Tuesday 29 November 2011 - 07:04

Clashes in Northern Yemen between Salafists and Shias

Story Code : 118310
Clashes in Northern Yemen between Salafists and Shias
Al-Houthis fighters who have been long suspected of using Iran's help to smuggle weapons and finance their secessionist guerilla war against the Yemeni regime have used the popular uprising to resume their territorial ambitions in the country's northern territories.

So far confined in Sa'ada, a province lying on the Saudi southern borders, the rebels have now seized most of Hajjah and are continuing their advances towards the Red Sea hoping to get to the seaport of Midi for strategic reasons.

Although Midi cannot accommodate large cargo ships, it would nevertheless give the Shia rebels an undeniable opening towards Saudi Arabia's waters, and allow Iranian ships to unload, cash, men and weapons onto the mainland.

Salafists who are also claiming control over Yemen Northern provinces have for the past couple of months regularly clashed with the Shia militias, claiming to act on self-defense.

The Salafists who believe to a return to a more traditional Islam are ideologically opposed to al-Houthis, believing that the latter's Islamic beliefs are biased and erroneous.

The sounds of arms are now being replaced by mortar shells as violence is rapidly escalating.

As a result 21 people were killed on Saturday, with residents reporting that the shelling is still on-going (Sunday afternoon).
The situation in the north is getting very troublesome for Yemen soon to be new coalition government as it will have to not only rally the population to its cause but also stifle all secessionist sentiment in order to avoid a fragmentation of its territories into smaller states.