The terrorism of Iran and its militias must be confronted

The terrorism of Iran and its militias must be confronted

Abha Airport. (AFP)

The Houthis’ targeting of Abha Airport with a missile, injuring 26 civilians, is clear and explicit evidence of the group’s terrorism. This targeting of a civilian airport makes us re-evaluate the comprehensive Yemeni peace process at all levels. First is the mechanism for dealing with the Houthis — the rules of engagement should now be expanded, making the military option the only option. Not only have the Houthis rejected the Stockholm agreement and its implementation, but Wednesday’s escalation in targeting vital facilities within Saudi Arabia threatens the security of the Kingdom’s citizens and residents.

This escalation from the Houthi side is considered a war crime and evidence that the militia is playing the role of Iran in the war and fighting on Tehran’s behalf. This is what the Arab League has always warned of. The re-evaluation this time should include the role of the UN and the international community, which has not done its job properly. The Houthis’ attacks on civilians inside Saudi Arabia have reached record levels. 

Why should we re-evaluate the UN’s role in Yemen? Because Security Council resolution 2216 has, since 2015, called for the Houthis to withdraw from the Yemeni cities they occupy, hand over their heavy weapons, and engage in political negotiations to end the coup against the legitimate government. But the UN and its envoys, including incumbent Martin Griffiths, have not worked to implement the resolution. Instead they have emptied the resolution of its value and entered into negotiations with the Houthis, which has led to a prolonging of attempts to restore the legitimate government and slowed the liberation of Hodeidah port. Comically, Griffiths praised the Houthi leadership personally and even gave them gifts of four-wheel drive cars. 

Why has the international community not confronted Iran over its use of sectarian terrorist militias?

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri

Iranian terrorist militias such as the Houthis must be dismantled and eliminated. The Daesh “caliphate” was eradicated by the international community forming a coalition to defeat it — this should be no different. 

The question remains: Why has the international community not confronted Iran over its use of sectarian terrorist militias? They have ballistic weapons and drones and have used them to target international waterways and global interests, oil pipelines inside Saudi Arabia, and oil tankers in the region’s waters. They have targeted international airports and carried out terrorist acts inside Yemen, including kidnappings, extrajudicial killings, starving the civilian population and the theft of international aid. Why is there so much patience and so many cover-ups of the Houthis’ crimes? This was also the case for some members of Hezbollah in the UK in 2015, when it was discovered they were storing materials involved in the manufacture of bombs in London but it was not disclosed at the time.

If the international community wants to defeat terrorism, it must confront it in all its forms. Militias must be forced to disarm. It should be unacceptable for militias to use weapons to destabilize the security and stability of other countries.

Iran is responsible for them and legally should bear the consequences of all the violations and terrorist attacks carried out by these militias. They are armed and trained on the basis of being sectarian terrorists in the mold of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and they serve the interests of Iran in the region and beyond. Therefore, Tehran must be held accountable for the actions of such militias. This issue should be as important as preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

  • Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri is a political analyst and international relations scholar. Twitter: @DrHamsheri
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