Yemen's Houthis in U-turn after congratulating rival Saudi Arabia for historic World Cup win
Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels congratulated arch-rival Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for the team's historic 2-1 World Cup victory over Argentina, before deleting the message after it received fierce backlash.
Houthi Minister of Information Daifallah Al-Shami congratulated the Saudi team on Tuesday before issuing an online apology.
"One thousand congratulations, the #Saudi_team won over the #Argentinian_team, this win placed Arab football back on the map," Al-Shami wrote according to screenshots posted by activists online.
الاخ ضيف الله الشامي @DhaifAlShami650— محمد احسن عدلان (@Mohammad_adlan2) November 22, 2022
نرفق لكم بهذا صورة تغريدتك التي اوضحت فيها ان من يعترض على المدونة فمشكلته مع الله
وانت خالفت هذه المدونة بالمباركة للعدو السعودي
فهل مشكلتك مع الله ام مع خلق الله pic.twitter.com/2yQrL6uMXK
Al-Shami was soon forced to apologise after his message was criticised by Yemenis who have suffered from Saudi-led air strikes on Houthi-controlled Yemeni territories.
"Higher awareness of Yemeni people… there are red lines that no party or person should cross… [including] the congestion caused by Al Saud [Saudi royal family] in the hearts of Yemenis," he tweeted on Wednesday.
كانت التغريدة إستبيانا نتائجه.— ضيف الله الشامي (@DhaifAlShami650) November 23, 2022
الوعي العالي للشعب اليمني.
أن الرقابة الشعبية حاضرة وبقوة.
أن هناك خطوط حمراء لا يسمح بتجاوزها من أي طرف أو شخص كان.
الاحتقان الذي أوصله ال سعود في نفوس اليمنيين.
التحية لمن انتقد وتألم والمعذرة لمن استاء والمسامحة لمن تطاولوا بالتخوين والجرح.
"Greetings to those who… suffered and apologies to those who were offended."
Many Arabs across the region and in the diaspora expressed pride in the historic Saudi victory seeing it as a win for all Arabs.
Celebrations erupted across the Arab world, while in Saudi Arabia King Salman declared Wednesday a national holiday for all students and employees in the public and private sectors.
That saudi win was for islamophobia— Sergio 🇱🇾🇹🇳🇲🇦 (@serajeddinR) November 22, 2022
Others have cited "casual" Western islamophobia portrayed throughout the World Cup so far, including in reaction to Saudi Arabia's World Cup win.
Based take: this WC has only revealed how casual Islamophobia is still quite rampant lol pic.twitter.com/vMB6OpG5yY— Tengku Amsyar (@iamtengkuamsyar) November 22, 2022
Yemen's war erupted in 2014, when Houthi rebels seized Yemen’s capital Sanaa and ousted Yemen’s internationally-recognised government.
The conflict escalated when in 2015 a Saudi-led coalition launched a military intervention aimed at restoring the government to power.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the fighting, and the situation in Yemen has been described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis by the UN.