October 25, 2013

Yemen: What, How and Why?

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Volodymyr Guzenko — a graduate of the Military Institute of Foreign Languages ​​(Moscow). Now Volodymyr Guzenko is in the Republic of Yemen, where he can watch one of the revolutions of the “Arab Spring” on the spot

Yemen: What, How and Why?

Dear readers! This article was planned a little earlier, but the events described in my previous articles, forced me to change my plans. And now it's time for this article. I write about Yemen, about what I see, have seen and God forbid, probably will see. Believe me or not, it is your right, I just know. Besides, I am not writing the chronicle of Yemeni events, I am trying to understand the techniques and tactics of modern “color revolutions” imposed by our eternal enemies. For us, God forbid will have to face them at our territory, already being prepared for such events. I'm coming to you with my own conclusions, not with ones read in Western or non-Western entirely democratic press.

So, the history of Yemen. It is unique. The birthplace of most ancient civilizations of antiquity — Kataban, Hadramawt, Ma'in, Sabaean Kingdom, Himyarite Kingdom, Axumite Empire.

Sabaean Kingdom stands out from all and is known by the name of its legendary Queen — Queen of Sheba
Sabaean Kingdom stands out from all and is known by the name of its legendary Queen — Queen of Sheba

Sabaean Kingdom stands out from all and is known by the name of its legendary Queen — Queen of Sheba, in the Ethiopian epic — holy nigista Saba Macheda (Fire). After a meeting at the beginning of the 1st century BC with King Solomon, having learnt his wisdom by taking the Jewish faith, Balkis exactly 9 months and five days later gave birth to a son. Later, Solomon recognized his son. He became the king of Ethiopia, and the founder of the Solomonic Dynasty, the last representative of which we know very well — the last emperor Haile Selassie the First lost his throne in our time, in fact before our eyes.

How amazing is the connection of times! The name Balkis is intertwined with thousands and thousands of myths and legends. The greatest poets, artists, writers provided her honors in their works. Boccaccio, Heinrich Heine, Gustave Flaubert, Jan Potocki, Rudyard Kipling and many others — in Europe. And in Russia — Kuprin, Igor Severyanin, Nikolai Gumilev (the latter did not mention her name for fear of getting under her thousand-year old spells).

Gina Lollobrigida. A still from the movie "Solomon and the Queen of Sheba", 1959
Gina Lollobrigida. A still from the movie "Solomon and the Queen of Sheba", 1959

Charles Gounod dedicated his opera to her. In the cinematography, some famous films are devoted to her, at this, the first film was released in 1921, and in 1959 Gina Lollobrigida, as Sheba.

Myths and legends about the Queen of Sheba have survived to our days. In Hebrew, Ethiopian, Muslim, Christian mythologies, she is mentioned in all Holy Books of all three divine religions...

A staunch ally of the Sabaean state was the no less great power — Hadramawt. At the beginning of our era, but before the beginning of the Islamic era, Yemen was Himyarite empire. In Sana'a, its capital, there was the largest at that time Christian church! In a word, a wonderful weave of all religions, later crowded out by Islam. But until now, the Arabs' favorite name for girls is Balkis, in Ethiopian — Macheda. Agree it is hard, very hard to survive the loss of one's Motherland's grandeur.

And now Yemen again, for the umpteenth time, has found itself on the verge of a split. Please, pay attention to the above shown map of one of the options of division of Yemen. For those who are not strong in beautiful Arabic script, I'll briefly explain.

Map of Yemen partition. For information about the region — point at it mouse

At the very top, in the left corner there is the magenta color area, which includes provinces of Sa'ada, Hajj, Al Jawf and Sana'a. The name of this “autonomous territory” is Ma'in. For your information, in Sa'ada (from about AD 900 to 1400, i.e. almost five hundred years) had flourished powerful Zaidi Imamate. This, of course, cannot help inspiring Houthis, dreaming about a new Imamate.

On the right is a large yellow spot covering half of the country, but including only two provinces — Hadramawt and Mahra, on the border with Oman. The name of this area is Hadramawt.

To the left of Hadhramawt, there is an area which includes also four provinces — Marib, Shabwah, al-Bayda and Abyan under the name “Saba area.”

The green spot also includes four provinces — Taizz, Ibb, al-Dali and Lahij. This is “the area of al-Jannah”. What is Jannah — nobody knows, and it took me quite a while to get to the truth. It turned out, that 30 km North-East of Taizz and 15 km off the airport Taizz, there is the town of al-Jannah, in the center of which there is a huge mosque. Since the 8th century, it has been the largest theological school (by the way, it is still there). The fame of this school had been resounding throughout the Islamic world, but then it was gradually pushed to the back yard by other schools and Islamic universities. Nevertheless, it also is former grandeur and glory of Yemen in the Islamic world...

The violet spot on the Red Sea coast is an area which includes only one province — Tihamah with the center in the port city of Hodeidah. And the area is called “Tihamah region”. At some point, it was captured by the Christian empire of Aksum, now Ethiopia. As memory of those days, inhabitants of the Tihamah have only dark skin and reed huts. By the way, Ethiopians, as well as a small number of Indians, Turks, and other “non-Arabs”, are almost gone; they were assimilated by the Arabs. That is probably why people of Tihamah do not have nostalgic feelings to Aksum; they just demand to create “independent Republic of Tihamah” about what they have, by the way, declared the other day.

But let's return, as they say, to our sheep. Closely watching the development of today's events, you can identify three main vectors:

  1. As part of the National Dialogue, clearly emerges the central, pivotal issue — South Yemeni separatism. Once this problem is solved — others will sort themselves out.
  2. A strong attack of “Muslim Brotherhood” (read - sheikhs Hamid and Sadiq al-Ahmar with moral, political, financial and other support from Qatar) at the Air Force of the country and its Commandment.
  3. Increase of terrorist acts, aimed against the infrastructure of the state, first of all against power plants and transmission lines, oil and gas pipelines, and lately against the fiber-optic communication cables.

True, it's hard to describe everything. There is plenty of material for each item; one can get drowned in the mass of various data. And to write it on paper does not make sense, as the paints, originally juicy and bright, while being shortened, turn the story into a boring official report, designed in shades of dull gray. Yet I will try to just show pictures, so do not blame me...

The problem of the South

Yemeni southerners
Yemeni southerners. segodnya.ua

If the problem of the South gets solved, other problems will disappear by themselves.

In principle, it is correct, because as long as there is no decision on clear form of the state, it is almost impossible to even speculate on how its citizens will live. It is one thing if it will be a centralized state, and quite another — if it is a lot of small autonomies, where each has its laws and claims. And then what is the point now, pray tell, to break spears? That is why all these issues have disappeared, and all have focused on one subject — in what country or countries will we live? There are a few options:

To preserve one whole, centralized unitary state. The Capital — Sana’a. That's where all the revolutionary democrats have rebelled: “What did we fight for? We made a revolution, yet everything will remain as before! Again Sana'a will be commanding”. Such, unfortunately, make the majority, if not to say - the vast majority. Everybody wants freedom and, as one of the deputies of the Dialogue said, “a totalitarian regime deprives us of our freedom and makes us work...” Better, perhaps, one could not have said. These words reflect the general mood very accurately.

Sana'a. Anti-government demonstrations
Sana'a. Anti-government demonstrations. static.guim.co.uk

Proponents of a sole state, and to them, first of all belongs the “Muslim Brotherhood”, are pressuring on the psyche: “At the USA's instructions and at the requirements of the “Gulf (the Persian Gulf, author's note) Initiative”, we need to preserve one state and to ensure its security”. Well, so to speak, there is an order recorded in an official document, and therefore there is nothing here, to “plow the sand” about.

Strongly objecting to the maintenance of the unity are the representatives of the South. They just want full independence within the boundaries of the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). “We just do not care what you do out there in Sana'a. We are South Yemen, we have our own problems.” But, at this, separatists of the South do not forget that, in case of independence, they get 75% of Yemen's oil, gas, gas liquefaction plant in Belle Hafe. And it does not just annoy northerners; in frenzy they have already started talking about the “second crusade” against Aden, meaning that the first one was the war of 1994. Will the South after this become stronger and more developed than the North? I doubt it. All problems will remain, but the two countries, both, the South and the North, after the division will be much weaker and more helpless in all aspects.

What makes it all worse, is the fact that, exactly on the same position is the United States and most dangerous — Qatar. Qatar needs strong hands of Yemen, and if it is fragmented, it will plunge into infighting. Then why has so much money been “poured into this revolution”? The main aim of Qatar is to put on the throne Sheikh Hamid Bin Abdullah Bin Hussein Al - Ahmar or his brother, Sadiq. And this problem has not been solved.

The federalization of Yemen

There are several options for federalization, to be exact – there are two. But each has its own options.

Option One — supported by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh — is a soft autonomization.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemeni President in 1978-1990, 1990- 2012
Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemeni President in 1978-1990, 1990- 2012

The central government in Sana'a is preserved, but some of the powers and a part of the budget are passed to authorities of autonomies living by the laws of a single republic. In fact A.A. Saleh back in the 90s laid this system, having created in each province and county the so-called electoral system of local councils. The subjects of the federation, so-called “autonomous territories” (all in all 6 districts — three in the North, two in the South and one separate self-governing port of Aden), are engaged in purely domestic issues across the spectrum of management, with responsibility for the economic, political, social development, for the state of all affairs, including security. Representatives of autonomies in the Central Government and the National Parliament are involved in solving strategic issues, including foreign policy, economic, military, construction, etc.

The Parliament is supposed to be of two houses. A unified army is formed, a common foreign policy is led, and a whole and almost unitary state is preserved. Looks like a good idea.

But there are supporters for the second option – that of “rigid autonomization”. Republican system is established at each territory at its own discretion - president, cabinet, its own parliament, its own policy, its own security forces, in a word, it's a mini-CIS. The post of President of Yemen performs presidents of autonomies in turn. Yes, such plans give one goose bumps! In the situation of Yemen such a formal association can only mean one thing — constant civil wars and armed conflicts. I'll try to substantiate this statement.

The collapse of the state, in whatever form it happens (voluntary or voluntary-compulsory), is, above all, a powerful blow to the economy. The collapse of the poorest state of Yemen will only lead to the creation of the poorest in the world autonomies. Even under the best scenario, problems that currently exist, primarily economic and social ones, will not disappear; they will not just remain, but will grow multifold...

Realities of Yemen.tema.ru

Realities of Yemen
Realities of Yemen. tema.ru

But that's not all. Current problems are problems of a centralized state, but when they transfer to autonomies, the local government will treat them as legal, recognized problems which they will have to solve on their own, ultimately, by force. There is no other way — either to get united again, or to solve their problems, again, at the expense of their neighbors.

They will have enough forces for this. In the project there is a phrase — “their own Police forces,” but it's not just the Police, regulating traffic. It is assumed that at the disposal of the governments of autonomies automatically will get brigades of Central Security (remember — 18 Police brigades, scattered throughout the provinces) and the Republican Guard’s brigades with all the heavy weapons. Do not forget about the armed groups of tribes, as well as the so-called “People's Army” of tribal militia. This, by the way, is a direct violation of one of the most important provisions of the “Gulf initiatives” — creation of clan or, in this case, territorial militia, dropping in any case from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Commander. It is, in fact, direct and targeted preparation for a civil war. At the same time is being planned significant reduction of the Armed Forces under the Central Government. Most possibly, the authors of these plans are planning to bring down the level of most of these Armed Forces to the level of territorial units...

Another clan army is also being created. As you know, General Ali Mohsin, a traitor, and a former Commander of the Northwest Military District and Commander of the rebellious 1st Armored Division, in the course of the military reform has been appointed Adviser to the Commander, i.e. to President, for the Armed Forces and Security. Of course, not without strong pressure from the two brothers, Sheikh Hamid and Sheikh Sadiq.

Ali Mohsin has already visited Qatar at the head of the delegation, composed of his loyal companions. Most possibly, they were receiving instructions and money... But this is not surprising, but, frankly speaking, outrages. Ali Mohsin over the two years of unrest and his betrayal managed to recruit about 50,000 new recruits (mostly from representatives of tribes Hasheda and Arhaba, controlled by the “Islah” party, i.e. by Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar) in the division and a part of the district. But here's the problem — these recruits are not registered with the Ministry of Defense and have no personal number. (Without a personal number a serviceman will not receive a penny, live ammunition, or even a ragged camouflage…) The Minister of Defence refused to enumerate the “recruits”, but he was pressed on and gave the order to make the recruitment of 14 thousand people!

Another problem somehow forgotten by everybody is — by what characteristics will the territories be divided?

By ethnicity? Nonsense, because the whole population of the country is Arabs, a sole people. Southerners, however, do differ slightly from the northerners. They are more organized and disciplined (after all, the British had been teaching them seriously — with the help of canes).

On religious grounds? This won't work, this is not Iraq, the bulk of the population is Sunnis, the rest is Shiites, and at this, Zaidi Shia (i.e. closest to the Sunni school, and due to this they have had no problems so far). The Shiites are dissolved in the mass of Sunnis; there is only a small enclave of Shiites in the northern province of Sa'ada. It is this province that wants to separate, to be exact - to become an Autonomous Region. But no one wants to listen to anything, and how wrong they are!

Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi.  Leader of the Yemeni Zaidi community and the Ash-Shabab al-Mu'min (Believing Youth)
Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi.  Leader of the Yemeni Zaidi community and the Ash-Shabab al-Mu'min (Believing Youth)

Shiite uprising led by the young Sheikh Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, which lasted from 2004 to 2010, was the most hard-fought war in the history of Yemen, and the suppression of the rebellion was commanded by the same General Ali Mohsin.

Actually, this uprising is extremely interesting in all respects. I remember the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Yemen, exclaim, “So, what do they actually want?!” For half a year no one could understand the aim of the uprising. Hussein finally announced his program. Yemen should return to the traditional form of government — the Imamate, where the king is also the spiritual leader. Ali Abdullah Saleh should hand over the reins to the new Imam, one of the descendants of Prophet Muhammad. No democracy, because it is from Satan.

The power of Sana'a, which took the form of American-style democracy, has to be overthrown. The main Houthis' (so to this day are called the supporters of Sheikh Hussein al-Houthi) slogan is: “Death to America! Death to Israel! May damnation take Jews!” Unfortunately, Sheikh Hussein was killed in combat in 2004, his body was kept in Sana'a, and now the authorities have returned the body to the family. In early June, in Sa'ada, at the confluence of several hundreds of thousands of Houthis' supporters, the most magnificent in the history of Yemen's funeral took place. Similar funeral had never been and could not have been before, because the Sunnis do not accept the worship of the dead, and therefore bury the dead, as if by the way.

It should be noted that the governor of Sa'ada is a major arms dealer, well known both, in Russia and in Ukraine and in Poland — Faris Manna, appointed to the post two years ago by General Ali Mohsin. They are Qatari Emir's “birds of a feather”. Houthis keep silent so far, or, to put it more accurately, behave themselves, but, nevertheless, within the framework of the state policy, within the framework of the National Dialogue, they continue to be poured with dirt. Their main guilt is being supported by coreligionist Iran, and this, as you know, is a crime, at least, so they say at the U.S. State Department.

In reality, the situation in Sa'ada is confusing — officially the power belongs to Faris Manna, Qatar's protégé. In fact, he already is autonomous and not subject to the Government (so far there is no government confirmation of his appointment as governor). On the other hand, the real power is in the hands of the Armed Forces of Houthis, which have to be considered, since they are already preparing to declare  Zaidi Imamate Sa'ada at the controlled by them territory. Yes, as you can see for yourself, the territories cannot be divided along the religion line.

Maybe, according to historical features? In history there are precedents, well known to every one of us. In my view, these plans were made by romantics, idealists and dreamers, nostalgic for the former greatness of land of Yemen, seeking to secure in the people memory of the glorious times. This is, in my opinion, a peculiar method of the historical approach to the problem, even if enclosed not within the territorial boundaries, but at least in the names.

Thus, all activities of the National Dialogue have been reduced to solving a single problem, while the entire lot of other questions is forgotten so far, to be exact — left to the so-called “second round” of the dialogue, about which even its managers do not know yet.

The Dialogue's work has obviously got to a standstill, the amount of contradictions, problems that cannot be settled peacefully, have exceeded the permissible amount and their further increase threatens with failure of the negotiations and slipping into armed conflicts.

In private conversations, many executives have expressed their doubts, and some — statements about the failure of the mission of the Dialogue. Proof of this was the Presidential Decree on the establishment of the so-called “Conciliation Commission”, which has to solve contradictions in working groups, and to seek, to be exact - to impose compromises. In other words, it is evident that the President himself is afraid of such a development of events and therefore decided to act by force of the Conciliation Commission, obliging or forcing to make a decision, and, quite independently of its feasibility, the main thing is to achieve at least some result, at least simulacrum of “unanimity.”

The National Dialogue is on the verge of collapse. It is understood by many, and some are already preparing for the “original solutions,” “Muslim brotherhood’s” host.

Thus, Saudi Arabia, has firmly told President that it would like to see as Vice President, General Ali Mohsin. In this case, are “possible” some changes in the position of Saudi Arabia on some issues, including financial assistance... Well, what can I say? I think everything is clear without saying.

Attack of the “Muslim Brotherhood” at the Air Force of the YR

Recently, more and more clearly and distinctly can be seen some elements of a plot and a more or less whole picture of preparing a coup in the country.

In late May of this year Adviser to the President on the Military and Security Issues General Ali Mohsin with a military delegation visited Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In Doha, he actually made ​​an agreement with the Emir about “taking control of all oil and gas fields, strategic centers of the country, seaports, especially in the South of the country”. The Emir, in turn, gives Mohsin Ali a strong financial support for the implementation of these plans.

On his return to the country, Mohsin Ali immediately began to implement these agreements. In fact, almost all Mohsin Ali's steps since last year have been directed to these aims, but now they have begun to take their final shape.

“Numbering” the personnel of “recruits” in the Ministry of Defence has allowed him to legalize his new units, of which 45 battalions have been formed and reinforced with personnel and officers of the 1st Armored Division, and his faithful units from the former North-West District. By distributing new units across the country, Ali Mohsin actually replaces divisions of the Republican Guard with them.

The creation of such a large rebel army (note — on a legal basis!) is helped by the transfer to these forces of 30,000 Police officers from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, at which, as I have already mentioned, Minister General Qahtan, one of the leaders of the “Muslim Brotherhood”, on a legal basis has employed in the service young people from youth revolutionary organizations and about 12,000 Sheik Sadiq's experienced fighters.

In parallel, Sheiks Sadik and Hamid in all ways are planting their people in all important government bodies, civil administration, Ministries. In fact, now the slow creeping expansion of “Muslim Brotherhood” allows them to control a large part of the country.

The President Abdo Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi.
The President Abdo Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi

At the same time in the local “democratic” to the backbone, has been launched a campaign against President Abdo Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi.

Advisor to the President himself, General Ali Mohsin said that President Hadi would never get the extension of the mandate, which ends in February 2014. Moreover, he also said that Hadi “will not be able to run for the presidency in the next elections”. If we remember that Saudiyya aggressively promotes Ali Mohsin for Vice President, it can be assumed that no one would bet a penny for the life of the President. Arrogance and self-confidence of the General was manifested also in his demand to compensate him for damage to property in the amount of 100 million dollars, which he allegedly has spent of his own money since 1994 and to this day for the procurement of weapons, land for dislocation of military units...

In a word, the revolution is being prepared thoroughly and solidly. The rebels have significant forces, first of all, the living force, well armed with light and medium small arms. At the disposal of the rebels there are tanks and artillery. Even the tribes have heavy weapons. The only thing that rebels do not have, is the Air Force, capable of causing irreparable losses to the enemy, even in the rear, or to disrupt the insurgency itself. And it is very well understood by the rebels themselves and their leadership, especially scenario writers and directors, because an experienced hand is felt, which has made more than one one overthrow or insurrection or another “color revolution.” Therefore, within the general framework of the coup, particular attention has been paid to the Air Force, on which “democratizes” have concentrated their main efforts.

The task is to subdue the Air Force, or at least, if not destroy, then weaken the Air Force to the limit. The whole arsenal of the resources accumulated in the course of the “youth revolution”- bribery, slander, provocation, sabotage, military actions, — is used for the purpose.

The main target is the Commander of the Air Force, who was appointed in April 2012, Air Force Major General Rashed Naser Ali Al-Janad, who succeeded the former President's brother, Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar. The task is to discredit al- Janad as a Commander, to show and prove that he is not able to command. Everything is used — Commander and Commander-in- Chief’s mistakes, blunders and faults.

The actual war against the regime has ruined all the already feeble economy, the state has been put almost on the edge of bankruptcy. Simply put — there is no money, neither in the Air Force, nor in the Ministry of Defence, nor in the state. The salaries of the officers had been detained, but then, with difficulty, paid, but only 50% and without surcharges.

Now a few words about the Air Force itself. The core of the Yemeni military aviation is MiG-29, MiG-21 and fighter-bombers Su -22, combat helicopters Mi-35, multipurpose helicopters Mi-8/17/171. There is also a small amount of training and combat aircrafts L-39, which if a need comes, can be used as light attack aircrafts.

MiG-29 now account for 16-17 units (in good condition only 8.) The rest are in need of minor repair, after which they can be quickly put into operation, but only if the parts that someone successfully holds in his hands, are available).

Combat potential of the 2nd Air Brigade, respectively, accounts for only 50 %.

MiG-21, according to information — “46 to 82”... De facto — about 60, and even so not everything is clear about them — some fly, some are in repair. Of these flying are only 25, 10 of them (in a very bad condition) are in the 69th Brigade in Hodeida, and 15 — at the Anad Air Military Base. They seldom fly, saving the resource. There are no parts, so in order to maintain combat readiness in Hodeida they had to “strip” two machines, taking off their parts and assemblies. Combat potential is about 40-42 % of the nominal.

Su -22, an export version of striking fighter-bomber Su- 17M2
Su -22, an export version of striking fighter-bomber Su-17M2

Fighter-bomber Su-22 is the core of the striking power of the Air Force of Yemen. Currently on the list there are actually 40 aircrafts, including 4 in repair in Baranovichi, 4 have not been accepted after repair. Out of the 6 planes ​​one crashed, it was under warranty. After that pilots of the 6th Air Brigade refused to drive the remaining 5 repaired machines. Waiting for repair (no spare parts) are about 15 aircrafts. Really combat ready are 6-8 aircrafts. Combat potential of the aviation brigade makes today only 15-20 %.

With helicopters of the 8th Air Brigade also not all is going smoothly.

There are only four combat machines Mi-35 (out of the nearly 20). Of these three fly, one needs little repairs.

Nine Mi-8 are at the Deilami Air Military Base, in Sana'a, no data available about how many are in Ta’izz - no data. Flies only 7 cars.

Mi-17 helicopters — two, with one being repaired. The best situation is with Mi-171 – out of fourteen, there are ten, flying-nine, and of those 9 one is Commander’s salon. But even here not everything is perfect — on these 10 machines the resource that remained is below 100 hours, — that's about half a year of work (apart from   Board 62, the salon, which  seldom rises into the air.)

There are “sea” helicopters, Mi-14 — two units, both fly and one Ka-26, also flying. The combat potential of the Aviation brigade is approximately 40-45 %.

Aircraft SU-22 crashed on houses in Sana'a

If all these figures are summed up, it turns out that the real Air Force combat capability of Yemen is about 35-40 %, and the striking power is only 20% of the nominal... and even these figures keep decreasing. I have already mentioned that within half a year these figures have decreased by around 30-35 %! And if things go at this pace, then after 8-12 months one may forget about the Air Force.

Success of the “Muslim Brotherhood” in this battlefield is impressive. In general, if you sum up everything, the picture is bleak. The flights are prohibited, only departures under the personal approval of the President are allowed. “Brothers,” have won here too. Air Force is dieing, you could even say that its agony has already begun. And it is the most powerful tool in the hands of the President in the struggle against rebels and conspirators.

Well, we'll see...

To be continued

Hadramawt area - covering half of the country, but including only two provinces — Hadramawt and Mahra, on the border with Oman Ma'in area - includes provinces of Sa'ada, Hajj, Al Jawf and Sana'a. For your information, in Sa'ada (from about AD 900 to 1400, i.e. almost five hundred years) had flourished powerful Zaidi Imamate. This, of course, cannot help inspiring Houthis, dreaming about a new Imamate Area of al-Jannah - includes four provinces — Taizz, Ibb, al-Dali and Lahij. What is Jannah — nobody knows, and it took me quite a while to get to the truth. It turned out, that 30 km North-East of Taizz and 15 km off the airport Taizz, there is the town of al-Jannah, in the center of which there is a huge mosque. Since the 8th century, it has been the largest theological school (by the way, it is still there). The fame of this school had been resounding throughout the Islamic world, but then it was gradually pushed to the back yard by other schools and Islamic universities. Nevertheless, it also is former grandeur and glory of Yemen in the Islamic world… Saba area - includes also four provinces — Marib, Shabwah, al-Bayda and Abyan Tihamah region - includes only one province — Tihamah with the center in the port city of Hodeidah. And the area is called “Tihamah region”. At some point, it was captured by the Christian empire of Aksum, now Ethiopia. As memory of those days, inhabitants of the Tihamah have only dark skin and reed huts. By the way, Ethiopians, as well as a small number of Indians, Turks, and other “non-Arabs”, are almost gone; they were assimilated by the Arabs. That is probably why people of Tihamah do not have nostalgic feelings to Aksum; they just demand to create “independent Republic of Tihamah” about what they have, by the way, declared the other day…