A Houthi Retrospective

This week we witnessed major political developments in Yemen, as the Houthi* Movement--also referred to as Ansar Allah--solidified control of the capital, San‘a, and Yemen’s central government collapsed. As happens every so often, the US and international press are now paying attention to Yemen, but mainstream news outlets rarely provide the background and context their audiences need to understand stories like these. As an aid to readers who may be new to the Yemen beat, I've collected some essential links below.

My coverage of this week's dramatic events (be sure to follow the links in each post, too):

1/19: “Coup, or Business as Usual in San‘a” Monday in southern San‘a began with the sound of machine-gun and artillery fire, as fighting broke out between Houthi “Popular Committee” militiamen and military units loyal to President Hadi.

1/20: “Al-Houthi Lays Down the Law” The ceasefire agreed yesterday between President Hadi and Houthi Popular Committees was quickly shown to be a dead letter, as intermittent clashes began again on Tuesday. By the evening, Houthi forces had the presidential palace, President Hadi's residence, and the military camp overlooking the palace all surrounded, and had cut off all roads leading into the area

1/22: “Hadi and Government Resign under Houthi Pressure” After a week of surprisingly rapid developments in what had previously been a very slow-motion coup, the political situation in Yemen took another turn on Thursday. First, Yemen’s prime minister, Khaled Bahah, delivered his resignation–and that of his government–to President Hadi, who himself resigned soon thereafter.

We’ve also explored the origins and rise of the Houthi movement on previous episodes of our Mafraj Radio Podcast:

9/16/2014: “President Hadi vs. Ansar Allah” On this episode we discussed the protest campaign that preceded the Houthis’ military capture of San‘a, with pro-Houthi activist Alhossain Albokhaiti and journalist Peter Salisbury.

2/27/13: “The Rise of Anti-state Movements” On our first episode we spoke with scholar Madeleine Wells Goldburt and journalist Adam Baron about the origins of the Houthi movement, the six-year armed conflict between the movement and the state, and Ansar Allah’s consolidation of power in Yemen’s far north and beyond. The segment on Ansar Allah begins at 11 minutes, and is preceded by an exploration of the Southern independence movement.

Have questions about the Houthi movement or the current crisis in Yemen? Talk to us on Facebook or Twitter; we're always happy hear from our readers.

*Because the mainstream media almost unanimously use the spelling "Houthi," and I want our blog posts to appear in search results, I'm abandoning my long-standing practice of using the simpler "Huthi" spelling as of today. The old spelling will persist in our archives.