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Saudi changed stance towards Yemen's Islah: Egyptian diplomat

Saudi Arabia in contact with Yemen's Muslim Brotherhood-affiliate 'to prevent the deteriorating situation' following Houthi militia takeover
Yemeni children sit on the wreckage of the headquarters of Yemen's Islah party in the city of Amran, on 14 July, 2014 which according to local media was bombed by Shiite Houthi militia (AFP)

Since the takeover of the Yemeni capital Sanaa by the Shiite Houthi militia, Saudi Arabia had been dealing with Yemen's Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islah differently than it had with the movement's branches in other countries, a senior Egyptian diplomat who declined to be named told the Anadolu Agency.

Many Yemenis – as well as Gulf and international leaders - see the Houthi militia takeover of Sanaa last September as a coup against President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who fled the capital to the southern city of Aden, from which he continues to exercise authority.

Before the Houthi takeover, however, Saudi Arabia had reportedly been supporting efforts – including those made by the Shiite militia – to undermine the influence of Islah party in Yemen, as part of Riyadh's anti-Brotherhood stance.

Saudi Arabia had designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist organization" in March of last year.

But the military expansion of Houthi militia, which had dissolved Yemen's elected parliament, is being viewed by critics as serving Iran's ideological agenda in the region.  

Since it seized Sanaa, the Houthi militia has confiscated several of the Islah party's offices and has reportedly raided party offices in other parts of the country as well.

Houthi militants have raided an Islah party office in northern Al-Hudaydah and detained 11 party members, eyewitnesses told AA on Tuesday.

And Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi recently accused the party of colluding with al-Qaeda inside Yemen. He also condemned President Hadi as "a puppet in the hands of forces of evil, led by the United States" in carrying out a plot financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

"Contacts between Saudi and Islah are merely an attempt to prevent the deteriorating situation in Yemen and its implications for Gulf security," the Egyptian diplomat said.

"It is only an attempt to safeguard Gulf security in the face of Yemen's deteriorating security situation," the source added.

The Egyptian source stressed that "communications between Yemen's Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia have no impact on the strong relations between Cairo and Riyadh."

The development comes amid reports that Saudi Arabia under the new leadership of King Salman no longer sees the Muslim Brotherhood as an imminent threat, despite Cairo's displeasure.  

Last week, leading Hamas member Mahmoud al-Zahar stressed that the Palestinian movement's relations with Saudi Arabia were "stable."

And Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal is expected to pay a visit Riyadh "soon."

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