Skip to comments.Many killed in Yemen as Houthi separatists gain ground
Posted on 02/03/2014 8:53:54 AM PST by robowombat
Many killed in Yemen as Houthi separatists gain ground LKen Hanly Feb 2, 2014 -
Sanaa - After weeks of clashes that have left many dead and wounded, Houthi separatist rebels have managed to dislodge powerful tribes from areas of northern Yemen.
The Houthis have been advancing south from their strongholds in the mountains of northern Yemen. The move is probably related to the planned division of Yemen into a federation of states. The Houthis no doubt want as large an area as they can achieve and hope to have autonomy in areas they control.
One report claims that there have been at least 40 people killed in the last two days of fighting. The Houthi rebels have seized two villages Huth and Khamri, the latter being the seat of the rival Hashid tribe. According to reports the tribal chief Sheikh Hussein al-Ahmar ordered his fighters to retreat from the family farm after setting the buildings on fire. The battle lines have shifted back and forth but the latest advance by the Houthis is a severe blow to the Hashid tribe and the Ahmar clan that leads it.
Mohammed Abdel Salaam, a representative of the Houthis, said the rebels seized complete control of a contested area in Amran province In recent days, including the two villages, Houth and Khamra. A government brokered cease fire failed to hold. The Hashid are trying to obtain reinforcements from Salafists in other areas.
This article puts the casualties at 60 killed on fighting on Friday alone. Some suggest that the defeat may be related to a dispute within the tribe. The former president Ali Saleh also belongs to the Hashid tribe. Ahmar had sided with the protesters against Saleh. Saleh may have encouraged some of the tribe to side with the Houthis.
The Houthis have also been in combat with ultra-conservative Salafists who established religious schools in some areas of the north. The Houthi complain the schools are being populated by foreign extremists. The government has mediated a truce in some areas but the truces often break down.
Yemeni president Hadi has pledged to adopt a federal system in Yemen but the thorny issues of how many divisions there will be is yet to be decided. Many in the southern movement want complete independence for the south. Hadi also faces conflict with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and other militants who are waging a guerrilla war against the government. Added to this he has a separatist movement in the south. Finally, the government is often at odds with powerful tribes in areas where there are oil pipelines. Often the tribes use sabotage by bombing pipelines as a means of forcing the government to offer better terms to them.
News from another middle east hellhole.
Get the popcorn!
The Saudis (Sunnis) will have to worry this doesn't start strife within Saudi Arabia with their Shia population.-tom
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