Disarming Iran begins with its Houthi proxy

Disarming Iran begins with its Houthi proxy

Houthi fighters hold up their weapons as they attend a tribal gathering in Sanaa, Yemen. (Reuters)

The Houthis’ attacks on civilians and innocent people inside Yemen and their repeated attacks on Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles and drones prove the importance of confronting, dismantling and disarming this terrorist militia and even proving that it poses a threat to the security and stability of the region. It is a threat to power supply lines and is a tool of Iran. Tehran has always relied on such affiliated terrorist militias to do its dirty work.

The international pressure on Iran and the application of sanctions will remain ineffective while they are not tied to the implementation of its plans. We know that the problems Tehran cause the world firstly come from the terrorist fighters it supports — hundreds of thousands of them, if not millions, distributed across many continents and not just in the four key Arab countries of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. Today, the Houthis use ballistic missiles developed by Tehran to target Saudi territory. Hundreds of them would have caused great destruction had they not been intercepted and shot down.

However, the world has not reacted strongly to condemn Tehran and the Houthi terrorist militia, which is the first militia to possess ballistic missiles. Their use is one of the war crimes carried out by the Houthis.

The Houthis have used drones and missiles to target civilian airports inside Saudi Arabia, including Abha Airport, and vital facilities and oil transfer stations in Afif, Dawadmi and the Shaybah oil field. Iran is involved in these terrorist acts and even manages this battle to destabilize the region’s security and undermine the global energy market. None of these acts would have been achieved without Tehran’s reliance on terrorist militias; and the most important today are the Houthis because they are now the regime’s favorite, as arguedby Foreign Policy magazine in June.

Events have proven that Saudi Arabia and its allies are the first line of defense against Iran’s terrorism-supporting schemes in the region. In light of this, the decision to launch Operation Decisive Storm was not an improvised one, but was based on facts and a broad understanding of this danger, which is growing as the international community fails to take any real responsibility.

Iran manages this battle to destabilize the region’s security and undermine the global energy market.

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri

We also know that Tehran is working to develop its dangerous nuclear program, which will ultimately make the world face the onset of nuclear terrorism. And this will not be far away, as stated by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who said Tehran was “several months” from a nuclear weapon.

Just as ballistic weapons have reached the hands of Tehran’s terrorist militias, it will not be impossible for nuclear bombs to reach them either. This talk is not an exaggeration. As a reminder, an international coalition was previously formed to defeat Daesh, so why do we not see this alliance re-centered on these militias? Or is one form of terrorism acceptable and another reprehensible?

The talks announced last week between the US and the Houthis must be serious and based on forcing the Houthis to accept the political process and integrate into Yemeni society after they hand over their weapons, stop their terrorism and declare allegiance to the Yemeni state, rather than subordination to Iran and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The US efforts will be ineffective and insufficient without these conditions. The fastest and most effective way to put pressure on Iran is to cut its terrorist wings; then Tehran will will ask to negotiate a return to the world as a real state, not a terrorist regime.

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