Shia Houthi in Yemen and Consolidation of Power based on Stability

Shia Houthi in Yemen and Consolidation of Power based on Stability

Salma Zribi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


Yemen is currently witnessing momentous times because the Shia Houthi movement is now intent on consolidating its power in the short-term. Of course, it is currently impossible to focus on the long-term ambitions of this dynamic force within the body politic of Yemen. After all, the rise of this movement was based on institutional discrimination, persecution and alienation within the nation state of Yemen.

On top of this, the Takfiri Islamist threat based on the forces of al-Qaeda affiliates alongside Salafi indoctrination was – and remains – a threat to the Shia and other nationals of Yemen. Given the behavior of central forces towards the embattled Shia Houthis and the role of external players like Saudi Arabia, then not surprisingly the Shia Houthis were forced to defend themselves. This reality took a political and military nature because this embattled community rose up against all the odds.

Abdul Malik al-Houthi commented that: “Our escalation will go slow if they start implementing the [unapproved] deal. If not, all options are open… We move in studied steps. We do not want the country to collapse.”

In the above statement it appears that Houthi forces seek a gradual change within Yemen, whereby the main focus is preserving the nation state. Given the weakness of state institutions and sectarian issues, then clearly the disintegration of the nation state is very real. Indeed, one only needs to look at Iraq and Libya to see how failed states emerge rapidly based on the intrigues of external forces.

Therefore, the fear within the Houthi Shia movement – and within other areas of power in Yemen – is that nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait, might start to meddle into the internal affairs of this nation. If this happens, then clearly Yemen will face mass bloodshed and disintegration. However, with so many political and sectarian problems throughout the region, then is it in the interest of powerful Gulf nation states to open up a new can of worms?

Abdul Malik al-Houthi also stated: “Our movement is not going to uproot any political powers. We are here to serve the country and not target the Yemeni people.”

If so, then the announcement that parliament will be dissolved by the Houthi movement, alongside taking over the leverages of power, should apply to a short-term situation based on the need to stabilize the nation state. Of course, the fear is that power can often corrupt, therefore it is hoped that Abdul Malik al-Houthi will remain committed to the words he stated openly to the people of Yemen.

The BBC reports: “Yemen’s Shia Houthi rebel movement has announced it is taking over the government and dissolving parliament… In a televised statement, the group said a five-member council would act as the president for an interim period.”

BBC further states: “The group took control of the capital Sanaa in September, forcing the resignation of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in January.”

It is hoped that a genuine olive branch will be reached whereby the Shia Houthi become fully represented within the political institutions of Yemen, in return for being guardians in the short-term until a genuine political situation can be found. At the same time, it is essential that regional Gulf powers refrain from destabilization policies. Therefore, high level talks are needed internally and externally in order to stabilize the nation state and to give Yemen some much needed breathing space.


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