Houthi claims of protecting Yemeni interests invalidated by Iranian support

By Abu Bakr al-Yamani in Sanaa

Newly recruited Houthi fighters chant slogans as they ride in a military vehicle during a gathering in Sanaa on January 3rd. [Mohammed Huwais/AFP]

Newly recruited Houthi fighters chant slogans as they ride in a military vehicle during a gathering in Sanaa on January 3rd. [Mohammed Huwais/AFP]

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been training and arming the Houthis (Ansarallah) for years, a fact that undermines the Houthis' claim that they are fighting to protect Yemen's national interests, Yemeni officials and analysts said.

The Yemeni people reject the Iran-funded coup staged by the Houthis and all other projects that aim to tear the country apart and divide its people, Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid bin Dagher said last week.

A report presented during a January 18th UN Security Council meeting on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2231 raised concerns about the actions of both Iran and Hizbullah.

The report detailed the seizures of two arms shipments assessed to have originated in Iran: one by the French Navy in the northern Indian Ocean last March, and another by the Australian Navy off the coast of Oman last February.

Other concerns centred on a June statement by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah that his group received its salaries, expenses, weapons and missiles from Iran.

Confessions made by Houthi defectors reveal that Iran and Hizbullah have provided military experts to the Houthis.

In a nationally broadcast television programme, former Houthi ballistic missiles unit commander Abu Ahmed revealed that IRGC and Hizbullah experts had trained his unit for four and a half months at sites in Saadah province.

'A coup against the national consensus'

"One of the exposed fallacies is the claim that the Iran-linked sectarian Houthi militia is defending the national interests," political affairs researcher Yassin al-Tamimi told Al-Mashareq.

This is the same claim repeated by deposed Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, he said, noting that the truth is that the Houthis and Saleh's supporters are the ones who sacrificed the national interests when they mounted a coup.

By staging the coup, the Houthis overturned the national consensus and imposed a war on the population, in pursuit of their political goals to take over the state and its resources, he said.

"Reliable international reports have revealed Iran's very extensive involvement in exporting arms to the Houthis in Yemen, and providing field logistical support to them through IRGC and Hizbullah experts," he said.

"International naval forces have seized several large shipments headed to Yemen," he said, including the January 2013 seizure by Yemeni forces of an arms laden Iranian vessel, Jihan 1, in the Gulf of Aden.

"The battle in Yemen today seems to be partly a proxy war waged by the Houthis and ousted [former president] Saleh on behalf of Iran," he said.

Intervention creates regional instability

"Iran is locked in battles to control the region in general and international maritime channels through its militia military arms that it trained, financed and provided with political and media support in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen," political analyst Rashad al-Sharaabi told Al-Mashareq.

Iran, through the IRGC, "is doing this for political, military and economic control under a blunt sectarian and doctrinal cover that has made the region unstable" and has increased the potential for explosions of violence, he said.

There is "ample evidence" of Iranian support for the Houthis, al-Sharaabi said, including the arms shipments seized in international waters by the US Navy and coalition in the Arab Sea and Gulf of Aden over the past years.

"When the Houthis entered Sanaa and seized power in September 2014, the Houthi authorities hastened to sign an agreement with the Iranian side on the operation of Iranian civil aviation flights to Yemen on a daily basis," he said.

Iran used these flights to deliver arms and military equipment, al-Sharaabi said.

The most important form of Iranian support, however, is the training conducted in Syria, Lebanon and Iran by Hizbullah and the IRGC, he said.

"Yemen has not received any developmental support from Iran for the people; it only supports armed sectarian groups," he added.

A long relationship with Iran

"The Houthis have long been involved in links with Iran. Houthi leaders and [movement] founder Badr Eddin al-Houthi and his son Hussein were all in Iran," said Abaad Centre for Strategic Studies director Abdulsalam Mohammed.

"Through the six wars the group was involved in, it has taken advantage of the complex political and security situation to obtain larger political and media support from Iran," he told Al-Mashareq.

"Since 2011, Iranian support for the Houthis has been delegated to Hizbullah," he said. "Several groups were trained in Lebanon and Iran, and Lebanese and Iranian trainers were sent to the group, some of whom were arrested before the coup of September 21, 2014."

The Houthis are receiving "logistical support, money and arms through the Hizbullah militia and the IRGC, and Houthi militias also have been thrust into the wars fought by Iran-affiliated militias in Iraq and Syria", he said.

In February 2015, just a few months after seizing control of Sanaa, the Houthis established an air bridge between Sanaa and Tehran, human rights activist and media professional Moussa al-Nemrani told Al-Mashareq.

Additionally, the recurrent seizures of arms shipments from Iran to the Houthis "confirm the truth about the Iranian intervention and its military and logistical support for the Houthis", he said.

The confessions of the former Houthi missile unit commander also confirm the involvement of Iran’s strategic ally in the region, Hizbullah, in training the Houthis and providing support on the ground in the ongoing battle, he added.

"These interventions serve the interest of Iran and not Yemeni national interest, have divided the Yemeni ranks and were a major cause of the ongoing war," he said.

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11 Comment(s)

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You do not see Saudi's blatant transgression and yet, you rely on your unsubstantiated claims about Iran. One should seriously doubt your mental health!


According to this standard, the so-called Syrian opposition does not fight for Syria because they are supported by America, the West, Turkey, and the Gulf countries. From your mouth, I condemn you!


How can the coup stagers be fighting for the sake of Yemen?!! Who are they defending Yemen against? This is a farce, I swear. We know that the civil war in Yemen has been there since the time of the ousted Saleh, i.e. 2 years before Operation Decisive Storm. So, who were they defending Yemen against?!! The war was between Yemenis!


The ousted is the one who supports. He is deceiving us. He has become the poverty, hunger, and the crisis. There are also al-Qaeda and Shias. Yemen will only calm down when it eliminates the little Pharaoh.


Yemenis are men of persistence and patriotic stances. They can't rely on the outside world, whether Iran or Hezbollah. They're men of strength and great power, except for the traitors and mercenaries who have sold themselves off to the Devil for dirty money and who call themselves the legitimate forces. They were supported by the forces of evil and aggression led by Saudi Arabia, the sponsor of terrorism. I know my comment won't appeal to your website because I'm saying the truth.


The real manipulation of the people's blood and money consists in the ominous coup.


May Allah damn you, o, you worshippers of fire!


The family of ousted Affash and the pro-Iran al-Houthis are using al-Qaeda and ISIL to carry out destructive terrorist operations in liberated areas after the crushing defeats they have suffered. The boy of Iran and the old man of Sanhan are the enemies of the people and of the September 26th and February 2011 revolutions, and they have to be brought to trial.


Iran is the excuse they blame their errors for. Yemen is known, and those who don’t know Yemen must read the Yemeni history. [Gibberish]. This is their purpose; otherwise how can this be written while the blood of innocent people is being spilled every day with the aircraft of their mother and sweetheart, the kingdom of evil? They’re unrightfully spilling innocent blood. Does the reinstatement of one person justify the death of tens and even thousands of civilians? Can it be accepted? O, you who conduct studies, what will you say on the Day of Judgment? Will you say that we were writing for the sake of the mother of evil?


Very good


It is only logical that Iran, with all the threats surrounding it, wants to have some allies. Hence, it must pay any price in order to get the necessary result.