership of the movement before being killed in the same year. Afterwards, his son, Shaykh Badr al-Din al-Huthi, took over command of the movement.

Soon thereafter, leadership of the movement was taken over by ‘Abd-al-Malik al-Huthi, son of Badr al-Din al-Huthi, while (‘Abd-al-Malik)’s other brother sought political asylum in Germany.

Ideological Leaning: Some sources describe the movement as of the Shi’a Ithna al-‘Ashariyya (Twelvers) branch, however, the al-Huthis deny this and assure that they haven’t turned away from al-Zaydiyya branch (of Shi’a Islam) despite their decision to join with the Ithna al-‘Ashariyya branch in some of their methods of celebrating Eid al-Ghadeer and the remembrance of ‘Ashura.

The Movement’s Goals: The al-Huthi group sees the current situation they live in as poisoned by restricted freedoms, the threat to religious doctrine, and the marginalization of the al-Zaydiyya branch’s scholars.

It seeks official approval for the party to issue civil and political publications, as well as founding a school accredited in all the various fields of knowledge, that includes the right of followers of the al-Zaydiyya branch to study the branch in (Islamic) law colleges.

However, Yemeni authorities emphasize that the al-Huthis seek to form a religious court and return (the country) to an al-Zaydiyya emirate.

Clashes with the Government: The al-Huthi group has rushed into a number of clashes with the Yemeni government since the crisis broke out in 2004.

The first wave of clashes broke out on 19 June 2004, and ended with the killing of the insurgency’s leader, Husayn Badr al-Din al-Huthi on 8 September 2004, according to an announcement by the Yemeni government.

Likewise, the second wave of clashes erupted on 19 March 2005 under the leadership of Badr al-Din al-Huthi (Husayn al-Huthi’s son), and lasted for around three weeks after Yemeni forces intervened.

At the end of 2005, renewed clashes broke out again between the al-Huthi group and the Yemeni government.

Note: For some basic information regarding the two Shi’a branches mentioned in this article, the Ithna al-‘Ashariyya and al-Zaydiyya, follow these links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelvers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaidiyyah

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Al Jazeera: News Summary, 27 Jan 2010


(Intro Music)

(00:11) Hello.

(00:13) The international meeting to determine how to best support Yemen and stabilize the country started today in London. The American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, arrived in London today to participate in the meeting that is being attended by 24 countries.

(00:32) In other news, the Washington Post newspaper quoted American officials who said that American teams were working in secret operations with the Yemeni Army against the al-Qa’ida organization. The officials clarified that American advisors helped plan an operation against al-Qa’ida in December of last year.

(00:51) The United Nation’s sections committee announced today that the names of five previous members of the Taliban were scratched off a list of those described as involved with terrorism. Diplomats believe that this step paves the way for the conference in London on Afghan affairs that will be held tomorrow.

(01:10) The official (1m) in Sri Lanka announced that the current President Mahinda Rajapaksa won a second (presidential) term. The (Sri Lankan) army surrounded the headquarters of the opposition leader for the second time. (The opposition leader) requested the protection of one of the neighboring countries.

(01:25) The spokesperson for the South Korean Ministry of Unity spoke about the country’s stance in the face of Pyongyang’s decision to implement a “no-sail” zone in a contested area between the two countries, saying that it was “still under review.” Pyongyang and Seoul had exchanged fire the previous day in the contested area.

(01:46) An official in the Lebanese army said that they will expand the search area for the remains of the wrecked Ethiopian airline if the black box is not found today. The official said that improving weather conditions will help further facilitate the (search) teams’ mission.

(02:04) Until next time…

(Exit Music)

Al Jazeera: News Summary, 26 January 2010

(Intro Music)

(00:11) Hello, and welcome to this news summary.

(00:13) Iraqi Police said that at least 17 people were killed and another 80 injured in a car bomb explosion in front of the Criminal Forensics building belonging to the Ministry of Interior in downtown Baghdad. They added that most of the victims were members of the Police.

(00:31) The office of ‘Abd-al-Malik al-Huthi reported that his group completed its withdrawal from Saudi Arabian lands, while the spokesmen for Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense has already said that the al-Huthis had already been pushed back by (the Saudis) from the land that they had taken.

(00:47) Lebanese authorities (announced) that hopes had diminished of finding passengers that survived the crash of an Ethiopian plane shortly after takeoff from the Beirut airport two days ago. Officials from the Civil Defense (force) indicated that the efforts are now focused on finding the bodies of the passengers as well as the black box recorder.

(01:08) The summit for countries neighboring Afghanistan began its activities today in the city of Istanbul, Turkey, with the participation by the Presidents of Turkey, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The summit is dealing with how best the summit’s participants can provide solutions to Afghanistan’s problems, as well as building bridges of cooperation between its neighboring countries.

(01:28) A French Parliamentary Committee called for a ban on the Niqab (Islamic head covering) in transportation offices and areas, nationwide. The committee’s report states that the Niqab displays a rebellion against the republic and freedom. The French Minister of Justice warned against a ban on the Niqab, and (he said) that there was no way to enforce it.

(01:50) Thus ends the summary, until next time…

(Exit Music)

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Al Jazeera: al-Huthi announces an initiative to end fighting

http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/F058CFDD-1850-49CC-BBFE-0FF840FFE911.htm

al-Huthis accuse Saudi Arabia's army of advancing into Yemen.

The leader of the al-Huthi group, ‘Abd-al-Malik Badr al-Din al-Huthi, announced a “withdrawal from all Saudi locations,” in a new initiative that he said was the third (try) to put out the crisis’ fuse as well as the clashes on the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

al-Huthi said in a voice recording released on one of the websites, “We announce our carrying out of a full withdrawal from all Saudi positions and from all land that is under control of the Saudi regime, and emphasize that our seizure of those locations was completely necessary in order to combat the enemies coming from there.”

Likewise, al-Huthi threatened to open what he called multiple new battlefields, and all out war, in the event that Saudi Arabia continues its operations and refuses the initiative.

On this point he said, “If after this initiative the Saudi regime continues its aggression it will find that it has commenced an invasion into our lands, and this will give us the right to open multiple new battlefields and launch an all out war. This is what will happen if it’s aggressions continue after this initiative.”

al-Huthi (also noted) that he believes that the civilians have suffered the most in this war, and he accused the Saudi Forces of what he calls indiscriminate bombing of the cities and villages, and all aspects of civilized life.

He also said that the initiative comes about to spare the blood of Saudis and Yemenis, and indicated that the al-Huthi’s operations didn’t target Saudi soil, and in that context he (described) what he called attempts to distance Yemenis from the border and form a buffer area.

Likewise, he believes that there is no justification for Saudi Arabia in this war, and described his initiative as a valuable opportunity, “That should be appreciated by all reasonable people in the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia),” as he put it.

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Al Jazeera: News Summary, 25 January 2010

(Intro Music)

(00:11) Hello.

(00:13) The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines said that he hasn’t heard any news yet about survivors from the crash of one of its passenger airplanes early yesterday morning after its takeoff from Beirut airport. There were 90 passengers on board. Rescue teams have so far recovered 30 bodies and numerous (1m) from the airplane’s wreckage. 54 Lebanese were among the passengers, along with 22 Ethiopians and the wife of the French Ambassador in Beirut.

(00:44) The Lebanese President, Michel Sulayman, has already held a meeting at the Ministry of Defense to look into the circumstances surrounding the airplane crash and ruled out any sort of act of sabotage. Likewise the Lebanese Minister of Defense, Elias Murr, confirmed that American planes would participate in the rescue operations, with permission from the Lebanese (Government).

(01:03) The American General, Stanley McCrystal, Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, said that he hopes that the increase in the number of American troops in Afghanistan will lead to the weakening of the Taliban to the point that it will sign a peace treaty and end the war.

(01:25) Five soldiers were injured in an attack on a military checkpoint in the province of al-Dhaliya’ in Yemen, which the authorities said was launched by armed fighters from the “Harak al-Janubi” (Southern Movement) Elsewhere, 3 students were injured, one seriously, in an outbreak of gunfire by the Southern Movement’s forces which it said was accidental and unintentional, whereas the authorities said that it was the result of the Southern Movement’s attempts to force students to participate in the insurrection that the Southern Movement has called for.

(01:55) Preparations continue in Sri Lanka for tomorrow’s Presidential election, and ballot boxes began to be distributed to voting centers country-wide. The current President, Makinda Rajapaksa, and the former commander of the Army, Sarath Fonseka, are among the most prominent of the candidates in this election.

(02:17) Until next time…

(Exit Music)

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Dar al-Hayat: 3 Yemeni Soldiers killed in Shabwa by bullets from armed fighters of al-Qa’ida

http://international.daralhayat.com/internationalarticle/101000

Sana’ – Faysal Mukaram

At least three soldiers were killed and two others belonging to the Central Yemeni security forces were injured in the province of Shabwa (In the eastern part of the country), by armed fighters believed to be members of the “al-Qa’ida” organization in Yemen. In the early hours of yesterday morning, they attacked one of the military positions in the ‘Amashiya area of the ‘Atuq district (Around 600 kilometers from Sana’), and then ran away.

Local sources said that the attack might have been a response to security operations that have lately targeted “al-Qa’ida” in Shabwa and a number of provinces, and the authorities continue their pursuit of the organization’s members.

In the southern province of Lahaj witnesses confirmed to “al-Hayat” that tens of armed fighters belonging to “al-Harak al-Janubi” looted businesses, lit them on fire, and cut off the main highway connecting the province with the capital, Sana’, and the neighboring province of ‘Adin. (These acts) forced businessmen, particularly those who have come down from the northern provinces, to close their shops down and flee the province.

The neighboring province of al-Dhalia’ witnessed clashes between demonstrators belonging to “al-Harak al-Janubi” and police (forces) which arrested tens of the (demonstrators) after they blocked off the main highway leading to Sana’ and raised flags opposing (national) unity. At the same time, armed fighters in the demonstration seized three members of (Yemen’s) security forces, who they later released after (the three captured soldiers) confirmed that they were from the southern provinces.

On another front, in regards to the battle in Sa’da’, witnesses indicated that violent fighting has been going on since dawn of yesterday between the Army’s forces, supported by volunteers from tribes (al-Jaysh al-Sha’bi), and al-Huthi insurgents, especially in the entrances to the old district.

In the latest news, local sources indicated that the army has possibly wiped out a number of the positions that had been in the hands of the al-Huthis, due to the damage to their positions along the Buni Sufyan area and the foiling of their attempts to infiltrate near the Tibba al-Burka (area.)

Note: The “Harak al-Janubi”, or “Southern Movement” is a secessionist movement in Southern Yemen that is distinctly separate from the al-Huthi rebellion in the north and al-Qa’ida’s country-wide presence. For more information, follow these links:
http://www.isim.nl/files/review_22/review_22-50.pdf
http://www.criticalthreats.org/yemen/yemens-southern-challenge-background-rising-threat-secessionism

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Al Jazeera: 10 al-Huthis killed at the hands of tribes

http://aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/C828386A-D220-4CF7-A58A-648032067DDB.htm

Fighters from tribes loyal to the Yemeni government

The Yemeni Ministry of Interior said that fighters belonging to tribes loyal to the Yemeni government killed ten al-Huthis in one of the clashes in the al-Jawf area of northern Yemen.

The source added that men from the Shawlan tribe killed the ten al-Huthis when they tried to take up positions in some of the residences in one of the northern towns.

It should be noted that some sources recently reported that the Yemeni Army has closed in on the last al-Huthi sanctuaries (in the area), some of which faced heavy aerial bombardment by the Saudi Air Force.

Prince Khalid Bin Sultan, Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense, already confirmed in the past few days that his country’s forces killed hundreds of the al-Huthi group’s armed fighters in clashes which afterwards enabled Saudi forces to take control of an important position in the al-Jabri region near Saudi Arabia’s borders with Yemen.

Calls for talks

Once again, Iran and the Sultanate of Oman have called for the Yemeni authorities to begin holding talks to put an end to the conflict with the al-Huthi insurgents in the northern parts of the country.

After discussions with his Omani counterpart, Yusif Bin ‘Alawi, the Iranian Foreign Minister Minushar Muttaki said, “We emphasized the need to build a solution to end the crisis, because if it continues it won’t bring about a lack of stability for Yemen alone, but will affect the entire region.”

Likewise, the Omani Minister emphasized that his country was ready to support the Yemeni government in and way possible in the interest of finding a solution to calm security fears in (Yemen).

Yemen had accused the Iranian religious leaders of supporting the al-Huthis, and whereas Iranian media outlets had attacked The King of Saudi Arabia for entering the war against the al-Huthi last November.

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