Earlier last week, the leader of the Houthi insurgent group in Yemen, Abdul Malik Badreddin al Houthi, vowed to fight in any future conflict between Hezbollah and Israel. The group is officially known as Ansar Allah.
“The Yemeni nation is ready to take part in any future confrontation against the Israeli enemy,” Houthi said. He continued by saying that Israel should “take us into consideration in all future conflicts with Hezbollah and the Palestinian people.” Houthi also addressed Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in his statement, which was later republished on Hezbollah’s Al Manar website.
“Your bet on the Yemenis is proper. Israel must beware the Yemeni participation in any of its military confrontations with Hezbollah or the Palestinian resistance,” Houthi said to Nasrallah. In a speech last month, Nasrallah mentioned that in any future war with Israel, the Jewish state would be met with resistance by fighters from “Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.”
Both Hezbollah and Iran have been implicated in supporting the Houthi rebels in its campaign in Yemen.
In 2012, the US State Department formally accused Iran of supporting the Houthis. In its Country Reports on Terrorism 2012, State said that “Iran actively supported members of the Houthi tribe in northern Yemen, including activities intended to build military capabilities, which could pose a greater threat to security and stability in Yemen and the surrounding region.”
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is believed to have transferred rocket and missile capabilities. In addition, the US military has intercepted several weapons shipments from Iran believed to have been headed to the Houthis. High-ranking Iranian officials have also spoke about the Iranian regime’s support for the Yemeni insurgents.
Ansar Allah is not thought to be directly subordinate to Tehran like Hezbollah or other proxies. However, support for the insurgent group offers Iran the ability to spread its influence across the Middle East. In addition, it allows Iran to both combat and challenge Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states’ troops and influence in Yemen.