Yemeni Tribal Protest Targets Infrastructure
A Yemeni court upheld the death sentence of Mubarak Hadi al-Shabwani, prompting members of al-Shabwan tribe to blow up power lines near the Yemeni capital. The attack led to the loss of electricity throughout Sana’a, reversing progress on improving the network. Al-Shabwani was sentenced to death in December 2009 for his alleged ties to al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula and involvement in an armed gang that targeted military and security commanders.
Andrew Hammond writes on the recent resurgence of Houthi activism in Yemen, a worrying prospect for Sunni leaders in the country as well as Western actors. During the riots over the anti-Islam film in September, Houthi presence was on display in Sana’a via political posters and graffiti. Some Yemenis and Western envoys believe that Iran is exerting significant influence over the Shi’a group. A senior Western diplomat said, “They really have a very broad strategy to increase their influence on politics and society, we believe for very negative purposes. My take on the rhetoric is that it is bought and paid for by the government of Iran and they are simply following instructions that they get from Tehran.” The Yemeni government aims to include the Houthis in the national dialogue slated for November. “The government wants to show more freedoms and doesn’t want any clash, so it left [the Houthis] alone. [The Houthis] found a chance to show themselves and exploit people’s feelings,” noted Abdulfattah, an Arabic teacher who opposes the group.