There are a number of misconceptions, images and statements about the Houthis and the war in Yemen among the Arab and Islamic countries and the international community, although it is easy to dismantle this stereotypical system that a huge media machine has been devoting to specific goals.
At the forefront of these images and ideas comes the fact that the Houthis represent a marginalized and persecuted sectarian minority, amid a political, sectarian and societal majority that seeks to uproot it. Although the Houthis in Yemen represent a sectarian minority, they are not – and have never been – persecuted, but rather today they represent a “minority dictatorship”. If it is permissible to use political descriptions against armed militias. As for the alleged persecution, the fact is that the Houthis at the family level enjoyed a respected position in their local community, as their father, Badr al-Din al-Houthi, was a collector of zakat funds and other duties that he was working to collect because of his religious and social status, as many citizens did not pay their zakat to the state. , on the grounds that the Yemeni state has no religious legitimacy, because it is an “unjust” state and that the zakat of “the Shiites of Ahl al-Bayt must be paid to one of them.”
Politically, Hussein al-Houthi, the former leader of the Houthis and the brother of their current leader, was a member of the Yemeni parliament, and his brother Yahya was – and still is – a member of parliament as well. Despite all that, the family’s political ambitions made it the cause of the bloodiest Yemeni wars ever. It is ironic that this family was establishing the legitimacy of its wars against the regime of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, with whom it later allied itself before it killed him after the expiration of its purpose of allying with him. This family was initially establishing the legitimacy of its “jihad” against the regime – among other justifications – on the grounds that it is a family system, before it controlled all the capabilities of the country in its areas of control. Abdul-Malik al-Houthi bears the title of Leader of the Revolution, a title that gives him military, security, economic and religious powers Infinite and above all, including the President of the Houthi Republic. Abdul Malik succeeded his brother Hussein, after his father prepared him to take over the leadership of the movement. There is Muhammad al-Houthi, head of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee, the well-known oil ghoul and the black market, Yahya al-Houthi, Minister of Education in the Houthi government, Abdul Karim al-Houthi, Minister of Interior, and Abd al-Khaliq al-Houthi, commander of the reserve forces, and commander The Central Military Region, Ali Hussein al-Houthi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior, Yahya Hassan al-Houthi, official of the Mine Clearance Center, which only the group planted in Yemen, Bilal al-Houthi, supervisor of the Cooperative Agricultural Credit Bank, Hassan al-Houthi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Yemen Airways, and Qassem al-Houthi, Head of the Administration Department. In their ruling council, Abdullah Abdul Karim al-Houthi, head of the Department of Military Works, and a long list of family members and their sons in various positions that reproduce what they called the family system, not to mention many details that cannot be enumerated here about relatives, in-laws, and children of families linked to the Houthis with dynastic ties, within the authority of The Houthis, who are being reproduced on the grounds that they represent “a persecuted minority in the midst of a majority that wants to uproot it doctrinally and socially” and who – with their minority – managed to gain power. Due to several factors, foremost of which is the political intrigues between the various Yemeni components.
Among the misconceptions – in this context – is that the Yemeni government and the Arab coalition refuse to stop the war in Yemen, although the Houthis, since the Stockholm Agreement, signed by the Yemeni government and the Houthis in Sweden at the end of 2018, are the ones who attack Yemeni cities and villages, and reject all initiatives to stop the war, the latest of which is the initiative Saudi Arabia, which the Omanis tried to persuade the Houthis before the militias rejected them outright, and today the United Nations, Europeans, Americans, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation call for a ceasefire and to go to negotiations for a political solution, and only the Houthis reject all these calls and initiatives, yet the Houthis repeat that “ The aggression” is the one who rejects the cease-fire.
One of the false statements is that the war in Yemen today came as a result of external aggression against Yemen, and that it is a war on Yemen and is not – basically – a war in Yemen that has internal causes. In fact, the war did not start in 2015, which is the year of the intervention of the Arab coalition, but the Houthis started it more than Ten years in 2004, when Houthi gunmen spilled the blood of security men at a point in Saada governorate, and from here six wars erupted between the Yemeni army and the Houthi group, which raised for each stage a slogan appropriate to its wars and aggression against Yemenis.
The war in Yemen was caused by the internal aggression that brought about a coup against the choices of Yemenis represented by the results of the National Dialogue Conference in which the Houthis participated, a coup that is an extension of more than ten years of the Houthi rebellion since 2004 until today.
Another false statement is that the Houthis are less armed than the forces of the Yemeni army, and that they are facing a coalition of seventeen countries, led by America and Israel. It was and is still stronger than the armament of the Yemeni army, as they have ballistic and thermal missiles, drones, tanks and armor, and a huge accumulated arsenal of the weapons of the two parts of Yemen previously, and the Yemeni army after the unit, in addition to what is constantly smuggled to them of different types of specific weapons, at a time when fighting The army has medium and light weapons. It is true that the coalition’s aviation plays a role in the battle, but the lack of qualitative weapons and sufficient ground force played a role in the Houthis’ recent gains, because the battles are decided by the forces on the ground, no matter how intense and focused the air strikes.
Among the inaccurate statements about the Houthis are that they are a political group with which a solution can be reached. In fact, to this day they refuse to form a political party, on the grounds that they are a “nation” and the nation cannot be limited to a party. The Houthis are originally a sectarian religious group that calls itself “Ansar Allah,” and this religious group believes that it is the truth, and everything else is falsehood. Rather, its founder was a member of a previous political organization called the “Hezb al-Haq,” with what this label implies in reference to the right opposite to falsehood. And the right that opens to the connotations of ownership and control – by divine mandate – in power and wealth. Nevertheless, the former leader and his father left the Al-Haq Party, to establish an armed militia after realizing that political organizations could not bring him to power, after his party obtained only two parliamentary seats from the Out of 301 seats.
It should be noted here that one of the most important reasons for the Houthis’ rejection of the political path is what lies in the religious jurisprudential heritage of this group, which believes in two basic conditions that must be met – among other conditions – for someone who deserves to be an “imam” for Muslims: The first is what they call “limiting the imamate in the two stomachs,” which means The position of the “Great Imamate” may only be in a man from the two families, i.e. from the descendants of Hassan or Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. As required to focus the legitimacy of power on the basis of access to it with weapons, and this condition eliminates the issue of peaceful deliberation and establishes the legitimacy of violence as the only way to reach power.
I once participated with some German Foreign Ministry officials in Berlin in discussion panels about the Houthis, and some researchers were repeating many ready-made cliches about the war in Yemen. My response was that the Houthis are seeking to imitate the image of the “Green Party” abroad, but their internal image is closer to the “Al-Badil Party” German racist.
Over time, it seems that many around the world have begun to believe that the stereotyped image of the Houthis is far from what they are inside Yemen.
– Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London