Small Wars Journal

In Yemen, Iran-Aligned Rebels Tighten Grip Through Fear and Intimidation

In Yemen, Iran-Aligned Rebels Tighten Grip Through Fear and Intimidation by Sudarsan Raghavan – Washington Post

… In Yemen’s war, a Saudi-led coalition backed by the United States has been vilified for killing thousands of civilians with airstrikes, waging an economic war that has driven millions to the precipice of starvation, and allegedly torturing foes and critics in secret prisons. The criticism has gained more traction since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in October focused attention on Riyadh’s behavior and the coalition’s conduct in Yemen.

But abuses are also being perpetrated by the rebels, known as Houthis. Torture, detentions and forced disappearances are widespread, according to legal documents and interviews with victims and human rights activists. The abuses are fueling an expanding atmosphere of fear and intimidation in this capital and across rebel-controlled areas.


The Washington Post reached out to 13 former prisoners and victims of the Houthis. Only four agreed to speak on the record because they and their families had fled the north, where the Houthis are strongest. Those still in Sanaa suspect they are being followed by Houthi intelligence agents. Some victims were afraid to speak even by phone, fearing they were tapped by the rebels.


The Houthis have targeted activists, journalists, lawyers, religious minorities, business executives — anyone deemed to be against their rule and ideology. Gunmen have raided homes at night, arresting and beating people over minor disputes or for voicing criticism of their movement. Few face trials or have access to lawyers. Courts are either nonexistent or used purely for sentencing, according to human rights activists and victims…

Read on.