US strikes on the Houthis, the war between Israel and Hamas, and the Gaza crisis

This photo published by the Houthi Media Center shows Houthi forces boarding the cargo ship Galaxy Leader on November 19, 2023. Houthi Media Center/AFP/File

The United States has carried out more strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen, but who is the group?

The Houthi movement, also known as Ansar Allah, emerged in the 1990s, when its leader, Hussein al-Houthi, launched a religious revival movement of a centuries-old sub-sect of Shiite Islam called Zaidiism.

The Zaidis ruled Yemen for centuries, but were marginalized under the Sunni regime that came to power after the civil war in 1962. The Houthi movement was founded to represent the Zaidis and to resist extremist Sunnis, especially Wahhabi ideas coming from Saudi Arabia. His closest followers became known as the Houthis.

Currently, the Houthis still control much of Yemen, and are part of the so-called Iranian coalition. “Axis of resistance” – An anti-Israel and anti-Western coalition of regional militias backed by the Islamic Republic. Along with Hamas in Gaza and Hizb allah In Lebanon, the Houthis are one of three prominent Iranian-backed militias that have launched attacks on Israel in recent weeks.

Attacks on the Red Sea: The Houthis are targeting commercial ships in the Red Sea to inflict economic damage on Israel and its allies in response to the horrific scenes coming from Gaza, and are believed to be an attempt to pressure Israel to stop its bombing.

The global economy has received a series of painful reminders of the importance of this narrow stretch of sea, which extends from the Bab el-Mandab Strait off the coast of Yemen to the Suez Canal in northern Egypt – and through which 12% of the sea passes. Global trade flows, including 30% of global container traffic.

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A number of countries have taken steps to limit Houthi aggression in the Red Sea region. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council approved a resolution calling on the Houthi rebel group in Yemen to stop its attacks in the Red Sea.

A Houthi spokesman said that they would continue their attacks “to prevent Israeli ships heading to the ports of occupied Palestine from navigating the Arabian Sea and the Red Sea.”

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