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Yemen: Houthi Leader Accuses Allies of Backstabbing | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Children carrying guns during an insurgency gathering in Sanaa, Yemen (AFP)

London – Houthi rebels’ leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi accused General People’s Congress, party of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, of backstabbing him and exerting “political extortion”, admitting to his group’s weaknesses.

In a 74 minutes televised speech, Houthi sent a message accusing his insurgency allies. Observers stated the alliance between Saleh and Houthi is now shaken and it is safe to say that the two are no longer as they were.

Houthi spoke after UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced that Hodeidah port will be placed under the control of a third party, which also was criticized by the leader.

Yemeni Ambassador to UK Yassin Said Nomaan stated that Houthi’s speech is clearly directed at his primary ally.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Nomaan described the speech as the “speech of the desperate who can’t see things clearly and is mainly complaining about things.”

During his speech, Houthi underscored the need for fighting corruption and implementing reforms in Yemen’s judiciary system to “hold back traitors.”

He added that the country is currently in a state where it is not right to extort the situation politically. He accused Saleh of using issues that were long used during internal wars and civil clashes, referring to the six wars between Houthi and Saleh.

Houthi, however, admitted to the mistakes of insurgency government institutions and corruption within the judiciary system. He stressed that corrupt officials must be held accountable even if they were Houthis, adding that if they were from within Saleh’s party it will not be acceptable for them to be covered by the party.

He stated that his members are no more than fourth of the insurgency government and declared that Houthis represent a 1 percent of civil servants.

Political analyst Najieeb Gallab considers that Houthi focused in his speech on four axis all of which include direct and indirect threats for Saleh – which reflects the bad state of Houthis on the battle fronts and in power.

Gallab stated that Houthi made it clear that he doubts Saleh’s policies in providing political initiatives and preparing for the 35th anniversary of the establishment of General People’s Congress.

He also directly accused the party of following policies that support the coalition.

In the second axis, in a defensive move, Houthi tried to pin the blame for corruption on his allies. He attempted to accuse Saleh’s party of the failure especially that people can no longer withstand Houthis’ control.

The political analyst believes that Houthi wanted to reestablish the idea that the struggle is primarily a military one and all activities of Saleh and other factions do not serve the purpose, stating that only Houthis are fighting while the rest are running media and political wars against Houthis.

He added that Houthi wanted to send a message that there are some parties serving the legitimacy and coalition’s purposes by pretending to be neutral or blaming Houthis for every problem.

The fourth point addressed in Houthi’s speech according to Gallab was the leader’s attempt to form a unified supporting bloc that can pressure Saleh’s Congress and portray Houthis as the only steadfast front against the legitimacy. Houthi also wanted to send a message that the peace promoted by Saleh’s bloc and other parties is a threat to Yemen and its interests.

Houthis didn’t just criticize their allies or the coalition, they also threw accusations over the UN Special Envoy.

In a statement following Houthi’s speech, spokesperson Mohammed Abdul Salam stated that blaming the UN, international community or the Special Envoy will not create peace. He also added that postponing and justifications will not end wars, but rather deepen the differences.

Political analyst Gallab believes that Houthi’s speech is an evident of the ongoing internal struggles between insurgency allies and that it will become political war. He added that Saleh is no longer capable of controlling objections piling within his Congress, while Houthi is aware that public discontent with them has become a pressure point against them.

Hence, according to Gallab, Houthis is trying to defend his position and blame others for this decline of situation inside Yemen. He explained that Yemeni people are aware that Houthis mean prolonged war and cause corruption.

He concluded that Yemeni citizen knows that Houthis are the main obstacle before any political solutions for the crisis, which places Houthis in big trouble.