An emergency meeting of interior ministers of the GCC’s members—Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman—took place in Jeddah on Wednesday, in order to discuss the situation in Yemen, which has seen the capital and the headquarters of most state institutions fall into the hands of Shi’ite rebels.
The shock development followed a month of protests by the movement, with thousands of supporters of the Houthis encamped at sites across Sana’a to demand the resignation of the government and the restoration of fuel subsidies, which were recently cut as part of an economic reform package.
The ministers warned they would not accept intervention by foreign powers in Yemen, a veiled reference to Iran, often accused by Yemeni authorities of backing the Shi’ite Houthis.
“The GCC states will not stand idly by in the face of factional foreign intervention as Yemen’s security and the security of the GCC states are one and the same,” the ministers said in a statement issued after the meeting.
The meeting emphasized “any threat to the security and safety of Yemen . . .is a threat to regional security and stability, and interests of the people,” calling for the restoration of state authority.
Amid mounting tensions and intermittent but deadly violence between protesters and the security forces, the Houthis and the central government signed a UN-brokered peace deal to end hostilities and form a more inclusive government on September 21.
Under the terms of the agreement, President Hadi appointed two new advisors, one of them from the ranks of Houthis and one from the ranks of the pro-secessionist movement Al-Hirak, and slashed fuel prices by 15 per cent.
Despite the peace deal, the Houthis have refused to leave the capital or hand over state buildings to the authorities. They have also reportedly looted several residences belonging to state officials allied with the Houthis’ political rivals.
On Wednesday, Shi’ite militants also stormed the headquarters of a woman-only charity in east Sana’a after besieging it for several days, charity staff told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Elsewhere, Yemen continued to struggle with attacks from terrorists linked to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has continued to conduct assassinations of state officials and suicide bombings despite US drone strikes and offensives by the Yemeni security forces.
In the latest attack, the son of a senior military officer was killed and three people were injured after a roadside bomb targeted their vehicle in Aden on Wednesday.