Who is Houthis Militia
Who is Houthis Militia
The Houthi movement, named for a religious leader from the Houthi clan and officially known as Ansar Allah, emerged in the late 1980s as a vehicle for religious and cultural revivalism among Zaydi Shiites in northern Yemen. The Zaydis are a minority in the Sunni Muslim–majority country but predominant in the northern highlands along the Saudi border.
The Houthis became politically active after 2003, Iran is the Houthis’ primary international backer and has reportedly provided them with military support, including weapons. Hadi’s government has also accused Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanese ally, of aiding the Houthis. Saudi Arabia’s perception that the Houthis are an Iranian proxy rather than an indigenous movement has driven Riyadh’s military intervention. Iran and the Houthis share geopolitical interests: Tehran seeks to challenge Saudi and U.S. dominance in the region.
In April 2017, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Iran supports the Houthis’ “attempted overthrow of the government by providing military equipment, funding, and training, thus threatening Saudi Arabia’s southern border.” Houthi authorities have committed war crimes, indiscriminately shelling civilian areas, targeting civilians with snipers, waging siege warfare and recruiting children to fight.
Houthi forces also recruited children as young as 12, and deployed children ages 14 to 16 in combat, the UN panel said. Bismarck Swangin, chief of communication and advocacy at the Yemen division of the U.N. Children’s Fund, told The Defense Post that from March 2015 to April 2019, the U.N. was able to verify the recruitment of 3,321 children in Yemen – 3,264 boys and 57 girls.
“This is only what the U.N. was able to verify. The actual numbers are likely to be much, much higher,” Swangin said. “All parties to the conflict in Yemen are recruiting and using children in the war in different capacities.”
Houthi forces planted mines on farmland, used hospitals for military purposes, and deliberately targeted civilians with snipers, the report said. Landmines left by the Houthis kill and maim people long after battles have subsided. The blockade, siege-like tactics, attacks impacting objects essential to the survival of the population and impediments to the delivery of aid deprive the population of necessary items amidst the unprecedented humanitarian crisis.
Houthi rebels have also obstructed and diverted deliveries of humanitarian aid and applied siege-like tactics around the cities of Taiz and Hajjah. Mr. O’Brien, the UN’s under-secretary for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said some 200,000 civilians trapped there were in dire need of drinking water, food, medical treatment, and other life-saving assistance and protection. Civilian neighborhoods, medical facilities, and other premises around the city were continually hit by shelling, while checkpoints were preventing people from moving to safer areas and seeking assistance.
“Houthi and [allied] popular committees are blocking supply routes and continue to obstruct the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid and supplies into Taiz city,” Mr. O’Brien said.
Houthi authorities and affiliated popular committees were responsible for disappearances and the report cited the testimony of former detainees saying that their Houthi captors had tortured, raped, and inflicted other forms of sexual violence on prisoners. The bodies of prisoners who died in detention bore marks of torture, the experts reported.