Yemen's Shiite Rebels: We've Taken Over Country

Houthis say they have dissolved Parliament
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 6, 2015 11:07 AM CST
Yemen's Shiite Rebels: We've Taken Over Country
Houthi Shiite Yemenis wearing army uniforms hold their weapons during a rally to show support for their comrades in Sanaa, Yemen, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.    (Hani Mohammed)

Yemen's powerful Shiite rebels today announced that they have taken over the country and dissolved parliament, a dramatic move that finalizes their months-long power grab. In a televised announcement from the Republican Palace in the capital of Sanaa, the Houthi rebels said they are forming a five-member presidential council that will replace President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi for an interim two-year period. The Houthis also said that the "Revolutionary Committee" (the security and intelligence arm of the rebel group) would be in charge of forming a new parliament with 551 members. The statement in Sanaa comes after political parties failed to meet a Houthi-imposed deadline on Wednesday to agree on an acceptable way forward.

Houthis' rising dominance—which included a raid of the presidential palace and a siege of Hadi's residence—forced the president and all Cabinet members to submit their resignations in January. The announcement did not give a timetable for elections and gave no indication on the fate of Hadi. The development plunges the impoverished country deeper into turmoil and threatens to turn the crisis into a full-blown sectarian conflict, pitting the Iran-backed Houthi Shiites against Sunni tribesmen and secessionists in the south. It could also play into the hands of Yemen's al-Qaeda branch, the world's most dangerous offshoot of the terror group, and jeopardize the US counter-terrorism operations in the country. (More Yemen stories.)

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