No end in sight for Huthi-Islah conflict

Friend-of-the-blog Fernando Carvajal gives us his take on the ongoing conflict between the Huthi movement and the Islah party. Fernando is a PhD candidate at University of Exeter (UK). He currently resides in Sanʻa.  After two years of a volatile cease fire between Zaydi rebels and government forces, and a year after Yemeni president ʻAli ʻAbdullah Saleh agreed to step down, the threat of all-out war still looms in northern Yemen. Tensions remain high in three provinces surrounding the Huthi stronghold Saʻdah, not to mention the capital Sanʻa.

Most attention in recent weeks has focused on the delayed National Dialogue, which is mandated by the GCC Initiative to help unify the various conflictive regions. While not much is reported of the increasing tensions between particularly the Huthis—a rebel group in control of territory in northern Yemen—and the Islah party, which has grown more powerful in the course of the Arab Spring. This conflict between a Zaydi (Shiʻah) group and a Sunni political party, composed of Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi elements, has been downplayed as a mere political conflict, not a sectarian one. Yet, as tensions increase as a result of both armed conflicts in northern provinces and Islah’s increasing political domination of the transition government, political rhetoric has focused on public attacks with religious underpinnings.

Milestones of conflict

Analysis refrains from calling armed conflicts in 2011 a civil war, even though the same conflicts existed between the same parties in the same areas prior to the popular uprisings of the Arab Spring. While the six wars fought between 2004 and 2009 involved direct conflict between Huthis and government forces, since 2011 clashes have [maily] involved armed militias. This new level of conflict produced a new dynamic whereby the state, in this case represented by transition president ‘Abd Rabbu Mansur Hadi, is unable to directly control the conflict. As a result, analysts have gauged the potential for expanded armed conflict based on perceived degrees of escalation.

As religious holidays, such as ‘Eid al-Adha or ‘Eid al-Ghadir, came to an end peacefully, fears of potential sparks for all-out conflict began to diminish. Analysts continue to forecast the potential for a civil war, however, rising from a number of small, sustained skirmishes in cities and villages in northern provinces like ‘Amran, Hajjah, and al-Jawf. At the start of the Islamic holiday ‘Eid al-Adha (25 October) many expected Huthi and Islahi militias to take advantage of the security forces’ low guard to expand their physical presence around the capital Sanʻa and other areas. Yet, no major incidents were reported, and Zaydi celebrations of Eid al-Ghadir in Sanʻa remained peaceful.

In late October, a suspected US drone killed three al-Qa‘idah in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives in a camp along the Saʻdah/al-Jawf border. Both of these provinces are under Huthi influence, leading Huthis to warn both the Hadi government and the US of grave consequences if Huthis were targeted in a similar manner. Yet, this rebel group has been accused of cooperating with the US against AQAP.

On November 11, 2012 Huthi rebels agreed to sign a de-escalation agreement with the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) at the home of Dr. Yasin Saʻid Noman, Secretary-General of the Yemeni Socialist Party. Since the JMP is led by al-Islah party as senior partner, this was hailed as a major achievement. But the agreement focused on ending media attacks, and was not a cease-fire between Islah and Huthis. This was evident when within a few days of signing the agreement clashes were once again reported in al-Shabwan, al-Jawf Province.

Convenient Alliances

The tension between the two groups is far from cooling. No efforts have been made to engage in a dialogue between the two religious forces, and this serves continued political posturing. Instead various  alliances of convenience are formed, which represent efforts to counter Islah’s rise since the signing of the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative on 23 November 2011. Such shifting alliances are too often neglected in analysis.

The new political environment has brought old foes together. Huthi expansion into southern provinces, and funding from Iran for exiled southern leaders such as Ali Salem al-Baydh has created strange bedfellows. Huthi and Southern Movement (Hirak) elements have joined forces to counter their common foe Islah in places like the port city of ‘Aden. And, although Husayn Badr al-Din al-Huthi, the first leader of the Huthi rebels, raised arms in 2004 against the government of former president ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Saleh, the deposed president is said to have opened channels with Husayn’s brother and successor, ‘Abd al-Malik al-Huthi.

Sources in Sanʻa indicate former president Saleh has met Huthi representatives such as Saleh Habrah, Saleh al-Wijman, Yusef al-Madani and others. People close to actors in Beirut point to meetings between Yemeni politicians and Abu Mustafa of Hezbollah and diplomat ‘Ali al-Hajj. Media outlets in Sanʻa affiliated with the General People’s Congress (GPC), headed by ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Saleh, have also refrained from attacking the Southern Movement since the summer, giving an impression of an unofficial agreement. Hirak have also refrained from slogans against the ‘Zaydi Occupiers,’ which have previously been used since 2007. Islah has attempted to co-opt the Southern Movement through its own southern organizations, led by Nabil Ghanem. But the memories of Islah’s role against current leaders of Hirak in the 1994 civil war, still form an important part of the Southern narrative.

In a conversation with ‘Ali al-Emad, spokesman of ‘Abd al-Malik al-Huthi in Sanʻa, details were provided as to the gap between propaganda and the Huthi’s political aims. Al-Emad admitted to effective political expansion by his group beyond Saʻdah, crediting political gains among young Yemenis, who may not be Zaydis or Shiʻah themselves. Al-Emad also insists that “Hirak trusts the Huthis,” and while he did not completely deny possible financial support from Iran for the movement, he questioned the bias implicit in this question, as it is well known that Saudi Arabia supports Islah [and the GPC, among others].

During our conversation, ‘Ali al-Emad commented on the role of the US Embassy during the transition. While he does not expect US Ambassador Gerald Feierstein to visit Saʻdah any time soon, he denied any Huthi role in the 13 September attack on the embassy in Sanʻa. Recalling the fact that the Huthis did not sign the GCC Initiative, al-Emad points to their willingness to participate in the National Dialogue through the role played by Muhammad al-Bukhaity and Dr. Ahmad Sharaf al-Din. He pointed to good relations with the European Union, having hosted a European delegation to Saʻdah accompanying Dr. Yasin Saʻid Noman earlier this year.


While low-level confrontations with Islah do not yet amount to a sectarian war, the attack on a Huthi celebration of Ashoura on 24 November in Sanʻa may be a new level of escalation. It also still remains to be seen if alliances of convenience will hold over time as political positioning continues in the absence of a National Dialogue conference. The cohesiveness of the Huthi group may also suffer from internal vulnerabilities as time passes. ‘Abd al-Malik’s leadership is constantly challenged by his cousin Muhammad ‘Abd al-Thim al-Huthi, considered more of a religious leader. As a result of increasing confrontations with Islah and Salafi elements, and in the absence of direct dialogue toward a permanent cease-fire, time will have more of a negative affect for efforts to achieve comprehensive reconciliation, particularly in northern provinces.

Houthi Expansion and Marginalization

For the second day in a row, we're pleased to offer a piece by PhD candidate and renowned Yemen-watcher Fernando Carvajal. This one covers recent developments in the far north, where the al-Huthi movement is facing battles on several fronts. One of the main issues prolonging Yemen’s instability beyond the recent GCC agreement on transition of power from President Saleh remains the unresolved conflict between Zaydi Houthi rebels and religio-political forces. This issue continues under reported inside and outside Yemen, with only a few videos found online and often brought to our attention by dedicated observers like Aaron Zelin ( The conflict is by no means new, nor confined to events related to the youth revolution, nor is it confined to the six wars fought between Houthis and government forces throughout the predominantly Zaydi northern territories of Saʻdah, al-Jawf and Harf Sufian.

Today’s conflict has reached a point beyond mere political positioning or demands over religious freedom. People still continue to debate its origins, whether it resulted from the new political alignments following the 1994 civil war giving the Sunni Islamists (al-Islah) a share of power, or from broken promises by the regime to the sons of Badr al-Din al-Houthi following the success of the 2000 Border Treaty with Saudi Arabia. Houthis, who were part of the military and ruling party, were instrumental in gaining the support of many Zaydi tribes along the border in order to ensure Saudi Arabia of stability along its southern flank, but in the past 11 years Zaydis had remained targets of Islah’s political agenda in Sanʻa which focused on a stronger hold for Sunni-based education nation-wide. In addition, Zaydis continued to face increasing pressure from Salafist groups bent on engaging Dawa (Calls to Islam) projects in predominantly Zaydi territories, such as the now four-decade-old Damaj ( Saʻdah) Dar al-Hadith center which is part of a major network of teaching centers around the country under the leadership of students of the late Shaykh Moqbil al-Wada’i.

Houthi rebels, led by Abd al-Malik b. Badr al-Din al-Houthi, are now engaged in what could be a war for survival. Following a ceasefire agreement with the government in 2010 the group still remains engaged in armed conflicts in al-Jawf (against Islahi tribesmen), in Saʻdah (vs Salafis in Damaj), in Hajja (against tribes that may offer government forces positions from which to attack Saʻdah) and unarmed conflicts with Islah within Change Square in Sanʻa since late April as they joined the physical occupation of the streets of Sanʻa in support of the Youth Revolution. As a result of their continued marginalization within the political process, Houthis have now moved to a strategy of expansion in order to produce a network of potential launching sites proving them with bargaining power. This expansion includes presence in southern areas as far as ‘Aden, and newly territories such as Rada which would allow them access to Dhamar, an area with Zaydi population. Such positions should be of interest since both Aden and Rada are major targets of Islah during the ten month long revolution and in a post-revolution electoral process as well. Rada has itself witnessed increasing clashes between tribes from al-Ghaysh, loyal to Islah and often associated with Salafist/AQ related training camps (this is where Anwar al-Awlaqi’s brother-in-law comes from as well). The government has so far failed to settle the security issues in Rada, even after visits with Ahmed Ali by the city’s major shaykhs, and while the population has so far remained in support of President Saleh they have threatened to withdraw their support if they have to engage Islahis on their own. Rada is far from joining Islah in a political agreement, and though we see pro-revolution demonstrations in Rada residents indicate they are often under guard of heavily armed men and of low numbers.

We must also keep in mind that the Houthi issue has remained outside the political negotiations that produced the GCC Initiative signed by President Saleh on Wednesday. The Zaydi group, often associated with Iranian elements based in the Yemen Affairs Offices in Tehran and Damascus, has been marginalized politically even though its leadership formed part of the high ranks of the military and were members of parliament. One reason given in Sanʻa for such marginalization has been the fact that there is no viable Zaydi political party active in the negotiations. Al-Haqq party, member of the Joint Meeting Party (JMP), is not recognized legally by the government. Leaders of al-Haqq party have often remain in conflict with the Houthi leadership, and the only contacts of influence for the Houthis have been with personalities outside Yemen that remain in direct conflict with the regime. Neither Mr. Hasan Zaid nor Dr. Mohamed Mutawakkil have been able to produce a rapprochement between the government and Houthis over the past seven years, even though they have full access to the leadership of al-Islah within the JMP that would allow Zaid and Mutawakkil to mediate between Islah and Houthis and pave the way to the end of confrontations with the government.

This week Aaron Zelin posted a video of Salafist shaykh Yahya al-Hajuri from YouTube (dated November 6th) encouraging jihad against the ‘drunk’ Houthis, while we read at the same time this week that Salafis in Damaj and Houthis had agreed to a ceasefire. Last week, before I left Sanʻa I also posted on twitter that Yemeni analysts had mentioned Saʻdah was probably the safest area in Yemen and its economy actually showed signs of growth at a time of complete economic stagnation in Yemen. The accusations against Houthis, which have previously included rapes and forced marriages, in the video of al-Hajuri seem out of place and beyond the Iranian-linked accusations. This conflict in Damaj should also be considered in relative terms and not as an all-out Salafi-Houthi conflict since most Salafis are pre-occupied with the ten-month-old political crisis as they position themselves in support of President Saleh and in direct opposition to Sunnis of al-Islah, mainly seen as Muslim Brothers and not Salafists. This conflict with al-Islah has resulted in a demonizing narrative of the Muslim Brotherhood as the new vanguard of al-Qaeda during sermons, Friday speeches at Sabaeen Stand, even radio talk shows in Sanʻa.

As if things were not yet confusing enough, the role of Saudi Arabia further complicates matters. After the outright failure of Saudi armed forces against Houthis along the border in 2009 the Kingdom had secretly established direct contact with Abd al-Malik al-Houthi and set up confidence building mechanisms in order to avoid clashes along the border. Things were then made more complicated as Gen. Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, head of al-Firqa, reached an agreement with Houthis in March in order to prevent clashes between Houthis and Firqa in Saʻdah in order to focus on the political crisis, then he completely disengaged when he defected on 20 March to ‘protect’ the revolution. This situation handed Saʻdah to Houthis and saw the appointment of Faris Man’a, a weapons dealer, as de facto provincial governor. Firqa were withdrawn to the borders of Saʻdah, while Republican Guard forces remained beyond Firqa positions, and Houthis were allowed free movement while encircling Damaj district housing the salafis. All the meanwhile Houthis refused to withdraw from territory gained inside al-Jawf province, to the east of Saʻdah. Since the deals with KSA and Ali Muhsin only addressed the situation in Saʻdah Bakil confederation tribal forces loyal to al-Islah began to engage Houthis in al-Jawf under presumed patronage from KSA. Under Shaykh Ameen al-‘Ukaimi tribal forces had already taken control of al-Jawf and formed a Tribal Council in late March to substitute central government authority and declared their support for the Youth Revolution.

Saudi does not automatically support Salafis in Damaj. The relationship with al-Wada’i’s successor still remains fragile as result of conflicting agendas. It is unclear where Damaj-based Salafists obtain their funding, but they have managed to resist Houthi pressure this year. Houthis still face a long uphill battle in the post transition period, and it seems political actors are in no hurry to take on the issue any time soon. Failure to address the matter immediately will result in prolonged instability and force Houthis to find new staging points around the country in order to exert pressure on the interim government and potentially increasingly destabilize many regions as the 90 day deadline for elections approaches. We must wait to see which political actor assumes the mantel of mediator between Houthis and their religious and political rivals. Just as we see no alternatives for the post of Prime Minister and President in the coming weeks, it is difficult to think of one individual within the JMP or among the Zaydi community willing to take on this task. Also, the previous failure of Qatar to intervene in the matter removes potential international actors able to fill the vacuum. It would also be against Qatar’s interests to represent the Houthis at a time when their vested interests may rest only with Islah and Bayt al-Ahmar as reported by Yemeni journalists and analysts. Iran is often mentioned as a potential mediator, but as the international community continues its rhetoric against Iran vis-à-vis the nuclear issue and Syria’s revolution, it seems highly unlikely the interim government under al-Hadi and BaSundwa will accept any overtures from Tehran and endanger any relations with KSA, the US and the EU at a critical time.

Statement from Zaydi 'ulama in support of the revolution

Our resident expert on Zaydiyah, James King, has generously shared with us his translation of a statement issued last week by a group of prominent Zaydi scholars, along with his own commentary on the statement: The statement translated below was issued by twenty of the leading Zaydi scholars in Yemen today. To varying degrees, the signatories have historically situated themselves between the Salih regime and leaders of the Huthi movement. While a number of these men (most prominently Miftah and al-Daylami) have faced imprisonment and severe persecution for their criticisms of the regime’s actions during the Huthi conflict, they have not publically aligned themselves with the Huthis, although many of them undoubtedly maintain close ties. In other words, while there’s no love lost between this group, or the constituents they represent, and the regime, this represents a significant public defection. This is particularly true considering the prestige the ‘ulama hold in the Zaydi tradition.

Another important community has fully thrown its lots in with the revolution.

Furthermore, for a community that continues to face severe repression and marginalization, they are taking a major risk. If the revolution fails, this will only intensify. Of course, if it succeeds, they will likely enjoy some enhanced credibility in a future state. My sense, however, is that their statement reflects the signatories’ sincere commitments to peace and justice more than political calculations.

In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate.

A statement from those ‘ulama who fear God.

“Intentional killing is an unforgivable crime”

What has happened in the land of faith and wisdom is unthinkable! [This is a reference to the Prophet’s declaration that “faith and wisdom is Yemeni.” Protestors in Sana’a are camped out at Sana’a University near a monument that quotes this hadith.] Young and old, men, women and children – demonstrating peacefully, not carrying weapons, and demanding their rights – are being killed. Those who attack them in front of the world do not fear God, and they have no deterrent. They throw the laws of God behind them and disregard the Qur’an and its verses as if they have no relationship with Islam and its rules. The attack on [these protestors] is a sin and a crime.

Attacking these protestors is forbidden and it is impermissible for any soldier to attack a protestor or demonstrator, because this is considered an intentional killing.

God Most High said: “Whoever kills a believer intentionally has the recompense of Hell, where he will abide eternally. God has become angry with him, cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment.” [Surat al-Nisa’ (4), verse 93]

God Most High said: “Whoever kills a soul – unless for murder or ‘corruption in the land’ – it is as if he had slain all of mankind. And whoever saves one, it is as if he had saved all of mankind.”  [Surat al-Ma’idah (5), verse 32]

We not only call the military, security services and police to protect our brethren, but also to join them for the sake of bringing down this corrupt and unjust regime. We also call all sons of the Yemeni Muslim people to descend to the “Square of Change” – the square of honor and dignity – in order to support our brethren in repelling the discord [fitnah] that only happened due to some people’s negligence in coming out to protest, which encouraged the regime to carry out these attacks.

What humiliation! What shame, like what happened in the land of faith and wisdom!

The curse of God, the angels, and all people be upon the killers and whoever orders [the attacks] or silently consents. The ‘ulama condemn this disgraceful behavior and place all responsibility for these actions and their consequences on the regime.

God is witness to what we are saying. He is the best Lord and the best Defender. He is sufficient for us and the most Dependable.

The ‘ulama of Yemen:

  1. Muhammad b. Muhammad al-Mansour
  2. Hamoud b. ‘Abbas al-Mu’ayyad
  3. Muhammad b. Muhammad al-Muta’
  4. Qasim Muhammad al-Kibsi
  5. Muhammad Ahmed Miftah
  6. Al-Murtada al-Mahturi
  7. Isma’il al-Wazir
  8. Taha al-Mutawakkil
  9. Abdul-Majeed Abdul-Rahman al-Huthi
  10. Abdullah Muhammad al-Shadhili
  11. Ahmed Dirham al-Huriyyah
  12. Abdul-Salaam al-Wajih
  13. Yahya al-Daylami
  14. Shams al-Din Sharaf al-Din
  15. Muhammad Abdullah al-Shar’i
  16. Yunis Muhammad al-Mansour
  17. Muhammad b. Ali Luqman
  18. Salah Muhammad al-Hashimi
  19. Muhammad b. Qasim al-Hashimi
  20. Muhammad al-Ghayl

The Huthi movement in revolutionary Yemen

Today we have the honor of sharing a guest post by James King, an expert on Zaydi history and the Huthi movement. James has written extensively on these topics elsewhere, and has done first-hand research in northern Yemen. His insights are extremely valuable. Enjoy! The days of President Ali Abdullah Salih are likely numbered. We’re still miles from that point, but it appears increasingly doubtful that he can survive the end of his term in September 2013, despite his insistence otherwise. More and more, the question is one of how rather than if.

Will he step down at the year’s end to allow for presidential elections, as called for by the JMP? If the protests continue to escalate, will he attempt to mount a Gaddafi-esque megalomaniacal crack-down, likely forcing civil war(s)? Or will the protest movement coalesce around even bolder demands, not merely Salih’s departure, but the fundamental transformation of Yemen’s political order?

As analysts debate how a post-Salih Yemen might look, we must remember that the regime already faces three existing conflicts. These run the gamut from full-blown revolutionary groups like AQAP that seek to overthrow the republican system; to the al-Hirak coalition, whose members’ ambitions range from greater Southern autonomy to secession; to the Huthi movement, a family of prominent Zaydi sayyids and their tribal allies that have spearheaded armed confrontation with the state in Yemen’s northernmost provinces.

Perhaps the most pertinent question on Yemen’s future is whether these groups will play (or be allowed to play) a role in any new government. And does this represent a unique opportunity to resolve conflicts by drawing them into a more inclusive state?

For the Huthis in particular, I am convinced that if given the opportunity, they would participate in any pluralistic state that respects Zaydis' communal rights, whether led by a transitional government or in the context of a new constitutional order.

For starters, the Huthis’ relationship to the Salih regime is far more complex than most people realize. In the early 1990s, Salih supported a nascent Zaydi revival movement in Sa’dah and its neighboring provinces in response to the proliferation of radical Sunni groups. This included the Believing Youth (BY), a sort of predecessor group to the Huthi movement (many of the latter’s eventual leadership were key figures in the BY), whose camps and schools received small amounts of government patronage. While some BY leaders were politically active (including Husayn al-Huthi, who served in Parliament), it was a primarily religious and educational movement, aiming to repel Wahhabi and Salafi influence in traditionally Zaydi areas.

The BY-Huthi transformation from pietistic movement to loyal political opposition to militant resistance group was neither linear nor straightforward.

In fact, the disparate groups that either support or participate with the Huthis’ core leadership remain loosely defined and without a concrete political agenda. Their demands have evolved from the first round of fighting until now, particularly as the conflict escalated. Both employing resonant Zaydi and Islamic rhetoric and appealing to the Yemeni Constitution and human rights discourses, they claim to defend their religious and constitutional rights in the face of government aggression and tyranny. In many ways, their grievances parallel other opposition groups in Yemen, whether al-Hirak or the unaffiliated youth now pouring into protests.

Despite a concerted propaganda campaign from the Yemeni state that labels them as foreign-funded and inspired (Iran, Hizbollah, even Libya) or separatists seeking to re-establish the Zaydi Imamate, the Huthis and their allies have not declared independence or overthrowing the Republic of Yemen as their ultimate goal.

That is not to understate the massive gap between the Huthis and the Salih regime, particularly as the former now de facto controls several provinces in and around Sa’dah. But the point is, this isn’t simply a “rebel” group that categorically rejects the Salih regime, let alone a Republican, non-Imamate form of government.

The Huthi leadership could be brought into a robust process of national reconciliation and dialogue, even if in the context of reform rather than revolution. As one Huthi supporter told me months ago, before these protests: “If the Huthi movement were given the opportunity, it would evolve into something more, even a political party. Because of the current context, they’re unable. They’re not allowed by the government.”

To guarantee their constructive involvement in this process, any future state must prioritize political and religious freedoms, embrace democracy and broad-based participation, and perhaps most significantly, reject the political, economic and military cronyism that cripples Yemen. And it must respect the Zaydi madhhab and cultural and religious rights of Zaydis.

The challenges involved in establishing the framework for such a state, let alone achieving it, are immense.

Ideologically, it would require reforming Yemen’s educational institutions and mediums for public discourse – school curriculum, the media, mosque programming, etc. – which now reflect a Salafi bent.  Considering the political and economic influence of hostile Sunni movements, as well as the strength of anti-Shi’i discourses in general, this will not be easy. Politically, any future government must reverse the divide-and-rule politics that have defined the Salih presidency and which re-enforce these communal tensions. It would also need to grant at least the Sa’dah province, where the government presence has remained weak since it first entered in 1967, considerable autonomy.

Like in the South, the best hope for achieving long-term stability in Yemen’s northwest is to bring together diverse – and until now, alienated – leaders into a negotiation that can facilitate meaningful change and democratic transition. In other words, invest them in the formulation and implementation of a framework for Yemen’s constitutional, political and economic future that is more inclusive and representative.

The Huthi movement would participate in such a negotiation, and if realized, a new Yemen.

Inspired rhetoric

The Jihadology blog has the latest issue of AQAP's English-language magazine, Inspire, which was released earlier this week. I haven't had a chance to read the whole thing yet, but two things caught my attention right away. First, in a brief commentary about AQAP's new campaign of violence against so-called Huthi supporters, the magazine's editor makes the following claim:

We would like to state that our war is with the Rafidha [Rejectionist] Shi'a sect which is alien to Yemen and was only imported recently from Iran, and not with the Zaydi Shi'a sect which is considered to be the closest sect of Shi'a to ahl as-sunnah.

This statement is remarkable for two reasons: first, it is identical to the false claims the government of Yemen has been making since the beginning of the Sa‘dah wars (that the rebels are Iranian agents). Second, it states that AQAP has no problem with Zaydiyah, which is an unexpected position for them to take. It seems illogical at best for AQAP to distinguish between Shi‘i sects. That Zaydiyah is close to Sunnism is a cliché, but the reality is that the Huthi rebellion grew out of a very Zaydi revival movement that, among other things, stressed the opposition between Zaydiyah and the kind of Sunnism espoused by AQAP.

As I see it, the best reason for AQAP to make the above claim is that it has had time to think, since the attacks of November, about the implications of declaring war on Zaydiyah, and has realized the danger in such an act. Maybe AQAP and the government can effectively drive a wedge between al-Huthi and the Zaydi population at large, but I doubt it, especially when we all know that al-Huthi's network of support has in the past transcended sectarian identities.

The second thing I noticed in this issue of Inspire is that the magazine provides translations of only one of the two statements AQAP released about its attacks on Huthi targets. We were able to publish translations of each statement within twenty-four hours, so why doesn't Inspire have both of them now? If I'm not mistaken, Brian O'Neill and Greg Johnsen have both hypothesized in the past that the editors of Inspire, and perhaps even the editors of AQAP's Arabic magazine, are too distant from the organization's operational branches to even know about operations in time to include them in publications. This seemed to be the case with the original Arabic statements on the attacks, which were much-delayed, and is probably the case again here.