FRESH AIR

IN THE MEDIA

Becoming Ansar Allah: How the Islamic Revolution Conquered Yemen

Mar 30, 2021 | Oved Lobel

(image: Aviva Childress/@artbyaviva)
(image: Aviva Childress/@artbyaviva)

This report was originally published by European Eye on Radicalization  – 24 March 2021 

The relationship between the Houthis in Yemen and Iran has long been painted as a relatively recent Iranian sideshow that began in 2009 in response to Saudi Arabia’s overt intervention against the Houthis in their wars with Yemen’s government. Such conventional analysis will often stress that the ‘Fiver’ Shiism of Yemen’s Zaydis, to which the Houthis ostensibly subscribe, and the ‘Twelver’ Shiism of Iran are too incompatible to allow an ideological alliance, putting the Houthis in the same tactical category as Sunni Iranian proxies and allies—such as Hamas, the Taliban, or Al-Qaeda—as opposed to groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon or Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq.

Furthermore, it is almost universally asserted that the initial 2004 rebellion by Hussein Badr al-Din al-Houthi and his faction of the Believing Youth organization was purely a response to domestic grievances, including the Saudi and government-sponsored spread of Salafism in Zaydi areas and the alleged threat to Zaydi religious practice.

This report will re-examine these long-standing assumptions, demonstrating that in fact there is a deep ideological connection between Iran and the Houthis that stems back to 1979; that Iran carefully cultivated the al-Houthi family and its associates, using them to orchestrate an ideological schism in the Zaydi revival movement; and that far from being a reaction to domestic grievances, the 2004 insurrection by the Believing Youth was long-planned and a part of Iran’s broader regional attack on the US and its allies in the ‘war on terrorism.’ Moreover, Iran’s support for the Houthis is not merely a recent, convenient side hustle to needle Saudi Arabia, but is in fact the key battlefield in Iran’s export of Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution, the driver of all Iranian policy since the founding of the Islamic Republic.

The Houthis, far from being a local movement, are a core, organic component of Iran’s Islamic Revolution and always have been. Indeed, for the first time since 1979, Iran has managed to replicate itself fully without being bound by any democratic strictures or existing dictatorships as in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, marking the Houthis as Iran’s most successful revolutionary experiment to date.

DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT

READ IN ARABIC

RELATED ARTICLES


Image: Shutterstock

UNRWA is NOT running out of money. Who says so? UNRWA does!

Feb 16, 2024 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian meets his Sudanese counterpart Ali Al-Sadiq Ali in Tehran, Feb. 6 (image: Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

West ignores the Sudan war at its peril

Feb 14, 2024 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Palestinian students line up for class in Gaza (Image: Shutterstock)

UNRWA and the Miseducation of the Palestinian people

Feb 12, 2024 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Image: Shutterstock

ABC misrepresents Hamas’ hostages-for-ceasefire offer, Israel’s rejection of it

Feb 8, 2024 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Dr Tal Becker presents Israel's opening statement before the International Court of Justice in the Hague (Image: International Court of Justice)

Was October 7 an act of genocide?

Jan 24, 2024 | Featured, Fresh AIR
(Image: Shutterstock)

“Lies, damned lies and statistics” in Gaza

Jan 17, 2024 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Screenshot 2024 02 20 At 12.19.24 Pm

“The Jewish community of Australia has gone through horrific… intimidation tactics since Oct 7” – Joel Burnie on Sky News

Feb 16, 2024 | Featured, In the media, Video
Screenshot 2024 02 16 At 12.32.57 Pm

Israel “acutely aware of the [humanitarian] issues its forces face in Rafah”: Joel Burnie on SkyNews

Feb 16, 2024 | Featured, In the media, Video
UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini (Image: UNRWA)

Of UNRWA and other unremarkable things in the media 

Feb 15, 2024 | Featured, In the media
Image: Shutterstock

UNRWA’s role is to perpetuate the war against Israel

Feb 13, 2024 | Featured, In the media
Screenshot 2024 02 08 At 9.34.31 Am

Greens ceasefire call ignores why Gaza war started: Joel Burnie on Sky News Australia

Feb 8, 2024 | Featured, In the media, Video
Screenshot 2024 02 05 At 3.07.30 Pm

“The police statement does not make the event that occurred on that evening any better” – Joel Burnie on Sky News

Feb 5, 2024 | Featured, In the media, Video

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

Israeli President Herzog with a book found in Gaza: The End of the Jews (Image: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Scribblings: What Incitement to Genocide really looks like

Israel’s capture of Iran’s nuclear archive in 2018 proved Iran was “lying through its teeth” about its nuclear plans (Image: Isranet)

Biblio File: Clandestine war

Netanyahu’s current cabinet, containing some hard-right parties, would likely be a barrier to accepting the US plans. But could he agree to do so with support from centrist opposition parties? (Image: GPO/ Flickr)

A “Grand Bargain”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem (Image: Haim Zach/ GPO/ Flickr)

Editorial: Don’t throw Hamas a lifeline

Screenshot 2024 02 20 At 12.19.24 Pm

“The Jewish community of Australia has gone through horrific… intimidation tactics since Oct 7” – Joel Burnie on Sky News

Israeli President Herzog with a book found in Gaza: The End of the Jews (Image: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Scribblings: What Incitement to Genocide really looks like

Israel’s capture of Iran’s nuclear archive in 2018 proved Iran was “lying through its teeth” about its nuclear plans (Image: Isranet)

Biblio File: Clandestine war

Netanyahu’s current cabinet, containing some hard-right parties, would likely be a barrier to accepting the US plans. But could he agree to do so with support from centrist opposition parties? (Image: GPO/ Flickr)

A “Grand Bargain”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem (Image: Haim Zach/ GPO/ Flickr)

Editorial: Don’t throw Hamas a lifeline

Screenshot 2024 02 20 At 12.19.24 Pm

“The Jewish community of Australia has gone through horrific… intimidation tactics since Oct 7” – Joel Burnie on Sky News

SORT BY TOPICS