New UANI Resource: The Houthis’ Evolution, Governance, And Power

(New York, N.Y.) — Last month, the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) commissioned a new task force, CTF-153, to enhance security in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb, and the Gulf of Aden. These waters are heavily trafficked with weapons- and explosives-laden vessels supplying or deployed by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen. CMF’s decision to establish the new task force is tacit recognition of the significant threat posed by the Houthis to the Yemeni people, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the region.  

In order to better understand the Houthi organization as it is today and how it might develop in the future, it is important to analyze how it evolved into its current state. United Against Nuclear Iran’s (UANI) new resource, The Houthis’ Evolution, Governance, and Power, details the organization’s evolution from a civil society movement to a state/proto-state, and its power structure, policies, and deteriorating effect on humanitarian concerns, security, and economies. The UN assesses that upwards of 20 million people require some form of international aid, and nearly eight million Yemenis “do not know where their next meal is coming from.” Gulf states have faced attacks with ballistic and cruise missiles and armed drones supplied by Iran.  

Authored by Ari Heistein, a Non-Resident Fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), the resource also outlines the features and attempted means of dissemination and enforcement of the Houthi political-religious ideology, which is based in part on anti-Western sentiment and Shia (Zaydi) revolutionary activism. The Houthis belief system espouses the idea that Muslims are in a “soft war” with the West over culture and values, and that the U.S.-led order is irredeemably hostile to Islam.  

The resource further explains the underexplored extreme ideological and rhetorical hostility of the Houthis towards Israel. Though the Houthis have not yet attacked Israel, an agreement to end the ongoing Yemeni civil war may prompt the Houthi “resistance” to shift its focus to Israel to justify military mobilization, repressive policies, and poor quality of life in territory under its control. In 2018, the Houthis pledged to fight alongside Hezbollah or Palestinian militants in a future war against Israel.  

To read UANI’s resource, The Houthis’ Evolution, Governance, and Power, please click here.