39 Facts About Houthis


Houthis have a complex relationship with Yemen's Sunni Muslims; the movement has discriminated against Sunnis, but recruited and allied with them.

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The Houthis have made fighting corruption the centerpiece of their political program.

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Houthis took part in the 2011 Yemeni Revolution by participating in street protests and by coordinating with other opposition groups.

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Houthis feared the deal was a blatant attempt to weaken them by dividing areas under their control between separate regions.

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In late 2014, Houthis repaired their relationship with the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and with his help, they took control of the capital and much of the north.

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Houthis have gained control of most of the northern part of Yemen's territory and since 2015 have been resisting the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen that claims to seek to restore the internationally recognized Yemeni government to power.

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The Houthis have launched repeated missile and drone attacks against Saudi cities.

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Later, the Houthis participated in the 2011 Yemeni Revolution, as well as the ensuing National Dialogue Conference .

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In May 2012, it was reported that the Houthis controlled a majority of Saada, Al Jawf, and Hajjah governorates; they had gained access to the Red Sea and started erecting barricades north of Sanaa in preparation for more conflict.

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The Gulf States believed that the Houthis had accepted aid from Iran while Saudi Arabia was aiding their Yemeni rivals.

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Houthis told Al-Jazeera that there was communication between Saleh, UAE and a number of other countries such as Russia and Jordan through encrypted messages.

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The Houthis have portrayed themselves as national resistance, defending all Yemenis from outside aggression and influences, as champions against corruption, chaos, and extremism, and as representative for the interests of marginalized tribal groups and the Zaidi sect.

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Houthis adhere to Jaroudism, a fundamentalist offshoot of Zaydism that believes in the absolute, Divine right of Ahl al-Bayt to rule.

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The Houthis lost significant support among Sunni tribes after killing ex-President Saleh.

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Many Zaydis oppose the Houthis, regarding them as Iranian proxies and the Houthis' form of Zaydi revivalism an attempt to "establish Shiite rule in the north of Yemen".

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Houthis have asserted that their actions are to fight against the alleged expansion of Salafism in Yemen, and for the defence of their community from discrimination.

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The Houthis have an ambivalent stance on the possible transformation of Yemen into a federation or the separation into two fully independent countries to solve the country's crisis.

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Houthis have been accused of expelling or restricting members of the rural Yemeni Jewish community, which had about 50 remaining members.

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Houthis have been accused of detaining, torturing, arresting, and holding incommunicado Baha'i Faith members on charges of espionage and apostasy, which are punishable by death.

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Similarly, following 2015 Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthis which claimed civilians lives, Yemenis responded to the Abdul-Malik al-Houthi's call and took to streets of the capital, Sanaa, in tens of thousands to voice their anger at the Saudi invasion.

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Houthis have held a number of mass gatherings since the revolution.

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Houthis are said to have "a huge and well-oiled propaganda machine".

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Houthis utilize radios as an effective means of spreading influence, storming radio stations and confiscating equipment of radio stations that do not adhere to what they're allowed to broadcast by the Houthis.

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In 2009, US Embassy sources have reported that Houthis used increasingly more sophisticated tactics and strategies in their conflict with the government as they gained more experience, and that they fought with religious fervor.

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Late in 2015, Houthis announced the local production of short-range ballistic missile Qaher-1 on Al-Masirah TV.

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In June 2019, the Saudi-led coalition stated that the Houthis had launched 226 ballistic missiles during the insurgency so far.

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In course of the Yemeni Civil War, the Houthis developed tactics to combat their opponents' navies.

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The Houthis increasingly began to employ specialised anti-ship missile and naval mines, some of them taken from old Yemeni arsenals, others newly constructed or imported from outside supporters such as Iran.

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Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh had accused the Houthis of having ties to external backers, in particular the Iranian government.

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Houthis in turn accused the Saleh government of being backed by Saudi Arabia and of using Al-Qaeda to repress them.

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Thomas Juneau, writing in the journal, International Affairs, states that even though Iran's support for Houthis has increased since 2014, it remains far too limited to have a significant impact in the balance of power in Yemen.

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Essentially, Iran is backing the Houthis to fight against a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf States fighting to maintain government control of Yemen.

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Houthis have repeatedly used a drone that is nearly identical to Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company's Ababil-T drone in strikes against Saudi Arabia.

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In May 2018, the United States imposed sanctions on Iran's IRGC, which was listed as a designated terrorist organization by the US over its role in providing support for the Houthis, including help with manufacturing ballistic missiles used in attacks targeting cities and oil fields in Saudi Arabia.

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Houthis have been accused of violations of international humanitarian law such as using child soldiers, shelling civilian areas, forced evacuations and executions.

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HRW has accused the Houthis of interfering with the work of Yemen's human rights advocates and organizations.

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An HRW researcher, quoted in 2009 US embassy report, has downplayed the allegations by the former government of Yemen accusing the Houthis of using civilians as human shields, by saying that they did not have enough evidence to conclude that the Houthis have been intentionally using civilians as human shields.

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AP's reporter, Ahmad al-Haj argued that the Houthis were winning hearts and minds by providing security in areas long neglected by the Yemeni government while limiting the arbitrary and abusive power of influential sheikhs.

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Houthis exert de facto authority over the bulk of North Yemen.

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