Houthi disputes escalate as leader’s affiliates are detained, eliminated

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Internal disputes among the Houthi militia have escalated recently amid an atmosphere of intimidation, suppression and accusations of treason.

Yemeni sources said on Monday that some prominent commanders affiliated with Saleh al-Sammad, the president of the so-called Supreme Political Council, and who was killed in an air strike in Hodeidah in April, were arrested while others were placed under house arrest.

The purpose is to get them out of the inner circle in favor of other conflicting factions. According to sources, Houthi commander Abu Ali al-Hakem arrested prominent commander Yahyha Mohammed al-Mahdi who is affiliated with Sammad.

Mahdi was transferred to Saada, the stronghold of Houthis in North Yemen, and has been detained in a mosque which the Houthis have turned into a prison. Mahdi’s office director was also reportedly arrested and sent to a detention center in the Houthi-controlled island of Kamaran.

Sources said that commanders seen as part of Sammad’s division are being eliminated following detention. They are often pursued, placed under house arrest and isolated from the posts which they were assigned by Sammad when he headed the supreme council.

They added that the conflict between Houthis’ factions have escalated as each side aims to eradicate the other amid fears that this will turn into an armed conflict.

There are currently four factions at the forefront of this conflict. One of them is led by Mahdi al-Mashat, the brother-in-law of the Houthis’ leader and who was appointed Sammad’s successor.

Another faction is led by Abdulkarim al-Houthi, the uncle of the Houthis’ leader, while one is led by Abdulkhaleq al-Houthi, the brother of the Houthis’ leader.

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