|Ash-Shabab al-Muminin (الشباب المؤمن)
Believing Youth (BY)
|Participant in Shia insurgency in Yemen, Yemeni Revolution and Syrian Civil War|
|Active||1994-present (armed since 2004)|
|Ideology||Zaydi Shi'a Islamism
|Groups||Houthis, allied Shi'a tribes in Sa'dah|
|Leaders||Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi †
|North Yemen and South-Western Saudi Arabia|
|Opponents|| Republic of Yemen
Saudi Arabia (2009-2010)
al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
|Shia insurgency in Yemen
Syrian Civil War
The Houthis (Arabic: الحوثيون al-Ḥūthiyyūn) are a Zaidi Shia insurgent group operating in Yemen. They have also been referred to as a "powerful clan," and by the title Believing Youth (BY; الشباب المؤمن ash-Shabāb al-Mū‘min).
The group takes its name from Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, their former commander, who was reportedly killed by Yemeni army forces in September 2004. Several other commanders, including, Ali al-Qatwani, Abu Haider, Abbas Aidah and Yousuf al-Madani (a son-inlaw of Hussein al-Houthi) have also been killed by Yemeni forces. The Houthi brothers' father Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi is said to be the spiritual leader of the group.
Membership of the group had between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters as of 2005 and between 2,000 and 10,000 fighters as of 2009. In the Yemen Post it was claimed, however, that they had over 100,000 fighters. According to Houthi Expert Ahmed Al-Bahri the Houthis had a total of 100,000-120,000 followers, including both armed fighters and unarmed loyalists.
By 9 November 2011, Houthis were said to be in control of two Yemeni governorates (Saada and Al Jawf) and close to taking over their third governorate (Hajjah), which would enable them to launch a direct assault on Yemeni capital Sana'a. By May 2012, it was reported that Houthis controlled a majority of Saada, Al Jawf and Hajjah governorates, had gained access to the Red Sea and had started erecting barricades north of the capital Sana'a in preparation for new conflict.
By 21 September 2014, Houthis were said to control parts of the Yemen capital Sanaa including government buildings and a radio station.
Houthis belong to the Zaidi branch of Shia Islam, also known as Fivers, a sect of Islam almost exclusively present in Yemen. They are distinct from the Shi'ite majority, the Twelvers found in mainly in Iraq, Lebanon and Iran and are known for being most similar to Sunni Muslims in matters of religious law and rulings. They do however, believe in the concept of an Imamate as being essential to their religion, which makes them distinct from Sunnis.
The Houthis have asserted that their actions are for the defence of their community from widespread and systematic discrimination, whereas the Yemeni government has in turn accused the insurgents of intending to overthrow the regime out of a desire to institute Zaidi Shia religious law, destabilising the government and stirring anti-American sentiment. The Houthis have told people they are “praying in the wrong way” by raising their arms, as is the custom among Sunnis in Yemen
The Yemeni government has also accused the Houthis of having ties to external backers, in particular the Iranian government, as Iran is a Shia-majority country. In turn, the Houthis have countered with allegations that the Yemeni government is being backed by virulently anti-Shia external backers such as al-Qaeda and the monarchy of Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was also Zaidi.
- Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi - Ex-leader (killed in 2004)
- Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi - Leader
- Yahia Badreddin al Houthi - Senior Leader
- Abdul-Karim Badreddin al-Houthi - High ranking commander
- Badr Eddin al-Houthi - Spiritual Leader (died in 2010)
- Abdullah al-Ruzami - Ex-military commander
- Abu Ali Abdullah al-Hakem al-Houthi - Military commander
- Mohammed Abdulsalam
- Saleh Habra - Political leader
- Faris Manna - Houthi appointed governor of Saada and former head of Saleh's Presidential committee
Houthis and their massive base of support rely mainly on peaceful methods of campaign most notably civil disobedience. In a new series of protests which was provoked by Yemenis government's decision in July 13, 2014 to increase fuel prices, Houthi leaders succeeded to organize massive rallies in the capital San'a to protest the decision and to demand resignation of the incumbent government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi for "state-corruption". Thousands of Yemenis responded to the Houthi Leader, Abdul Malik al-Houthi's call to "erect tents, carry out sit-ins and organize marches" in the capital.
The Houthis' independent administration includes the following territories:
- All of Saada Governorate
- Parts of 'Amran Governorate including:
- Majority of Al Jawf Governorate, including:
- 40% of Hajjah Governorate, including:
- Kuhlan Ash Sharaf District
- Al Mahabishah District (partial control)
- Abs District (partial control)
- Aslem District (partial control)
- Khayran Al Muharraq District (partial control)
- Ku'aydinah District (partial control)
- Kushar District (partially control)
- Midi District (partial control)
- Mustaba District (partial control)
- Qafl Shamer District (partial control)
- Ash Shahil District (partial control)
- Washhah District (partial control)
- Parts of Sana'a Governorate including strong presence in:
- Parts of Al Mahwit Governorate including strong presence in:
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- "What is the Houthi Movement?". 25 September 2014. Retrieved 2/10/2014. Check date values in:
- "Houthis fighting ‘Western imperialism". January 13, 2014. Retrieved 2/10/2014. Check date values in:
- "Houthi logo says "Damn the Jews"". 03/12/2012. Retrieved 2/10/2014. Check date values in:
- Houthis Kill 24 in North Yemen, 27, November, 2011
- Al-Qaeda Announces Holy War against Houthis
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- Yemeni regime loses grip on four provinces
- Houthis Expanding Outside Sa’ada
- (page 14)
- "الصحوة نت - Houthi militants storm school in Amran". Alsahwa. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Medics: Militants raid Yemen town, killing dozens
- "Houthi Group Builds Checkpoints after Deadly Car Bomb Blast". Yemen Post. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "Picking up the pieces". Al Ahram Weekly. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- 24 Houthis Killed in Car Bomb Blast in Jawf
- "Houthi Fails in Revolution Exam". Yemen Fox. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Al-Houthi Expansion Plan in Yemen Revealed
- "Truce shook on between Houthis, Al-Shahel tribesmen in Hajja". Yemen Times. 30 August 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "Yemeni minister: Iranian RG advised Houthis to control Midi port". Yemen Fox. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Two Houthis killed in clashes with Hajjah tribesmen
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- Official web site (Arabic). Currently hacked and defaced, 09/28/2014.
- Interview with exiled Houthi leader in German Middle East magazine zenith