The Houthi insurgency in Yemen, also known as the Houthi rebellion, Sa'dah War, or Sa'dah conflict, was a military rebellion pitting Zaidi Shia Houthis (though the movement also includes Sunnis) against the Yemeni military that began in Northern Yemen and has since escalated into a full-scale civil war. The conflict was sparked in 2004 by the government's attempt to arrest Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, a Zaidi religious leader of the Houthis and a former parliamentarian on whose head the government had placed a $55,000 bounty. Initially, most of the fighting took place in Sa'dah Governorate in northwestern Yemen, but some of the fighting spread to neighbouring governorates Hajjah, 'Amran, al-Jawf and the Saudi province of Jizan. Since 2014 the nature of the insurgency has changed with the Houthi takeover in Yemen and then into the ongoing Yemeni civil war (2015–present) with a major Saudi-led intervention in Yemen beginning in 2015.
General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar commanded the Yemeni security forces during the conflict and led all the government offensives from 2004 until 2011, when he resigned his post to defend protesters during the Yemeni Revolution.
A Houthi power grab in Sanaʽa escalated on 20 January 2015, when the rebels attacked the president's residence and swept into the presidential palace. President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was inside the residence as it came under "heavy shelling" for half an hour, but he was unharmed and protected by guards, according to Information Minister Nadia Al-Sakkaf. Presidential guards surrendered the residence after being assured that Hadi could safely evacuate. The U.N. Security Council called an emergency meeting about the unfolding events. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon expressed concern over the "deteriorating situation" in Yemen and urged all sides to cease hostilities. On 22 January, President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah tendered their resignations to parliament, which reportedly refused to accept them.
|Houthi insurgency in Yemen|
|Part of the Yemeni Crisis|
|United States||North Korea|
|Commanders and leaders|
Abdul Malik al-Houthi
Yahya Saleh (alleged since 2014)
Nasir al-Wuhayshi †|
Nasser al-Ansi †
Ibrahim al-Rubaish †
Harith bin Ghazi al-Nadhari †
|Casualties and losses|
In 1962, a revolution in North Yemen ended over 1,000 years of rule by Zaidi Imams, who claimed descent from the Hashemites. Sa'dah, in the north, was their main stronghold and since their fall from power the region was largely ignored economically and remains underdeveloped. The Yemeni government has little authority in Sa'dah.
During Yemen's 1994 civil war, the Wahhabis, an Islamic group adhering to a strict version of Sunni Islam found in neighboring Saudi Arabia, helped the government in its fight against the secessionist south. Zaidis complain the government has subsequently allowed the Wahhabis too strong a voice in Yemen. Saudi Arabia, for its part, worries that strife instigated by the Zaidi sect so close to Yemen's border with Saudi Arabia could stir up groups in Saudi Arabia itself.
The conflict was sparked in 2004 by the government's attempt to arrest Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, a Zaidi religious leader of the Houthis and a former parliamentarian on whose head the government had placed a $55,000 bounty.
Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi movement accused Ali Abdullah Saleh of massive financial corruption and criticized him for being backed by Saudi Arabia and United States at the expense of the Yemeni people and Yemen's sovereignty.
When armed conflict for the first time erupted in 2004 between the Yemeni government and Houthis, the then Yemeni president accused Houthis and other Islamic opposition parties of trying to overthrow the government and the republican system. The Yemeni government alleged that the Houthis were seeking to overthrow it and to implement Zaidi religious law.
Houthi leaders for their part rejected the accusation by saying that they had never rejected the president or the republican system but were only defending themselves against government attacks on their community. The Houthis said that they were "defending their community against discrimination" and government aggression. The Yemeni government has accused Iran of directing and financing the insurgency.
According to a February 2015 Newsweek report, Houthis are fighting "for things that all Yemenis crave: government accountability, the end to corruption, regular utilities, fair fuel prices, job opportunities for ordinary Yemenis and the end of Western influence."
In an interview with the Yemen Times, Hussein Al-Bukhari, a Houthi insider, said that the Houthis' preferred political system is a republic with elections where women can also hold political positions, and that they do not seek to form a cleric-led government after the model of the Islamic Republic of Iran for "we cannot apply this system in Yemen because the followers of the Shafi doctrine are bigger in number than the Zaydis."
From June to August 2004, government troops battled supporters of al-Houthi in the north. Estimates of the dead range from 500 to 1,000. On 10 September, Yemeni forces killed al-Houthi. Since then, the rebellion has been led by one of his brothers, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, while his father, Badr Eddin al-Houthi, became the group's spiritual leader.
Between March and April 2005, some 1,500 people were killed in a resurgence of fighting between government forces and supporters of the slain cleric, now calling themselves Houthis.
In May 2005, the rebels rejected an offer of a presidential pardon by President Ali Abdullah Saleh after their conditions for surrender were refused by the government and minor clashes continued. On May 21, the government released estimates of the impact of the insurgency, announcing that it was responsible for 552 deaths, 2,708 injures, and over US$ 270 million in economic damages.
Fighting broke out in November 2005 and continued until early 2006. The pro-government Hamdan tribe, led by Sheikh Abdullah al-Awjari, battled with pro-Houthi tribes and Houthis tried to assassinate a Ministry of Justice official in Dhamar. The fighting ended before the Presidential elections that year and in March 2006, the Yemeni government freed more than 600 captured Shī'a fighters. There was no data with regards to casualties in 2006, but they were said to be significantly lower than those of the previous year.
Further attacks on 31 January left six more soldiers dead and 10 wounded. A further ten soldiers died and 20 were wounded in an attack on an army roadblock near the Saudi Arabian border on 1 February. Though there was no official confirmation of militant casualties in the attacks, government sources claim three rebel fighters were killed in a security operation following the 31 January attacks.
In February, the government launched a major offensive against the rebels involving 30,000 troops. By 19 February, almost 200 members of the security forces and over 100 rebels had died in the fighting. A further 160 rebels were killed in the subsequent two weeks. A French student was also killed.
A ceasefire agreement was reached on 16 June 2007. The rebel leaders agreed to lay down arms and go into exile in Qatar (by whom the agreement had been mediated), while the government agreed to release rebel prisoners, help pay for reconstruction and assist with IDPs returning home. In total some 1,500 people were killed by the conflict in 2007, including 800 government troops, 600 rebels and 100 civilians.
Armed incidents resumed in April 2008, when seven Yemeni soldiers died in a rebel ambush on 29 April. On 2 May, 15 worshippers were killed and 55 wounded in a bombing at the Bin Salman Mosque in Sa'dah as crowds of people left Friday prayers. The government blamed the rebels for the bombing, but the Houthis denied responsibility. Shortly after the attack, three soldiers and four rebels died in overnight skirmishes.
On 12 May, clashes between Yemeni soldiers and rebels near the border with Saudi Arabia killed 13 soldiers and 26 rebels. During fighting in May 2008, a total of 1,000 government forces were killed and 3,000 injured. Some 70,000 people were displaced by the fighting. President Saleh declared an end to fighting in the northern Sa'dah governorate on 17 July 2008.
On 11 August 2009, the government promised to use an "iron fist" against the rebels. The Yemeni troops, backed by tanks and fighter aircraft, launched a fresh offensive, code-named Operation Scorched Earth, against the Houthis in the northern Sa'ada province. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced by the fighting.
On 17 September, more than 80 people were killed in an air raid on a camp for displaced people in northern Yemen.
The conflict took on an international dimension late in the month. Clashes were reported between the Houthis and Saudi security forces near the border. Also, Yemeni officials captured a boat in the Red Sea that was transporting anti-tank shells and, according to some reports, five Iranian "instructors" sent to help the Houthis. Various official Iranian sources responded, calling this claim a politically motivated fabrication, and stating that the ship was traveling for business activities carrying no consignment. In early November the rebels stated that Saudi Arabia was permitting Yemeni army units to launch attacks from across the border at a base in Jabal al-Dukhan, charges which were denied by the Yemeni government. In late October, heavy clashes in the area of Razih led to the Houthis capturing two military headquarters and killing Yemeni General Amr Ali Mousa Al-Uuzali. In early November, General Ali Salem al-Ameri and regional security chief Ahmed Bawazeir were killed in a Houthi ambush as they were returning from Saudi Arabia.
The conflict took on an international dimension on 4 November 2009 when the Houthis attacked the Saudi border, killed one of the Saudi border guards, seized Al Khubah Village and other villages. The Houthis accuse Saudi Arabia of supporting the Yemeni government in attacks against them. It was not clear what type of support they meant. The Saudi government denied this. The rebels shot dead a Saudi security officer in a cross-border attack. The rebels took control of a mountainous section inside Saudi Arabia, in the border region of Jabal al-Dukhan and occupied two villages inside Saudi territory. The houthis had entered Saudi territory and attacked patrols, and that a second soldier later died from wounds sustained in the same clash. On 5 November, Saudi Arabia responded by launching heavy air strikes on rebels in northern Yemen, and moved troops nearer the border. Saudi government officials said only that the air force had bombed Yemeni rebels who had seized a border area inside the kingdom, which they said had now been recaptured. The officials said at least 40 rebels had been killed in the fighting. The Saudi government adviser said no decision had yet been taken to send troops across the border, but made clear Riyadh was no longer prepared to tolerate the Yemeni rebels. The Saudi assault continued the following day, as Saudi residents near the southern border of Jizan Province were evacuated. At the same time, a Houthi spokesman reported to the media that they had captured Saudi troops. On 16 November, Yemen forces killed two Houthi commanders, Abbas Aaida and Abu Haider. On 19 November, Yemeni forces took control of al-Malaheez, killing the local commander Ali al-Qatwani.
Houthi leaders claim that United States involvement in the war started on 14 December 2009 when the US launched 28 air raids. At least 120 people were killed and 44 injured by the alleged US air raids on the regions of Amran, Hajjah and Sa'dah in northern Yemen. Houthis claimed air raids on 18 December killed 63 civilians, including 28 children and injured at least 90 people. U.S. President Barack Obama claimed he had authorised the strikes against al-Qaeda. On 20 December, Saudi air strike killed some civilians. According to a spokesman for the Houthis, a Saudi attack killed 54 people in the town of Al Nadheer in the northern province of Sa'dah. The group also claimed that Saudi forces were advancing on the nearby town of Zawa, also in Sa'dah, and had fired more than 200 shells.
On 22 December, the Houthis stated that they managed to repulse Saudi Arabian forces trying to infiltrate into the province of Sa'dah, killing an unspecified number of Saudi soldiers in a battle in the border region.
The fighting between Yemeni and Saudi forces and Houthis killed at least 119 Yemeni government forces, 263 Houthis, 277 civilians and 7 foreign civilians. Saudi casualties were confirmed at 82 at the time. With more soldiers killed in subsequent clashes and missing soldiers being found dead, however, the casualties rose to 133 killed by 22 January 2010. The number of missing was put at six.
In early January 2010, the Houthis chose the Iraqi cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to mediate in their political standoff with the Yemeni government and to find a solution to the conflict. This choice was criticized by Saudi cleric Mohammad al-Arifi, a preacher at Riyadh's central mosque, who dismissed al-Sistani as "an infidel and debauched." The remarks by the Saudi cleric were considered extremely insulting by Shi'as around the world, causing major outrage in some Shi'a dominant countries like Iraq, Iran and Lebanon.
On 13 January 2010, Operation Blow to the Head was launched in an attempt by the government to capture the city of Sa'adah. Security forces claimed they killed 34 and arrested at least 25 Houthis, as well as killing al-Qaeda in Yemen leader Abdullah al-Mehdar in the next two weeks of fighting.
On 25 January 2010, the Houthis offered a truce. Houthi leader Abdul Malek al-Houthi said they would stop fighting to prevent further civilian casualties and the withdrawal was a gesture for peace, but warned that if the Saudis were to continue fighting the Houthis would go over into open warfare. A Saudi general announced that the Houthis had stopped fighting and were not on Saudi land anymore and that in response the Saudis also stopped fighting saying, "The battle has ended by God's will." But the Saudi king denied the Houthis had withdrawn saying they were forced out, and declared military victory for the end of their conflict with the Houthis. There have however been allegations that the Saudis launched new air raids on 29 January, thus breaking the truce.
On 1 January the Yemeni government offered a conditional cease-fire. The cease-fire had five conditions which were the re-establishment of safe passage on roads, the surrender of mountain strongholds, a full withdrawal from all local authority property, the return of all military and public equipment seized during hostilities and the release of all the detained civilians and soldiers. On 30 January, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi released a video wherein he blamed the government for the recent round of fighting but said that: "Nevertheless, and for the fourth time, I announce our acceptance of the [government's] five conditions [for an end to the conflict] after the aggression stops ... the ball is now in the other party's court." After the truce was accepted on 30 January, however, there were still some clashes between the Houthis and both Saudi and Yemeni forces. Therefore, on 31 January the Yemeni government rejected the truce and launched a new round of attacks, killing 24 people.
In April, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam declared that rebels had captured the Manaba district in Sa'dah, with little government resistance. Government troops declared they had killed 30 Houthis who had tried to penetrate into Harf Sufyan District.
On July 17, 2010, the Houthis warned on their website that the government was preparing for another offensive against the Houthis. They said the government had been digging trenches from the Sanaʽa to Sa'ada. They claimed the army was trying to amass servicemen in villages and that soldiers in Amshia Bsfian region were creating an army stronghold on Mount Guide. The report came as the Yemeni government blamed Houthi fighters for recent ethnic clashes which had killed 11 people, including two soldiers, and for the kidnapping of two people in a market. The Houthis have denied these allegations and have claimed that it was the work of the government.
On July 20, 2010, clashes broke out between Houthis and members of an army-backed tribe, led by Sheikh Sagheer Aziz, in the region of Souffian. A Houthi commander declared that the clashes had broken out because of Yemeni Army attacks on Houthis and local pro-Houthi tribes. Forty-nine people were reported killed in the clashes, including 20 tribal and 10 Houthi fighters. The Houthis also managed to surround the Yemeni military bases in the region. Over the following days the Yemeni army and pro-government Bin Aziz tribes continued to clash with the Houthis. The government claimed that in the following two days, 20 fighters were killed on each side. A Houthi spokesman denied these claims, stating only three Houthi fighters had been killed in the clashes. Both sides have blamed each other for starting the clashes. The UN expressed great concern about the situation in North Yemen.
On July 23, Houthi spokesman Vayf-Allah al-Shami said calm had returned to the region and that a government committee was trying to mediate a cease-fire between the Houthis and the Bin Aziz tribes in the Souffian region.
On July 27, Houthis seized a military post at al-Zaala in Harf Sufyan, capturing 200 soldiers of the army's Republican Guard. Tribal sources claimed they had inflicted 200 fatalities on the Houthis in al-Amsheya while suffering only 30 dead themselves. Houthi spokesman Abdul Salam denied the high number of killed and said the claims were highly exaggerated. Houthis said they recovered the bodies of 17 of their fighters, including that of rebel commander Abu Haidar, near the house of Sheikh Saghir Aziz in Al-Maqam, near Al-Zaala.
On July 29, the Houthis released the 200 soldiers they had captured as a goodwill gesture. In total some 70 people had died since the clashes started.
On November 22, one soldier was killed and two wounded in a roadside bombing. The next day 23 Houthi fighters and supporters were killed and 30 injured by a car bomb targeting a Shi'a religious procession in al-Jawf province. On November 26, two Shi'a mourners were killed and eight injured by a bomb while on their way to Sa'adah city to attend Badreddin al-Houthi's funeral.
In total, between 195 and 281 people were killed during this round violence, with the majority of the casualties on the Houthi side.
A major demonstration by over 16,000 protestors took place in Sanaʽa on 27 January. On 2 February, President Saleh announced he would not run for reelection in 2013 and that he would not pass power to his son. On 3 February, 20,000 people protested against the government in Sanaʽa, and others in Aden, in a "Day of Rage" called for by Tawakel Karman. On the same day, soldiers, armed members of the General People's Congress and many others held a pro-government counter-demonstration in Sanaʽa.
On February 27, Abdul Malik al-Houthi announced support for the pro-democracy protests and the effort to effect regime change, as had happened in Tunisia and Egypt. Following these statements, large crowds of Houthis joined in protests across Northern Yemen.
Houthi fighters entered Sa'ada on March 19, engaging in a drawn out battle with the pro-government forces of Sheikh Uthman Mujalli. They seized control of the city on March 24, after destroying Sheikh Mujalli's house and forcing the local governor to flee. The Houthis established military checkpoints at the entrances to the city after police deserted their posts and were relocated to army camps elsewhere.
On March 26, Houthi rebels declared the creation of their own administration in Saada Governorate, independent from Yemeni authorities. A former arms dealer was appointed governor by the Houthis, the previous governor having fled to Sanaa.
On July 8, 23 people were killed in fighting between the Houthis and the opposition Islah party in al-Jawf governorate. The fighting erupted after the governor of al-Jawf fled, opposition tribes took control of the governorate, and the Houthis refused to hand over a Yemeni military base which they had seized several months earlier. Fighting continued until July 11, with more than 30 people killed. The Houthis claimed that some elements of the pro-Islah militias had links to al-Qaeda.
On July 28, over 120 people were killed as the Houthis launched an offensive to take over government buildings in al-Jawf. Fighting in Jawf lasted for four months, in which time Sunni tribes claimed to have killed 470 Houthis, while acknowledging 85 casualties of their own. The Houthis eventually took control of al-Jawf governorate.
In August a car-bombing killed 14 Houthis in al-Jawf.  Although the Houthis initially blamed the US and Israel for the bombing, al-Qaeda eventually claimed responsibility, the organization having declared a holy war against the Houthis earlier that year. In early November clashes erupted between Houthis and a Salafi group in Sa'dah, leaving one Salafist dead.
On November 9, after several days of heavy fighting, the Houthis managed to break through defense lines of the pro-government Kashir and Aahm tribes in Hajjah Governorate, seizing control of the Kuhlan Ash Sharaf District and advancing towards the port of Midi, thereby gaining access to the sea. Through Hajjah, the Houthis would be able to launch an assault on the Yemeni capital Sanaʽa. By taking Kuhlan Ash Sharaf, the Houthis managed to gain control over a highway linking San'a to the sea.
On November 15, clashes between Houthis and Islah party militia restarted in al-Jawf, after an Islah party member tried to blow himself up during the al-Ghadeer festival, in Al Maton District but was captured and killed by the Houthis. A total of 10 people died in the ensuing fighting.
On December 19, Houthis stormed a Sunni Islamist school in the Shaharah District of 'Amran governorate, injuring one teacher and expelling all teachers and students from the school. Houthis then took up positions inside the school.
On 23 November, Saleh signed a power-transfer agreement brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh, under which he would transfer his power to his Vice-President within 30 days and leave his post as president by February 2012, in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Although the GCC deal was accepted by the JMP, it was rejected by many of the protesters and the Houthis.
A presidential election was held in Yemen on 21 February 2012. With a reported 65 percent turnout, Abdrabbuh Mansur al-Hadi won 99.8% of the vote, and took the oath of office in Yemen's parliament on 25 February 2012. Saleh returned home the same day to attend Hadi's presidential inauguration. After months of protests, Saleh had resigned from the presidency and formally transferred power to his successor, marking the end of his 33-year rule.
Throughout the year, some 200 people were killed in clashes between Houthis and Salafi militias in Sa'dah province.
On February 26, 2012, heavy fighting occurred in Hajjah governorate as Houthis fought Sunni tribesmen loyal to the Al-Islah party. At least seven fighters from the Hojjor tribe were killed and nine others injured, while in the Ahem area nine bodies were found, belonging to Houthi fighters. Houthis launched an assault backed by artillery on al-Jarabi area, al-Hazan village, al-Moshaba mountain, and Ahem police station to take control of the al-Moshaba mountain. Parts of the Kushar District were put under siege since clashes erupted in that province between Houthis and the al-Zakari tribe in November. In early February, over 55 people had been killed during sectarian violence in Kushar. During February and March some 27 people were killed and 36 injured due to mines in Hajjah. A total of 600 were killed in clashes in Hajjah between November 2011 and April 2012, mainly in Kushar and Mustaba Districts.
On March 8, a high-ranking military commander and six of his bodyguards were killed by Houthi gunmen in the northern province of Amran.
On March 23, a suicide bomber targeted a Houthi march in Sa'dah, no casualties were reported. On March 25, some 14 people were killed and three injured in a car bombing in al-Hazm of al-Jawf province, targeting a Shi'a gathering near a school. Another 8 Houthis were killed in an attack by Salafis on April 21. From June 2 to June 4, Houthis clashed with Salafi militias in Kataf district leaving several dead. Houthis claim to have taken over three Salafi positions and confiscated Saudi weapons during the clash.
On August 21, clashes broke out between Houthis and tribes in Ash Shahil District of Hajjah after Houthis allegedly shot two women in the district. As the fighting broke out, Houthis retreated from al-Amroor area and retreated to the mountains between Janeb al-Sham and Janeb al-Yemen. Houthis were said to control several mountains in the region including mount Azzan and the governorate center that overlooks al-Mahabishah, Qafl Shamer and Ku'aydinah Districts. A truce was signed between the two sides on August 30. Clashes reignited on September 6 and Houthis managed to seize control of five schools, a medical center and a police station. Some 30 people were killed in the battles. Afterwards Houthis claimed civilian areas were being shelled by al-Islah, while MP Ali al-Ma'amari accused Houthis of killing a worker from Taiz.
In September and October, Houthis led many protests in Sanaʽa as part of the 2012 Anti-US protests caused by the release of Innocence of Muslims. Houthi slogans were hung all across the old city of Sanaʽa and Shi'a majority areas during the protests. This has led to Houthis expanding their control in Sanaʽa Governorate and other areas around the capital, particularly Khwlan and Sanhan Districts and the town Shibam Kawkaban in al-Mahwit. Al-Juraf district was also named as a Houthi stronghold, where they had large numbers of weapons stationed. Sunni sources have alleged that Houthis have used the protests to smuggle weapons and fighters from areas surrounding Sanaʽa into Sanaʽa city itself, mainly in the old city.
During one of the protests, in Raydah, Amran, clashes broke out between Houthis and Islahi gunmen after the Islahi gunmen interrupted a Houthi mass rally, denouncing Innocence of Muslims and the US government, on September 21. Two people were killed during the clash and three Islahi gunmen were captured. Fighting continued until September 23, leaving 16 fighters dead and 36 Islah men captured by the Houthis. After a cease-fire was agreed on, Houthis withdrew from the town and released the prisoners they had taken. A group of Houthis remained in Owaidan mosque.
On 18 August 2014, the Houthis began a series of demonstrations in Sanaʽa against increased fuel prices. On 21 September, the Houthis took control of Sanaʽa, after which Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa resigned and the Houthis signed a deal for a new unity government with other political parties. The protests were marked by clashes between the Houthis and the government and also clashes between the Houthis and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. At least 340 people were killed on the outskirts of the Yemeni capital in one week of fighting between the Shiite rebels and Sunni militiamen before the city fell. The new government was sworn in on 9 November, although the Houthis and General People's Congress announced they would not take part.
A spokesman for the Houthi group has accused Yemen's President Hadi of arming members of Al-Qaeda in the Marib province, east of the country, in order to create a new security crisis.
The crisis intensified as Houthi militants attacked the presidential palace and private residence in January 2015, quickly seizing control of both. On 22 January, President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and his ministers resigned. The Houthis declared themselves in full control of the government on 6 February, dissolving parliament and putting a Revolutionary Committee led by Mohammed Ali al-Houthi in charge of the country.
Hadi escaped from house arrest on 21 February and made his way to Aden, where he renounced his resignation, condemned the Houthi takeover, and attempted to reassemble his government. He declared Aden to be Yemen's provisional capital.
Fighting broke out over Aden International Airport on 19 March after Hadi dismissed a general in Aden, Abdul-Hafez al-Saqqaf, whom he suspected of being loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, widely believed to be an ally of the Houthis. The next day, a quadruple suicide bombing ripped through two mosques in Sanaʽa while hundreds of Houthis were praying there. The Revolutionary Committee declared a "state of general mobilisation" in response to the events and launched a military offensive directed at Hadi's holdouts, whom the Houthis accused of being in league with al-Qaeda.
Since the clashes at the airport and the Houthis' southward offensive, the media has increasingly described the deteriorating situation in Yemen and the escalating clashes between the two factions claiming to represent the legitimate government as a civil war.
Several states led by Saudi Arabia also mounted a military intervention in Yemen codenamed "Operation Decisive Storm". The Saudi-led coalition sided with Hadi's government in Aden, shelling Houthi positions from land and sea and hitting them with airstrikes.
On May 19, 2017 Saudi Arabia intercepted a Houthi-fired ballistic missile targeting, a deserted area south of the Saudi capital and most populous city Riyadh. This missile attack was followed by another one on 27 October 2016, allegedly aimed towards the Holy Mosque in Mecca ("Makkah Al-Mukarramah, the prayer direction of Muslims and the Cradle of Revelation"), which was condemned by a special Emergency Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on 17 November 2017.
On 19 December 2017, a direct attack on Riyadh by another ballistic missile was intercepted, allegedly"Iranian-made", launched by"Iranian-supported rebels" and aimed at the Saudi royal palace. Another special Extraordinary Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the OIC on 21 January 2018 in Jeddah condemned the attack, decrying it as an aggression on the KSA, and taking it as "evidence of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias' refusal to cooperate with the international community and accept international resolutions", referring to the resolution adopted in the Mecca Conference in November 2016 and relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
Saudi Arabia has led a major military intervention in Yemen, and organized a coalition of other nations to support its efforts, including Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, and Bahrain.
In December 2009, The New York Times reported that the United States has provided weapons and logistical support to Yemeni government strikes against suspected hide-outs of Al Qaeda within its borders. The officials said that the American support was approved by President Obama and came at the request of the Yemeni government.
Houthi leaders however claim that US involvement started on 14 December when the US launched 28 air raids. At least 120 people were killed and 44 injured by the alleged US air raids on the regions of Amran, Hajjah and Sa'ada in North Yemen, a Houthi leader was quoted as saying: "The US air force perpetrated an appalling massacre against citizens in the north of Yemen as it launched air raids on various populated areas, markets, refugee camps and villages along with Saudi warplanes, The savage crime committed by the US air force shows the real face of the United States. It cancels out much touted American claims of human rights protection, promotion of freedoms of citizens as well as democracy." The Houthi claimed that new air raids on 18 December killed 63 civilians, including 28 children and injured at least 90 people.
The Houthis blamed US intelligence forces of carrying out a bombing in August 2011 which killed 14 Houthi fighters.
In April 2008, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that the conflict had created 77,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sa'dah Governorate. By order of then king Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the Saudis were to shelter and build 10,000 new homes for the war-displaced people of Saudi nationality in Jizan.
UNICEF and Islamic Relief were reported as condemning Houthi rebels for abusing children by forcing them to fight for their cause. In November 2009, over 400 children walked to the UNDP office in Sanaʽa, to protest against the alleged Houthi abuse of children's rights.
Allegations were made that both the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels exploited the use of child soldiers during the war. Human Rights Watch noted difficulty in citing the exact numbers of child soldiers on the Houthis' part. However, there existed a significant amount of evidence that the government itself employed child soldiers in the ranks of the armed forces, the result of the country's lack of birth certificates and further documentation of age. Where the Yemeni government was limited by restrictions, The Times reported on a fourteen-year-old boy who fought for a tribal militia sponsored by the government.
A Sanaʽa-based human rights group, Seyaj Organization for Childhood Protection, noted that the Houthis were mainly responsible, stating that fifty-percent of the rebels were under the age of eighteen. It is estimated that anywhere between 400 and 500 children are killed every year in Yemen as the result of tribal conflict. The same organization eventually released a report claiming that 700 children were used as soldiers by the Houthis and pro-government militias during the war. The report concluded that 187 children were killed during the conflict, 71% as the result of the fighting.
These allegations were supported by the story of "Akram," a nine-year-old boy who was duped by a cousin to deliver a bomb to an unspecified target in the Old City of Saada. Akram, unknowingly wired with an explosive, was apprehended by police and taken to safety in Sanaʽa, along with his father. A day after telling his story at a press conference Akram's home was bombed in Saada City. His younger brother suffered injuries in the retaliation.
North Korea's military support for Houthi rebels in Yemen is the latest manifestation of its support for anti-American forces.
The 2008 Bin Salman mosque bombing was on 2 May 2008 at the Bin Salman Mosque in Sa'dah, Yemen, which killed 15 and injured 55. Local officials believed the bomb was hidden in a car or a motorcycle.Some witnesses said the target may have been the mosque's imam, or prayer leader, an army officer who adheres to the Salafi school of Sunni Islam. Witnesses said he was not hurt. Military personnel are among those who usually pray at the Bin Salman mosque, which like others in Yemen caters for both the majority Sunni community and Shia Zaidis.2018 Riyadh missile strike
2018 Riyadh missile strike was a series of seven missiles launched into Saudi Arabia by Houthi rebels in March 2018. Saudi forces claimed to have destroyed all seven missiles. However according to Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at CNS, the Saudis failed to intercept the missiles following a malfunction of the MIM-104 Patriot system. The UN Security Council condemned the attack.Aftermath of the Houthi takeover in Yemen
The aftermath of the Houthi takeover in Yemen refers to developments following the Houthis' takeover of the Yemeni capital of Sana'a and dissolution of the government, which eventually led to a civil war and the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.
After seizing the capital in September 2014, the Houthis (Ansar Allah) obtained the resignations of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, and the cabinet in January 2015 and then moved to dissolve parliament and instate a Revolutionary Committee to govern Yemen on 6 February 2015. However, despite their military successes and an alleged alliance with the former ruling General People's Congress, the Houthis faced widespread domestic and international opposition to the coup and they assented to United Nations–led talks on a power-sharing deal. At least one analyst went so far as to suggest the Houthis' declaration "fizzled" in the days after it was announced, although they have Iran's material support and Ali Abdullah Saleh's political support.On 21 February 2015, one month after Houthi militants confined him to his residence in Sana'a, Hadi slipped out of the capital and traveled to Aden, the old capital of South Yemen. In a televised address from his hometown, he declared that the Houthi takeover was illegitimate and indicated he remained the constitutional president of Yemen. Hadi's ex-ministers were released by the Houthis on 16 March as a "goodwill gesture". On 21 March, Hadi officially proclaimed Aden to be the temporary capital of Yemen, until his pledged recapture of Sana'a. Within days, however, a Houthi-led military campaign wrested much of southern Yemen from Hadi's loyalists, prompting Hadi to flee his presidential palace in Aden and Saudi Arabia to launch airstrikes against Houthi positions throughout the country.Alwaziri coup
The Alwaziri coup, also referred as the Yahia clan coup was a violent dynasty overthrow attempt in the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen in 1948, which created a great deal of violence and ended with around 5,000 fatalities. During the coup attempt, Imam Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed-Din, the ruler of the kingdom, was killed and the rival Sayyid family, the Alwazirs, seized power for several weeks. Backed by the al-Saud family of Saudi Arabia, the Hamidaddins restored their rule. After deposition of the Alwaziris, the restored monarchy of Imam Yahya was succeeded by his son Ahmad bin Yahya.Battle of Amran
The battle of 'Amran, refers to a battle that took place in the summer of 2014, between the Houthi Zaydi movement, and the Yemeni government of president Abd Rabbuh Hadi. The Houthis eventually won the battle, leading them to the late capture of Sana'a.Battle of Sa'dah
The Battle of Sa'dah erupted in March 2011 between Houthi insurgents and tribal forces loyal to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the northern city of Sa'dah. Following days of heavy clashes, the Houthis managed to capture the entire Sadah governorate including its provincial capital and establishes an independent administration, thereby marking the first such Yemeni governorate to fell out from central government control since the nationwide uprising began in 2011.Battle of Sanaʽa (2014)
The Battle of Sana'a in 2014 marked the advance of the Houthis into Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, and heralded the beginning of the armed takeover of the government that unfolded over the following months. Fighting began on 9 September 2014, when pro-Houthi protesters under the command of Abdul-Malik al-Houthi marched on the cabinet office and were fired upon by security forces, leaving seven dead. The clashes escalated on 18 September, when 40 were killed in an armed confrontation between the Houthis led by military commander Mohammed Ali al-Houthi and supporters of the Sunni hardliner Islah Party when the Houthis tried to seize Yemen TV, and 19 September, with more than 60 killed in clashes between Houthi fighters and the military and police in northern Sana'a. By 21 September, the Houthis captured the government headquarters, marking the fall of Sana'a.Battle of Sanaʽa (2017)
The Battle of Sana'a in 2017 was fought between forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Houthis in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a. Both sides were allied during the 2014–15 Houthi takeover of the government but the alliance ended when Saleh decided to break ranks with the Houthis and call for dialogue with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who are leading a military intervention against the Houthis. Fighting then broke out between the Houthis and forces loyal to Saleh as the Saudi-led coalition began bombing Houthi areas, ultimately resulting in Saleh's death and a Houthi victory.Houthi movement
The Houthi movement (; Arabic: الحوثيون al-Ḥūthiyyūn [ˈħuːθij.juːn]), officially called Ansar Allah (anṣār allāh أنصار الله "Supporters of God"), is an Islamic religious-political-armed movement that emerged from Sa'dah in northern Yemen in the 1990s. They are of the Zaidi sect, though the movement reportedly also includes Sunnis.Under the leadership of Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, the group emerged as a Zaydi opposition to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, whom they charged with massive financial corruption and criticized for being backed by Saudi Arabia and the United States at the expense of the Yemeni people and Yemen's sovereignty. Resisting Saleh's order for his arrest, Hussein was killed in Sa'dah in 2004 along with a number of his guards by the Yemeni army, sparking the Houthi insurgency in Yemen. Since then, except for a short intervening period, the movement has been led by his brother Abdul-Malik al-Houthi.The Houthi movement attracts its Zaidi-Shia followers in Yemen by promoting regional political-religious issues in its media, including the overarching US-Israeli conspiracy and Arab "collusion". In 2003, the Houthis' slogan "God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam", became the group's trademark. Houthi officials, however, have rejected the literal interpretation of the slogan.The movement's expressed goals include combating economic underdevelopment and political marginalization in Yemen while seeking greater autonomy for Houthi-majority regions of the country. They also claim to support a more democratic non-sectarian republic in Yemen. The Houthis have made fighting corruption the centerpiece of their political program.The Houthis took part in the 2011 Yemeni Revolution by participating in street protests and by coordinating with other opposition groups. They joined the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen as part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative to broker peace following the unrest. However, the Houthis would later reject the November 2011 GCC deal's provisions stipulating formation of six federal regions in Yemen, claiming that the deal did not fundamentally reform governance and that the proposed federalization "divided Yemen into poor and wealthy regions". Houthis also feared the deal was a blatant attempt to weaken them by dividing areas under their control between separate regions. In late 2014, Houthis repaired their relationship with the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and with his help, they took control of the capital and much of the north.In 2014–2015, Houthis took over the government in Sanaʽa with the help of the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and announced the fall of the current government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Houthis have gained control of most of the northern part of Yemen's territory and since 2015 have been resisting the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen that claims to seek to restore the internationally recognized Yemeni government to power. Additionally, the Islamic State militant group has attacked all of the conflict's major parties including Houthis, Saleh forces, the Yemeni government, and the Saudi Arabian-led coalition forces.Insurgency in Yemen
The terms Insurgency in Yemen or Yemeni insurgency may refer to any of the following conflicts:
al-Qaeda insurgency in Yemen (1998–2015)
Houthi insurgency in Yemen (2004–2015)
South Yemen insurgency (2009–2014)List of wars involving Yemen
This is a list of wars that Yemen has been involved in.Mahdi al-Mashat
Mahdi al-Mashat (Arabic: مهدي المشاط) is a Yemeni political figure from the Houthi movement. After the death of Saleh Ali al-Sammad on 19 April 2018, he became president of the Supreme Political Council. He was formerly the representative of Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi, the leader of the movement and director of his officeOperation Blow to the Head
Operation Blow to the Head was a Yemeni military operation against the militants in the insurgent Yemeni town of Sa'dah in the Saada Governorate. The Yemeni government troops began trying to capture the town on 13 January 2010. On that day, the Islamic militant Abdullah Mehdar was killed by Yemeni security forces.Operation Scorched Earth
Operation Scorched Earth (Arabic: عملية الأرض المحروقة) was the code-name of a Yemeni military offensive in the northern Saada Governorate that began in August 2009, marking the fifth wave of violence in an ongoing insurgency pitting the Houthis against the government. In November 2009, fighting spilled over the border into neighboring Saudi Arabia, resulting in a Saudi military incursion into Yemen itself, the first military operation Saudi Arabia conducted since 1991.Siege of Dammaj
The Siege of Dammaj started in October 2011 when the Houthis, a Zaidi-led rebel group which control the Saada Governorate, accused Wahhabi loyal to the Yemeni government of smuggling weapons into their religious center in the town of Dammaj and demanded they hand over their weapons and military posts in the town. As the Salafis refused, Houthi rebels responded by imposing a siege on Dammaj, closing the main entrances leading to the town. The town is controlled by the Houthis and the fighting was mainly centered on Dar al-Hadith religious school, which is run by Salafis, although its founder (imam Muqbil bin Hadi al-Wadi'i) rejected Osama bin Laden in the 1990s. The Salafis from Dammaj and the current imam of Dar al-Hadith, Sheikh Yahya Hajoori claims that they are totally against al-Qaeda and all that they stand for.On December 2011, a ceasefire was signed in which both sides temporarily agreed to the removal of all their military checkpoints and barriers around Dammaj. Neutral armed men from the Hashid and Bakil tribes are deployed around the town to ensure both sides adhere to the ceasefire. However, fighting erupted again on October 2013 when Houthis shelled a Salafi mosque and the adjacent religious school, anticipating an attack from Salafi fighters who had gathered in Dammaj. Houthi fighters later advanced and took over many positions evacuated by outgunned Salafi fighters in the area of Kitaf wa Al Boqe'e District, north of Sa'dah city and subsequently blows up the symbolic Dar al-Hadith religious school.A ceasefire was brokered by the Yemeni government under president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in January 2014. As part of the ceasefire, Yemeni troops have been deployed to the town of Dammaj and evacuated all Salafist fighters and their families as well as foreign students to the neighboring Al Hudaydah and Sana'a, handing over victory to the Houthis.Yarim
Yarim (Arabic: يريم) is a town in the Ibb Governorate of Yemen.Yemen War
Yemen War may refer to:
Yemeni Civil War (disambiguation)
Saudi–Yemeni War (1934)
North Yemen Civil War (1962–1970)
Yemenite War of 1979
South Yemen Civil War (1986)
Yemeni Civil War (1994)
Hanish Islands conflict (1995)
Al-Qaeda insurgency in Yemen (2001–present)
Houthi insurgency in Yemen (2004–2015)
South Yemen insurgency (2009–2015)
Yemeni Civil War (2015–present)
Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen (2015–present)
Saudi–Yemeni border conflict (2015–present)Yemeni Civil War
Yemeni Civil War may refer to several historical events which have taken place in Yemen:
Alwaziri coup, February – March 1948
Yemeni–Adenese clan violence, 1956–60
North Yemen Civil War, 1962–70
Aden Emergency, 1963–67
North Yemen-South Yemen Border Conflict of 1972
Yemenite War of 1972
NDF Rebellion, 1978–82
Yemenite War of 1979
South Yemen Civil War, January 13–25, 1986
Yemeni Civil War (1994)
Al-Qaeda insurgency in Yemen, 1998–present
Houthi insurgency in Yemen, 2004–15
South Yemen insurgency, 2009–15
Yemeni Crisis (2011–present)
Yemeni Revolution, 2011–12
Yemeni Civil War (2015–present), ongoing
Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, ongoing
Lahij insurgency, March 27 – August 4, 2015
Aden unrest (2015–present), ongoing
Hadramaut Insurgency, April 26, 2016 – presentYemeni–Adenese clan violence
Yemeni–Adenese clan violence refers to sectarian violence in Yemen and Aden during 1956-60, resulting in some 1,000 deaths.
Houthi insurgency in Yemen
Houthi rebellion (2014–15)
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