Yemen: Government-Houthi relations remain tense

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Sana'a, March 1 - The security situation in Sa'ada remains tense according to tribal sources, despite official statements to the contrary.

"Citizens are increasingly worried as the government has not upheld its side of the agreement signed between the president and the Houthis, particularly in releasing 1,200 Houthi detainees from security prisons," said the sources. "In addition, military and security leaders in the governorate insist on re-stationing troops in areas that the government had agreed to withdraw from."

War may break out between the army and Houthis at any moment, said the same sources. "The situation is also tense between Houthi supporters and tribes loyal to the government, particularly as some centers of powers aim to escalate the situation into tribal revenges and turmoil."

Local sources in Sa'ada confirmed that clashes took place between armed Houthi supporters and security forces in the Ghamr district located west of Sa'ada city. Despite the use of light and medium weapons, said the sources, the clashes didn't result in any victims on either side.

They said clashes took place after soldiers prevented an armed group of Houthi supporters from entering Ghamr for fear that the group resume clashes with the Wald A'amir tribe that lost two men in bloody confrontations with Houthis last week.

On the political level, Houthi political officer Saleh Habra commented on the attention that the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) paid to the Sa'ada issue in their held last February 22.

"People of Sa'ada value the JMP and the supreme committee of the national dialogue for their role, is considered to be a victory for the Sa'ada issue and unity of the Yemeni society," said Habra in a statement to media outlets. "The JMP adopting this issue results from their care to maintain the security and stability of the country as well as their faithful will for the nation."

"The JMP's support of the Sa'ada issue has made people in Sa'ada feel that they are not alone and that the JMP and all honest people of the country are concerned about their issue," he said.

"The symposium assured people of Sa'ada that peace and stability are approaching Sa'ada and other governorates. The Yemeni people of the country rely a lot on the JMP to deal with crises, wars and the failed policy of the ruling party. Dominance and unilateral critical decisions are no longer accepted".

In the same context, Yahya Al-Houthi, a Member of Parliament who currently lives in Germany, questioned the utility of postponing parliamentary elections based on agreement between the ruling party and the JMP last week.

In a statement published early this week on Houthi website, Al-Houthi said, "The opposition gave the ruling party the opportunity to rule for two more years. The JMP benefited nothing from this suspension except promises that we all know to be no more than ink on paper."

He said that the result of the dialogue between the ruling party and the JMP is too far from the political reform "as the corrupt government was given two more years to play with the country and interests of the people. This result is too far from the aspirations of the Yemeni people in establishing a sound political system that represents all groups and works to achieve peace, justice, equality and a decent life."

Traffic held up at Yemeni-Saudi border

In a new case of security tension, local sources in Sa'ada said that armed elements believed to belong to Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Maqeet of the Baqem district in Sa'ada had blocked the Elb crossing on the border with Saudi Arabia and prevented people and trucks from passing through. reported that hundreds of vehicles and trucks were still at a standstill on the either side of the Saudi-Yemeni border since early morning on Saturday. The Elb crossing is one of the main border points between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, in addition to the Al-Buq'a crossing.

The same sources said that Maqeet, leader of the Baqem sheikhs, demands the Yemeni and Saudi governments to allow his tribesmen to enter Saudi Arabia for work without being under control Saudi controlling sponsors. He said that Yemeni citizens in Saudi Arabia are subjected to insults by Saudi sponsors, although the latter receive money from Yemenis.

He said that the Saudi government should be committed to enabling his tribesmen to work in Saudi Arabia, based on an agreement between Imam Yahya and King Abdul Aziz signed in 1936. In addition, he said that his grandfather "signed an agreement with Aal Saud family to allow Yemeni tribes on the Yemeni-Saudi border, including Baqem and Munabbeh tribes, to work on Saudi soil without official residency or paying money to their

Sources said that supporters of Sheikh Maqeet demand the Yemeni government fulfill its promises made during Sa'ada war, including recruiting 200 Baqem tribesmen into the Yemeni army.