Small Wars Journal

Houthis as Proxy: Iran’s Other Terror Front

Houthis as Proxy: Iran’s Other Terror Front by Brian Hook – Wall Street Journal

Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, is playing a long game in Yemen and few in the world seem to have noticed. With Iran’s patronage, the Houthis—a Shiite political movement—carried out a coup in 2014, plunging the country into chaos. Iran’s support elevated the Shia Houthis from a tribal militia to a lethal fighting force. Now, the Iranian regime wants a seat at the negotiating table to help resolve a war it helped instigate.

Whatever the ultimate outcome in Yemen, Iran has successfully expanded its threat network and positioned itself as a power broker in the Arabian peninsula. Tehran has been using this playbook for decades. In the early 1980s, Iran began supporting various Shia extremist groups in Lebanon. The Iranian regime systematically scaled up its assistance and assembled the most violent factions into a cohesive military organization, which eventually called itself Hezbollah.

During the 1990s, Iran cemented its influence in Lebanon through Hezbollah. The Iranian regime provides the militant group with 70% of its operating budget, precision rockets and small arms, and a steady stream of military experts. Hezbollah’s military prowess enabled it to become a state within a state, which, in turn, enabled Iran to extend its own borders, export Shia revolution, and target Israelis and Americans. Hezbollah has killed more Americans than any terrorist group other than al Qaeda…

Read on.