No one can believe that what is happening in the Yemeni mountains of Saada in just a revolt by al Houthi loyalists. An insurgence may last for days or even weeks; what we are seeing is a real war that has lasted for over two years and has victimized hundreds, perhaps thousands, whether they are members of the Yemeni army or fighters taking refuge in the mountains.
The Yemeni government issues ambiguous reports about certain incidents; at times it says that it [the war] is tribal insurgence led by al Houthi’s group and on one other occasion, it was said that it was a war aiming to reinstate the Yemeni monarchy. There have been times when the fighting has been described as rebels led by Iranian-intelligence who are spreading the Shia doctrine and who state that it is prohibited that a non-Hashemite is appointed as ruler. Also, there have been claims that Libya plays a fundamental role through one of al Houthi’s sons who lives in Tripoli.
There are questions that need to be answered as those who are concerned about Yemen have the right to ask about the truth behind this ongoing war and the difficulty in ending it even though there is a central state in Sanaa and a large army with experience in combat, which receives a large amount of funding from the government. It is the peoples’ right to know the real aspects of that rebellion, the regional affiliations of the parties at war, the ideologies that they uphold and die for, the source of advanced weapons that they use and the source of funding that is helping them to continue fighting for such a long period.
Yemen is a country of important geographical and strategic location and it is in need of the presence of a strong central state today more than any other time to prevent the emergence of warlords and tribal and regional leaderships with ambitions that could set the wheel of social division into motion, which is the last thing that Yemen needs. This is not only a danger to Yemen but to the entire Gulf region.
The most dangerous possibility of the Saada war is for it to become even more ambiguous or that silence surrounds the real reasons behind the war and the whole issue is simplified just as the case was in Darfur and other places that become so complex that treatment becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible.
Those who fear for Yemen and its people have the right to know the full truth, however to say that the war boils down to tribal or “family insurgence” does not stand in consideration of the number of victims, the enormous financial cost or the long duration of the war.