Sheikh Abdulwahid Al-Qebli made the comments as the Houthis appear to preparing to invade Marib governorate
Marib GPC chief: Marib is the shield of Yemen and we have no greater interest than defeating the Houthis
The head of Marib governorate’s branch of the influential General People's Congress (GPC) political party said on Sunday that his people are banning together to defend their homeland in the face of the “Iranian project and its Houthi militia.”
Sheikh Abdulwahid Al-Qebli said in a statement to state-run Althawra.net that Marib stands as one, and the people of Marib and those who relocated there from other parts of the country represent a shield for the governorate, for Yemen and the entire region in the face of Iranian influence.
The statement comes against the backdrop of a military escalation by the Houthis, who have intensified missile and ground attacks in and around Marib in recent weeks. The governorate is home to at least 1 million internally displaced people who have fled Houthi-controlled areas since the start of the conflict.
The Houthis claimed to have made an agreement with Marib tribes to enter the governorate, prompting widespread debate on social media about whether the Marib tribes supported the formation of a united front against the Al-Islah party. The GPC and Al-Islah are Yemen’s two dominant political parties.
Al-Qebli, the son of Ali Nemran Al-Qebli, the sheikh of sheikhs of the Murad tribes (the largest tribal bloc in Marib), said that the battle Yemenis are fighting today, with all of their different political and social components, is a national battle. He stressed that the Houthis’ dream of capturing Marib will be destroyed, just as it was when the group tried to invade the governorate in 2015 and failed.
“Marib will win and its victory will be one for all of Yemen,” Al-Qebli said. “There is no place for the (Houthi) militia on this land, Marib always stands by the state and state institutions, along with the national project that is inclusive of all Yemenis expressed in the national dialogue outcomes.”
Al-Qebli stressed that the interests of Marib and Yemen today is in the victory over the Houthis, and it is only with the Houthis’ demise that Yemenis will find a way to solve their problems and achieve their interests under one Yemen for all.
In recent weeks, thousands of families have been displaced from Al-Jawf governorate to Marib after the Houthis took control of Al-Hazm city, the capital.
The Houthi escalation in fighting coincides with the coronavirus pandemic and fears of its spread to Yemen, where medical infrastructure has been decimated after six years of conflict.