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Yemen – Abdel-Malek Al Houthi is not giving in to political pressure

THE LEVANT – By Catherine Shakdam – Although state officials announced on Saturday that Abdel-Malek Al Houthi, the very charismatic leader of the Houthis – a formerly dissident group based in the northern province of Sa’ada, which entered mainstream politics back in 2011 – had finally agreed to a truce with Sana’a in regards to his calls for a government change and the reinstating of oil subsidies, it looks as if such cries of victory were premature.

Thousands of pro-Houthis and other anti-government protesters have come to join what has been dubbed the Houthis Uprising, all determined to make a stand against what they perceived are political manipulations and foreign wrangling.

Despite reports that Houthis militants seek only to promote their interests by anchoring their movement on popular anger and frustration; it appears more evident as time passes in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a that the Houthis actually speak for the masses.

If the Houthi movement was born out of necessity to fight state oppression and sectarian-based repression in 2004, Ansar Allah as the group has rebranded itself, has managed to translate their thirst for social-justice and equality into a political message which the majority of Yemenis can relate to and agree on.

With thousands of tents erected in the northern district of Hasaba, right at the heart of Al Ahmar’s dominion in Sana’a, the Houthis and their allies are not as reported by media encircling state buildings but rather organizing the siege of Al Islah.

Al Ahmar, which is Yemen’s most prominent tribal family and main backer of Al Islah – which accounts within its ranks members of the now infamous Muslim Brotherhood –has been the focus of Al Houthi’s anger.

Abdel-Malek Al Houthi was actually quite open in his opposition offal Islah and Al Ahmar in particular. He clearly enounced that his goal is to rid Yemen of its Islamic radicals, beginning with their political arm – Al Islah and their tribal backers Al Ahmar brothers.

Earlier last week, Al Houthi reiterated that his fight was not with President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi but with Al Islah. This has actually manifested in the manner the Houthis encroached themselves in Hasaba when they could have chosen to demonstrate and set up camp before the presidential palace.

Just as the Houthis managed in northern Amran to oust Al Ahmar tribesmen and reclaim one of province main military bases, thus handing President Hadi ownership of a strategic position, the Houthis seek now to cleanse Sana’a of all Islahi remnants.

This new uprising is not just about political change it is about the redefinition of Yemen’s power play and political narrative.

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