A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Update on the Houthi War: Including Pics from the Houthi Side

Of the many things I've left unattended during the Annual Conference and Veteran's Day, there's that war on the Yemen border. I can't recap all the claims but I can give you a links dump and let you sort it out yourselves. The Saudis have continued to bomb and pressure the Houthi rebels in Yemen. They've said the Houthi infiltration was pre-planned. And an alleged ex-Houthi has claimed that the Houthis want to create a Shi‘ite state that not only includes northern parts of Yemen but adjacent parts of Saudi Arabia. While Yemen is also accusing various Saudi, Bahraini, and Kuwaiti "groups" or "quarters" — not those governments — of supporting the Houthis:
Bahrain: Yemen's ambassador to Kuwait Khalid Rajeh has reiterated charges that Kuwaiti religious groups were supporting the Al Houthi rebels in Yemen.

"The Kuwaiti groups have been supporting the rebels financially and through the media. However, the Kuwaiti political entity has nothing to do with this support," the ambassador was quoted as saying by Al Watan daily.

Al Rajeh said that groups and individuals in Iranian religious schools have also been extending support to the Houthis.

The Yemeni ambassador's statement came days after his foreign minister Abu Baker Al Kerbi said that the Zaydi rebels, also known as Houthis, were getting support from Kuwaiti, Saudi and Bahraini quarters, without naming them.

Okay, the word no one is quite saying, is "Shi‘ite." They're implicating Saudi, Kuwaiti, and Bahraini Shi‘ites — Iran has long since been demonized — and this may not augur well for those communities.

As far as I can tell, officially the Saudis are still insisting they are only pushing the Houthis who crossed the Saudi border back into Yemen, though the Houthis have claimed all along that the Saudis are fighting inside Yemen. Prince Khalid bin Sultan, effectively the head of the Saudi Armed Forces, was quoted as saying Saudi Arabia planned to push the Houthis tens of kilometers inside Yemen before ceasing their offensive, and it's hard to see how you do that unless Saudi forces go across the border.

From the Houthi Side

Up to now, this has been a war seen from Saudi and Yemeni government viewpoints. The Houthis are not, however, unheard from. For those with Arabic, this major website seems to be a go-to place for Houthi propaganda, pictures, videos etc. (I admit that when I noticed that a website whose Arabic name is Al-Minbar [the pulpit] has a Romanized address of Almenpar.net, one thing occurred to me: "Menpar" suggests some language with a "p" in it, which Arabic doesn't generally have (outside some Iraq dialects) but which would come naturally to a Persian speaker. If the Saudis and Yemenis aren't already citing this as suspicious evidence of Iranian involvement . . . but then, it doesn't necessarily prove anything.)

And there's a YouTube channel called sadahnow, which includes the video of the alleged Saudi POW of the Houthis:

Yet another YouTube channel called sadahonline1 has this video of alleged Saudi military equipment captured or destroyed:

or this at sadahonline:

And there's a lot more out there, including videos of downed Yemen Air Force aircraft, etc.

The world's media is a bit absent and YouTube videos can mean anything (Anyone can paint Saudi insignia on a vehicle), but it's interesting to see what's being claimed.

No comments: