Source: AEI's Critical Threats Project

July 16, 2015

al Houthi Areas of Influence

Source: AEI's Critical Threats Project

The al Houthi movement, an armed Zaydi Shi’a group that fought six wars with the Yemeni state between 2004 and 2010, expanded its influence in Yemen considerably in 2014. The al Houthis consolidated control in their stronghold of Sa’ada governorate during the 2011 political and security vacuum, essentially governing a statelet in north Yemen. In the intervening years, the al Houthi movement gained support outside of its traditional base by playing up its position as an opposition movement and fighting to reclaim the 2011 “popular revolution,” which many Yemenis saw as having been coopted by the political elite. It expanded into Amran governorate in summer 2014 and became a key powerbroker in Sana’a in September 2014.  By mid-November 2014, the al Houthis had stretched southward into Ibb and al Bayda, westward into al Hudaydah, and were beginning to move eastward into Ma’rib. As of January 2015, there was even a small al Houthi presence in Taiz.

The map of al Houthi influence in Yemen is derived from open-source data points the Critical Threats Project’s Yemen team collected over the past year. It is colored by governorate district.

Control indicates an al Houthi stronghold where is no visible resistance to al Houthi governance.

Influence indicates areas in Yemen where there are reports that the al Houthis undertook activities to control the land and population, such as establishing checkpoints, passing judgments or decrees, and limiting movement in a given territory.

Presence indicates that there are al Houthis operating in the area, but they have not been able to gain sufficient influence to affect local dynamics or where the al Houthi attempts at influence are severely contested, such as in Rada’a, al Bayda.

Assessed freedom of movement is territory where it is assessed that the al Houthis have freedom of movement, but there is not sufficient evidence to judge that the al Houthis are present there. In some cases, the al Houthis will have influence over this territory, but it is not reported.

May 25, 2015 April 17, 2015
April 1, 2015 March 25, 2015
March 20, 2015 February 10, 2015
January 15, 2015 November 17, 2014
Archived Maps of al Houthi Areas of Influence


Originally published January 27, 2015.