Houthis responses to UAE’s terrorist list

SHAFAQNA – On Sunday,Houthis called the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) decision to label them a “terrorist organization” unjust and unwise, and say the designation will have no effect on the group.On Saturday, the UAE’s cabinet declared the Houthis a terrorist organization along with over 80 other groups from countries around the world. The list is new and was mandated by the implementation of Federal Law No. 7. The law focuses on combating of terrorism, according to the state-run Emirates News Agency.

The list did not accuse the group of any specific acts of terror.

“The United Arab Emirates made an unwise decision classifying the Houthis as a terrorist group,” Mohammad Al-Bukhaiti, a member of the Houthi Political Office, told the Yemen Times. “It is unjustified and this decision does not serve the national interests of Yemen.”

“This decision will not affect us [the Houthis] because our actions are reasonable—[they are] acts of terror.”

According to Majed Siraj, a political researcher at the Sana’a-based Sheba Strategic Center, the move by the UAE will not have any real impact on the Houthis as they possess very little influence in Yemen. However, should the Houthis assume a more official role in governing the country, Siraj believes the terrorist designation could hurt the group.

The UAE is the second gulf country to categorize the Houthis as a terrorist organization. In March 2014, Saudi Arabia gave the group the same designation.

“The UAE is hostile to the Yemeni people, and this move is proof enough for us,” Al-Bukhaiti said. “This decision is a matter of pleasing some countries that oppose the Houthis.”

Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE also classify the Islah Party, which includes members of the Muslim Brotherhood, as a terrorist organization.

Despite this, Zaid Al-Shami, a parliament member belonging to the Islah Party, was not concerned about the designation. “Our relations with our brothers in the gulf are good.” He declined to comment further.

Connections unclear

A number of indirect connections between the UAE and the Houthis brings into question why the group was named a terrorist organization.

In April 2013, Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son Ahmed was appointed Yemen’s ambassador to the UAE, a position he still holds. Ali Abdullah Saleh has widely been accused of having an informal alliance with the Houthis and helping ease their entrance into Sana’a.

In November, the Houthis took part in a controversial conference sponsored by the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), a Norwegian-based NGO run by Loai Mohammad Deeb, a lawyer of Palestinian descent. At the conference, the Houthis, the Islah Party, the GPC, and a number of other actors signed the Brussels Declaration for National Reconciliatoin, in an effort to bring different Yemeni political factions together. Many political commentators and observers question the legitimacy of the conference, due to the background of its primary organizer, the GNRD.

The GNRD maintains an office in the UAE, which has a history of cracking down on civil society groups operating in the country. Of the five organizations represented as sponsors on the GNRD’s website, background information is only available on one, the UAE-based business known as Deeb Consulting. The GNRD ranks the UAE 14th in its league of human rights, a list that measures countries based on their adherence to and commitment to preserving human and civil rights. Similar listings made by the US State Department and Human Rights Watch have ranked the UAE much lower.

source : http://www.yementimes.com/en/1834/news/4581/Houthis-respond-to-UAE’s-“terrorist”-designation.htm


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