Exposed: How Al-Houthi brainwashes children, blesses targeting civilians

An image grab taken from a video broadcast by Al-Masira TV on March 26, 2015, shows Yemeni Shiite Houthi movement's leader Abdulmalik Al-Huthi delivering a televised statement. (Al-MASIRA TV/AFP)
Updated 15 April 2019

Exposed: How Al-Houthi brainwashes children, blesses targeting civilians

  • Yemen militia leader is the latest subject of Arab News campaign

JEDDAH: For 15 years, he and his fanatical followers have tried to hoodwink the world into believing they are persecuted underdogs, defending Yemen against its oppressors.

But today Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi is exposed for what he is — a violent ideologue motivated by bigotry, hatred and intolerance.

Al-Houthi, 40, leader of the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, is the latest subject of Preachers of Hate — a continuing Arab News campaign in which we analyze the words and deeds of militant extremists, place them in context, and explain their malign influence on those who follow them.

With their slogan “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews and victory for Islam,” the Houthis have a long history of intolerance. Al-Houthi is from the same mold as Osama bin Laden, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, Iranian militia strongman Qassim Soleimani and Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, analysts told Arab News.

Far from being an “underdog,” Al-Houthi has overseen the launch of ballistic missiles targeting civilian population centers in Saudi Arabia — including the city of Makkah, the most sacred place in the religion he claims to revere.



Using the Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV channel and Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV station, he broadcasts his messages of hate to anyone who will listen. Al-Houthi is cut from the same cloth as the leaders of other violent extremist groups, Saudi political analyst Hamdan Al-Shehri said.  

“He has no qualms about putting children and women in harm’s way ... this is the exact strategy employed by other militias and terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda and Daesh.”

 

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Erdogan hosts Putin, Rouhani for Syria summit

Updated 21 min 19 sec ago

Erdogan hosts Putin, Rouhani for Syria summit

  • Putin and Rouhani met Erdogan in Ankara for their fifth summit on the conflict since 2017
  • Iran and Russia have been staunch supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed his Russian and Iranian counterparts on Monday for their latest summit on Syria, with attention focused on Damascus’s push on the last rebel-held bastion of Idlib.
Presidents Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani met Erdogan in the Turkish capital Ankara for their fifth summit on the conflict since 2017.
Iran and Russia have been staunch supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad, while Turkey has called for his ouster and backed opposition fighters.
But with Assad’s position looking increasingly secure, Turkey’s priority has shifted to preventing a mass influx of refugees from Idlib in Syria’s northwest.
Turkey is concerned over the steady advance of Syrian forces into the region, backed by Russian air power, despite a series of cease-fires.
Turkey has 12 observation posts in Idlib to enforce a buffer zone agreement struck a year ago with Russia to prevent a full-scale Syrian offensive.
But the posts look increasingly threatened, with one of them cut off from the rest of Idlib when Syrian forces advanced last month.
Russian air strikes have continued in the region despite the latest cease-fire between Ankara and Moscow on August 31.
“A large number of terrorists are still present in this zone... and fighters continue to fire on the positions of government forces,” Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov said on Friday.
The Turkish presidency said the leaders would discuss the latest developments in Syria as well as “ensuring the necessary conditions for the voluntary return of refugees and discussing the joint step to be taken in the period ahead with the aim of achieving a lasting political solution.”
Moscow is keen to see progress on establishing a constitutional committee to oversee the next stage of the political settlement in Syria.
That would give Putin a political win to add to the military victories, said Dareen Khalifa, senior Syria analyst at International Crisis Group.
But she said expectations should remain low.
Even if they can agree on who will form the committee, “this leaves a crux of issues unaddressed for the future of the political process including the regime’s ability and willingness to undertake any kind of political reform,” Khalifa told AFP.
High on everyone’s mind at the summit will be the weekend attack on Saudi oil facilities, which Washington has blamed on Tehran, deepening bilateral tensions and putting the region on the brink of further conflict.
The leaders are expected to hold one-on-one meetings before the three-way summit, the Kremlin said.
They will also hold a closing news conference with a view to presenting a joint declaration.
Iran has been a crucial actor on the battlefield in Syria, but has kept a lower profile in recent months. Its focus has been on removing Israeli and US involvement.
“A large part of Syria’s problems have been solved and some still remain, the most important of which is the Idlib region and east of Euphrates, as well as the Zionist regime (Israel)’s aggressions and America’s interventionist presence,” Rouhani said in a televised statement as he left Iran.
Meanwhile, Turkey has other concerns regarding Syria.
It has repeatedly threatened to launch a cross-border offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces, whom it sees as allied to Kurdish militants in its own territory.
That has strained Turkey’s relations with its NATO ally, the United States, which backs the Syrian Kurds as the main fighting force against the Daesh group (IS).
The US has vowed to work with Turkey to clear Kurdish forces away from its border, but Ankara says progress has so far been “cosmetic” and it could launch an operation into Syria by the end of this month.
Turkey has conducted previous offensives against Daesh in 2016 and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in 2018.