Report: Saudi Arabia Recruiting Salafis for Fight against Houthis in Yemen
Arab media reports said Saudi Arabia is recruiting the Salafi Muslims in Algeria to fight against Shiite Houthi groups in Yemen in return for huge sums of money.
“The Algerian security services have conducted a careful investigation into the networks which recruit Salafis to fight against Houthis in Yemen,” the Algerian daily al-Shorouq reported on Monday.
The investigations have been carried out after three people were killed in Wadi al-Souf region in Yemen, it reported.
“There is information showing that certain sides in an Arab country recruit forces in Algeria and pay them huge sums of money up to $8,000 to use them in different conflicts,” the newspaper said.
Other media reports in November also said that Salafi Takfiris continue invasion of Houthi-populated areas in Northern Yemen, killing large groups of them recently.
The clashes broke out in Damaj region of the border province of Sa’ada in October when after several attacks by the Salafis, the Shiite Houthi fighters, who control much of the bordering province, accused their Sunni Salafi rivals of recruiting thousands of foreign fighters in preparation of a large-scale war, and raided the Salafis’ Damaj mosque which resulted in the death of one person and injury of seven others, al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), about 200 to 600 people have been wounded so far.
The two sides declared ceasefire two weeks ago, but it lasted only for two hours.
Addressing the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen, Spokesman of Houthis Ali Al-Bakhiti said that after few hours the ceasefire was broken because Director of Salafis Training Center in Damaj Sheikh Ali Al-Bakhiti could not take control of his foreign armed rebels near Damaj.
Al-Bakhiti reiterated that the clashes are going on between the Houthis and the Salafis in Damaj.
Sectarian rivalry between Salafi Takfiris and Houthis is feared to ignite the fire of civil war in Yemen which is also influenced by foreign meddling, specially by Saudi Arabia.
The continued turmoil on several fronts in the country has risen the alarms of civil war in the country.
The recent events in Damaj have created concern among the Yemeni activists and analysts. “The main goal of these conflicts is feared to be igniting sectarian war,” Yemeni Rights Activist Ali Al-Deilami told FNA in November.
He blamed the Saudi media for the exacerbation of conflicts between Salafis and Houthis, and said publication of the remarks uttered by some Saudi muftis who call for Salafis’ Jihad against the Shiites is threatening and dangerous.
Deilami called on the Yemeni people to keep united against the foreign meddling which seeks to wage a sectarian war in the country.
Sa’ada province is the base for a long-running Houthi fight against the government. Complaining of social, religious and economic discrimination in Yemen, the Houthis fought several battles with government forces between 2004 and 2010, when a truce was announced.
Houthis have been holding demonstrations since June 9, when National Security guards opened fire on a group of protesters, killing 13 of them and wounding 100 others during a demonstration outside the headquarters of the National Security Intelligence Agency in Sana’a. They demand justice for those members of their community who were killed by regime forces.
The protesters were demanding the dismantling of the agency because of its involvement in the suppression of political activists under ousted dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. The protesters were also demanding the release of the Houthis being held by the authorities.
Human Rights Watch has demanded an investigation into the killings.
Yemen’s Houthi population has long been protesting the oppression and discrimination by Yemen’s Saudi-backed government.
The Houthi movement draws its name from the tribe of its founding leader Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi.