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Studies in Conflict & Terrorism
Volume 32, 2009 - Issue 11
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Original Articles
The al Houthi Insurgency in the North of Yemen: An Analysis of the Shabab al Moumineen
Jack Freeman
Pages 1008-1019 | Received 30 Jan 2009, Accepted 12 Feb 2009, Published online: 23 Oct 2009
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The Yemeni government has fought an insurgency in the north of Yemen against a group called the Shabab al Moumineen, (Believing Youth) since 2004. The insurgency is portrayed by the Yemeni government in the press as a localized phenomenon led by the single al Houthi family and state that their ranks have been decimated by near-continuous fighting. However, the al Houthi Insurgency, led by the Shabab al Moumineen, is far more than a localized uprising: it is a full-blown insurgency–and one that Yemen's government and people may not be prepared to combat. This article explains the origin of the Shabab al Moumineen and conveys the importance of this conflict in Yemen and its potential multiple impacts on the broader Middle East.
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1. “Shi'ite Insurgency Takes Aim at Sunni Leaders.” Available at http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2008/me_yemen0138_05_15.asp
2. The al Haq political party is frequently identified with the Zaydi cause, but its leadership claim have no direct control over, or contact with, al Houthi.
3. Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Yemen: The Conflict in Saada Governorate—Analysis​, 24 July 2008. UNHCR Refworld. Available at http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/488f180d1e.html (accessed 26 November 2008).
4. Ibid.
5. “Conflict in Saad'a.” Available at http://www.al-bab.com/yemen/artic/mei102.htm
6. Ibid.
7. “Yemeni Forces Kill Cleric.” Available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3643600.stm
8. “Al Shabab al Muomineen.” Available at http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/shabab-al-moumineen.htm
9. Ibid.
10. “Britain Closes its Embassy in Yemen Because of Saa'da Conditions.” Available at http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/050409/2005040908.html
11. Ibid.
12. “Yemen Releases Hundreds of al Houthi Supporters.” Available at http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/060304/2006030407.html
13. “Ceasefire in Yemen.” Available at http://janenovak.wordpress.com/2007/06/27/ceasefire-in-yemen/
14. Ibid.
15. “Al Houthi Rebels Descend the Mountains, Lay Down Their Weapons.” Available at http://www.yobserver.com/front-page/10012484.html
16. “Official Statement: Al Houthis Started Attacking Military Locations.” Available at http://www.newsyemen.net/en/view_news.asp?sub_no=4_2007_02_07_6540
17. Ibid.
18. “Clashes Break Out in Northern Yemen as Truce Falters.” Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSL0356080920080503
19. “Yemen: The Arrest of Mr. Muhammad Mufta, Chairperson of the al Haq Party Council.” Available at http://en.alkarama.org/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=55
20. “Yemeni President: al Houthi is an Ill Man.” Available at http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/040709/2004070905.html
21. “Yemeni Forces Kill Cleric.”
22. “How Many Shia Are There in the World?” Available at http://www.islamicweb.com/beliefs/cults/shia_population.htm
23. Based on observations by the author during 10 months of living in Sana'a, Yemen.
24. “The Zaydis of Yemen.” Available at http://www.angelfire.com/az/rescon/mgczaydi.html
25. Harold Ingrams, The Yemen: Imams, Rulers & Revolutions, The Beginnings of Zeidism (Copyright by the author, self-published work, 1963), pp. 38–40.
26. Ibid., p. 41.
27. “Clashes Between Yemeni Forces and al Houthi Supporters Renewed.” Available at http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/040805/2004080510.html
28. “US Kills al Qaeda Suspects in Yemen.” Available at http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2002–11-04-yemen-explosion_x.htm
29. “British-Yemen Society: Yemen Overview 2004–2005.” Available at http://www.al-bab.com/bys/articles/whitaker05.htm
30. “Shi'ite Insurgency Takes Aim at Sunni Leaders.” Available at http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2008/me_yemen0138_05_15.asp
31. “Five Killed in Blast at Saad'a Post Office.” Available at http://armiesofliberation.com/archives/2008/07/05/five-killed-in-blast-at-saada-post-office/
32. “Clashes Break Out in Northern Yemen as Truce Falters.” Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSL0356080920080503
33. “Rebels Raid Village and Ransack Jews’ Homes in Yemen.” Available at http://www.gulfnews.com/News/Gulf/yemen/10203529.html
34. “Shi'ite Insurgency Takes Aim at Sunni Leaders.”
35. Bard O’Neill, Insurgency & Terrorism. The Environment (Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2005), pp. 71–73.
36. “Three Houthi Rebels Captured in Sana'a.” Available at http://www.marebpress.net/news_details.php?lng=english&sid=12163
37. “Yemen: Al Houthi Rebels Training in Iran.” Available at http://newsblaze.com/story/20080612064607tsop.nb/topstory.html
38. “Voices of Yemen: Yemen Accuses Iran of Training al Houthi Rebels.” Available at http://www.yemenonline.info/news-750.html
39. “Iranian President Urges to Strengthen Ties with Yemen.” Available at http://www.alsahwa-yemen.net/view_nnews.asp?sub_no=406_2008_07_14_64687
40. “An Interview with President Ali Abdullah al Saleh.” Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/28/world/middleeast/28saleh-interview.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2&ref=middleeast
41. “Death Penalty for a Supporter to al Houthi Over Contacting Iran.” Available at http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/050530/2005053021.html
42. Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Yemen.
43. “In Yemen, a Mostly Concealed Sectarian Fight Endures.” Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/06/AR2008060603977_pf.html
44. “Yemen Says Libya, Iran Groups Back Rebels.” Available at http://www.javno.com/en/world/clanak.php?id=23995
45. “Yemen: The Arrest of Mr. Muhammad Mufta, Chairperson of the al Haq Party Council.”
46. “Despite Truce, Soldiers Kill al Houthi Supporter.” Available at http://www.yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=936&p=local&a=4​; “An Interview with President Ali Abdullah al Saleh.”
47. “Al Houthis and Government Breach Ceasefire.” Available at http://www.yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=974&p=front&a=3​; “As Guerrilla Raids Go On.” http://www.yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=847&p=front&a=2
48. “The Spreading Destruction of the Saad'a War in Yemen.” Available at http://janenovak.wordpress.com/2008/07/18/the-spreading-destruction-of-the-saada-war-in-yemen/
49. Ibid.
50. “Thousands of IDP's Unable to Return Home.” Available at http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportID=79474
51. “The Spreading Destruction of the Saad'a War in Yemen.”
52. “Shi'ite Insurgency in Yemen: Iranian Intervention or Mountain Revolt?” Available at http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=26750
53. “Saudi Arabia Refutes Claims of Involvement.” Available at http://www.yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=757&p=front&a=1
54. “Yemen: The Conflict in Saad'a Governorate.” Available at http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportID=79410
55. Michael Knights, “The Current State of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia.” CTC Sentinel 1(10) (September 2008), p. 8.
56. “The Spreading Destruction of the Saad'a War in Yemen.”
57. It has long been alleged that some officers in Yemeni Special Forces, including high ranking ones who are very close to President al Saleh himself, have supported Al Qaeda and even had personal relationships with its leader, Osama bin Laden.
58. Gregory D. Johnsen, “Assessing the Strength of Al Qaida in Yemen,” CTC Sentinel 1(10) (September 2008), p. 12.
59. “Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility for Yemen Attack.” Available at http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/07/27/yemen.bombing/index.html
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