Salem Alketbi

Al-Houthi and the dangerous militias under the radar

الاحد - 28 يونيو 2020

Sun - 28 Jun 2020

As we have said time and again, the global collective’s neglect of the proliferation of terrorist and extremist militias in several areas and their strong concentration in the Middle East speaks to an implicit acceptance of the persistence of a source of tension, chaos and unrest that undermines security, peace and stability in that part of the world.

Evidently, the existence of these militias and organizations, whatever their ideological, religious, intellectual and political aims and bases, if any, runs counter to the idea of the national State. The national State is a cornerstone of post-WWII world peace and security, after the founding of the UN, which reaffirmed the capital place of the national State after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

The scourge of terrorism then returned, systematically extending its geographic reach according to the objectives and interests of the regional powers, which are engaged in expansionist sectarian agendas or seeking to bring back past glories. This resurgence is an alarming indicator to which the global collective has not reacted to its true extent.

Certainly, terrorist organizations such as Daesh and Al-Qaida, with their branches and terrorist groups loyal to them, are spearheading the threat. But there are other organizations that permeate the national sovereignty of various Arab States. They deserve the same level of confronting because, on the one hand, they have brought about the collapse of States and propagated chaos and insecurity. They have provided a secure environment for terrorism and terrorist ideology to realign and redeploy.

On the other hand, some of them have dubious alliances with terrorist groups because of the convergence of their interests. In Libya, Turkish ships carry terrorist elements involved in supporting the Sarraj government in Tripoli. In Yemen, the sectarian group Al-Houthi serves as one of the weapons of Iran’s expansionist project. The group maintains control over the fate of this Arab country under a clear political proxy arrangement aimed at achieving the objectives and the interests of its sponsors. After deliberately closing all avenues towards a political settlement of the Yemeni crisis, the group continues to threaten the security and stability of our brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

A few days ago, Al-Houthi once again reminded the world of his destabilizing capacity by targeting the kingdom’s capital, Riyadh, in what he called a “large-scale operation deep inside Saudi Arabia.” Iranian ballistic missiles and drones were effectively intercepted by Saudi air defenses before they reached their targets in an act of terrorism targeting civilian areas of the capital.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic keeps everyone’s minds occupied in all parts of the world, east and west, with other crises and tensions. But it is critical that the global collective quickly brings the memory of the terror episodes back to light, works to find solutions to eradicate these organizations or at least deprive them of their sources of funding, cuts the ties that make them a tool of pressure in the hands of their financiers, and resolutely confronts regimes that wage proxy wars in other countries.

Countries such as Iran have been using Al-Houthi’s militias and others as instruments in conflicts over power and hegemony and have been reconfiguring the region according to their heinous sectarian interests to the detriment of Arab sovereignty and territorial integrity since 2011.

We are all aware that post-coronavirus international relations will not be the same as before. The current world order may take years to recover, reframe itself and develop its new rules and norms based on the outcome of this complex crisis, many of the effects and implications of which have yet to be revealed.

But silence on these militias gives them enough time to achieve their disastrous aims, helps undermine regional and global peace and security, fuels sectarian conflicts and invites the scenarios of uncreative chaos that have created all this absurdity and crises, some of which are out of control.

The international silence on Al-Houthi’s practices and its repeated threats to the security and stability of a country of major regional strategic weight, such as Saudi Arabia, is not isolated from the world’s inability to quell the Iranian mullahs’ ambitions, sectarian agenda and nuclear and missile programs. This inability mainly results from conflicting interests and differences among the major powers. But this silence and indifference will come at a price for everyone.

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