Yemen: in-depth analysis of Arab News on the “hate preacher” Abdul Malik Al Houthi, the leader of the Islamist militias backed by Khomeinist Iran


According to the UN Security Council, “Abdul Malik Al-Houthi is a leader of a group that has engaged in acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Yemen. In September 2014, Houthi forces captured Sanaa and in January 2015 they attempted to unilaterally replace the legitimate government of Yemen with an illegitimate governing authority that the Houthis dominated.

“Al-Houthi assumed the leadership of Yemen’s Houthi movement in 2004 after the death of his brother, Hussain Badreddin Al-Houthi. As leader of the group, Al-Houthi has repeatedly threatened Yemeni authorities with further unrest if they do not respond to his demands and has detained President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the prime minister and key Cabinet members. The president subsequently escaped to Aden. The Houthis then launched another offensive toward Aden.”

For 15 years, the Yemeni rebel leader Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi and his fanatical followers have tried to hoodwink the world into believing they are persecuted underdogs, defending Yemen against its oppressors. But today Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi is exposed for what he is — a violent ideologue motivated by bigotry, hatred and intolerance.

Al-Houthi, leader of the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, is the latest subject of Preachers of Hate — a continuing Arab News campaign that analyze the words and deeds of militant extremists, place them in context, and explain their malign influence on those who follow them.

With their slogan “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews and victory for Islam,” the Houthis have a long history of intolerance. They have detained foreign nationals, as well as Yemenis, and have been accused of expelling or oppressing members of the rural community of Yemeni Jews in northern Yemen. Al-Houthi is from the same mold as Osama bin Laden, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, Iranian militia strongman Qassim Soleimani and Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, analysts told Arab News.

Far from being an “underdog,” Al-Houthi has overseen the launch of ballistic missiles targeting civilian population centers in Saudi Arabia — including the city of Makkah, the most sacred place in the religion he claims to revere.

Using the Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV channel and Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV station, he broadcasts his messages of hate to anyone who will listen. Al-Houthi is cut from the same cloth as the leaders of other violent extremist groups, Saudi political analyst Hamdan Al-Shehri said.

“He has no qualms about putting children and women in harm’s way… this is the exact strategy employed by other militias and terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda and Daesh.”

The 40-year-old Al-Houthi and his armed militia have been sanctioned by the UN Security Council for overrunning Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, and for sending the country’s legitimate and internationally recognized government into exile in January 2015. The Houthis also have been accused of detaining and torturing members of the Baha’i community.

Al-Houthi targeted the Baha’is in a speech aired on Al-Masirah TV on March 23, 2018, in which he accused followers of the faith of being “satanic” and “agents” of the West. The militant leader has also turned his sights on targets further afield.

In an address on Al-Masirah TV in 2016, Al-Houthi claimed he feared for the safety of Makkah. But on Sept. 14, 2017, on the same channel, the Houthi terror chief said that Yemenis should take their cue from North Korea and focus on the development of missiles. “To have rockets that could reach far beyond Riyadh, this is a great achievement,” he said.

According to Saudi political analyst Hamdan Al-Shehri, the Houthis support the doctrine of Vilayat-e-Fakeeh (Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist) — the same theory propagated by Iranian clerics.

“The concept grants the supreme leader ultimate authority to pass any edict against anybody and everybody, condemn any community, deride any religion, and call for the death and destruction of all those who (disagree),” Al-Shehri said. “The supreme leader’s followers must carry out his orders because he is considered next only to God.”

Al-Houthi is cut from the same cloth as Iranian leader Ali Khamenei, said Al-Shehri. “Al-Houthi has no qualms about putting children and women in harm’s way … this is the exact strategy employed by other militias and terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda and Daesh.”

Few people realize how Saudi Arabia and the Arab coalition were forced into the war in Yemen, Al-Shehri said, referring to Europe’s fight against Hitler in World War II. “That war resulted in huge losses, but the evil of Hitler had to be uprooted,” he said. “Al-Houthi is (no less a threat) than Hitler. Their ideologies are similar; both are rooted in hate. The Houthis have launched hundreds of missiles into Saudi Arabia. They even launched them at the Holy City of Makkah. They have sent their ballistic missiles into densely populated civilian areas. For such people, nothing is sacred … They have managed to hoodwink the international community by saying that the weapons are used in defense of their country. Well, they have taken their hostages and they have starved them. The aim of the Arab coalition is to liberate Yemen from this curse.”



This article has been modified from its original source: SIRAJ WAHAB / Arab News

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