'Qatar only wants to spread chaos in Yemen, Arab region'
In this interview with al-Marjie, Yemeni media figure Abdullah Ismail throws light on the situation on the ground in his country as well as the positions of the country's different tribes and the role Qatar plays in Yemen. He also speaks about al-Islah Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen, and the negative role the United Nations plays in Yemen.
Can you give us some information about the latest developments on the ground in Yemen?
I want to start by speaking about the strategic importance of ongoing battles in Hajour. The fact is that the public is increasingly turning against the Houthis. This is particularly true after the Iran-aligned militia committed all sorts of crimes and violated all norms and traditions in Yemen. The areas that are still under Houthi control are full of public anger against the Houthis. The public will resist the Houthis whenever there is a chance.
Hajour is located at the center of an area claimed by the Houthis to be their social stronghold. This is why it is important for the Arab coalition to back ordinary people who take sides with legitimacy in this area. If the coalition does not do this, Yemenis in other areas controlled by the Houthis will back down from resisting them.
Why has not military victory been achieved so far?
Defeating the Houthis is not a matter that can be decided by scoring military victory against this militia. The United Nations and major powers intervenes whenever the militia is close to defeat. The United Nations wants to manage the war in Yemen, not end it. In Hudaydah, the Houthis prepare for major battles by digging trenches and planting explosives. All this happens under the auspices of the United Nations.
Why does the United Nations adopt this position?
The United Nations takes sides with the Houthis. It does this, not because it loves them, but because the Houthis achieve the end-goal of major world powers, namely destabilizing this region.
Can you brief us about the humanitarian situation inside Yemen?
Humanitarian conditions are very bad. There is no water for people to drink; no services whatsoever. Humanitarian aid coming into the country is confiscated by the Houthis in most cases. Civil servants have not taken their salaries for three years now. Nonetheless, the Houthis have doubled taxes on the public. The Houthis take oil money for themselves. Houthi leaders drive their luxury cars on streets where people are dying of hunger.
What about the position of the tribes in areas controlled by the Houthis?
The tribes are full of rifts. This is why we cannot claim that any of the tribes is fully with the Houthis or against them. Nevertheless, most of the tribes are against the Houthis, except for those tribes that were influenced by the Shiite militia.
Can inter-Houthi conflicts cause the defeat of the militia?
Abdel Azeem al-Houthi is now in conflict with the militia. He is a member of the Houthi family, who has the same ideology. This is why we cannot count on this conflict to lead to the defeat of the Houthis or the collapse of the militia. Abdel Azeem al-Houthi criticizes Abdel Malak al-Houthi because he believes he deserves to lead. This is a personal conflict that has nothing to do with the problem in Yemen.
Where does al-Islah Party stand now?
The fact is that al-Islah is the party of the Muslim Brotherhood. It does not deny this. Nevertheless, the party claims that it has never been part of the overall Muslim Brotherhood movement.
What about the Qatari role?
Qatar plays a very negative role in Yemen. It backs the Houthis. It used to back al-Qaeda. It is one of the reasons why the Houthis had not been defeated in the six wars that were launched against them in the past. It now criticizes the Arab coalition. It also supports the Muslim Brotherhood.
Qatar offers support to all contradictory things at one and the same time. It backs the Shiite paramilitary groups in Iraq. In Syria, it backs al-Nusra Front and in Yemen it backs the Houthis and al-Qaeda. It only wants to spread unrest in the Arab region.
What should be done in Yemen now?
There is an urgent need for unity. Yemenis have to search for a common ground to unite against the Houthis and defeat them. The Yemeni state must return. All political problems and differences can be solved and settled after that. This is a real test for the Yemenis.