Political Analysis

Tribesmen Stand Against Saudi

National Yemen

Tribesmen Stand Against Saudi

By NY Staff

Hundreds of Yemeni tribesmen from the al-Jawf governorate prayed last Friday in the al-Anab area on the border of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A source within the tribe said that they have named this day “the Friday of the beginning,” and that their slogan was “our demand is to bring back our lands.”

The tribe of Dhu al-Hussein resides on the border of Habb area, Sharawf. They decided this past week to hold their Friday prayers in al-Anab, where they have identified the borderline between Yemen and Saudi Arabia. This matter has arisen for a number of reasons, one of which is to retake Yemeni lands that have been claimed by the Saudi government. The second goal, according to the tribes, is to stop the sucking of Yemeni oil wealth from al-Jawf, Marib, and the Empty Quarter along the Saudi borderline.  The tribes also say that they wish to return Saudi’s treatment of Yemenis to pre-1999 conditions.

He said that praying beside the borders indicates the interest of Yemenis to regain their lands. It serves as a response to threats from Saudi authorities to evacuate their tents, says a source.

Dhu al-Hussein tribes announced earlier that they will form a “desert Herak,” or “desert movement,” to retake Yemeni lands from Saudi Arabia. The movement has established a number of checkpoints to oversee the Yemeni-Saudi border. The tribesmen have also attacked a Saudi construction company contracted to build a wall between Yemen and KSA; a company car was struck by an RPG fired by members of the desert movement.

Tension has appeared in the area after the attack on the truck, evidenced by the spread of Saudi guards along the border as well as the presence of military helicopters opposite the Yemeni tribes. The Yemeni tribes have begun using anti-aircraft weaponry.

The Saudi government is the first sponsor of the Gulf Initiative designed to help Yemen avoid civil war with the beginning of the Arab Spring, but despite this the majority of the Yemeni people accuse the Saudis of being the main country behind Yemen’s current problems. In particular, Yemenis point to Saudis meddling in the complex balance of power in Yemen through the financing of certain tribes, which only serves to weaken the Yemeni government. Some Yemenis claim that these actions are part of an effort to keep Yemen in the “poor circle,” and never allow it to truly improve its economic standing.

Saudi Arabia plays a large role in fighting the expansion of the Houthi movement in Saada, partly out of an interest to keep Houthis from moving north in Saudi lands. Saudi is Sunni state with only a small number of Shi’a within its borders. Many of these Shi’a reject the Saudi government, and as such Saudi hopes to keep the Shi’a Houthis from further aggravating this conflict by entering Saudi territory.

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