Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Yemen’s Houthis Follow Iran-Inspired Strategy for Recruiting Women, Children | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Yemeni children .AFP PHOTO / TAHA SALEH

Aden- Yemen has recently witnessed an unprecedented surge in militia recruitment carried out by Houthis and allies who strive to demolish aspects of constitutional legitimacy in the war-torn country.

The step up in recruitment, which kicked off two years ago after Iran-backed militants took over Sana’a, has been paralleled to a similar experience in the Middle East, the so-called Hezbollah group based in Lebanon.

Iranian strategy is evident in the approach Houthi militias employ for enrolling new members in the group.

Abdulsalam Mohammad, a Yemeni political analyst, explains that Houthis resorting to drafting women serves as clear evidence of the group’s direction towards radicalizing the community and eventually securing the insurgency’s control over it.

The Iran-inspired strategy works mainly on launching community male breadwinners into frontline cannon fire, leaving behind widows with no support at home and with hungry mouths to feed.

Widowed women, after recruitment, would be indoctrinated by Houthi ideology and raise orphaned youth to become a stronger military bulk replacing the older generation of father militants.

Extorting women’s needs and luring them into violence stands against their internationally recognized rights.

“The Motive behind involving women is the consequential luring of youth into recruitment,” says Mohammad.

The Yemeni analyst also spoke of Houthis resorting to break into homes, staging physical violence against women and pillaging their jewelry and savings.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper research center Masarat’s president called on all international bodies and organizations to document all insurgency violations in Yemen, having them breach international law and are considered war crimes.

Houthi fighters have been reported to recruit and arm minors, in addition to prying them away from their families and mothers.

A report finds thousands of children in Yemen dying from direct involvement in the brutal war. The U.N. Children’s Fund says the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation is devastating their lives.

UNICEF reports a massive increase in the recruitment and use of child soldiers as the fighting continues to intensify. The agency has verified 848 cases of children, some as young as 10, being drafted by several warring parties in Yemen.