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Amid Yemeni Unification Efforts,Houthis Remain Delicate Issue

As various Yemeni factions strive to reach a national consensus and achieve progress in the post-revolution period, the separatist Houthi movement in the north remains contentious.
Followers of the Shi'ite Houthi group, also called Ansarullah march as they demand Yemen's National Security Agency be disbanded, in Sanaa July 19, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah (YEMEN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX11RW8
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On June 5, 2013, the scene in the Saada province in northern Yemen was astonishing. The funeral ceremony of the founder of the Houthi rebel group, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, was a grand event. Photos of the leader, dubbed the “martyr commander,” were raised and the crowd enthusiastically chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is great), “Death to America,” “Death to Israel,” “Damn the Jews,” and “Victory to Islam.”

The national flag, however, was nowhere to be found, and guards wearing what resembled military uniforms carried the remains of Houthi on their shoulders with reverence. Meanwhile, other guards patrolled the streets with their cars that bore the movement’s slogan, ensuring security. During the ceremony, the honor guard took the stage, pledging loyalty to the new leader, Hussein’s brother Abdul Malak. The commander of the guards addressed Abdul Malak in front of hundreds of thousands of mourners as “my master and lord.” 

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