Saudi Arabia launched an attack on Yemen and controlled its flying zone, on Thursday, as Houthi rebel groups called for forming an army to fight Hadi and his government.
A week ago, bombings at Sanaa mosques during Friday prayer left at least 140 dead from Houthis. The attacks were claimed by an extremist group later who announced allegiance to the “Islamic State” (IS).
The Houthis announced earlier this month arriving to Cairo and meeting Egyptian officials, which raised many doubts about their relations with Egyptian officials.
Daily News Egypt takes stock by speaking to Deif Allah Al-Shamy, a senior media leader in Al-Houthi rebel group.
How do you view the latest military intervention in Yemen?
These countries, led by Saudi Arabia, are immoral and do not respect the dignity of the people. They are going to reap the outcomes of this attack.
The people in Yemen now are all angered and ready to counter this intervention. What happened from air strikes was not successful at all; they were killing women and children, because that is what they’re used to doing.
Is there any progress from your side in response to the attacks?
The Yemeni army and citizens have all united again and are ready to fight any kind of intervention but still waiting for the green light. Even the women are holding their weapons and ready to fight to preserve the nation. The battle has not yet begun. Yesterday [Friday], 14 jets were flying over Yemen and launching strikes, while the Yemeni citizens were having wedding ceremonies and everything was going peacefully on the local level, because it’s hard to beat them.
The start of the fight from our side will begin when there is a need for it and this strategic detail I would rather not disclose.
I would like to send a message for the Arab nations who are being dragged into this fight: “Stay away from Yemen and look after your nation, we do not need you here.”
What is your current stance towards other Arab countries which support this intervention?
We are very sorry for the other countries participating in this intervention, we were expecting them to stand by the vulnerable nations, but apparently the Saudi fund has a major impact on them.
They were supposed to fight the Zionist community instead of fighting a nation who has always been known for its nobility.
We are astonished by the Egyptian stance towards the Yemeni crisis, as Egypt always complains about ISIS [Islamic State] and Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis fighting in Sinai. Why are they intervening now to fight those who fight such groups and fight the Yemeni people who always supported them?
What are your next steps?
There are many steps which have been undertaken. First, the dialogue procedures, talks on national level. This dialogue used to face major obstacles through the political parties, topping them the Yemeni Reform Party, and some other parties which are tools of some foreign powers. While the elements of Al-Qaeda and terrorism are preparing well and organising with Hadi and some other political parties, those people all are against the Yemeni citizens. The Yemeni people, along with the high revolutionary committee and the security committee, are now mobilising public opinion to counter terrorism and the threat of Al-Qaeda, which threatens both the national and regional security.
In your opinion, who was behind the latest Sana’a attacks in Yemen?
The American, Israeli intelligence bodies, and their local tools in the region, because the doers and supporters receive funds from Saudi Arabia. They have the assistance of political hands inside the Yemeni community and we managed to arrest many of them who were involved in organising suicidal bomb attacks over the past period. They turned out to hold Saudi nationality, and some of them came through the Yemeni Reform Party.
You announced earlier this month a visit by a Houthi delegation to Cairo – could you please tell us more about this visit?
When some of the embassies evacuated their employees and closed their operations in Yemen we started reconstructing relations with countries where they share common cultural, strategic, political, identity ties, such as Egypt; there is a civilisation which can be potentially discussed between both countries. We are working on strengthening the ties strongly between several countries which preserve the community entities and dialogue. Egypt is primary among these stations, the ties are very strong with it, most of the intellectuals and educated personnel in Yemen were educated by a group of elite Egyptians, doctors and academics, etc.
Egypt’s foreign ministry denied meeting Houthi delegation, who did the delegation meet?
Definitely, there was a delegation in Cairo after their visit to Russia, and another went to Iran, and another to Oman, Jordan, and soon there will be more delegations visiting South Africa and East Asia. The delegation to Cairo met with Egyptian officials and discussed strengthening relations between the two countries. Perhaps official statements were reserved in their announcements due to the unstable conditions in Yemen and that there is no government, but the revolutionary case and legitimate revolution bodies are the ones speaking officially now to open all doors in the future.
What were the main outcomes of the visit?
The main issue was explaining the situation in Yemen, clarifying all the rumours being promoted by the Muslim Brotherhood’s media channels, and other TV channels who are trying to say all the time that there is a deep conflict and this is not true at all.
What are your main challenges right now?
Concerning the major obstacles faced by the Yemeni revolution right now is the polarisation made by terror forces represented and Al-Qaeda. We have the terrorism now used as a card to play with in political matters. The Sana’a bombings were supported by Al-Qaeda, the Reform Party and top of them the US, who all want to draw Yemen into a civil war, territorial and ethnic conflict. They always warn from these matters while they themselves are opening doors for it to happen. We will never accept turning Yemen into another Iraq or Syria, repeating those scenarios, as well as the Libyan model which was corrupted by the ISIS troops and other criminal elements. Yemenis have one word and can stand up against these risks imposed on their country.
So you support the military resolution over the political one?
The military resolution at the end of the day is not acceptable, but since 21 September we are offering a hand for partnership and collaboration with others and calling on others to build this nation and become united, even though we were able to handle this all by ourselves, but this is not our principle to marginalise others.
What do you think are the regional implications for the internal Yemeni conflict especially in terms of Egypt’s Suez Canal?
The conflict will not have any negative effect on a country that stands by the Yemeni people’s side. But a country like Saudi Arabia that sent about $3m to the ISIS extremists in Yemen – they sent foreign fighters from their jets into Aden – this perhaps would reflect on their internal situation. But if a regime deals with people and respects their opinions and there are strong ties between them and mutual respect such as Egypt, this is would not have any negative effect. These are just unjustified rumours that aim at spreading fear about Yemen and create internal tension.