The Taliban’s control of most of Afghanistan seems to have given Yemen’s Houthi group, Ansar Allah, its financiers, and its supporters in Iran a new desire to take control of all of Yemen. The group’s attacks on Saudi territory and targeting of civilians have recently increased.
This aggression has reached the point of attacking the city of Abha and its civilian airport, causing many innocent casualties. In addition, there is the increasing push of the Houthi militias militarily in the Yemeni territory. Earlier, the militiamen launched a rocket attack on a training camp in Al Anad base, killing 30 soldiers and injuring 60 others.
Abdul Malik Al Houthi, leader of Yemen’s Houthi group Ansar Allah, recently vowed to take control of all Yemeni cities. “We will liberate our whole country and restore all areas occupied by the enemies who submit them to the Americans, British and Israelis, and we will be present to integrate with all free people of our nation in its great causes,” said Al Houthi.
He continued: “We will ensure that our country is free and independent, and that it is not subject to any occupation by any external enemy, and that it is not subject to any trusteeship, neither under Clause VII or IX, nor under any of the clauses written under the pen of the unjust and by the dictates of the tyrants and arrogant.”
“In this revolutionary spirit, we cannot be conquered and subjected to the dependence of our enemies,” he added. These words reflect the very clear influence of Al Houthi by Iran’s political discourse. The Taliban’s control of Afghanistan is seen as a defeat for the US and an important step toward what it sees as a failure of the US military presence in Iran’s neighboring countries.
It is no secret that sectarian militias operating in Iraq, funded and supported by training and weaponry from the Iranian mullahs’ regime, have launched several attacks aimed at pressuring the US to withdraw its troops from Iraq.
It is also no secret that the mullahs consider the withdrawal of US forces from the Gulf a priority strategic objective. But the Houthis’ claims of liberating Yemen and other false claims are really millions of innocent Yemenis who are paying the price.
Therefore, the mullahs’ support for the Houthi group is expected to increase in the coming period in order to inspire the Taliban model and control the entire Yemeni territory. Iran believes that the US is going through a moment of historic weakness. It believes that the current Democratic administration has no real strategic vision to restore US global influence and prestige.
Moreover, the current Iranian government, led by extremists and hardliners with no members of the so-called reformist movement, has so far shown no flexibility in dealing with issues related to Iran’s relations with the region and the world.
In this context is noted an escalation of Iranian support for pro-Mullah militias in all countries of the region, especially in Yemen and Iraq. To address the threat of the militias in Yemen and elsewhere, the sources of Iranian funding for arming and support must first be dried up. The world risks paying a heavy price for dithering in the face of Iran’s threats.
The mullahs are increasingly confident of their ability to drive US forces out of the Gulf region, as they see it as a necessary prelude to greater domination of the region. The US itself shows no sign of embracing its influence and protecting its allies and friends beyond repeated empty words and statements.
Unless the rules of this game change, the geostrategic effects of the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan will increase. All extremist and terrorist organizations are seeking to return to the scene. Daesh’s bombing of the Kabul airport perimeter could be just the beginning.
Dr. Salem AlKetbi is a UAE political analyst and former Federal National Council candidate