Eliminating Sammad, one step out of many

Saleh al-Sammad, the president of the Houthis’ state, their top military commander or the “president” as the Houthis’ “supreme guide” Abdulmalik described him while mourning him and a group of his companions, was killed in accurate air raids carried out by the coalition in support of legitimacy in Hodeidah where there’s a decisive battle to liberate Yemen’s most important port.

Sammad was the second-in-command of the Houthi militia, despite recent statements about disputes between him and the commanders of the group’s military and security wings, Mohammed Ali and Mahdi al-Mashat. Mahdi al-Mashat is Sammad’s successor and he’s from the group’s hawks and fools. To him, Sammad is like Ahnaf ibn Qais and he dreams to be like him.

According to what was published about him, Sammad was born in 1973 in Bani Ma'az in Sahar’s district in Saada. His religious mentor was the father Badreddine al-Houthi so he was a friend of Hussein, the actual founder of the group.

Sammad’s name came into the limelight in the end of 2005 during the third Houthi war. In 2009, he was included in the list of 55 Houthis who are wanted by the Interior Ministry.

Sammad was the second-in-command of the Houthi militia, despite recent statements about disputes between him and the commanders of the group’s military and security wings, Mohammed Ali and Mahdi al-Mashat. Mahdi al-Mashat is Sammad’s successor and he’s from the group’s hawks and fools.

Mashari Althaydi

He headed the first Houthi public delegation to visit Iran in March 2015 after the Houthis staged their coup when they announced what they called the constitutional declaration. During his visit to Iran, he signed plenty of agreements to support the Houthis and agreed to the Iranian airlines’ direct flights.

Sammad is viewed as one of the non-Hashemite symbols who belongs to the Zaidi sect as per the Houthi Jarudiyah approach. He’s from the tribal wing, just like his “dreamy” successor Mahdi al-Mashat. The Hashemites are among the well-known families in the Zaidi mountains, especially from Saada. They control military and security decision making processes and they are the supporters of the idea of a parallel organization to the state – even when the state is under their command via their leader or president Saleh al-Sammad. What a strange and revealing paradox!

The blow is painful but it’s not a severe and eradicative blow. We need plenty of similar momentum, not by killing the commanders of the terrorist group but by intensifying general military work and speeding up the process of uniting “all” powers operating under the coalition’s umbrella. We must also address western leftist propaganda that’s sympathizing with Houthi narratives and prevent it from achieving its aims.

Victory is patience of an hour.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:56 - GMT 06:56
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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