- Yemen is a country in the Middle East; just south of Saudi Arabia. Its capital is the City of Sanaa.
- Area: 527,968 km2
- Population: 23,013,386 (based on a 2008 analysis)
- Religion: A combination of different branches of Shiite and Sunni Islam, 42% of which are Shiite. Some 35% of the Shiites are Zaidiya (believe in 5 Imams) and the rest believe in 12 and 7 (Ismailia) Imams. The Sunnis are mostly Shafis and there is a small percentage of Christian and Jews.
- Yemen has several islands; the most important of which are: Saghreh Island in the Arab Sea and Hanish Island in the Red Sea.
- From 1967 to 1990, the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen was consisted of South Yemen and Arabic Republic of Yemen in Northern Yemen. They united on 22 April 1990 and formed the Republic of Yemen. Yet after this treaty, bloody battles broke out between North and South Yemen. Finally, in 1994 Northern Yemen overcame the south and Yemen’s unity stayed intact.
General information about “AnsarAllah” and Houthis
- AnsarAllah is a Shiite Zaidi fundamentalist movement. Its main center is in Saade, northern Yemen. This movement is known as the “Houthis”. Seyyed Hussein Badr-e-Din al-Houthi founded this movement. He was killed in September 2004 in a clash with government forces. Hussein Houthi is the movement’s spiritual leader. After his death his brother Abdul-Malek al-Houthi has taken over the movement’s leadership to this day.
- AnsarAllah turned into an organization during the time of Abdul-Malek al-Houthi. It is consisted of a political council, official spokesperson and cultural, social and media committees. The al-Massira satellite network and internet websites such as al-Menbar belong to this organization.
- Hussein Badr-e-Din al-Houthi, the founder of the AnsarAllah, was born in 1978 in the city of Saada. He graduated in Sudan with a senior expert’s degree in science. He formed the Hezb (party) al-Haq in 1990. He entered the Yemeni Parliament from 1993 to 1997. After that he founded the Faithful Youths Movement (AnsarAllah) in 1997. He was eventually killed in one of the movement’s clashes with the government.
- Up to the recent war, the AnsarAllah movement had fought 6 wars with Saudi Arabia:
1. The first began in 2004 and ended with the killing of Hussein Bard-e-Din al-Houthi in September 2004.
2. The second war in Saada began in March 2005 and ended in May of that year.
3. The third war began in November 2005 and lasted until January 2006. It was in this war that Abdul-Malek al-Houthi was announced as the new leader of the AnsarAllah. Seyyed Abdul-Malek Badr-e-Din al-Houthi was born in 1979 in the City of Saada.
4. The forth war began in January 2007 and lasted until June 2007.
5. The fifth war was from March to June 2007.
6. The most intense battles were during the sixth war that lasted from August 2009 to February 2010. Saudi Arabia’s air and ground forces along with forces from Pakistan and Jordan entered this war. It was during this war that the AnsarAllah movement showed itself as a powerful and effective group in Yemen’s equations.
- Following the beginning of the Arab Spring in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and … in 2011, uprisings began in Yemen. Finally in 2012, Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to step down from power after receiving immunity within the framework of a signed “Gulf Council Countries Initiative”. His deputy, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, formed Yemen’s new government. AnsarAllah announced its disagreement with the plan and began opposing it politically.
- The AnsarAllah, with the directions and support of Iran and the Quds Force, began clashes in 2013, which continued during 2014. Ultimately, on 17 February 2015, the group carried out a coup d’état, sacked President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi and dissolved the country’s Parliament. By issuing a Constitutional declaration, it formed the Presidential Council.
General map of the scene in Yemen
Prior to the 26 March 2015 Saudis’ attack, Yemen was divided between the AnsarAllah, supporters of the Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi and Al-Qaida. This was the scene of Yemen:
A glance of Iran’s relations with the AnsarAllah (Houthis)
The fundamentalist Iranian government used its experience in forming and expanding the Hezbollah in Lebanon and began gaining foothold in Yemen from 1991. Iran chose the al-Houthi family for the job. Al-Houthis are Zaidi Shiites. Iran’s brought the Houthi leaders to Iran to visit the religious city of Qom.
Hussein al-Houthi, who was known as the leader of the Yemeni rebels in Saade, was influenced by Iran in the early 90s. Iran used the Hezbollah model to form the Houthis’ political and military activities.
Hussein al-Houthi, upon the directions of Iran, founded the “Hezb al-Haq” in 1991. He took part in the 1993 elections and became a member of the Yemeni Parliament. It was in 1997 that he left the Hezb al-Haq and founded the Faithful Youths Movement. This movement was later on renamed to the AnsarAllah. At that time the Yemeni Government helped this movement. The Faithful Youths Movement, with the help and guidance of Iran, was formed and became the focal point of the rebels in Saade.
After 9/11, Iran placed the task of forming armed groups against the US in its agenda in order to confront the US’ aggressions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen. It also strengthened its support for the Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Until the Faithful Youths Movement was in unity with the Yemeni Government and had political activities, Iran guided them to take up anti-American policies. With the help of Iran, this movement formed circles in mosques and they initiated anti-American slogans and movements. This was up to 2003, when the Yemeni Government arrested 650 members of the Faithful Youths Movement who had anti-American activities in mosques and chanted ‘death to America’ and ‘death to Israel’ slogans.
The efforts of al-Houthi and his loyals to free these individuals were fruitless. Until then, the Houthis carried out political activities, yet afterwards they began their political, and a short time later, military confrontations. Hussein al-Houthi was killed in a battle with the Yemeni Army in 2004.
Iranian Organization of Islamic Culture and Communications report on Houthis
In a December 2010 report from the Iranian Organization of Islamic Culture and Communications, the following issues were mentioned:
- Badr-e-Din al-Houthi (father of the Houthis) who is 90 years old, has a charismatic and spiritual character and is like the Houthi movement’s Marjaiya (Shiite religious leadership). However he is not engaged very much in the on-the-scene decision makings.
- Yahya al-Houthi, the older brother of Abdul-Malek al-Houthi is in Germany. He carries out the political and international activities of the Saade rebels and issues their statements.
- Badr-e-Din al-Houthi and his sons Hussein and Abdul-Malek had all spent time in the City of Qom in Iran. Abdul-Malek has spent more than a year in Iran.
- Badr-e-Din and Abdul-Malek al-Houthi have converted to the religion of 12 Imam Shia yet it isn’t in their interest to publicly announce this issue because they will lose support in Yemen. Badr-e-Din al-Houthi’s will is in the hands of Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Jalali in Qom. In it al-Houthi announces his conversion from Zaidi to a 12 Imam Shia. However, he has stressed that his will not be published before his death.
- Currently, Yemeni religious students are active in two groups in the Jam’a al-Mostafa School in Qom. Some, with the help of the Yemen Embassy in Tehran, have become supporters of the Government and are cooperating with the Yemen Embassy. The other group is supporters of the Hussein and Abdul-Malek al-Houthi.
- One of the Yemeni clergy named Ossam al-Emad, is in charge of the Yemeni supporters of Abdul-Malek al-Houthi in Qom. Ossam al-Emad was previously a Wahabi Sunni, yet he converted into the 12 Imam Shia under the teachings of Iran’s fundamentalists in Qom.
- Ossam al-Emad does a lot of interviews with Shiite and Arabic satellite networks regarding Yemen. The Organization of Islamic Culture and Communications and the Ahl-e Beit International Assembly and other organs carry out their propaganda policies in Arabic Medias through him.
- The Quds Force has an active relationship with the al-Houthi movement. (It gives them specific military aid)
- The reports of organizations and bodies within Iran regarding the Houthi movement illustrate how this movement is completely intact with the goals of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The roots of this relationship go back to 1995 when the Islamic Republic of Iran entered into Yemen with a cultural agreement. When the US entered into regional wars in 2001, the Faithful Youths Movement was formed to promote armed conflicts against the US. First widespread demonstrations were initiated and large recruitments were made to enter the war. These recruitments were organized to form a war force. When Hussein al-Houthi was killed in 2004, this movement took the form of a military force. Similar to the Lebanon Hezbollah.
Iran’s attempt to illustrate Abdul-Malek al-Houthi as Yemen’s Hassan Nasrollah
The mullahs’ regime formed a close bond between the Faithful Youths movement and the Lebanese Hezbollah. Iran placed Hezbollah as this movement’s exemplar. Hussein and Abdul-Malek al-Houthi used the exact model of the Hezbollah to form the AnsarAllah. Yet instead of giving them anti-Israeli motives, they gave their forces anti-American motives.
Abdul-Malek al-Houthi has been the leader of the Houthis ever since the death of Hussein al-Houthi in 2004. He is completely under the influence of Iran. Iran is trying to portray Abdul-Malek al-Houthi as Yemen’s Hassan Nasrollah.
During former Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s term in office, in comparison with the Khatami (President before Ahmadinejad) term, relations with the Houthis improved and aids became more and more tangible. Up until September 2014, due to international pressures, Iran tried not to make public its relations with the Houthis. This was while the Ahl-e Beit International Assembly, Islamic Religions’ Rapprochement Assembly, Jam’a al-Mostafa, Quds Force and … were active in the clashes in Yemen.
Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ position after Saudi Arabia’s aggression
1. According to a 26 March 2015 report from the Iranian Tasnim News Agency, brigadier general MassoudJazayeri, deputy of the Armed Forces Council, said regarding the recent transitions in Yemen: the US and its allies have faced despicable defeat in every war they’ve entered into during the past years in the region. The US doesn’t have a clear understanding of the regional transitions and the awakening of the people; therefore its actions lack strategic policy and decision makings.
2. According to a 26 March 2015 report from the Ofogh Website (affiliated to the IRGC), IRGC brigadier general YadollahJavan, political analyst, said:
- As mentioned in the Medias, the Saudis’ actions were in cooperation with the US. This aggression has been carried out against the national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of a deep-rooted nation.
- The Saudis fell for the trap of the US and Israel because they want to compensate their repeated defeats in the past years through this action, yet they will face another defeat.
- This military attack will end the life of a dynasty in Saudi Arabia and it will speed it up.
- IRGC commander YadollahJavan, by comparing Saddam’s attack against the Islamic Iran after the revolution, noted: we saw how the Iranian nation defended itself against an aggression towards its independence and territorial integrity, and the story in Yemen will be similar.
- Saudi Arabia’s military aggression against Yemen is related to the ongoing issue in western Asia, including Syria, the occupied lands and Iraq.
- For the Al Saud, there is nothing worse than attacking an Islamic country and for the US and Israel to support Saudi Arabia. Therefore, although this measure is a new crisis, yet it will not be in favor of the aggressors.
- After the US’ use of terrorist groups such as al-Qaida failed, it had no choice but to force its allied countries to enter this war and this is another phase of the proxy war. After the US’ direct presence in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, after Israel’s proxy wars against the Resistance, the US followed up by creating turmoil through terrorist groups such as ISIS, yet due to its failure; it pushed its allies into wars with the people of the region.
3. The Vahed-e MarkaziKhabar News Agency wrote on 27 March 2015: the Al-Arabiya TV network claimed that “this network has acquired video footage showing a Houthi fighter getting training from IRGC forces at one of Yemen’s military airbases in order to use fighter jets. This proves Iran’s support for the Houthi (AnsarAllah) coup d’état forces in Yemen.”