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Houthi Shiite rebels ride in a pickup truck at the compound of the army’s First Armored Division, after taking it over, Sanaa, Yemen, Sept. 22, 2014 (AP photo by Hani Mohammed).

Yemen’s Houthis Redraw Political Map, Upend Transition

Friday, Sept. 26, 2014

It is still too soon to know what the Sept. 21 takeover of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, by a group known as the Houthis will mean for the country’s future and its internationally backed political transition. But in a matter of days, the Houthis have redrawn Yemen’s political map far more radically than the 2011 uprising that led to the ouster of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh after 33 years in power.

So quickly did the Houthis rout tribal and Sunni Islamist militias and a military unit loyal to one of their fiercest rivals before signing a peace deal on extremely favorable terms that many Yemenis have not yet fully awoken to the new reality in Sanaa. Despite a clause in the agreement that called for their withdrawal, the Houthis’ leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, has said that his men will not leave the capital until the security services—weak, divided, either shell-shocked by or complicit in the Houthi advance—are ready to fight al-Qaida. ...

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