"Opposition to Ansar Allah is not religious, as many commentators seem to think, but instead stems from its violation of the pact of inclusivity—the National Dialogue—that held Yemeni politics together after the fall of Saleh. Ansar Allah’s grab for power is what has caused its faltering, and is therefore not due to its Zaydi Shi‘i leadership.
Moreover, the label “Shi‘i rebels” mischaracterizes Ansar Allah. The al-Houthi family does include a long line of prestigious religious scholars of Zaydi Islam, and the movement did begin as a reassertion and revival of Zaydi practice among youth in the north. And religion has played some symbolic role in Ansar Allah’s rise, such as when Sana was decorated by Ansar Allah’s forces for the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday, which clearly marked the new power of Ansar Allah in the capital. But celebrating the Prophet’s birthday is not a Zaydi tradition, and Ansar Allah does not pretend to represent Yemen’s Zaydi elite. The Zaydi Sada (elite) are not united behind Ansar Allah; there are Sada dispersed among all of Yemen’s political factions. More significantly, Ansar Allah’s fighters are not battling for Zaydism. Ansar Allah recruits fighters from everywhere and from every sect, and its ability to build militias depends upon funding for fighters and credible leadership." MEI
Ths piece was written in 2015 by Professor Schmitz. It is useful background on the Ansar Allah (Houthi) movement. It is a valuable reference document. pl