The Houthi Expansion in Yemen: Reality, Limitations and the Future

EPC | 23 Jul 2013

The year 2011 witnessed an unexpected and distinct transformation by the Houthi Movement in terms of its spread and expansion. The movement has declared its support for the youth revolution and its supporters have started their public presence at the sit-ins inside Sana’a, which has always been forbidden for them. The Houthis were able to control Sa’dah on Mar. 24, 2011 and appointed Faris Mana’, an arms dealer close to the movement, as the governor of Sa’dah. Since then, the movement has witnessed an upturn in terms of the geographic and population spread and expansion; an upturn that surprised all. Remarkably, the slogans of the movement have spread in an unprecedented way in all of the capital’s streets, alleys and buildings. In general, an increasing number of people have started to declare their affiliation or, at least, their support for the movement and promoting it. Generally speaking, Zaydis’ areas represent the first geographical space for this expansion. Still, the Houthis slogans have already reached the Shafi’is’ areas as well and can be seen in cities such as Aden, Ta’iz, Ibb and others. Still, this presence remains limited in these areas, although the Houthis deliberately try to give the impression of their heavy presence there through an extensive and constant media campaign. In reality, this presence does not reflect an ideological expansion, rather a political one in the first place.

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