Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi on Sunday accused the Shi’ite Houthi movement, former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Iran of conspiring to destabilize Yemen.
Informed sources said the comments came following meetings Hadi held on Sunday with a delegation representing tribes from different areas in the country.
During the meeting Hadi accused former president Saleh of coordinating with the Houthis—whom he referred to as “putschists”—and with main backer Tehran, as part of joint efforts by the three to derail the political transition in the country and pave the way for the Houthi takeover.
The movement has been in de facto control of Yemen since it announced a “constitutional declaration” in January giving it a mandate to form a new government and an interim presidential council to oversee the country’s affairs during the coming period.
This followed months of instability in Yemen which started in September of 2014 when thousands of Houthis thronged the streets of the capital Sana’a in a month-long series of mass protests and sit-ins.
Armed members of the movement then spread throughout the capital amid a marked security vacuum and little to no resistance from army and police, taking over government and military buildings and installations, which put the Houthis in effective control of the capital.
Many in Yemen and elsewhere believe the movement is being backed by Shi’ite Iran, which is looking to assert its control over the Sunni-dominated Arabian Peninsula.
Some also claim former president Saleh has been involved in the recent instability, and is responsible, through loyal and high-ranking contacts within the police and army establishments, for the lack of security in the capital which enabled the Houthi takeover.
Saleh’s own General People’s Congress (GPC) party meanwhile seems split over its stance toward the recent political changes in the country and Saleh’s alleged involvement in the events.
While the GPC put out a statement on Sunday saying it did not consider Hadi to be the president of Yemen, a faction within the party made up of members from southern regions of the country put out a rival statement decrying the first one released by the party and also expressing support for Hadi.
The statement also criticized the Houthi movement for surrounding Hadi’s residence on January 22 for several weeks, effectively putting him under house arrest and forcing his resignation.
Hadi subsequently emerged in the southern port city of Aden almost a month later on February 21, though reports still conflict as to how he managed to leave his surrounded residential compounded. Once in Aden, he immediately announced his rejection of the Houthi power-grab and withdrew his resignation.
Since then a number of countries including the Gulf states Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE have moved their embassies to Aden. On Sunday the UK and US followed suit, relocating their embassies to the southern city after more than a month since both Washington and London shut down their diplomatic missions in Sana’a following the Houthi takeover.
Hadi also met on Sunday with the US and Qatari ambassadors to Yemen.
Following his meeting with Hadi, US ambassador Matthew Tueller said Hadi remained “the legitimate president” of the country and was “the key person to ensure that Yemen moves forward on a peaceful and stable path,” according the AFP.