Karman won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her role in Arab Spring protests that ousted authoritarian President Ali Abdullah. More recently she has ramped up public criticism of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, accusing them of backing a campaign to divide Yemen by supporting southern separatists against the internationally recognised government.
Speaking at the Warwick Economics Summit at Britain’s Warwick University over the weekend, Karman said Saudi Arabia and the UAE were driven by a “reckless adventurism” when they intervened in Yemen in 2015 after Iran-aligned Houthi forces drove Hadi into exile.
In an earlier Twitter message, she wrote: “Saudi Arabia and UAE took advantage of the (Houthi) militia coup in Sana'a to launch a very ugly occupation and an uglier influence in Yemen.”
The Islah party, regarded as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is viewed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE as a terrorist organisation, tried to distance itself from Karman and order her suspended from its ranks.
“Tawakkol Karman’s statements do not represent the Islah party and its policies, and are not in line with the party’s positions,” a statement posted on Islah’s website said.
“Therefore, the general secretary has decided to freeze her membership according to the party’s status.”
Karman, who left Yemen after Houthi militia seized the capital Sana'a in a series of military advances that began in late 2014, responded on her Twitter account by describing Islah leaders as “prisoners and slaves” of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.
Tensions between Islah and southern separatists have been rising since Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, announced a boycott of Qatar in June last year over allegations that Qatar backs Islamist militants. Qatar denies the charges. - Reuters