“Dancing on the heads of snakes”: The emergence of the Houthi movement and the role of securitizing subjectivity in Yemen’s civil war
On March 25, 2015 a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen to force the Houthis (Ansar Allah or the Party of God) to withdraw from Sana’a and enable President Hadi to return to Yemen. Despite vast research on the structural causes of the Arab Uprisings in general, and on the Yemeni Spring in particular, the roles and implications of ontologically (in)secure communities in intra-state conflicts have not yet been sufficiently explored. This study examines the various exogenous and endogenous factors that led to the emergence of the Believing Youth (Shabab al-Moumineen) movement in the first place, and then the Houthi movement by applying Catherina Kinnvall’s “identity-signifier” and “securitizing subjectivity” analytical framework. The purpose here is to shed light on how the Houthis’ collective identity construction and their capability to adapt enabled them to substantially influence Yemeni domestic politics in the post-Arab Spring era.