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Yemen and the Long Arm of the Crescent - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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While talk of Iranian expansion and penetration in the Arab region (under the pretense of resistance, religion and supporting the weak) continues, the central area for these activities has come to be known as the Shiaa crescent, extending from Iraq to Palestine – yet, there is another location that is currently witnessing detrimental activities that are strongly backed by Iranian intelligence: Yemen.

Yemen is living a series of intense and violent showdowns between the extremist group; the followers of the Zaidi sect and the government. Dubbed ‘Al Houthi’s sedition’ by Yemenis, it is the term used to describe the current rebellion – which is by no means a new movement. Badr al Din al Houthi led the rebellion in 2004 which lasted 90 days, killing over 400 victims. In 2005, the rebellion erupted again and lasted a period of two weeks in which over 280 lives were claimed as a result of the clashes. This was followed by a truce which resulted in the Yemeni president pardoning the rebels. The current rebellion that has broken out in Yemen’s Saada province is led by Abd al Malik al Houthi, the son of Badr al Din al Houthi who led the second revolt.

But the manifestations of this crisis appear to be very different from the ones that preceded it; the existence of external fingerprints mark foreign intrusion amidst frenzied talk about underground activities which aim to establish a Persian state in the region! Moreover, it is said that al Houthi receives logistical backing from foreign organizations.

Yemenis express certitude that there are those who nurture these inclinations, appropriating the climate for it through moral and financial support ¬– all fingers pointing towards Iran and its recognized project of interfering in internal Arab affairs, in addition to its attempts to influence the status quo in these countries. Add to that the fact that many Iraqis have turned to and joined political parties and trends affiliated to Iran under the guise of knowledge; teaching and learning, all of which has helped support Iranian tendencies.

Yemeni newspapers indicated the presence of Iraqi fighters among the ranks of al Houthi’s followers; some bodies have been discovered, in addition to the detention of other Iraqis. There are those who claim that Iranian Mullah organizations are being rebuilt in Yemen – the Youthful Believers organization at the forefront of the movement. Yemen has previously witnessed blatant Shia activities that were of Persian origin, among them a number of parties and organizations that have made a strong appearance on the scene such as: The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Hezbollah, the Yemeni Hizb al Haq (al Haq party), and the Ittihad Al-Qiwa Al-Sha’abiyah party (Popular Unity party); the latter two are the only remaining ones in Yemen.

A while ago, an Iraqi diplomat received the principal element from the Houthi movement, which included leadership figures in armed militias, a substantial number of whom affirmed that they had received extensive and advanced training in camps affiliated to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), in addition to members of the Badr Brigade (which is a terrorist movement responsible for murdering scores of innocent people, and famous for its complete subordination to the Iranian intelligence).

With the general preoccupation resting on the developments of the Iranian crescent and the ensuing repercussions, the situation in Yemen is developing in a dangerous manner that cannot be overlooked or ignored. People are so absorbed by what Iran is doing in the northern part of their country that they neglect the insidious creeping through their backdoor in the south – which comes as a disturbing shock!

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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