Officials said the Believing Youth movement has renewed military
operations near the Yemeni border with Saudi Arabia. They said Shi'ite
rebels, called Houthis, were battling regime-backed tribes in the northern
Yemeni province of Jawf.
"The assessment by the Shi'ites and the Iranians is that neither Saleh
nor his successor will be capable of restoring control over the north, and
this presents a golden opportunity for Teheran," an official said.
Officials said the Shi'ite rebels were exploiting the absence of a
central authority in northern Yemen. They said the Believing Youth was
receiving aid and training from Iran in an effort to destabilize the
"The Shi'ites are fighting the Sunnis and the regime is playing a very
minor role," an official said.
Officials said more than 30 people have been killed in fighting between
the Believing Youth and Sunni militias. They identified the main militia as
belonging to the Islah opposition party, with elements aligned with Al
The Shi'ites have been deployed in army bases and other checkpoints
abandoned by the Saleh regime in May 2011. Officials said Islah has demanded
that the Believing Youth withdraw from an army base in Jawf that controls
key areas of the province.
The Believing Youth has staged several rebellions against Saleh, the
last of which ended in early 2010. During the last revolt, Shi'ite fighters
captured at least two Saudi towns just across from the border with Yemen.