"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Thursday, September 2, 2010

One more for today

The Atlantic has a piece on a new ceasefire in the north- a ceasefire about which, as always, this author is extremely optimistic.  Not bad, except for one little thing.

The Houthis are Shia Muslims, and the Yemeni government is Sunni. The government alleges that the Houthis are trying to overthrow the regime and implement Shia religious law. The Houthis have repeatedly denied this accusation, claiming they are defending their branch of Shia Islam - Zaydism - from a government they feel treats them like second class citizens because of their religious differences.    
To quote from Harun al-Amriki's excellent Yemen Twitter feed: "Inaccurate to portray Yemeni govt as Sunni. Saleh is Zaydi just not Hashemi."  Indeed- the divisions are not cut-and-dried.  This doesn't fit the normal Sunni-Shi'ite clash we like to read about.   And the Houthis are not treated like second-class citizens just because of their religion- it has historical roots in the Imamate and the Civil War.  Of course these have religious roots (among other factors), but things are a lot more complicated than we like to believe.

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