How Iran helped Houthis expand its terrorism

The Houthi movement has deepened its ties with Iran and grown more powerful on the ground. As a result, the impact of the Iranian-Houthi partnership will increasingly be felt beyond Yemen’s borders.

While the Houthi movement emerged as an insurgency in northwestern Yemen in the 1980s and 1990s, it most likely began receiving Iranian support around 2009. Yet this initial support was marginal, as Yemen at the time was far from an important priority for Iran.

It is impossible to precisely quantify how much of the Houthi movement’s success is the result of Iranian support. A significant portion of Houthi assets have been generated locally: Large portions of their arsenal come from absorbing — by negotiation or coercion — units of the Yemeni military, as well as from looting national army stockpiles, forging alliances with tribal militias, and making purchases on the black market.

The Houthi movement’s role in this network of Iran-backed non-state actors has grown to the point that it is now possible to refer to Houthi foreign policy

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