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Clarification on Iran's Link with Yemeni Rebels

Earlier, the National Security Law Brief posted a story on fighting on the Yemeni border between Houthi rebels and Saudi forces. Later, we posted a second story detailing possible links between Iranian funding and the Houthi forces, framing the battle as a proxy war between Iran, supporting the Houthi, and Saudi Arabia, supporting the Yemeni government.

In an interview today, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Hossein Aryan clarified the debate about possible links between Iran and the Houthi. Yemen is a majority Sunni Islam country, Aryan said, while both the Houthi and Iran practice Shi’a Islam. However, Iran’s form of Shi’a, referred to as “Twelver,” is quite different from the Houthi Zaidi, which does not have the same justification, the velayat-e faqih, for religious involvement in politics that is found in Iranian Twelver Islam.

Although Yemeni forces supposedly seized an Iranian ship carrying arms in October, the government of Iran has denied any such seizure, calling the allegations “a fabrication of the media.”

Even if there is little or no Iranian involvement in Yemen, the Yemeni, Saudi and US governments are worried about an Al Qaeda presence in the country, a presence that might spill over into surrounding countries, including Saudi Arabia.

Read the interview at Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty


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