Saudi Arabia has on Sunday established the largest Salafist camp so far, in the southern Yemeni city of Dhalea, Yemen News Portal (YNP) reported, citing local sources.
According to YNP, the move is aimed at blocking the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council, amid recent fears of rapprochement with between them and Ansarullah.
Saudi-based Salafist leaders have opened their largest so-called religious complex yet, known as the ” Salafi House of Hadith for Islamic Sciences”. The building is ostensibly aimed at training and settling hundreds of pro-Saudi Wahhabi fighters.
The Saudi move has sparked controversy in Dhalea, which lacks most basic services, most notably hospitals.
The center would bring the city, which forms the northern gate of Aden, under Saudi control through the Wahhabi movement.
With it, Saudi Arabia aims to establish a belt between the north and the south, and has already set up several training centers in Lahj, specifically in the border areas with Taiz, as well as in Yafa’a on the border with Bayda.
Before the September 21 Revolution of 2014, Salafist organisations funded by Saudi Arabia held a major influence in Yemen. The northern Yemeni city of Dammaj even held one of the largest Wahhabi training centers in the world at a certain time.
The Saudi-led center, known as “Dar al-Hadith” by its adherents, was eventually shut down by the revolutionary forces of Yemen following the liberation of Dammaj in 2014.