The Houthi Movement: Political, Military and Doctrinal Dilemmas

EPC | 01 Mar 2015

The unity in Yemen led to a new situation where followers of the Zaidi doctrine were able to establish the following political and cultural movements to regain their role and preserve their identity, such as Al-Haq Party, which included scholars, intellectuals and politicians. It took part in the first parliamentary elections and won two seats. One of them was occupied by Hussein Badr Eddin al-Houthi, the founding father of the Houthi Movement, and the Believing Youth Forum, which proved itself to be a cultural and educational movement dedicated to youths. Hussein Badr Eddin al-Houthi saw these institutions as a platform to call Zaidi youths in Sa’dah. The Houthi movement capitalized on chaos and confusion in Yemen following the Arab Spring. Furthermore, the movement received support from the leaders of the Iranian Islamic Revolution. Yemeni unity came under threat due to the decline of the state’s sovereignty, the deep rift among parties of the transitional process and the spread of arms. The Houthi movement shifted the Zaidi sect in Yemen from its traditional jurisprudential and social dimension after the fall of the Imamate rule into a form of political action supported by armed forces, loaded with a cross-border missionary thought that converged politically with the Iranian project in the region. This convergence came despite the jurisprudential and doctrinal disagreement between the Zaidis and the Twelvers. The status quo, however, is a convergence between the Zaidi and Ja’fari schools of thought on the premise of a belief in the ideas of imamate and the leadership of al al-Bayt (Household of the Prophet), and idea of revolution.

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