THE LEVANT – Officials at the presidential palace confirmed to The Levant on Thursday that President Abbo Rabbo Mansour Hadi issued a series of order to the Defence Ministry demanding that all troops be mobilized and ready for deployment.
From the coast guard, to all reservists, Yemen’s soldiers have been recalled to their respective base, ahead of what is believed could be an all-out war against the Houthis.
At the time of publishing hundreds of thousands of pro-Houthis militants are marching in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, carrying images of their leader, Abdel-Malek Al Houthi, in direction of 70 Street where President Hadi’s residence is located.
This mass demonstration is taking place a day before Abdel-Malek Al Houthi’s ultimatum to President Hadi is due to expire.
Earlier this week, Abdel-Malek Al Houthi, the powerful leader of the Houthis (Zaidi faction originally based in the northern province of Sa’ada) warned that since the coalition government had failed the people of Yemen, the cabinet should be dissolved and new ministers appointed.
Al Houthi, which is important to note has been widely seen in Yemen as the only real independent political figure, a modern-time Che Guevara to many as he has called for a complete break from all foreign meddling and the assertion of Yemen’ sovereignty, has often accused Yemen’s Cabinet to be run by Al Islah – Yemen’ Sunni radical faction – a party which he believes harbours ties with Al Qaeda.
Al Islah accounts within its ranks controversial personalities such as Sheikh Abdel-Malek Al Zindani, a cleric which has figure on America’s most wanted terror list since 2004. He is also the head of Yemen Muslim Brotherhood.
With the military in full-combat gear and tensions running high in the streets of the capital as more Houthi militants continue to flood the streets of Sana’a, residents have said to be extremely wary.
While no one in Yemen wishes to see yet more blood spilled, many have said to be supportive of Abdel-Malek Al Houthi. “It is time for Yemenis to wake up and reclaim what is rightfully theirs. Enough with Al Islah and its rapacious hordes of thieves, enough with the US and the GCC … We need a leader who will stand for the Yemeni people and for Yemen. We need a man with Al Houthi’s charisma! I’m not Zaidi but I’m Yemeni and I love my country. God bless the Houthis” said Mohammed Al Kadhi to The Levant from Sana’a.
In northern Yemen, residents have confirmed that large car convoys ferrying armed tribesmen affiliated to the Houthis have been seen travelling towards the Yemeni capital in their hundreds ahead of Friday demonstration call.
A man in Amran says he expect Friday to be a day Sana’a will remember as it will mark the rise of the Houthis.
In Aden, the southern seaport of Yemen where the Houthis have a growing number of followers, young men said they are as well getting ready to join the Houthi movement in Sana’a. Ali a young military recruit told The Levant that his friends have already travelled to Sana’a ahead of Friday demonstration. He explained that should he be asked to fight the Houthis he would defect and pledge his loyalty to Abdel-Malek Al Houthi.
Regardless of how many might feel about Al Houthi, it has become pretty clear from speaking to Yemenis that he has become a mobilizing figure.