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Yemen: the Houthi Agenda.

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The Elcano Royal Institute is a think-tank for international and strategic studies that analyses world events and trends from a Spanish, European and global perspective.

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A revolution within the revolution: the Houthi movement and the new political dynamics in Yemen. 24/03/2015






The initial Houthi objective of defending the Zaydi tradition and the political role of the Hashemite elite evolved into the consolidation of a militant organisation that aimed to translate their military success into political influence. Ansar Allah’s two main proposals became fighting corruption and rejecting foreign interference.

Presenting themselves as the champions of Yemen’s national independence and political regeneration allowed them to quickly expand their support beyond their traditional tribal base.

Ansar Allah exploits its credentials as a popular movement untainted by the corruption practices of the traditional political parties, aiming to restore security to the country, combat al-Qaeda and defend national sovereignty. It is suspected of being behind the publication of a document detailing the payments for years of Saudi bribes to Yemeni political and tribal leaders. They have also exposed the complicities of high ranking personalities of the previous regime with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and radical Salafists.

Houthi leaders are aware that they cannot rule Yemen on their own and while they keep insisting on their “Constitutional Declaration”, they have engaged in political negotiations with other groups implying that they are ready for a compromise. These negotiated compromises will test the political skills of the Houthi leadership, since their easy gains could also quickly be reversed by a shift in political alliances between the other players.