On March 29, 2022, BBC Arabic (United Kingdom) aired a debate about the Houthis and their role in the war in Yemen. Egypt-based Yemeni activist Sonia Saleh said that the Houthis have no regard for the lives of the Yemeni people and are actually responsible for more Yemeni deaths than anyone else. In addition, she criticized the Houthis for using civilians as human shields, for storing weapons in schools and among civilians, and for attacking Saudi Arabia and the UAE even though they do not have the ability to defend the Yemeni people from retaliatory strikes. Nasr Al-Din Amer, a Houthi official who serves as the head of the Saba Yemeni news agency, responded that the Houthis have an "actual state" in Sana’a, that the Houthi fighters constitute the Yemeni army, and that the Houthis will not give up on their weapons only to be slaughtered by ISIS and Saudi Arabia. He stressed that the Houthis will strike America, Saudi Arabia, and its collaborators. For more about Nasr Al-Din Amer, see MEMRI TV Clip 9328.
Sonia Saleh: "Since when do you Houthis care about the people? The Houthis have killed more Yemenis than anyone else.
"When you strike in Riyadh and the UAE, and attack neighboring countries, you know that there will be a retaliation against Yemen. You do not take the people [of Yemen] into account. Have you arranged for air-defense systems to protect the Yemenis? Why do you store weapons in schools and among the civilian population?
"Why do you use innocent people as human shields?"
BBC Interviewer: "Are you ready to hand over your weapons to end the war? Sonia asked you a direct question about this."
Nasr Al-Din Amer: "To whom will we hand over our weapons? To America? To Saudi Arabia? What we have today in Sana'a is an actual state. It is the Yemeni army that is fighting [Saudi Arabia]. Is the Yemeni army expected to hand over its weapons to Saudi Arabia or the UAE, only to be slaughtered by the knives of ISIS and Saudi Arabia? We reject this. This is unacceptable.
"We will use our weapons to strike Saudi Arabia on the head, and to strike whoever cooperates with Saudi Arabia - the Americans and whoever attacks us. This is what we will do with our weapons."