The Houthi Hezbollah

On February 24, the Saudi Arabian-owned Al Arabiya news network posted a video of what it claimed was a meeting last summer between Hezbollah commander Abu Saleh and Houthi forces in Yemen. The video shows a man in military fatigues addressing a group in Lebanese-accented Arabic about training for assassination operations inside Saudi Arabia, including a specific attack against an unnamed Saudi commander of border forces.

The current war in Yemen began with the country’s unsuccessful political transition following the ouster of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Disenchantment with the post-Saleh political arrangement turned to civil war, pitting Houthis, a Zaidi Shia religious movement, and the former president against the country’s central authorities. Saudi Arabia, which intervened in support of the central government, claims that it is also a proxy war, one in which Houthi forces have been supplied and trained by Iran and its most successful proxy militia, Hezbollah. Officially Lebanon’s Hezbollah denies these accusations, but as Amarnath Amarasingam and I learned during a recent trip to Beirut, the group is playing a very active role. Read more here in Foreign Affairs.

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