Yemen – a short overview of the current crisis

Eight days ago the Huthis asked former Yemeni President Hadi for the fast implementation of new reforms. Even before that they demanded an end of corruption, more political power for themselves – since they felt underrepresented – and urged all Yemenis to fight al-Qaeda. Little came. That is why they told Hadi that they would take serious steps if their demands wouldn’t be met. This week they took over the capital Sana’a[1].

As a reaction officials in Aden closed the harbor and the airport on Wednesday of the Huthi takeover in Sana’a, but re-opened both again on Thursday[2]. Members of al-Hirak then started rising flags of what was South Yemen until the civil war in 1994.

It can even be seen on the airport of Aden.

Meanwhile members of al-Hirak are now in control of police stations in 3 Yemeni provinces. They also deployed fighters in the south, especially in Aden, to protect their territory against a possible Huthi attack[3].

A high-ranking Huthi member arrived in Aden yesterday to talk to al-Hirak and prevent the war from further spreading.

Although Iran is supporting the Huthis, they are not controlling them. The Huthis are, unlike Lebanese Hezbollah, an independent movement[4]. Yet there are reports that pilots from Iran arrived in Sana’a to fly Yemeni warplanes against tribes in Marib[5]. So far I couldn’t find any reports about warplanes being currently used in Yemen. The Sunni tribes in Marib are mobilizing and arming themselves to prevent an attack from the Huthis against their oil-rich province[6].

Recent reports suggest that the Huthis took control of the Air Force, further firing the reports about the Iranian pilots.

Saudi Arabia is in the game, too. It supports Sunni tribes to use force against the Huthis and is also encouraging the Southern Movement in Aden to break away from the north, which is currently controlled by the Huthis[7].

Meanwhile several regions in Yemen refuse to take orders from Sana’a until the government is working again[8]. The provinces of Ibb and Taiz even declared independence from Sana’a[9].

According to AFP tribal fighters from Marib and al-Jawf arrived in Sana’a to protect Defense Minister Mahmud Subaihi and the head of the intelligence, General Ali al-Ahmedi.  They receive support from tribes in Sana’a and will use force if the Huthis won’t stop their coup[10].

At the same time saw Sana’a the hugest anti-Huthi protests that have ever taken place[11]. The protestors demand the reinforcement of President Hadi and burned pictures of their leader Abd al-Malik al-Huthi, while at the same time telling al-Qaeda to leave Yemen. People in other parts of Yemen went to the streets, too: in Ibb, Taiz, Hodeida and Aden[12]. Hadi’s residence in Sana’a is currently controlled by the Huthis and it seems as he was put under house arrest[13]

But there are already reports that the Huthis started to shoot at the protestors.

At the same time supporters of the Huthis gather in Sana’a to support their movement.

Nobody knows what will happen in Yemen and whether the country will fall apart. The Huthis demand for more power in the government and say they won’t stop until they receive it. It is a fact that the Huthis and the rest of the Yemeni Shiites have been underrepresented. Yet nobody knows whether the Huthi really try to take control over the whole country[14]. The UN is trying to broker a deal between all parties in Yemen, yet many refuse to talk to the Huthis.

It needs to be seen whether the Huthis stop their coup or whether they continue. Other influential Yemeni parties are not going to stand still while the Huthis take over the country. They have made that clear and even started mobilizing. It doesn’t seem possible that the crisis can be solved only inside Yemen: especially Saudi Arabia and Iran play a powerful role, as well as does Yemen’s ex-president Saleh who is supporting the Huthis[15]. The US accuses him of trying to spread insecurity and turmoil in Yemen to launch a coup and bring his son Ahmed to power[16].

The Yemeni parliament wanted to gather for an urgent meeting today, but postponed it without naming reasons. Voices are not getting louder for the parliament to leave Sana’a in protest of the Huthi take-over and to meet in Aden. Even the first MPs demanded for such a step[17]. If the Huthis don’t engage in negotiations with other parties in Yemen and make credible commitments, Yemen is likely to fall apart.


















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