Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Huthis | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Wise politicians say that not taking a position on an issue is a position in itself. I believe this applies to the position taken by the Yemeni Congregation for Reform [YCR] on the Huthi crisis in Saada. The YCR is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Yemen, and the party’s position on the Huthi crisis is vague and unclear, its policy is dominated by partisan interests, and it is being governed by selfish political considerations.

I browsed the YCR website, skimmed through their articles, and read interviews with their leaders searching for a position that would reduce the danger that Yemen is currently facing from the Huthi rebellion, but I found nothing more than ambiguous decorative phrases, and attempts to twist the Yemeni regime’s arm [in order to make political gains]. During such hard times, it is not appropriate to make demands or increase the blame to the regime, regardless of its mistakes and violations. The country is in the middle of a storm, and now is not the time for political posturing.

A rare experience took place in Yemen with regards to two Islamic sects, the Sunni Shafi’i sect, and the Shiite Zaidi sect, with both sects successfully coexisting with one another. Followers of these two sects used the same mosques and schools, and even married members of the other sect, to the point that an outside observer might think that there was only one Islamic sect in Yemen. To be fair, the YCR has contributed to eliminating the differences and bringing the Yemeni people together in a wonderful example of Islamic unity.

However Iran did not like this successful example of unity, and therefore began to spread its ideology in Yemen by igniting sectarian strife in the country and provoking sectarian conflict by way of its Huthi agents. Iran is aware that the common ground between the Zaidi sect and the Twelver Shiite sect [of Iran] which aids in the spreading of Iran’s sectarian ideology which previously hardly existed in Yemen. One of the goals of Iran’s current support for the Huthi insurgency in Yemen is to undermine the ruling regime in Yemen, which is one of the primary supporters of sectarian coexistence between the Shafi’i and Zaidi sects, as well as to destabilize the sectarian peace which exists in Yemen’s neighboring countries.

Therefore preserving Yemen’s wonderful achievements of national and religious unity in the face of external Iranian ambitions should be a national requirement for all political parties in Yemen. The Muslim Brotherhood affiliated YCR should have been more clear and explicit in denouncing the Huthi insurgency. As for the party’s political posturing and partisan demands, it is natural that these should be postponed until after the storm has passed. Everybody is aware of the political weight that the YCR carries in the Yemeni political arena, as well as the party’s popularity, therefore there is hope that the YCR leaders may be able to thwart the Huthi insurgency, especially as people remember their considerable contribution to consolidating Yemeni unity. The YCR also fought side-by-side with the Yemeni army against the remnants of the Communist [regime].

Therefore it is unbecoming for the YCR to adopt the unclear and ambiguous position of the Muslim Brotherhood with regards to the Huthi insurgents and their sponsors Iran. The Muslim Brotherhood’s position on Iran is vague and unclear, and this can be seen in their position on the Iranian influence in Iraq, and even in their position on Iran’s shiitization of Egypt. Even the statements made by Dr. [Yusuf] al-Qaradawi which warn against the threat of Iran’s influence in Egypt were not supported by the Muslim Brotherhood leaders there.

The Muslim Brotherhood – which supported Hezbollah in their resistance of Israel 0 did not criticize the Lebanese movement when it invaded Beirut. The same thing applies to the Muslim Brotherhood’s vague and ambiguous position on Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. In short, the Muslim Brotherhood’s foreign policy in Yemen, and elsewhere, requires comprehensive and sincere revision.