By: Elena White
May 7, 2012
Amid a new flare up in violence in the northern provinces of Yemen, al-Houthis, a group of Shia rebel the Yemeni government has fought for years as it accused it of advocating a return to the ancestral rule of the Imam, warned that Saudi Arabia had a plot to open a new front into Yemen’s Northern borders in a bid to attack the country’s Shiite population through its “hirelings and mercenaries”.
Saudi Arabia, which shares borders with the rebels’ areas, fought the Houthis in Sa’ada in 2009 after they seized Saudi territory.
The group which has used the breakdown in security to its advantage by seizing more territories, having now three provinces under its control- Hajjah, al-Jawf and Sa’ada- is embroiled in a sectarian conflict with Salafis, puritanical Sunnis who classify the Shia rebels as “heretics”.
In a statement released on Sunday by the group’s media office, al-Houthi underlined that the Saudi plot was aimed at an aggression of al-Hajjah province, distancing the Yemeni people from their revolution and stirring sectarian strife in the country.
“We emphasize that these aggressive measures aim to set fire on al-Hajjah province and distance the Yemeni nation from their revolution, especially because of their opposition to foreign and regional intervention in Yemen, including the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) initiative,” said the statement, adding, “Another goal pursued by this measure (the plot for aggression) is nurturing sectarian conflicts in Yemen.”
He said that Saudi Arabia’s attempts to spark a civil war in Yemen through using the political and economic conditions of the country is an “immoral and irreligious act that contradicts the interests of both the Saudi and Yemeni nations”.
Al-Houthi blamed Saudi Arabia for all calamities and backwardness of Yemen, saying, “We remind the Yemen nation that the Saudi regime’s financial backup for civil wars and its moves for sparking sectarian strife in recent decades are the main reason for all calamities of this nation and these measures have deterred Yemen from progress and prosperity the same way that it [Saudi Arabia] is confronting the Yemeni nation’s revolution in a bid to prevent them from achieving freedom and justice,” the statement said.
Earlier this year, al-Houthi leader claimed he wanted to set up his own political faction as to participate in Yemen’s political life and have his ideas duly represented. The move was actually welcomed by the government as it understood the move as a form of peace offering, moving the arguments away from the battlefields and onto the political arena.