Saudi Arabia wants to paint them as villains but to the people of Yemen, Ansar Allah, the Supporters of Allah, are the last line of defense against the evil that seeks to subjugate them again. Still, after years of fighting, people’s faith hasn’t waned not one bit.
Though more commonly known as Houthis to Westerners, Ansar Allah’s movement began back in the 90s. At that time, it was an incipient ideological movement founded upon the true teachings of Islam which promoted tolerance and moderation in everyday’s life. Being a Shi’ite movement, it was naturally placed in the crosshairs of Sunni Wahhabism and the monarchy that derived its power from the radical teachings. Albeit not hammered as hard as they were after the beginning of the new century, it was at that time when revolutionary literature such as those practised by Lebanese Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah and Iranian Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini found its way into their teachings.
Things suddenly took a turn for worse with the 2003 U.S. Invasion of Iraq. People of Yemen who couldn’t bear seeing another brother nation in flames so naturally they flocked to the doors of the Houthis movement which had grown vocal about the government’s leniency and overreliance on Saudis who were big American supporters at the time. Fearful of Houthis growing influence over the masses, the country’s then president Ali Abdullah Saleh ordered a kill or capture order of Houthis spiritual leader Hussein al-Houthi which expectedly ended with his death. Even so, long after his death people continued to revere him for his bravery and unbreakable spirit and eventually they got to bid their hero a proper farewell years after.
Following the death of their revered leader, Houthis engaged in an open rebellion against Saleh’s regime in northern parts which were under their influence. Even with all the support coming from Saudi Arabia, UAE and other allies Saleh failed to subdue their influence and growing appeal of their teachings for the people. Similar to other Arabian nations, Yemenis too were caught in the storm of Arab spring and naturally rebelled against their corrupt caretakers. Since the Houthis had been in the fight since the beginning it was only natural for the people to look up to them for guidance. Sensing that, Saudi Arabia began a game of cloak and dagger with Salleh extending his hand of peace and their disposable “terrorist” asset al-Qaeda doing the dirty work behind the scenes. It didn’t work out as they had planned.
Unleashing war dogs like al-Qaeda in the country prompted Houthis movement to preemptively take over the capital to prevent al-Qaeda from doing the same. Needless to say that then president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi was left unharmed and escorted back to his supporters in Saudi Arabia. Parliament was dissolved not long after and the Yemeni Revolutionary Committee was founded not long after, where rebels of all sects and groups banded together to determine the future of the country. Even though this system wasn’t as functional as it could have been, it was working and people were happy, that is until ISIS entered the picture. The suicidal bombing of Shi’ite mosques right in the middle of the day convinced people that a stable leadership is more needed than ever and since there were no better candidates, people of Yemen all decided to band together under their banner.
Nowadays though things look grim in Yemen, people are still satisfied knowing that their revolution is safe in the hands of a group that stood with them since the beginning up to this day. Furthermore, the people are even more hopeful than ever sensing that not only Saudi Arabia stands alone in it’s unholy jihad against the people, even their leaders have begun reconsidering the cost and the benefit to their actions. Clearly it was as the Muslims said themselves: “Allah has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will most certainly make them rulers in the earth as He made rulers those before them, and that He will most certainly establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them, and that He will most certainly, after their fear, give them security in exchange”.