Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Why Christopher Hitchens Deserves to Be Read

Mosque attack in Yeman, forcing ... harding of lines. Sermons about ... how to fight...

The mosque attack came a day after the Yemeni military announced that seven of its soldiers had been killed and blamed Houthi supporters for it. Even before Friday’s attack, more government troops had been expected to be deployed to the area.

In the past few days, the war-ravaged governorate has experienced numerous blasts and ambushes against troops, leaving more than 10 security soldiers dead. According to political analysts, such incidents may mean an end to efforts by the Qatari mediation team, which is seeking reconciliation between the Yemeni government and Houthi supporters.

Having realized that a previously formed mediation committee failed to do its job in Sa’ada, the authority ordered forming a new presidential mediation committee a few days ago in an effort to contain the escalating turmoil.

Such repeated incidents offer strong indicators of a fifth Sa’ada war between government troops and Houthi loyalists, primarily since Bin Salem Mosque was bombed and the authorities launched a massive arrest campaign against Houthis.

“While the mosque belongs to the Zaidi sect, Salafi extremist Askar Bin Zueil, who leads thousands of Salafi volunteers coming from various Yemeni governorates to fight with Houthis, claims that the victims were Salafis. These Salafis operate according to orders given by Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, commander of the northern military flank,” a source told the Yemen Times.

The source added, “In giving his Friday sermons, Zueil attempts to convince Zaidis to abandon their sect and stop supporting Abdulmalik Al-Houthi’s fight with the army.”

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