By | Rachel Brooks
Editor/Reporter| Republic Underground
September 22, 2020
Above,anti-Houthi protests in Yemen in 2017
On September 21, the UNHCR met to discuss the travesties of human rights neglect in Yemen, with special regards to the rapid-spread of Houthi radicalization in the region. The event featured three experts familiar with the security details of Yemen’s ongoing human rights crisis. They called upon the international community to intervene on the behalf of the Yemeni. The full audio of this event is available through Facebook Live replay at this link.
“Irina Tsukerman, human rights lawyer, national security analyst
The recently apprehended Houthi terrorist cell linked to IRGC shows the increasingly brazen attitude of the Iran backed terrorists. Iran sees itself as gaining increasingly more physical control and international legitimacy through the Houthis, and there is less of an effort to hide these ties. Most of the international community at this point is aware of their existence and is willing to turn a blind eye to them or to continue to engage in false equivocations between Iran’s role in Yemen and that of the Arab Coalition. The continuity of smuggling shows that even with the arms embargo in place on Iran, the regime was able to accumulate enough supplies to have them distributed all over the region.
Now with the US struggling to reimpose snapback sanctions following the failure to reimpose the embargo, Iran feels that despite all the other sanctions it has been facing, it is now getting a windfall that has been built into the nuclear deal.Tsukerman’s recent commentary on U.S. snapback sanctions is available here.
Let’s be clear: this one cell that was caught is merely a symbolic fraction of what’s actually going on and in the level of direct Iranian involvement on the ground. Despite the fact that IRGC is a US-designated terrorist organization, there is no evidence of strong outrage, even from the US government, which, while it has taken measures to intercept the ships smuggling contraband to Yemen, has thus far limited its involvement against Hezbollah, Houthis, and IRGC to defensive measures in terms of protecting its own bases in Yemen. There has not been a whole hearted effort to hunt down or to disrupt Hezbollah, IRGC, or Houthi cells.
Part of the reason for this complication is that Houthis are not yet designated as a terrorist organization, and despite being violent usurpers with a record of human rights abuses and facilitation of Iran’s illegitimate hegemonic aggression in the region, as “reality on the ground” they enjoy a quasi authoritative status in terms of governance.Learn more about the Houthi movement at Counter Extermism Project.
The measures recently undertaken to start returning the legitimate Yemen government to physical presence in Yemen may eventually help shift that perception; until then , the US and others are not inclined to get involved in active conflicts without a clear direction for who or what they are actually fighting and on whose behalf.
It is essential for the Arab Coalition and the legitimate government to make all effort on their end to show momentum in regaining ground and to start asserting the unity and legitimacy of the internationally recognized government in terms of physical control, not just on paper, in order to gain further support from the US and other potential allies.
It is also important to start bringing former members of the Coalition who had left for their own reasons or who had been playing a symbolic role to the fold in various capacities, even if not in direct combat. Houthis are not the only Iranian proxy; as we know, Iran has been engaging terrorists, separatists, militias, and insurgents all over the world in an effort to build up an integrated network of proxies working as its arms abroad. Not the least of them is Polisario in Sahara whose leaders continue paying diplomatic visits to Iran and continue receiving training from Hezbollah even after the break up between Morocco and Iran.
“Furthermore, Iran is working with other countries to facilitate the strengthening of the Houthis and other proxies. It is time to admit and recognize the role of Qatar especially in building bridges and funding sophisticated Chinese drones delivered into the hands of the Houthis and used to attack Saudi Arabia in the past.”
The United States has been looking to reintegrate the GCC against Iran, and build up a bulwark of resistance to the spread of Iranian arsenals. That will require strict monitoring and enforcement; for now the countries the US is working to reach that have been an obstacle are yet to demonstrate their willingness to cut ties with Houthis and Hezbullahs and to play a constructive role on Yemen among other issues.
What’s important to note is how much damage has already been done. Hezbollah already has an arsenal of hundreds of thousands of missiles in its possession.Even if the production of new weapons stopped immediately, so long as Houthis are in contact with Hezbollah and IRGC, there’s plenty more where they now have come from. It’s not enough to stop the smuggling; disrupting networks, making delivery of arms untenable at the very source should be a battleground if we are to make any headway. It is not enough to sanction some Hezbollah or IRGC entities, because new ones can always pop up.
Disarming Hezbollah and making IRGC inoperable should be prioritized. We have seen what is possible with a series of attacks on various IRGC facilities this summer.
Houthi related operations should be meeting the same end, without a break or a time for Iran to regroup or recoup its capabilities.
Iran’s recent threats to assassinate diplomats in various parts of the world, including American diplomats, show that Iran is ready to mobilize its entire network and wage total war in every country where its proxies have a presence.Public record of this event appears in Politico on September 13.
It is possible that with time it will shift some of its operations away from the center and into new zones of combat, making hard-to-reach places such as territories controlled by Houthis, new grounds for illicit activity for the sake of global security, not just Yemen’s or the Middle East, we have to stop the regime before it’s too late.
Meanwhile, it’s still succeeding in creating false perceptions through extensive white washing mechanisms and propaganda campaigns. Houthis are now breaking ground even in the United States. They’re learning from Iran how to distort the information that is coming from the channels. They are reaching out to the internet communities, they are trying to take on the factions of the legitimate government, they are trying to build up centers in the NGOs, in media companies. Essentially, to present themselves as legitimate.
Tsukerman then turned the stage over to Benajmiin Minick, a retired Leuitenant Colonel of the U.S. military and a current Middle East strategic analyst.
Benjamin Minick, journalist and Middle East strategic analyst
For the last 40 years, the Iranian regime has kept an entire country locked down and ostracized by the rest of the world. Tens of thousands of people have been murdered for simply speaking out against their policies and treatment, and the entire population lives in a state of constant fear.
This is evidenced by the recent execution of the champion wrestler_who should be held as a national icon_and instead of being held as an icon was murdered for speaking out against the regime. This is not getting any better. The message of terror and fear are not confined to Iran’s physical borders. Iran is actively spreading through the region like a cancer. The ultra-Islamist theology, pushed by the mullahs, deafens any message of hope and prosperity offered by outside influences.
Beyond the regime, and the IRGC, Iran boasts a huge network of allies in terror, including Hezbollah, the Quds forces, and even Qatar. But in this case, I’m going to focus on the Houthi rebels and Hezbollah.This network has been documented since as early as 2012. See more here.
The reality of it is that there are numerous paramilitary militias that keep the entire region essentially paralyzed. The United States has provided many opportunities for our path to relax sanctions and for economic growth. But those attempts have been rebuked at every turn.
As the regime continues its quest for dominance, nuclear ambitions and eradicating Western ideals and influence continue to be the figurehead of the Iranian leadership.
When you look at people like the Houthi, they started out as a people indigenous to a region. But small upstarts like the Houthi, are often selected by the regime and stoked with funding, training, and false premises to do the bidding of the regime. Iran provides these groups with the infrastructure, and a step-by-step guide for long time deconstruction and death.
Countries such as Yemen had no idea what was happening until the radicalized group was so powerful and influential that the country has all but fallen. It is up to us, as the international community, to reach out and to secure the help that is needed to counter these activities.
This is a mirror image of what has transpired with Hezbollah. If you were to place Hezbollah and the Houthi rebels on two sides of the coin, Hezbollah and the Houthi would balance out perfectly. The inner marks of the regime are all over that. The training and systematic structure are unmistakable. And so is the message of death and destruction to all who disagree.To see more information on evidence of Houthi-Hezbollah cross-funding, visit The National.
It is paramount that the international community seek out and designate all whom the Iranian regime touches. Whether it be in the Middle East region, in Africa, or in Europe. There are even questions about U.S. allies, at the present time, that have become warm to the Iranian factions and the regime. I’m not saying that that’s necessarily true, but there are questions based on actions. The snap-back sanctions will help, but that is not going to be a means to an end. What’s going to be a means to and end are groups like this, who are no longer afraid to speak up and speak out against these atrocities.
Dr. Wesam Basindwah, translated from Arabic
At the beginning, Dr. Wissam Basinda spoke about the 21st of September, which coincides with the anniversary of the Yemeni Nakba, with the Houthi militia’s coup against the legitimate authority in Yemen, in the most important stage of Yemeni history, which is the transitional phase.
The Yemeni people aspired to freedom, social justice, democracy, stability, and the fulfillment of all the youth’s demands.
Until the Houthi militia returned the Yemenis to the ages of cave and darkness, stripped the Yemenis of their dreams of change and made Yemen the worst in the ranks of world countries.
I mentioned the Iranian role in supporting terrorist militias, including the Houthi militia that took control of Yemen, which is considered one of the arms of this regime in the region. Countries including Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, and even South America, Africa and Europe.
It also praised the importance of the United States ’decision that obstructed the nuclear agreement, which would facilitate the Iranian regime to obtain more money to finance these terrorist organizations in the region and the world.
She demanded that the Iranian regime be classified as a protector and financier of terrorism in the world, which is not linked to the Shiite terrorist organizations only, but has been proven to be linked to Al Qaeda, and it was harboring leaders in Al Qaeda and refused to hand them over.
There are also indications of the Iranian regime’s support for the military coups, including the coup of the Houthi militia on their arm in Yemen on the legitimate authority, and there are clear indications of the Iranians ’commitment to supporting the coup, and neither the Iranians nor the Houthis are embarrassed to admit that. By force of arms and with the support of the mullahs’ regime, as the Houthis do in Yemen and Iran’s militias in Iraq and Syria, and an attempt to destabilize Bahrain.
She also touched on the statements of the Arab League, which has always condemned Iran’s occupation of the Arab islands, its interference in destabilizing the region.
And she warned of the danger of returning to the nuclear agreement, which enables the Iranian regime with funds that will go to financing terrorist organizations in the region.
Irinia spoke on Hizbullah and the Houthis and they are two sides of the same coin under the leadership of the Iranian terrorist regime.
The Houthi terrorist cell linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard that was arrested recently shows the increasingly brazen position of Iranian-backed terrorists. Iran sees itself as increasingly gaining more material control.
To Iranian-backed terrorists. Iran sees itself as increasingly gaining more material control and international legitimacy through the Houthis, and there is less effort to hide these relationships. Most of the international community at this stage is aware of their presence and is ready to turn a blind eye to them or to continue engaging in false evasions between Iran’s role in Yemen and the role of the Arab coalition. The continuation of smuggling shows that even with the arms embargo imposed on Iran, the system has managed…
To seek more support from the United States and other potential allies. The Houthis are not the only Iranian proxy. As we know, Iran is allying with terrorists, separatists, militias and insurgents around the world in an effort to build an integrated network of proxies that serve as its weapon abroad. Not least is the Polisario Front in the Sahara, whose leaders continue to make diplomatic visits to Iran and continue to receive training from Hezbollah.
Moreover, Iran is working with other countries to facilitate the strengthening of the Houthis and other proxies. The time has come to recognize and acknowledge the role of Qatar, especially in building bridges and financing the advanced Chinese drones that were delivered into the hands of the Houthis and used to attack Saudi Arabia in the past…
The United States was looking to reintegrate the Gulf Cooperation Council states in the face of Iran, and to build a fortress to resist the spread of Iranian arsenals. This will require strict oversight and enforcement, and it is important to note the amount of damage that has already occurredSee more via World Bank.
Hezbollah already has an arsenal of hundreds of thousands of missiles in its possession Even if production of new weapons stops, the Houthis will obtain weapons as long as the Houthis are in contact with Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
The Iranian regime’s support for the military coups, including the coup of the Houthi militia on their arm in Yemen on the legitimate authority, and there are clear indications of the Iranians ’commitment to supporting the coup.
Neither the Iranians nor the Houthis are embarrassed to admit that. By supporting the mullahs’ regime, as the Houthis do in Yemen, and Iran’s militias in Iraq and Syria, and trying to destabilize Bahrain.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a terrorist organization classified by the United States but the Houthis have not yet been classified as a terrorist organization, although they are violent rapists with a record of human rights violations and facilitate Iran’s illegal aggression to hegemony in the region.
Zb Allah or the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, because new entities can always appear. Priority must be given to disarming Hezbollah and the Houthis.
It is not enough to punish some entities of Hezbollah or the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, because new entities can always appear. Priority must be given to disarming Hezbollah and the Houthis.
Iran’s recent threats to assassinate diplomats in different parts of the world, including American diplomats, show that Iran is ready to mobilize its entire network and wage all-out war in every country in which its proxies are present.The network previously been referred to on public record as “the Axis of Resistance.” See The New Yorker.
It is possible that over time it will shift some of its operations away from the center into new combat zones, making hard-to-reach places such as Houthi-controlled territory new grounds for illicit activity. For the sake of global security, not just Yemen or the Middle East, we have to stop the regime before it is too late.
See more updates on Yemeni rights activism here.