World News

by attacking the Jewish state, the Houthis of Yemen seek to gain influence in the Middle East – Libération

The war between Hamas and Israelcase

In Yemen, rebels have carried out several attacks against Israel since the start of the conflict in Gaza. If these actions revive concern around a conflagration, specialists rule out the hypothesis of a major danger for the country, the group seeking above all to increase its political influence in the region.

Since their invasion of the capital Sanaa in 2014 and the start of the civil war, the Houthis have never participated in a conflict not involving Yemen. Until October 31, the day when these Zaydi rebels – a minority branch of Shiite Islam – openly declared war on Israel, which is fighting the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Claiming their membership in the “axis of resistance”, the enemy forces of the Jewish state led by Iran, which also includes Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah, the Houthis have since increased their actions against Israel.

From the air, at least six drone and missile attacks have been recorded – Houthi fighters do not border Israel, unlike those of Hamas and Hezbollah. On November 14, the latest air action to date, the Houthi military spokesperson declared that they had “launched ballistic missiles towards different targets”, including the seaside city of Eilat, in the south of Israel. Shortly after, the Israeli army confirmed that it had “successfully identified and intercepted” a missile in the Red Sea sector. The missiles and drones in the possession of the Houthi rebels can theoretically cross the 1,600 kilometers separating the south of the Arabian Peninsula from Israel, observes Fabian Hinz of the International Institute of Strategic Studies to AFP. By a “stroke of luck”, they could reach Israeli soil, but “there is very little risk”, believes the expert, particularly given the effectiveness of their anti-missile defense system.

Targeted cargo

Another front, maritime this time, opened on Sunday November 19 in the Red Sea, vital for world trade and oil traffic. The Houthis followed through on their threat to target Israeli ships by capturing a cargo ship operated by a Japanese company, which is Israeli-owned. The Jewish state, which denied that this boat was Israeli, placed the blame for this action on Iran, which was quick to reject these accusations. “We have constantly announced that the resistance groups in the region represent their countries and that they make their decisions and act based on the interests of their countries,” insisted Nasser Kanani, the spokesperson for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A few days earlier in the same area, an American warship destroyed a drone heading towards it from Yemen, claimed by the rebels. The interests of Israel’s allies in the region, in particular the United States, are also targeted by the Houthis, faithful to their slogan “God is big ! Death to America! Death to Israel! Let the curse fall on the Jews! Islam will win!” On November 8, they had already shot down an American MQ-9 Reaper drone which was flying over the Yemeni coast as part, according to them, of American military support for Israel.

A quest for legitimacy and regional recognition

Martin Griffiths, the head of humanitarian operations at the UN, expressed his deep concern that the war would extend beyond Gaza, after a discussion on November 15 with the head of Iranian diplomacy, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian . “Obviously we agreed that such an expansion would not be a good thing, he noted. It would be a regional war with many fallouts. specifying that the consequences are already being felt in Yemen and Syria.

Although they pose an additional threat to Israel, these attacks do not represent a major danger for the country, according to specialists. The Houthis seek above all to increase “their political influence in Yemen and the region” while rallying their popular base, reports Mohammed Albasha, analyst for the Navanti Group based in the United States, to AFP. After nine years of civil war in Yemen, they want “be recognized and legitimized as an important actor”. “They will hit Israel just enough to say ‘we can hit you too’,” agrees the researcher specializing in Yemen Farea al-Muslimi in an article in the Washington Post.

By targeting Israeli and American targets, the Houthis are also seeking to strengthen their position in peace talks with Saudi Arabia, at the head of the military coalition supporting Yemeni government forces opposed to the rebels. For analyst Maged Al-Madhaji of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies, this is a “calculated strategy” whose objective is to “put pressure on the Americans” in order to “to accelerate the conclusion of an agreement with the Saudis”, who are seeking to extricate themselves from a conflict that is costly for its finances and for its international image.

This strategy is all the more measured as the consequences for Yemen, where a relative calm has prevailed since last year, are limited. Saudi Arabia would, however, “forced to retaliate if a missile or drone inadvertently harms Saudi nationals or hits vital installations” on his way to Israel, warns Mohammed Albasha. The civil war in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, has already left hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced according to the UN, when more than three quarters of the population depends on aid. international humanitarian crisis which continues to diminish.

Gn headline FR

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button