NYT's Rod Nordland In Yemen: For Iran-Backed Houthis, "Death To America" Is Just A Slogan

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ROD NORDLAND, NEW YORK TIMES, SANA'A YEMEN: [The new Houthi government in Yemen] are trying desperately to reach out to thew United States, to try to persuade them that they want to be on friendly terms.

They haven't had much success doing that, I think the Americans want to see a government in place, one that the Houthis agree on with other parties, not one completely dominated by them...

The Houthis have long campaigned against American drone strikes, even though they are against their bitter enemies al-Qaeda, and since taking control they have done nothing to interfere with those,in fact they have dialed back the anti-drone and anti-American rhetoric...

I interviewed their leader here a couple of days ago and he was very adamant about trying to have better relations with the U.S., and he even went so far as to pretty much repudiate their slogan, which includes "Death To America," and say that ius just a slogan we don't mean it literally. We want to be friends with the United States, and Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the region. They even downplayed their connection to Iran -- it is widely believed that the Iranians finance them, they say it is not true and they don't want to see Iran make headway in Yemen either.

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