Yemen political forces form anti-Houthi alliance

Yemen political forces form anti-Houthi alliance
Political forces from across Yemen's ideological and regional divides have formed a National Salvation Bloc, lead by Yemen's president, to challenge the Houthi grip on power.
2 min read
14 March, 2015
Across Yemen people took to the streets to protest the Houthi takeover (Anadolu)

Yemeni political forces who oppose the Houthi movement that has seized control of Sanaa, formed an alliance against it Saturday, saying they want to restore state authority and rebuild weakened security forces. 

Yemen descended into chaos after the militia, known as Houthis, seized Sanaa in September 2014 and then began a push to spread their influence further afield.

The Houthis dissolved the government and parliament in February, forming a presidential council, after Western- and Gulf-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi submitted his resignation.

But Hadi slipped through a Houthi siege of his Sanaa home and fled to Aden, where he rescinded his resignation and declared the southern port city to be Yemen's new capital.

The newly formed National Salvation Bloc groups, formally unites players from across Yemen's political and ideological divides: Sunni Muslim and secular parties, as well youth groups, tribal alliances and members of the Southern Movement, which seeks greater autonomy for the formerly independent south.

It also includes dissident southern members of the General People's Congress, the party of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is suspected of backing the Huthis.

It aims to restore state authority and "prevent the collapse of the army and security forces and rebuild them," said a statement after a formational meeting in Sanaa.

And it criticised "illegitimate" measures taken by the Houthis and rejected the state being controlled by militias.

The challenges threatening Yemen led them to unite in face of what they called the "destructive" consequences of the latest developments in the impoverished and deeply tribal country.

The bloc includes such major political parties as Muslim Brotherhood-linked al-Islah, hardline Islamists al-Rashad and the Nasserist Unionist People's party.

In other developments Saturday, Houthi gunmen attacked the Sanaa office of local human rights advocacy group Siraj Development, said a Siraj official.

Najla al-Zamari told AFP they destroyed computers and accused staff of "collaborating with foreign countries, of "immoral activity" and allowing men and women to mix.

Yemen, which lies next to oil-rich Saudi Arabia on a key shipping route, is also home to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) which, along with Sunni tribes and al-Islah supporters, has battled Houthi attempts to expand further south.

Yemen's Gulf neighbours, led by Saudi Arabia, are deeply suspicious of the Huthis, fearing they will take Yemen out if their orbit.