SANAA (Reuters) - The head of Yemen’s Houthis accused Gulf Arab states on Tuesday of supplying weapons and funds to Islamist militants, in an effort to create an environment in the southern part of the country where al Qaeda could flourish.
Speaking in a speech broadcast on al-Maseerah television, a media outlet of Ansarullah, the Houthi political wing, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi also accused unnamed parties of recruiting al Qaeda militants from abroad to justify a Western operation to occupy Yemen.
“Is there a just and equitable position for Gulf Arab states toward the Yemeni people?” Abdel-Malek said in the speech.
“Is there any position other than to send support, money and weapons, to the takfiri elements, and to facilitate the atmosphere for al Qaeda in the southern provinces,” he added, using an Arabic expression to describe Sunni Muslim militants.
Yemen, which shares a border with Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, has been in turmoil since protests in 2011 forced President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. The turmoil worsened in September when the Shi’ite Houthi captured Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, a move that Gulf states condemned as a coup.
The Houthi then took over the presidential palace in Sanaa and put President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi under house arrest, forcing him and his government to resign. Hadi has since fled to Aden and reclaimed the presidency, a move welcomed by Gulf states, who have shifted their embassies to the southern city.
Most of the Gulf states are enemies of al Qaeda, and several have taken part in U.S.-led air strikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq and in Syria.
Abdel-Malek also denounced the Sunni Islamist Islah party, the Yemeni branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, saying the party had been working with unnamed parties “to recruit takfiris from abroad”.
“Our country, Yemen, is at the forefront of countries that are being targeted by takfiri forces,” to justify extending Western hegemony over the country.
Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari in Sanaa and Ali Abdelaty in Cairo, writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Larry King