Yemen's Jerusalem Formula

SANA’A, YEMEN — A young groom in his early twenties, Zaid Abdullah al-Shareif, took to the stage adorned in traditional Yemeni wedding attire. He wasn’t just announcing his marriage though. Zaid, holding a replica of the famous sword of Ali Ibn Abi Talib, a historical figure revered for his character and battlefield prowess, was addressing an audience at a massive protest known locally as the Sarkhah, or the Scream. There he made a wedding-day pledge to help liberate Jerusalem and the people of Palestine. EMBED | The Sarkhah is an annual tradition, a celebration of the independence of the Ansar Allah (better known as Houthi) rebellion. During the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11, the Houthi movement’s founder, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, is said to have shouted “God is Great! Death to America! Death to Israel!” in a gathering in the mountainous area of ​​Maran in northern Yemen. Far from the genocidal call to arms it is often dismissed as, it was a cry for territorial autonomy and relief from the destructive and deadly nature of the U.S.-led “war on terror,” which has taken so many civilian lives in Yemen and beyond. Since that occasion, hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have celebrated the occasion and the Houthis’ de facto role as a stalwart against highly unpopular American and Israeli policies in the region.