Yemen's Houthis: Saleh's overture to Saudi 'a coup'

Violet Powell
December 3, 2017

The fighting eased in the afternoon as Saleh supporters gained the upper hand, but intermittent gunfire was being heard. In a televised interview, Salah also called for resuming relations with Saudi Arabia, if the Saudi-led coalition lifts its blockade of Yemeni ports and air facilities.

Street fighting in the war-wracked country comes amid heightened regional tensions, most notably after Houthi rebels early last month launched a missile that was intercepted near the Saudi capital.

The missile attacks, which could further escalate the coalition's military campaign, underscore how the raging Yemen conflict is increasingly spilling across the border, threatening Saudi towns and villages.

In 2011, Yemen fell into chaos after an uprising deposed Saleh. The country has since fallen into chaos and Mr Saleh later joined the Houthis to drive Mr Hadi out of the capital in 2014. "Should the blockade continue, we know what (targets) would cause great pain and how to reach them", he said in a speech broadcast on Al-Masira.

The Houthis accused Saleh of betrayal, and vowed to keep up the fight against the Saudi-led coalition.

The source said that clashes had renewed on Saturday between the Houthis and Saleh's supporters in the Yemeni capital Sana'a.

The Saudi-led coalition had been fighting both the Shiite Houthi rebels and Saleh's party in Yemen since March 2015 to support the internationally-recognized government led by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

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The Houthis' Ansarullah group, in a statement issued on its Twitter account, described the clashes as "regrettable".

"It is not odd or surprising that Saleh turns his back on a partnership he never believed in", the group's political bureau said in a statement.

"I appeal to the leader Saleh to show more wisdom and maturity. and not to heed incitement calls", Abdel-Malek al-Houthi said in a speech on the group's Al-Masirah TV, adding that his group was ready to sit down for arbitration and abide by any ruling.

The United Nations envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, and the ICRC urged the parties to avoid targeting civilians.

Saleh's GPC party accused the Houthis of failing to honor the truce and claimed in a statement on its website that the Houthis bear responsibility for dragging the country into a civil war.

However, in a statement, Saleh's party, the GPC, ordered their supporters to defy Houthi's orders and to "defend their homeland, their revolution, and their unity". In 2015 he fled to Saudi Arabia, which used its military force in a bid to place him back in power in Yemen.

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