Pace of war is accelerated as the army is retreating and Houthis are advancing to take over other parts of Sa’ada. They have also started expansion to other provinces like Al-Jawf, Hajjah and Amran. Houthis now dominate the whole of Sa’ada, with the state having a symbolic presence in governmental offices and in Sa’ada city. Some areas are still dominated by pro-government sheikhs. Houthis are also working to take over Razeh district as it is an important area on the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
Since President Saleh’s statement to the London-based Al-Hayat Newspaper about ending the Qatari mediation efforts and forming a local committee led by Fares Mana’a, field situation tends to escalation between the army and Houthis followers and both sides exchange accusations.
The reasons behind launching and halting the Sa’ada war for five times, with the sixth at doorsteps, are still unknown. This is only known by the authority and Houthis. Recently, Houthi sources revealed that Houthi field leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi received direct threats from President Saleh to launch a sixth war on them once they do not seize dialogue opportunities. The threat was conveyed by Mana’a.
Special sources revealed that the authority is actively seeking to start a new round of dialogue with Houthis and noted that accusing Houthis of kidnapping Germans as well as threatening to launch a sixth war are no more than pressure cards to start new dialogues, especially when the situation in South Yemen is aflame.
A Houthi source told the News Yemen that military warplanes are hovering Sa’ada areas for surveillance purposes of Houthi positions. The search for the kidnapped group of Germans and a Briton has allowed the state to comb all areas and it has cornered Houthis once they thought of stopping joint security committees from Yemen, Britain and Germany from searching their areas.
Deputy Interior Minister Brig. Saleh Al-Zuw’ari mentioned on June 27 that the German group was brought around by Houthi elements and the group did not notify the security apparatuses about their movements.
Similarly, a local source in Sa’ada declared that Houthis take unwavering stances towards efforts seeking to reinstate security, stability and peace in the governorate, hinting Houthis spare no effort to impede peace and reconstruction efforts in Sa’ada.
The same source continued that Houthis are still implementing sabotage acts in some districts, the last of which was attacking police centers in Shada area where several citizens and soldiers were killed and several others injured. Houthis also blocked roads, planted mines, attacked private and public property like hospitals, schools and other government centers in Ghamar districts.
In continuation of escalation, the source warned Houthis against their constant acts to undermine security and stability in Sa’ada governorate as well as other outlawed acts like kidnappings, assassinations and road blockades.
With President Saleh threatening Houthis in his interview with Al-Hayat, the field situation indicates that the presidential committee chaired over by Qasim Mana’a managed not to make any progress.
In return, Houthis have continued waging attacks to dominate areas and districts not yet taken over by them, especially Razeh district which has a strategic location and borders Saudi Arabia.
Houthi media office announced on June 25 releasing 25 soldiers who had been arrested in Shada confrontations and they were handed over to the mediation committees.
The office also announced that Houthis had taken over new positions and denied allegations that the kidnapped group of foreigners are with Abdullah Al-Ruzami, considering it to be fabrications.
With one Houthi killed and another injured in clashes with Buhussein tribe on June 26, the situation of fragmentation to come up once again outside Sa’ada especially in Al-Jawf and Hajjah, and perhaps, Al-Baidha and Amran. However, Minister of Information’s statements of June 23 allude that everything outside Sa’ada is closely watched by security apparatuses.
The Information Minister also confirmed the accusations directed by the Interior Minister to Abdul Malik Al-Houthi and his outlawed elements, whose assaults on citizens and private and public property are ongoing. He stressed that Houthis are the direct beneficiaries of such acts in Sa’ada.
Foreigners’ kidnapping on June 12, and not knowing their whereabouts so far do hint that the state is completely absent in most Sa’ada districts especially where the corpses of the Korean teachers and German nurses were found in Shi’eb Madar in Al-Safra’a district’s Nishour area.
Sheikh Ali Al-Aji, from Al-Jawf province, when asked by the News Yemen about the possibility of transferring the kidnapped foreigners to Al-Jawf noted that this is impossible because Sa’ada is completely fortified by Houthis.
New skirmishes are ongoing in Razeh, Ghamar, Malaheedh and Shada districts. Houthi followers have started to distribute leaflets speaking of possible renewal of clashes and saying that the army is responsible for breaching the ceasefire agreement.
Meanwhile, 26 September quoted the head of the presidential committee Fares Mana as saying that Abdul Malik Al-Houthi is responsible for the constant violations which blow up peace-making efforts.
He also denounced the attacks by Houthi elements on private and public property, kidnapping citizens and practicing the work of local authorities in Sa’ada, but the authenticity of this statement could not be verified especially when the Houthi website noted that Mana’a never made such a statement.
Houthis accused of trading in drugs
Security apparatuses indicated that Yemeni, Iranian, Pakistani, Syrian and Saudi traders of drugs have taken Yemen to be a transit point into Gulf countries, specifically Saudi Arabia.
Ministry of Interior accused Houthis of trading in drugs to finance their resurrection and buy arms.
The ministry also noted that abusing drugs is common among Houthi elements and this was confirmed by investigations conducted with arrested Houthis. Previously, Houthis denied trading or abusing in drugs.
Post-war reconstruction operations
On June 21, 303 citizens in Bani Mua’th district received checks worth YR 21 million as donations by the state within the third stage of Sa’ada reconstruction operation.
The Executive Director of Sa’ada Reconstruction Fund Mohammed Abdullah Thabet declared that YR 28.7 million were spent to reconstruct agricultural institutions in 107 farms located in Al Saifi, Al-Masa’ebah and Sahar districts. The last batch of money was also paid to 50 beneficiaries in Al-Talh, Sahar and Mahdhah.
Other 501 checks totaling YR 83 million were spent on reconstruction efforts: YR 21 million in Bani Mu’ath with 303 beneficiaries, YR 15.5 million in Al-Masa’ebah for reconstructing 52 houses and 15 farms and YR 32.5 million in Al Al-Saifi for reconstructing 37 houses and 91 farms.
The number of houses reconstructed over the first and second phases reached 246 in Al Humaidan, 188 in Al-Masa’ebah, 180 in Al-Abqour area and 86 in Aal Saifi, while houses under construction are 135 in Al Humaidan, 86 in Al-Masa’ebah, 186 in Al-Abquor area and 252 in Al Saifi.