By Nasser Arrabyee/03/11/2009
A Yemeni cleric called the army to change its strategy for crushing Al Houthi armed rebellion in the north of the country before listening to any demands of the rebels.
" No solution whatsoever can be reached before crushing the armed rebellion, and to do that, the army should change its strategies and plans so that it can restore the confidence of the people, and once the army have impose full control over the areas of Al Houthi, then the State can listen to the rebels and respond to the legitimate and reasonable demands," said the Zaidi cleric Mohammed Azzan in a forum held in Sana'a Monday.
Azzan established the organization of Al Shabab Al Mumen in 1991 in Sa'ada along with a number of Zaidi intellectuals including Mohammed Badr Al Deen Al Houthi, brother of the current leader of rebels Abdul Malik.
The slain leader of the rebels Hussein Al Houthi joined Al Shabab Al Mumen in 1998 and dissented from it in 2001 after he established his own group which is fighting the State until now under the slogan of "death to America, death to Israel, curse to Jews and victory to Islam."
"Al Houthi wants to achieve one main goal which is to rule Yemen as a divine right only for him as an alleged descendant of the prophet," said Mohammed Azzan.
"Al Houthi did his best to attack the Zaidis and accused them of weakness and not doing enough for their sect, and he would always say the Zaidi are nothing if they did not change their mind and rally around him so that he can turn them to gangs for killing, and plundering," Azzan said justifying why the army should crush the rebels.
Al Houthis do not believe in the constitution or the republican system neither before the war nor after the war, and they describe the September revolution in 1962 as a military coup against the legitimate rule which was in their hands for about 1100 years.
Azzan, who is from Sa'ada, "The evidence for this was, the rebels put down the flag of the republic in the areas under their control in Sa'ada, they cancelled the local authority and established their own courts and appointed their own judges, and levied Zakat (religious tax), changed the curriculum, and replaced teachers and mosque speakers."
Azzan said, no future for Al Houthis because they are based on sectarian and racial background and they do not have a vision for a project to rule, they have only expectations that if they rule, everything will be all right. Many people before them who claimed also as descendants of the prophet would say the same but when they ruled, nothing changed, the injustice continued.
On it's part, the army says it is now fighting the rebels according to a new strategy suitable to the guerrilla war of the rebels.
It destroyed with artillery and tanks a number of houses in the old city of Sa'ada where Al Houthi rebels were positioning, according to military sources who participated in the heavy bombardment on Tuesday November 3rd.
Before the attack, the army was calling through loudspeakers to the rebels inside the houses to surrender themselves giving them an ultimatum until mid night Monday.
The bombardment on their houses started immediately after the ultimatum ended at 12:00 and continued until early morning Tuesday. The houses in Najran zone, which are all rebels' houses, were destroyed, the sources said.
We were pounding with artillery and tanks from tens of meters away from the houses, so we did not miss any target, the sources said.
No one surrendered himself, and no one escaped because the old city is surrounded from all directions by the army, the sources said. At least seven rebels surrendered them selves at about 11 am Tuesday. About 300 rebels were arrested from inside the city of Sa'ada from the beginning of the war August 10th.
Al Houthi rebels are only in one neighborhood called Najran, and the other areas in the old city are lived by people loyal to the government and this is why it was difficult for the army to clean up the city from the rebels from the beginning of the war.
At least 20 Al Houthi rebels were killed when they tried to implement a suicide attack on the government offices inside Sa'ada city Monday, according to local sources in the city.
The army is determined to clean the whole city of Sa'ada from the rebels who hide among the people and implement attacks on the security forces.
The destruction of the rebels' houses came after the rebels failed in attacking the house of the tribal sheikh Hussein Aidha in the middle of the city of Sa'ada early Monday.
More than 70 Al Houthi rebels and 25 tribesmen were killed also Monday in fierce battles between the rebels and tribesmen in Dammj area about 15 km southeast of Sa'ada city. The first Salafi school, Dar Al Hadith, in Yemen was established in the area of Dammaj. Salafis who came from Saudi Arabia in early 1980s are considered the historic opponents of the Zaidi- Shiite Houthis.
The army says it is also making progress in the other two main frontlines of Harfy Sufyan, in the south of Sa'ada and Al Malahaid in the far west of Sa'ada.
The army is about to control the Al Malahaid area after it controlled earlier this week Jabal Al Dukhan one of the most important posts.
Al Houthi rebels said Saudi Arabia is attacking them from this post threatening to strike Saudi Arabia if it does stop what they called the "flagrant aggression and dangerous intervention."
The Saudi authorities have "allowed Yemeni army to use a Saudi base in Jabal Al Dukhan from which it launched attacks," said Al Houthi in statement sent through emails.
The Yemeni foreign minister Abu Bakr Al Querbi on his part, said Yemen is investigating the Iranian involvement in the war. He says Yemen has all options to deal with Iran when investigations are over. "We will announce the results to the public opinion," The Yemeni foreign minister said.
The secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Conference, Akmal Eddine Ihsan Oglo said his organization is supporting the unity, security and stability of Yemen.
Oglo, who visited Yemen earlier this week and met President Saleh and other senior officials, refused any external interference in the ongoing war between Al Houthi rebels and the government troops.
The international official expressed his support for the five conditions set by the Yemeni government for stopping the war. "The five conditions are very good basis for peace," he said.
The five conditions include the rebels going down from the mountains and handing over the weapons.
Oglo said that sectarian conflict should not justify the violence, killing people and disobedience of the State.
The support for the government continues from inside and outside Yemen. The popular convoys of assistance for the army and displaced people go almost every day to Sa'ada from all over the country. For instance, a convoy of about 200 lorries and cars laden with various relief materials went to Sa'ada from the people of the city of Sana'a.
Two airplanes laden with relief material from the UAE Red Crescent arrived in the airport of Hodeidah west of Yemen on Tuesday November 3rd, 2009. The cargo which includes tents and mattresses , food and medicines, will take hours driving to reach the displaced people in Al Mazrak in the far west of Sa'ada at the border with Saudi Arabia. The head of UAE delegation who accompanies the two airplanes said the delegation would establish new camp for about 7000 refugees in Haradh area.