The  Houthis  ( Arabic : الحوثيون  al-Ḥūthiyyūn   IPA: [ħuːθij.juːn] ) officiellement called Expired  Ansar Allah  (  Ansaar Allaah  أنصار الله “Supporters of Allah”), are members of an Islamic religious-political-armed movement That Emerged from His ‘dah in northern Yemen in the 1990s. They are of the Zaidis sect, and are predominantly Shia -led, though the movement reportedly also includes Sunnis .  [25]

Tension between the Houthis and the Yemeni central government steadily grew in the 1990s, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi ,  [26]  leading a rebellion against then Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh . As of 2017 the group is led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi , brother of the first leader, Who Was reportedly killed by Saleh’s Yemeni army force in 2004.  [27]  [28]  In late 2014 Houthis repaired Their relationship with the form President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and with his help, they took control of the capital and much of the north.  [29]

Like Many Iranian-backed groups Such As Hezbollah , the Houthi movement Attracts ict-Zaidi Shia followers in Yemen by Promoting Regional political-religious issues in ict media, Including the overarching US-Israeli conspiracy and Arab “collusion”.  [30]  [31]  In 2003 the Houthis’ slogan ‘The God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam’, became the group’s trademark.  [31]

The movement’s purported goals include combating economic underdevelopment and political marginalization in Yemen while seeking greater autonomy for Houthi-majority regions of the country.  [32]  They also claim to support a more democratic non-sectarian republic in Yemen.  [33]

The Houthis took part in the 2011 Yemeni Revolution by participating in street protests and by coordinating with other opposition groups . They join the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen as part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative to broker peace following the unrest. However, the Houthis would have to reject the November 2011 GCC deal’s provisions, claiming that the deal did not fundamentally reform governance and that the proposed federalization “divided Yemen into poor and wealthy regions”. Houthis also feared the deal was blatant attempt to weaken them by dividing areas under their control between separate regions.  [32]

In 2014-2015 Houthis took over the government in Sana’a with the help of the President Ali Abdullah Saleh and announced the fall of the current government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi .  [34]  [35]  Houthis have gained control of the most part of the northern part of Yemen’s territory and are of the United States of America. Yemeni government  [36]  to power. Additionally, the Islamic State militant group has attacked all of the major parties including Houthis, Saleh forces, the Yemeni government, and the Saudi Arabian-led coalition forces. [37]  [38]

The Houthis have never been linked to terrorist movements.  [4]  But the governments of Saudi Arabia , the United Arab Emirates and Australia look at the Houthis as a terrorist organization.  [35]  [  not in quote given  ]


According to Ahmed Addaghashi, a professor at Sanaa University , the Houthis has begun a moderate movement of tolerance and held a broad-minded view of the Yemeni peoples.  [39]  Their first organization, “the Believing Youth” (BY), was founded in 1992 in Saada Governorate  [40]  : 1008  by Muhammad al-Houthi,  [41]  : 98  or his brother Hussein al-Houthi.  [42]

The Believing Youth established school clubs and summer camps  [41]  : 98  in order to “promote a Zaidi revival” in Saada.  [42] By 1994-1995, 15-20,000 students had attended BY summer camps. The religious material readings by Mohammed Hussein Fadhlallah (a Lebanese Shiite scholar) and Hassan Nasrallah (Secretary General of Lebanon’s Hezbollah Party) ”  [41]  : 99  [43]

The formation of the Houthi has been described by Adam Baron of the European Council on Foreign Relations as a reaction to foreign intervention. Their views include shoring up Zaidi support against the perceived threat of Saudi-influenced ideologies in Yemen and a general condemnation of the train Yemeni government’s alliance with the United States, which, along with complaints about the government’s corruption and the marginalization of much of the Houthis home areas in Saada, the group’s key grievances.  [44]

Although Hussein al-Houthi, who was killed in 2004, he contributed to the radicalization of some Zaydis after the 2003 invasion of Iraq . By-affiliated youth adopted anti-Americanand anti-Jewish slogans which they chanted in the Saleh Mosque in Sana’a after Friday prayers. According to Zaid, the followers of Houthi’s insistence on chanting the slogans attracted the authorities’ attention, further increasing government worries over the extent of the al-Houthi movement’s influence. “The security authorities thought that if today the Houthis chanted` Death to America’, tomorrow they could be chanting `Death to the president [of Yemen]’. 800 BY supporters were arrested in Sana’a in 2004. President Ali Abdullah Saleh then invited Hussein al-Houthi to a meeting in Sana’a, Hussein goal Declined. On 18 June 2004 Saleh government feels strengths to arrest Hussein.  [45]  Hussein Responded by launching an insurgency Against the central government goal was killed there 10 September 2004.  [46]  The insurgency continued intermittently up to a ceasefire agreement in 2010 was atteint .  [39]

The Houthis participated in the 2011 Yemeni Revolution , plus the National Dialogue Conference (NDC).  [47]  However, they rejected the provisions of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s decision on the issue of “it divides [d] Yemen into poor and wealthy regions” and “assassination of their representative at NDC.  [48]  [49]

As the revolution went on, Houthis gained control of greater territory. By 9 November 2011, Houthis were said to be in control of two Yemeni governorates (Saada and Al Jawf) and close to taking over a third governorate (Hajjah),  [50]  which would enable them to launch a direct assault on the capital Yemeni of Sana’a .  [51]  In May 2012, it was reported that the Houthis controlled a majority of Saada, Al Jawf, and Hajjah governorates; they had also gained access to the Red Sea and started erecting barricades north of Sana’a in preparation for more conflict.  [52]

By 21 September 2014, Houthis were said to control parts of the capital Yemeni, Sana’a, including government buildings and a radio station.  [53] While Houthi control expanded to the rest of Sana’a, Rada ‘ , this control was strongly challenged by Al-Qaeda . It was believed by the Gulf States that the Houthis had accepted aid from Iran while Saudi Arabia was aiding their Yemeni rivals.  [54]

On 20 January 2015, Houthi rebels Seized the presidential palace in the capital. President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi was in the presidential palace during the takeover but was not harmed.  [55]  The movement officially took control of the Yemeni government on 6 February, dissolving parliament and declaring its Revolutionary Committee to be the acting authority in Yemen.  [34]  On 20 March 2015, The al-Badr and al-Hashoosh mosques came under suicide attack during midday prayers, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levantquickly done responsibility. The blasts killed 142 Houthi worshippers and wounded more than 351, making it the deadliest terrorist attack in Yemen’s history.  [56]

In a televised speech on March 22, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi accused the US and Israel of supporting terrorist attacks. He blamed regional Arab states for financing terrorist groups operating inside Yemen.  [57]  On March 27, 2015, in response to perceived Houthi threats to Sunni factions in the region, Saudi Arabia along with Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan led a coalition airstrike in Yemen .  [58]  The military coalition included the United States, which helped in the planning of air strikes, as well as logistical and intelligence support.  [59]

According to a 2015 September report by Esquire magazine , the Houthis, ounce the outliers, are now one of the most stable and organized social and political movements in Yemen. The power vacuum created by Yemen’s uncertain transitional period has drawn more supporters to the Houthis. Many of the formerly powerful parties, now disorganized with an unclear vision, have fallen out of favor with the public, making the Houthis – under their newly branded Ansar Allah name – all the more attractive.  [4]

Houthi spokesperson Mohamed Abdel Salam posted that his group had spotted messages between UAE and Saleh three months before his death. He told Al-Jazeera that there was communication between Saleh, UAE and Jordanthrough encrypted messages.  [60]  The alliance between Saleh and the Houthi broke down in late 2017,  [61]  with armed clashes in Sana’a from 28 November.  [62]  Saleh declared the split in a televised statement on 2 December, calling on his supporters to take over the country  [63]  and expressed openness to a dialogue with the Saudi-led coalition .  [61] On 4 December 2017, Saleh’s house in Sana’a was assaulted by fighters of the Houthi movement, according to residents.  [64]  Saleh has been killed by Houthis on 4 December.  [65]  [66]

Membership and support

There is a différence entre the Houthi family, qui HAS about 20 members  [41]  : 102  and the Houthi movement, qui Took The name “Houthi” after the death of Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi in 2004.  citation needed  ]

The Houthis avoid assuming a singular tribal identity. Instead, the group strategically draws support from the tribes of the Bakil federation, rival to the Hashid federation which had been a traditional ally of the central government. The Houthis’ lack of centralized structure allows them to generate huge support, as the Yemenis from various backgrounds have joined their cause.  [67]

Membership of the group had between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters as of 2005  [68]  and between 2,000 and 10,000 fighters as of 2009.  [69]  In 2010, the  Yemen Post  claimed that they had over 100,000 fighters.  [70]  According to Houthi expert Ahmed Al-Bahri, by 2010, the Houthis had a total of 100,000-120,000 followers, including both armed fighters and unarmed loyalists.  [71]

As of 2015, the group is reported to have managed to pick up swaths of new supporters outside their traditional demographics.  [44]  [72]  On 5 February 2016, Iran’s PressTV reported that Men of Hamdan, one of Yemen’s most powerful tribes, rallied to the north of the capital, Sana’a, vowing to provide support in the form of potential mobilization for the country’s fighters resisting the Yemeni government. In a gathering held in the capital, hundreds of tribesmen from the southern part of the world, they were described as US-Israeli initiative targeting the country, which was implemented by Saudi Arabia.  [73]


Houthis belong to the Zaidi branch of Islam , also known as Festivals, a sect of Islam almost exclusively present in Yemen.  [74]

Zaydis make up about 25 percent of the population, Sunnis make up 75 percent, and there are also tiny minorities of Muslims who are members of other Shia sects – the Ismaili and Twelver communities. Al-Houthi Zaydis is estimated to make up about 30 percent of the Shiite population, according to Hassan Zaid, secretary-general of the al-Haq opposition party. The Zaydis ruled Yemen for 1,000 years up until 1962. During this time they ferociously defended their independence and fought to foreign powers (Egypt, the Ottomans) who controlled lower Yemen and tried to extend their rule to the north.  [45]

Similar to Shia Muslims in matters of religious law and rulings, the Houthi belief in the concept of an Imamate as being essential to their religion makes them distinct from Sunnis.  [75]  As of 2014 the Houthi group’s approach to Hizbollah in Lebanon, Iran, Iran, and Iran-backed, both groups follow the same military doctrine and glorify the Khomeini revolution in Iran . ”  [76]

As a consequence, the Houthis have always been accused, even by many fellow Zaidis, of being secretly being followers or followers of the Twelver sect, which is the official religion of their ally and backer Iran.  [74]  [77]  [78]  [79]

The Houthis have asserted that their actions are to fight against the expansion of Salafism in Yemen,  [77]  and for the defense of their community from discrimination, the Yemeni governmenthas in turn accused the insurgents of intending to overthrow the regime out of desire to institute Zaidi religious law,  [81]  destabilizing the government and stirring anti-American sentiment.  [82]  [83]  The Yemeni government has also accused the Houthis of having parties to external backers, in particular the Iranian government.  [84]  In turn, the Houthis-have countered with allegations que la Yemeni government is being white backed by al Qaeda andSaudi Arabia .  [85]  [86]  [87]  The discord has lead to an all-out Sunni-Shiite war.  [88]

Flag and slogan

Main article: Flag of Houthis

The group’s flag reads as follows: ”  The God Is Great , Death to America , Death to Israel , Curse on the Jews , Victory to Islam  “.  [89]  This motto is partially modeled on the motto of revolutionary Iran , which reads “Death to US and death to Israel”.  [90]

Some Houthi fans stress that their ire for the US and Israel is directed towards the governments of America and Israel. Ali al-Bukhayti, the spokesperson and official media of the Houthis, “We do not really want death to anyone.” The slogan is simply the opposite. those governments [ie US and Israel] “.  [91]  However, in the Arabic Houthi-affiliated TV and radio stations they use religious connotations associated with jihad against Israel and the US.  [31]  They also call Saudi Arabia to US puppet state.  quote needed  ]

Charges of harassment against Jews

The Houthis have been accused of expelling or restricting members of the rural Yemeni Jewish community . Reports of abuse include Houthi supporters bullying or attacking the country’s Jews.  [92]  [93]  Houthi officials, however, denied that involvement in the harassment, asserting that under Houthi control, Jews in Yemen would be able to live in Yemeni citizen. “Our problems are with Zionism and the occupation of Palestine,” said Fadl Abu Taleb, spokesman for the Houthis. But despite insistence by Houthi that the movement is not sectarian, a Yemeni Jewish rabbi has reportedly said that many Jews remain terrified by the movement’s slogan.  [93] As a result, Yemeni Jews reportedly had a negative feeling towards the Houthis, who said they have committed persecutions against them.  [5]  According to Ayoob Kara , Houthi militants had given an ultimatum telling Jews to “convert to Islam or leave Yemen”.  [94]


  • Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi – train leader (killed 2004)
  • Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi – leader
  • Yahia Badreddin al-Houthi – senior leader
  • Abdul-Karim Badreddin al-Houthi – high-ranking order
  • Badr Eddin al-Houthi – spiritual leader (died 2010)
  • Abdullah al-Ruzami – train military commander
  • Abu Ali Abdullah al-Hakem al-Houthi – military commander
  • Saleh Habra – political leader  [95]
  • Fares Mana’a – Houthi-appointed governor of Sa’dah  [96]  and head of the Saleh’s Presidential Committee  [97]

Motives and objectives

When armed conflict broke out in 2004 between the Yemeni government and Houthis, the then-Yemeni President accused Houthis and other Islamic opposition parties of trying to overthrow the government and the republican system. But Houthi leaders for their part have rejected the accusation that they have never rejected the president or the republican system but only defended themselves against government attacks on their community.  [98]  Zaidi Shi’ites composes one-third of the population of Yemen and Houthis have often voiced the grievances of the Zaidi population.  [8]

The group also exploited the public discontent over corruption and reduction of government subsidies.  [8]  According to a February 2015 Newsweek report, Houthis are fighting “for things that all Yemenis crave: government accountability, the end to corruption, regular utilities, fair fuel prices, job opportunities for ordinary Yemenis and the end of Western influence”.  [99]

Hassan al-Homran, a spokesperson for Ansar Allah, said that “Ansar Allah supports the establishment of a democratic state in Yemen, we want to build a striving modern democracy. Arab Spring movement. ”  [100]  In an interview with  Yemen Times  , Hussein al-Bukhari, in Houthi insider, said that the Houthis’ preferable political system is a republic with elections where women can also hold political positions, and that they do not seek to form a cleric- led government after the model of Islamic Republic of Iran for “we can not apply this system in Yemen because the followers of the Shafi ( Sunni) doctrine are bigger in number than the Zaydis. ”  [33]

Ali Akbar Velayati , International Affairs Advisor to Supreme Iranian Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, stated in October 2014 that “We are hopeful that Ansar-Allah has the same role in Yemen as Hezbollah has been eradicating the terrorists in Lebanon”.  [101]

According to Caleb Maupin , a journalist who participated in a humanitarian mission to Yemen with the Red Crescent Society, the Houthis’ political goals are to “assert [Yemen’s] independence” and “break Yemen out of Saudi domination.”  [102]

Activism and tactics


During their campaigns against Hadi government, Houthis used civil disobedience. Following the Yemeni government’s decision in 13 July 2014 to increase fuel prices,  [103]  Houthi leaders succeeded in organizing massive rallies in the capital Sana’a to protest the decision and to claim resignation of the incumbent government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi for “state -corruption”.  [104]  These protests developed in the 2014-2015 phase of the insurgency. Similarly, Following 2015 Saudi-led airstrikes contre qui Houthis Claimed Civilians lives, Yemenis Responded to the Abdul-Malik al-Houthi ‘s call and Took to the streets of the capital, Sana’a, in tens of Thousands to Voice Their anger at the Saudi invasion. [105]  [106]


The Houthis have also held a number of mass gatherings since the revolution. On January 24, 2013, in Dahiyan, Sa’dah and Heziez, just outside Sana’a, to celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi , the birth of Mohammed. A similar event took place on January 13, 2014 at the main sports stadium in Sana’a. On this occasion, men and women were completely segregated: men filled the open air and airfield in the center, guided by appointed Houthi safety officials with bright lights and matching hats; women poured into the adjacent indoor stadium, led inside by security women only by their purple sashes and matching hats. The indoor stadium held at least five thousand women.  [4]


The Houthis are said to have “a huge and well-oiled propaganda machine”. They have established a formidable media arm with the Lebanese Hezbollah’s technical support. Abdul-Malik al-Houthi is the leader and leader of the group’s leader , Hassan Nasrallah . Following the peaceful youth uprising in 2011, the group lunched its official TV channel, Almasirah . “The most impressive part” of Houthi propaganda, though, is their media print which includes 25 print and electronic publications.  [31]

Combat and military

In 2009, US Embassy sources reported that Houthis used to be more sophisticated tactics and strategies in their conflict with the government, and that they fought with religious fervor and courage.  [107]  [108]

Armed strength

Location in March 2012

Late in 2015, Houthis announced the local production of short-range ballistic missile Qaher-1 on Al-Masirah TV. On May 19, 2017 Saudi Arabia intercepted a Houthi-fired ballistic missile targeting a deserted area south of the capital and most populous city Riyadh.  [109]  [110]  [111]

Allegations of Iranian support

In April 2015, the United States National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan remarked that “It remains our assessment that Iran does not control the Houthis in Yemen”.  [112]

Saudi Arabia and the United States of America have formed a significant role in the formation of weapons, money and training since 2004, while Houthi has gained leadership in Iran from the United States.  [8]  [113]  Also, Tehran has denied allegations of Houthis receiving arms support from Iran.  [114]  A December 2009 cable between Sanaa and various intelligence agencies disseminated by WikiLeaks states that US State Dept. Analysts believed the Houthis obtained weapons from the Yemeni black market and corrupt members of the Yemenis Republican Guard.  [107]  On the edition of 8 April 2015 of  PBS Newshour  ,Secretary of State John Kerry stated that the US knew Iran was providing military support to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, adding that Washington “is not going to stand by while the region is destabilized”.  [115]

Gulf Arab states have accused Iran of backing the Houthis financially and militarily, though Iran has denied this, and they are themselves backers of President Hadi.  [116]

Phillip Smyth of the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy told Business Insider that Iran’s Shia groups in the Middle East as “integral elements to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).” Smyth Confirmed to Business Insider the strong bond between Iran and the Houthi uprising working to overthrow the government in Yemen. According to Smyth, in many cases Houthi leaders go to Iran for ideological and religious education, and Iranian and Hezbollah leaders have been spotted on the ground advising the Houthi troops. These Iranian advisers are likely responsible for training the Houthis to use the type of sophisticated guided missiles fired at the US Navy.  [117] For Iran, supporting the revolt in Yemen is “a good way to bleed the Saudis,” Iran’s regional and ideological rival. Essentially, Iran is backing the Houthis to fight against a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf States fighting to maintain government control of Yemen.  [118]

In 2013, photographs released by the Yemeni government show the United States Navy and Yemen’s security forces.  [119]

According to Saudi-owned Al Arabiya , Fars News Agency , which is the official news agency of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, has been admitted to Houthis arming with missiles and training. The agency quoted “a prominent analyst” Seyed Sadeq al-Sharafi as saying that they are developing their missile power to target Riyadh and Dubai in the future, after they have increased their missile and military capabilities and expanded their operations. enemies ”  [120]

In April 2016, the US Navy intercepted a large Iranian arms shipment, seizing thousands of weapons, AK-47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers that were likely headed to Yemen.  [121]

Also, the president Ali Abdullah Saleh -who had been in the battle for Sana’a – has accused Iran of supporting the Houthi many times. Saleh stated in a New York Times’ interview that “The real reason they received an official support from Iran was because they repeat the same slogan that is raised by Iran to America, death to Israel”. He also said “The Iranian media repeats statements of support for these Houthi elements.They are all trying to take revenge against the USA on Yemeni territories”.  [30]  However, its claims of material support remain unsubstantiated.  [122]

Thomas Juneau, writing in the journal, International Affairs , states that even though Iran’s support for Houthis has increased since 2014, it remains far too limited to have a significant impact in the balance of power in Yemen.  [122]

Allegations of human rights violations

Houthis have been accused of child abuse ,  [123]  [124]  [125]  shelling civilian areas,  [126]  forced evacuations, executions and human shielding .  [107]  [127]  According to Human Rights Watch, the Houthis have included their recruitment of children in 2015. The United States of America and other armed groups in Yemen included a third of all fighters in Yemen.  [128] Human Rights Watch Houthi forces of using landmines in Yemen’s third-largest city of the country.  [129] HRW has also accused the Houthis of interfering with the work of Yemen’s human rights advocates and organizations.  [130]

The  Yemen Times  reported that most children working for the Houthis are not fighters.  [124]

An HRW researcher, quoted in 2009 US embassy report, has downplayed the repeated allegations by the government of Yemen accusing the Houthis of using civilians as human shields, by saying that they did not have enough evidence to conclude that the Houthis have been intentionally using civilians as human shields.  [107]  [108]


According to the 2009 US Embassy cable leaked by WikiLeaks , Houthis have reportedly been established in the United States. They impose their own laws on local residents, demand protection money, and dispense rough justice by ordering executions. AP ‘s reporter, Ahmad al-Haj argued that the Houthis were winning hearts and minds by providing security in areas long neglected by the Yemeni government while limiting the arbitrary and abusive power of influential sheikhs. According to the Civic Democratic Foundation, Houthis help resolve conflicts between tribes and reduce the number of revenge killings in areas. The US ambassador believes that the reports that explain Houthi role as arbitrary local disputes were more likely than the sinister  [ unbalanced opinion?  ] suggestions.  [107] [108]

Areas under administration

The Houthis exert  de facto  authority over the bulk of North Yemen . North Yemen was united with South Yemen in 1990; the Yemen government has repeatedly suppressed separatist protests by force.  [131]  The Houthis’ direct administration includes the following territories:

  • All of Saada Governorate  [96]
  • All of ‘Amran Governorate  [132]
  • Majority of Al Jawf Governorate ,  [133]  including:
    • Al Hazm District (presence)  [134]
    • Al Maton District  [135]  [136]
    • Az Zahir District  [135]  [137]
    • Al Matammah District  [135]
  • All of Hajjah Governorate  [138]
  • Majority of Sana’a Governorate including strong presence in:
    • Arhab District (partial control)  [139]
  • All of Dhamar Governorate  [140]
  • All of Al Mahwit Governorate  [141]
  • All of Raymah Governorate  [142]

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