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


Palestinians distribute drinking water to displaced people in Gaza City (Image: Anas Mohammed/ Shutterstock)

The truth about water in Gaza

Jul 12, 2024 | Featured, Fresh AIR
(image: Casimiro PT/Shutterstock)

Médecins Sans Frontières has lost its way

Jul 3, 2024 | Featured, Fresh AIR
CCTV footage of the 14-year-old attacker in military fatigues (screenshot)

Sydney University stabbing highlights issues in AIJAC submission on right-wing extremism

Jul 3, 2024 | Featured, Fresh AIR
More than 1,000 truckloads of aid waiting to be picked up inside Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing on June 18 (Source: COGAT)

Counting – and miscounting – Gaza aid trucks

Jun 20, 2024 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Screenshot 2024 06 06 At 2.30.10 PM

Did Hamas accept ceasefire proposal? ABC can’t get its story straight

Jun 6, 2024 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh meets Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

Iran uses pro-Palestinian students and criminals as proxies

Jun 5, 2024 | Featured, Fresh AIR
Hezbollah missiles are targeting northern Israeli towns and infrastructure (Screenshot)

Why appeasing Iran will lead to broader Mid-East war

Jul 10, 2024 | Featured, In the media
A wounded Palestinian arrives at Al-Najjar Hospital in the Gaza Strip (Image: Anas Mohammed/ Shutterstock)

Another plank of the extreme anti-Israel narrative collapses

Jul 2, 2024 | Featured, In the media
Protest Encampment 4 Palestine (2024) At USYD 02

‘Devil’s bargain’: Sydney University is tolerating hate speech by caving in to its tent camp extremists

Jun 30, 2024 | Featured, In the media
Image: Shutterstock

Faith: Shavuot

Jun 11, 2024 | In the media
Image: Shutterstock

Australia must never be a party to cynical, pro-Hamas lawfare

Jun 11, 2024 | Featured, In the media
The International Criminal Court entrance at The Hague, Netherlands (Image: Shutterstock)

Politicised decision-making a threat to hopes for lasting peace

Jun 6, 2024 | Featured, In the media

RECENT POSTS

Palestinians distribute drinking water to displaced people in Gaza City (Image: Anas Mohammed/ Shutterstock)

The truth about water in Gaza

Hezbollah missiles are targeting northern Israeli towns and infrastructure (Screenshot)

Why appeasing Iran will lead to broader Mid-East war

This placard expresses the ultimate purpose of the anti-Zionist movement – a world without the collective Jew (Image: X/Twitter)

Essay: The Placard Strategy

A far-right graphic makes caricatured Jews responsible for everything the far-right hates

Deconstruction Zone: The conspiracy trap

The “encampment” at the University of Sydney (Image: X/Twitter)

The Last Word: What is a university?

Palestinians distribute drinking water to displaced people in Gaza City (Image: Anas Mohammed/ Shutterstock)

The truth about water in Gaza

Hezbollah missiles are targeting northern Israeli towns and infrastructure (Screenshot)

Why appeasing Iran will lead to broader Mid-East war

This placard expresses the ultimate purpose of the anti-Zionist movement – a world without the collective Jew (Image: X/Twitter)

Essay: The Placard Strategy

A far-right graphic makes caricatured Jews responsible for everything the far-right hates

Deconstruction Zone: The conspiracy trap

The “encampment” at the University of Sydney (Image: X/Twitter)

The Last Word: What is a university?

SORT BY TOPICS