The quiet situation in Harf Sufyan district after the bloody battles last July draws numerous unanswered questions. The battles killed dozens from both sides and had 228 soldiers held hostage. Observers believe that the Qatari mediation helped to calm down the situation, while local analysts believe that local mediations were the main and only reason behind the end of fighting in Harf Sufyan. Houthis not only control Sa’ada governorate, but also control the strategic military site of Al-Zaala which oversees the main road linking the capital Sana’a with Saada city.
“Houthis have kept in touch with the Qatari government in order to have peace return in Saada, and things have improved. The roads are open and people move freely, and there are no security problems, while the ceasefire committees do their work without any problems” Mohamed Abdel-Salam, the Houthis spokesman said.
Sheikh Bakeel Hubiash, a prominent Sheikh in Harf Sufyan, indicated during his interview with Al-Jazeera, that Houthis controlled the entire district even before the fall of Al-Zaala military site. “They have controlled that area for over a year now, and the war with Bin Aziz last month was only to prove it to those who doubted their power in that region.” He considered that the state is completely absent in Harf Sufyan. He added that the government’s cease-fire agreement with the Houthis did not include the tribes that participated with state to fight the rebels. “This in return will make tribes feel that they were abandoned by the government to fight Houthi followers, who consider pro-government tribes hypocrites and state agents.