Yemeni diplomatic and military sources revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that there has been a sharp rise in internal disputes amongst Houthi militia about the political consultations that are taking place in Kuwait. This comes at a time when the militias continue to carry out operations and commit violations, according to international and regional human rights organisations.
The Houthi division is attributed to the political regression at the Kuwait consultations, especially after the United Nations announced a road map for a solution. Some Houthi leaders have welcomed the solution that the UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced whilst other leaders rejected the UN plan. The difference in opinion shows the extent of Houthi confusion.
A diplomatic Yemeni source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the group’s leader Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi no longer has control over the group or its leaders and this is what is preventing rebel negotiators from accepting the UN solution announced by Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. The solution includes the enforcement of security arrangements stipulated by the UN Security Council resolution 2216 and the formation of a national unity government that works on securing political services and reviving the Yemeni economy.
Government sources talked about the change in the tone of Houthi negotiations and its transformation during the course of the consultations. This can be seen when they agree to the terms and then come back and refuse to accept them. They also make statements and then contradict them, and this explains the divisions that are making it difficult to complete the political process, end the war in Yemen and establish peace and harmony in it.
Not only has the confusion affected the political side, but it has also affected the truce which the rebels have violated since the beginning. A Yemeni military source says “The Houthi militia continues its operations on the ground and is committing violations that ignore the ceasefire”. He added that “Their movements are chaotic… This dislocation has led to the deaths of many of them during military operations that are considered simple, and the legitimate forces managed to easily defeat them in at least four clashes in the past two days”.
The military official said that this cannot be explained in any other way except that the rebel leadership is not proceeding according to a consistent military approach. He added that “We are studying the moves and evaluating conditions on the ground according to logical analysis … The confusion that we are witnessing isn’t helping us to predict, and therefore we have increased our level of preparedness on various fronts.”