After the negotiations stopped between the Houthis and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which sent a delegation to negotiate with the militia in order to reach a political settlement to the Yemeni crisis that has entered its ninth year, the Houthis have begun moving in two directions. The first is making provocative statements on a daily basis to threaten the countries of the Arab Coalition to Support Legitimacy by resorting to the option of escalation in the event that a solution to the crisis is not reached on Houthi terms, especially the item related to the need of the legitimate government to pay the salaries of Houthi civil and military employees from the oil revenues in the liberated areas.
The militia’s second direction is to cooperate with terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to carry out terrorist acts against the legitimate forces in the areas under their control, especially in the south of the country, where the Southern forces have launched several attacks since August of last year to defeat terrorism in the southern governorates.
ISIS cell seizure
In a statement on Saturday, May 27, the Security Belt Forces of the Southern Transitional Council announced the seizure of a terrorist cell consisting of seven people, including three Yemenis and four foreigners, affiliated with ISIS in the Labus district of Lahij Governorate, southern Yemen. It noted that these terrorist elements infiltrated from Al-Bayda governorate, which is under the control of the Houthi militia in central Yemen, and they were in possession of weapons, ammunition, bombs, an explosive belt and ISIS slogans, adding that the cell members tried to move towards the liberated areas in order to carry out terrorist bombings.
This is not the first time that the Southern armed forces have succeeded in apprehending ISIS elements in the southern governorates. In mid-February 2023, they managed to seize a dangerous element from the terrorist organization in Hadramout Governorate.
It should also be noted that the terrorist presence in the southern governorates is not limited to ISIS only, as the al-Qaeda branch in Yemen known as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which takes refuge and shelter in the south, carries out terrorist acts from time to time, which increased after the Southern forces launched Operation Arrows of the East last August to defeat terrorism in the south, which confirms that the Houthi militia, in cooperation with these terrorist groups, does not want the southern governorates, especially those under the control of the legitimate government, to enjoy security and stability so that it can continuously force the legitimate government to respond to its terms.
Yemeni political researcher Mahmoud al-Taher explained in an exclusive statement to the Reference that it is no secret that there is an agreement and a joint operation room in Sanaa run by Houthi leaders in al-Qaeda and ISIS.
He added that the Houthis and al-Qaeda carried out joint terrorist operations in the liberated governorates, most notably the assassination of military commander Thabet Jawas, who had put down the Houthi rebellion at the beginning of their journey by killing their leader. At the same time, the strong return of terrorist acts to the south indicates the existence of new goals that the Houthis want to achieve by freeing the hand of these terrorist organizations.