Shi’ite Houthi rebels from northern Yemen have seized the city of Amran, the Provincial capital of the Amran Governate, and a walled city just 32 miles away from the capital city of Sanaa.
Intense fighting against a Sunni Islamist tribal faction left the Houthis in control of Amran, and at least 200 people confirmed killed since the latest round of fighting began over the weekend.
Houthi spokesmen declared the takeover a victory for “the underprivileged sons of Amran,” and denied having any interest in using the city as a staging ground for advancing on Sanaa itself.
Whether that’s true or not, the Hadi government and its predecessors have been openly backing the Sunni Islamists against the Houthi for decades, and the sense of defeat is palpable. Yemen has been fighting these on-again, off-again wars with the Houthis primarily at the behest of the Saudi government, as the Houthis rarely venture outside of their comparatively unimportant, and almost wholly undeveloped northwestern region. Their primary grievance is that the Yemeni government has discriminated against them in modernization projects.