“The Houthis Are Not Iranian Proxies”: Helen Lackner on the History & Politics of Yemen’s Ansar Allah

The U.S. continues to launch airstrikes on Yemen in response to the campaign of missile and drone attacks on commercial ships along key global trade routes through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden led by Ansar Allah, also known as the Houthis. The Houthi strikes have expanded from targets connected to Israel, in protest of the siege and bombing of Gaza, to ships affiliated with the U.S. and U.K. in what the group calls acts of self-defense. “The Houthis have been extremely explicit and repeat on an almost daily basis that their attacks on ships in the Red Sea will stop as soon as the Gaza war ends,” says Helen Lackner, author of several books on Yemen, who describes the history of the Houthis, the political landscape in Yemen, and debunks the idea the group is controlled by Iran. “The Iranian involvement has become greater, but it’s very important to know that the Houthis are an independent movement. The Houthis are not Iranian proxies. … They make their own decisions.”

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