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Tens of thousands of Yemenis gathered in the capital Sanaa to express their anger toward the government on Feb. 3, 2011, in what was dubbed the "Day of Rage".As the war in Yemen enters its 11th month, it behooves those hoping to see the conflict reach a peaceful end to reflect on those unknowns that would have a significant impact on the sustainability of a post-conflict Yemen. Three such issues include public perceptions of the conflict, the cohesiveness of the Zaydi population of Yemen, and the stances of heavily armed and powerful tribes. The Houthis belong to Yemen's Shiite Zaydi community, which makes up some 30-40 percent of the population.The wars between Saleh and the Houthis that began in 2004 entailed further intra-Zaydi fighting, with the (Zaydi) Gen. Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar – a member of Saleh's own Sanhan tribe – leading regime troops against the Houthis.The war in Yemen did not begin as a Sunni-Shiite sectarian contest.If Yemeni tribal groups possess some 60 million arms outside of government control, who controls them now?While tribes in Yemen never functioned in a singular or unitary manner, the strength of tribal affiliations is no longer even clear.But the arms remain and tribal groups will certain endure as powerful actors in postwar Yemen.
Are Houthi-Saleh ties under strain?
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