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Houthis Provoke ‘Honor, Land’ to Rally Up Recruits

Houthis Provoke ‘Honor, Land’ to Rally Up Recruits

Monday, 6 August, 2018 - 11:15
Yemeni soldier points his gun at poster of Houthi leader (Getty Images)
Sanaa- Asharq Al Awsat
Hoping to boost depleted morale among frontline fighters, Houthi leaders were caught making misleading claims of "crushing" victories over the past two days. Yemeni social activists slammed the Iran-backed coup’s so-called "military achievements" as baseless propaganda.

They also cited reports of sexual assaults being fabricated by the Houthis.

Provoking “honor” cases is a Houthi mechanism used to protect their followers among tribes and rural provinces under coup control, activists added.

President of the Houthi self-proclaimed Supreme Political Council Mahdi al-Mashat had given specific instructions to coup media to exaggerate battleground advances achieved by Houthi militiamen, Sanaa sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

In September 2014, Houthis overran the Yemeni capital Sanaa in a coup against the internationally-recognized government and established their self-tailored government.

Mashat was reported to have also given directives for Houthi media, if needed, to produce fake reports in order to keep Houthi achievements in good lighting.

Honor-provoking cases were one of Mashat’s propaganda policies to rally tribesmen and locals in militia-controlled areas.

The Houthis have been sustaining heavy casualties on multiple fronts, especially since the Yemeni government forces, supported by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, unleashed a major offensive to expel the extremists from the Red Sea city of Hodeidah and its crucial port.

Mashat told coup media controllers to report stories on purported incidents and abuses in hopes of increasing recruitment of youth, who are susceptible to radicalism, and seeing more funds pumped into the Houthi war effort.

Hoping to spur a sense of obligation among a wavering supporter base, Mashat launched the media campaign with a slogan: “Defending Honor and Land.”

Two weeks ago, he also took the decision to appoint one his top loyalists, Yahya Saree, as director of the Department of Moral Guidance in the Sanaa Defense Ministry.

After granting him the rank of brigadier general, Mashat tasked Saree with rebooting coupist propaganda apparatuses, establishing an operations room to spread news on false victories, raise combatant morale and incite rural tribes to recruit more of their youth.

Houthis have not shied away from using Yemeni youth as cannon fodder.

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