Houthis, Saleh Exchange Accusations, Threats to End Alliance

Houthis

Aden — Tension reemerged Thursday between the two partners of the coup in Yemen after Houthis and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s supporters exchanged accusations of obstructing a political agreement that united both sides.

Saleh, who heads the General People’s Congress (GPC), sent a letter to the so-called Ansar Allah, the political office of Houthis, accusing the rebels of launching campaigns against his leadership and party members.

In the letter sent by Aref Al-Zouka, Saleh said that some of his ministers in the unofficial rebel government, including the Minister of Education and the Minister of Awqaf and Guidance, had been “humiliated” by the Houthis, who “lack the will to maintain partnership.”

The former president enclosed to his letter a list of 44 members of the Houthi militia and its journalists who were attacking Saleh and the leaders of his party, threatening to quit the alliance.

The party considered those insults as “clear indications and conclusive evidence that you have no desire to carry on partnership. We would like to inform you that we do not want a sham partnership,” Al-Zouka said in his letter.

For his part, leader of the Houthi so-called Supreme Political Council, Saleh al-Samad responded to the letter by accusing figures close to Saleh of trying to “break internal unity” between the two allies.

Al-Samad added: “What partnership do you speak of when you are the ones obstructing the role of the political council and the government?”

The Houthi official said: “We, too, are not honored to remain in a sham responsibility incapable of fixing the simplest reforms.”

Yemeni political figures said the GPC letter expressed that relations with the Houthis reached a “very embarrassing level.”

Yassine al-Tamimi, a Yemeni political analyst, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Thursday that the letter was not related to the violations committed by the 44 Houthi officials listed in Saleh’s letter, but rather involves the failure of the two allies in managing the coup, which was never established based on good intentions.

“Houthi officials have directed several blows to the GPC camp with an aim to silence the party’s activists and journalists criticizing their policies,” al-Tamimi said.

Top Yemeni Official Escapes an Armed Ambush

Yemen

Aden – Yemeni Deputy Premier and Minister of Civil Service Abdulaziz Jubari and his accompanying delegation survived an armed ambush in Tur al-Bahah district of Lahij governorate on their way back from Taiz where they spent two weeks.

A few days ago, Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Dagher’s convoy was ambushed as well in the same area. Al-Sabiha tribes residing in the area denounced this act and apologized to the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, legitimate government consolidated its presence in several liberated and semi-liberated areas, especially in providing services, salaries and solving other issues.

Observers believed that these incidents may be linked to the insurgents who are trying to create chaos in the liberated districts.

Yemeni political observer Baleegh al-Mekhlafi told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that recent measures taken by the governmental envoy in Taiz had inconvenienced these forces and people of personal agendas and that is why there had been several attempts against Jubari.

In latest field developments, a number of Saleh and Houthi militants were killed during army military operations backed by the popular resistance in al-Baydaa district in the center of Yemen.

Tribal sources informed Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that intense clashes erupted between the army backed by the resistance and militias in az-Zahir district, following a failed infiltrating attempt.

Army commander, Sheikh Ali Taher stated that the military operations of the resistance resulted in the death and injury of several militants.

Taher explained to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the army and popular resistance are rearranging and reorganizing troops in areas within their control. He added that the areas witnessed several clashes between the army and the militias who are trying to advance and infiltrate into Al Hmyqan sites, however, they are met with fierce resistance.

Taher also stated that every now and then, Houthis raid on residential areas and civilians.

In Hajjah district, on border with Saudi Arabia, Saudi-led coalition intensified its air raids on militias sites and clusters in Harad.

Local residents told Asharq Al-Awsat that the coalition launched about 15 air raids over several areas in Bani Haddad, al-Mazrak, and center of Harad.

Sources reported that the national army thwarted militias infiltrations towards several areas in Midi city and forced the attackers to retreat after several militants were killed and injured.

Also, National Army forces raided on several militia clusters in al-Akda area of Usaylan district in Shabwah governorate, south Yemen.

Military sources reported that the raids came few hours after a fire exchange between both sides in al-Khaydar area.

Yemen’s Legitimacy Consolidates its Presence in Besieged Taiz

Taiz– Yemen’s legitimacy has continued to improve its services in Taiz despite the siege enforced by Houthi and Saleh militias.

In that regard, deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Civil Service Abdulaziz Jubari inaugurated the local automated passport issuance center in the district and monitored the issuance of the first passport after a nearly three-year shutdown.

“The re-inauguration of passport issuance is a significant step in the process of rendering state institutions in Taiz functional,” State news agency quoted Jubari as saying.

The Deputy PM stated that there has been a distinguished pace in re-normalizing life ever since the Central Bank’s branch, executive offices, schools and universities, and security and military apparatus premises have been re-opened.

Jubari believed that a larger number of services will help overcome all adversities and bring the situation back to normal in Taiz.

Furthermore, the minister allocated over 22 million Yemeni riyal to 55 amputees in Taiz.

Jubari also chaired a meeting with the local authority in Taiz to oversee the re-normalization of life and resolve the issue of the largely unpaid salaries of civil servants.

He also directed the renovation of the governorate’s main offices, and ordered work to be continued from temporary offices.

Jubari lauded the sacrifices of people of Taiz for “enduring the devastation of war and blockade,” adding they taught the militias valuable lessons that can’t be forgotten throughout history.

Meanwhile, Houthi and Saleh militias continued to target residential areas in Taiz, mainly its eastern neighborhoods.

Local activist Mokhtar Ahmed told Asharq Al-Awsat that militias are still committing crimes in Taiz amid an international silence. He stated that shelling on a residential area killed a man, and a woman who had already lost two of her children in previous Houthi attacks.

Ahmed also indicated that at least two civilians were killed by shelling on General Thawra Hospital.

In other news, Minister of Social Affairs Ibtihaj al-Kamal warned that the future of children in the militia-controlled areas is in great danger because the insurgents have disrupted their school life.

In a statement to Saba News Agency, Kamal said insurgents are the biggest violator of children’s rights in Yemen with the “suspension of education” in many schools, because of the militias’ failure to pay salaries to teachers, and their infusion of school textbooks with “a racist sectarian ideology.”

“The coup militias have worked to destroy 1,700 schools, deprive 2.5 million children of education and print 11,000 textbooks having a racist sectarian ideology,” she indicated, adding that about 9,000 children under the legal age were denied their education rights and were forced into battlefields.

The minister appealed to human rights organizations to force the radical militia to stop implicating children in their lost war and to comply with international laws concerning children’s rights. She called on the UN’s agencies to blacklist the militia as a violator of children’s rights.

Kamal pointed out that King Salman Center for Relief (KSrelief) is working on rehabilitating children formerly recruited as militia fighters to be integrated again into the society through a number of programs in Maerib and al-Jouf districts. 

Houthi Minister Accuses Saleh of Killing Politicians

A poster bearing the portrait of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and announcing the 35 year anniversary of the establishment of his General People's Congress party is seen on a Sanaa street on August 19, 2017.

Riyadh- A “Houthi” minister in the Sanaa coup government accused on Sunday former president Ali Abdullah Saleh of killing political leaders during his tenure.

Hassan Zaid, who holds the post of minister of Youth and Sports within the illegitimate Houthi government in Sanaa, wrote on his Facebook account on Sunday that “impertinence and cruelty that can reach the level of atrocity is embodied in the refusal of head of the General People’s Congress party to uncover the fate of the forced hidden Nasserite leaders.”

Zaid threatened the former president of opening the file of “illicit gains.”

The Houthi minister said he would not stop digging in the files of corruption and assassinations, the smuggling of weapons, in addition to giving up state lands.

In August, a war of words between the two previous allies, Houthi and Saleh’s supporters, exploded into a military confrontation when militants believed to be linked to Saleh’s Republican Guards fired at a Houthi military position in the Joulat al-Misbaha where the two groups exchanged fires in the presence of a high-security deployment.
Reports said the clashes erupted after Houthi fighters tried to set up a security checkpoint near the home of Saleh in Sana’a.

Last August, Zaid also confessed that, around two years ago, he had asked the head of the so-called Supreme Political Council, Saleh al-Samad, to assassinate President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi and place him under house arrest in the Yemeni capital.

He also revealed that Saleh was granting military ranks to Qaeda militants and accused the former president of using them to assassinate academics, military officials and security leaders.

“The former regime of Saleh was granting military grades and was hiring hundreds of guards to protect armed bandits and Qaeda members who were later tasked to kill patriots from the military, security and academic leadership,” he said.

Yemeni Forces Control Insurgents’ Military Sites in Mokha

Jeddah – Yemeni popular resistance, backed by the fourth military region and Arab coalition, controlled Hamli area, one of insurgents’ most important military sites near Makha on the western coast.

The popular resistance succeeded in liberating the area following heavy clashes with Houthi and Saleh militias.

Meanwhile, Yemeni army advanced on several major axes in Tuhama region including Baqem which brought the army closer to Dahyan directorate, major city towards Saada, the hometown of Houthis’ leader.

Hodeidah Undersecretary Walid al-Qadimi stated that over the past few hours, military forces loyal to the legitimacy, army, and popular resistance, succeeded in controlling and advancing towards several areas, most importantly al-Hamli.

Hamli is one of insurgents’ most important barrack where they hide different weapons and missiles and use the area to launch their attacks against the army.

The undersecretary explained that Hamli area used to be a residential area, but insurgents turned it into a military area.

Qadimi confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the army and popular resistance are advancing on major fronts especially Midi and Haradh. He added that the coalition air force targeted insurgents major sites in those areas.

He stated that during the army’s military operations, several insurgents were captured and will be put under investigation for further military details. Such information benefits the army in locating sites and weapons’ hidden by the insurgents all over Tuhama.

The undersecretary pointed out that the coalition forces are backing the army and popular resistance to restore legitimacy in the country. He reiterated that the efforts of coalition forces are very important and pivotal in restoring stability.

Qadimi said that insurgents had established new checkpoints especially on Nahm and Bani Hashish frontlines. He claimed that the checkpoints were to prevent their fighters from escaping the battlefield as the national army and resistance advance.

He added that those apprehended are either sent back to their stations or deported to other areas where he is sent to jail and later killed for treason.

Arab Coalition Fighters Target Coup Military Camps in Yemen

Taiz

Aden – The Yemeni National Army announced on Sunday the death of a Houthi commander in the Taiz province south of Sana’a.

The 35th Armored Battalion tweeted that “Houthi commander Major Hamid al-Mudai was shot dead by the 35 Armored Battalion in the Salu district southeast of Taiz.”

Arab coalition fighters targeted military reinforcements belonging to the Houthi militia on their way to the coastal front, while 18 Houthi and Saleh militants were killed and eight wounded in a raid by the Arab coalition fighters in al-Hamili front, west Taiz Governorate, according to a military source.

Two members of the militia were killed and others were injured in an attack by the National Army on coupist sites south of Taiz.

Meanwhile, a field commander in the ranks of Houthi-Saleh militia was killed on Saturday in an ambush carried out by the Popular Resistance fighters in al-Soma’ah district of al-Bayda province.

The Resistance confirmed that militia supervisor, Abu Abed, was killed in the attack in al-Hazimieh.

Abu Abed was appointed by militia rebels instead of Abu Serag, the previous supervisor, who was killed too in the same district.

In addition, the Yemeni army announced Sunday that it has achieved significant progress in its battles against Houthi and Saleh militias in Khabb and al-Sha’af district north of the Yemeni province of al-Jawf.

Following the ongoing clashes since last Friday, Commander of the Sixth Military Region Colonel Mohammed Saleh Rasia said that the army forces of the First Brigade border guards were able to clear the camp of Ghreemil and areas of Ajashr and Ramle north of the directorate.

Yemeni Government Solves Salary Issue in Taiz

A Houthi militant stands on a wall as he secures a gathering for women loyal to the Houthi movement in Sanaa, Yemen

Jeddah– The Yemeni government has succeeded in solving the problem of unpaid salaries of Taiz civil servants and the Ministry of Finance confirmed that the payrolls will be sent out on Wednesday.

Deputy Finance Minister Mansour al-Butani stated that the workers in the public sector in Taiz would receive their paychecks after all procedures had been executed.

Butani told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi ordered that workers be paid a month ago, but the delay was due to bureaucratic issues.

“President Hadi considered Taiz a liberated area and ordered the issuance of salaries after he signed the delivery of salaries a month ago. The problem was the lack of finances and that had been solved,” he added.

The deputy explained that a team had been assigned to issue sums of money from the National Bank estimated to be about $15.2 million. The acting manager of the National Bank signed the check and the staff was ordered to cash it out and deliver salaries to all employees in Taiz.

He added that employees at the education sector received about $12 million of all the amount and the remaining sums will be given to the executive offices including the radio station and al-Thawra newspaper.

The money was wired to al-Kuraimi Bank, and Butani said that now all employees can receive their salaries.

In other news, National Army troops announced that 12 Houthi insurgents and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdallah Saleh were killed during a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on the border of Baqem directorate, east of Saada governorate.

Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) reported SeptemberNet site saying that commander of al-Raboua area, believed to be an Iranian national, was killed during the raid.

Sources reported that commander of offensive operations, dubbed Abu al-Karrar al-Saadi, was chairing a meeting in the region when the air raid killed him as well as ten other militants.

Meanwhile, a military source in Alab axis stated that since early September, over 50 insurgents were killed while they were trying to infiltrate towards National Army posts in Sabhtal mountain and al-Khazan Hill, the Black Hills in Mandabah, al-Shaer mountain and Khashm al-Bakrah in Alab Axis north Saada.

Yemen Insurgents Continue to Recruit Children

Taiz– Yemen’s insurgency leaders have held a meeting with a number of elders loyal to former president Ali Abdallah Saleh to discuss the forcible recruitment of children following huge human losses within their ranks on the front lines, sources in Al-Mahwit governorate said.

The sources confirmed that the meeting discussed the recruitment mechanism in areas such as al-Taweelah, Bani Saad, and Shibam. Houthi supervisors were assigned to follow up the enlisting.

Meanwhile, insurgency militias continued to enforce taxes in Hawit and Amran which fall under their control. They have forced stores and merchants to pay sums of money for the alleged funding of the celebrations commemorating the insurgency coup on September 21.

Meanwhile, the popular resistance in Tuhama district continued to target Houthi and Saleh military bases, amid intensified clashes in several battlefronts in Taiz, Marib, Nahim, and al-Baydaa.

Coalition warplanes carried out raids on Houthi and Saleh militias, destroying three vehicles, five motorcycles and killing and injuring several of them, according to military sources.

The coalition also staged raids on Houthi targets in al-Jawf district, leading to deaths among the insurgents.

Army troops advanced in Marib and regained control over new mountainous areas following severe clashes in Heilan and al-Mashjah.

National army troops also succeeded in thwarting an insurgency attack in al-Tebbah al-Sawdaa of al-Qabitah district in Lahij governorate, a military source informed Asharq Al-Awsat.

In addition, militias continued to attack residential areas in Taiz, killing and injuring several civilians including women and children.

A military source in Taiz reiterated to Asharq al-Awsat that several residents were killed and a child was injured. He added that the western front of Taiz witnessed severe clashes, forcing the insurgents to flee.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) condemned the shelling on residential areas in Shab al-Doubba and Souk al-Samil in Taiz on Friday September 15, which left three children dead and nine others severely injuring.

ICRC’s Regional Director for the Near and Middle East Robert Mardini urged all warring sides to take every precaution to spare civilians.

“We cannot turn a blind eye on the rising number of civilians injured or killed as a result of indiscriminate attacks in Yemen’s conflict. Too often in recent months, civilians, women, men and children, have been in harm’s way, becoming victims of shells and bombs,” said Mardini.

The Regional Director added that what happened on Friday is yet another stark reminder of the immense suffering that civilians across Yemen are enduring in their daily lives.

Houthis Besiege Saleh’s Journalists

YEMEN-CONFLICT-HOUTHIS

London- Houthis have tightened the noose on journalists associated with former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh after besieging them to choose between speaking in support of a united rhetoric or keeping silent.

The latest Houthi threat came in light of the dispute that erupted last month between both parties.

Yemen’s Minister of Information Muammar al-Iryani told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday that “the general behavior of Houthis with journalists is marked by exclusion. The rebel groups do not miss a chance to silence any voice that does not respect their ideologies, even if their moves were at the expense of their partners in the coup.”

The minister said Houthis should release all prisoners, especially journalists.

Yemeni political analyst Najib Gholab explained that Houthis were currently expanding their threatening approach.

“They arrested some journalists and threatened others. Journalist Nabil al-Soufi who is close to Saleh, already announced that he will not speak about politics, and cynically said he will talk about cooking and fashion in order to avoid being arrested,” Gholab said.

He said that several social media activists considered the fact of submitting to the threats as not a right decision.

Yemeni political analyst Abdullah Ismail told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday that “Houthis have started early to target pro-Saleh journalists,” adding that those insurgents do not accept any kind of criticism.

“Several journalists were subject to distortion and threats,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Foreign Ministry denied Iranian claims that Saudi Arabia requested Iranian mediation with Houthis.

Director of Media Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Osama Ahmed Nugali, refuted the statements of Hossein Amir Abdollahian, senior advisor to the Iranian Parliament Speaker, carried by Iranian News Agency (IRNA) that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia requested Iranian mediation with Houthis in Yemen.

He further confirmed that these claims are outright baseless and unfounded.

Early this month, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said that Tehran’s propaganda of rapprochement with Riyadh is “ridiculous.”

Houthis not ‘Honored’ to be in Partnership with Saleh

Riyadh – In yet another escalation between insurgency allies, the political council of Houthi rebels has launched a scathing attack on the General People’s Council (GPC) led by former President Ali Abdallah Saleh.

The Houthi council said it was not honored to run the country’s affairs through a partnership with Saleh who is not fighting corruption.

Houthis have taken new restrictive steps against Saleh such as putting new conditions to keep the alliance with him, including not holding any events and approving their latest decisions namely in the judicial branch, Yemeni sources revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat.

The tension between the two insurgency partners comes amid warnings from Yemeni vice president Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar that Houthis will try to eliminate those who helped them control Sana’a, in a hint to Saleh and his party.

Ahmar said that the Houthi rebels, with whom Saleh had formed a coalition to govern the capital Sana’a, will look to eliminate him out after what seemed to be a breakdown in relations earlier this month.

Speaking at a meeting with local officials in Marib, north Yemen, Ahmar said that it was in the Houthis’ nature to back-stab those they are supposedly cooperating with.

He added that the Houthi insurgents would not be where they are if the country’s political life was organized.

Ahmar warned that while others are working for the interest of the country, Houthis use the opportunity to achieve their own goals.

Houthis did confirm in their statement that they still support by all means available their partnership with the GPC despite accusations and defamation.

However, in a direct accusation of corruption, the insurgents said the GPC was hindering reform. The statement mentioned that more than once, Ansarallah members called for Higher Political council meetings to discuss national issues, but they were obstructed.

On Wednesday, the Houthi leader discussed over the phone current issues with Saleh, in what was described by analysts as a step to contain tension between the two sides.

Analysts noticed that media outlets of both parties issued the statement, which could mean that the two leaders are trying to limit the problem following the recent fallout.