Shiite Militants Sieze Yemeni Capital; Muslim Brotherhood Supported President Resigns


While most of the world is focused on ISIS, as well as Iraq and Syria, US media is reporting on the takeover of the Yemeni capital Sana by what are described as Shiite militants in a development which may have profound consequences for the country’s Muslim Brotherhood. According to a Wall Street Journal report:

Yemeni Flag
Yemeni Flag

San’a, Yemen  Sept. 21 Reuters Shiite militants took over much of Yemen’s capital on Sunday, prompting the prime minister’s resignation and forcing a deal to form a new government.

The militants known as Houthis have been protesting outside government ministries in the capital San’a since August, complaining about rising fuel prices and demanding the government quicken the pace of political overhauls. By Sunday evening, they had taken over the central bank and the defense, interior and finance ministries, adding to advances last week that included the airport.

Shortly after Sunday’s takeover, the Houthis, President Abed Rabbo Mansour al Hadi and most of the country’s major parties signed a United Nations-mediated cease-fire that included an agreement to form a new government. Mr. Hadi will choose the next prime minister but must consult with the parties that signed the agreement, details of which were scarce. The Houthis are likely to have an edge in those negotiations after their recent display of force.

Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa’s departure may further the sectarian chasm in Yemen, as he was supported by the Islah party, a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot popular among the country’s Sunnis. Islah supporters and the Houthis have clashed in recent weeks.

Signaling that the Houthis may respect the position of Mr. Hadi—a U.S. ally—and U.S. counterterrorism interests in the country, the militants occupied every major government building on Sunday except for the presidential palace and the headquarters of Yemen’s special-operations forces, which are trained by their American counterparts.”

Read the rest here.

In February 2013, the GMBDW reported on Hamid al-Ahmar, also a senior leader in the Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood. According to a report in the Saudi  Asharq Al-Awsat:

Also on Monday, armed rebels were reported to have looted the homes of several Yemeni officials, including that of presidential defense adviser Gen. Ali Mohsin Al-Ahmar, and leading Al-Islah Party figure Sheikh Hamid Al-Ahmar, as well as the minister of education, among others.Houthis blame Gen. Ahmar for the death of the group’s founder Hussein Al-Houthi, and he has become a hate figure for the group due to his role leading government forces in a number of recent battles against Houthis in the province of Saada.

The Al-Islah Party in Yemen is identified by an Israeli research center  as the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen. One of the other important leaders of Al-Islah is Abdul Majeed al-Zindani. In addition to his leadership of the Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood, Zindani also has strong links to the global Muslim Brotherhood including serving on the board of global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi’s Union of Good Hamas fund-raising organization and his relationship to Muslim Brotherhood figure Zaghloul el-Naggar of Egypt. The connection with el-Naggar is based on both men’s position as leading exponents of the so-called “scientific basis of Islam.” The U.S. Treasury Department designated Zindani as a terrorist in 2004, describing him as a “loyalist” and “spiritual advisor” to Osama Bin Laden. Also, the Jerusalem Post reported in April 2006 that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal had met with Zindani at a fundraising event at the Hamas office in Yemen. The report stated that at the event, Zindani “praised Hamas suicide bombers and and called on his followers to donate money to assist the Palestinian people.”

In December 2011, we recommended on a New York Times article titled “Yemen’s Opposition May Be Caught by Its Own Double Game.”

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