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Travis Cunha

Dec 24, 2023

The West Cannot Part the Red Sea

As Israel's ongoing attacks on Gaza persist, global outrage is steadily increasing, with the escalating genocide of the Palestinian people reaching a threshold that no nation can continue to ignore. Many countries have expressed their outrage at the unprecedented carnage and their vote for an immediate ceasefire. Among the resistance forces, including Hamas and Hezbollah, Ansar Allah in Yemen has emerged as another force with which the imperialists must reckon. By rendering the Red Sea impassable for ships they suspect of aiding Israel, Ansar Allah has presented the most substantial logistical challenge to global trade since the Covid-19 Pandemic, and the group has promised to continue for as long as the Israeli assault against their Palestinian brethren continues. 

In the past month, the Houthis have initiated over 100 assaults on commercial ships in the Red Sea, significantly disrupting maritime traffic in the area. They have also used drones and other means of firepower to deter ships from the area, and seized ships, docking them in their own harbors as tourist attractions for the Yemeni people.

What is Ansar Allah?

Western media portrays Ansar Allah, known in the West as “Houthis,” as simply another terrorist organization, funded by a hostile Iran.

What they're not keen to admit is that Ansar Allah, based in one of the world's poorest and most war-ravaged countries and one operating with scant resources, has nevertheless been able to stand up to the imperialists.

The origins of Ansar Allah can be traced back to former kingdoms of Yemen, but its current form arose as the Yemenis people's fight against a corrupt, comprador government. General Ali Abdullah Saleh ascended to power in Yemen following a coup in 1978. The western puppet Saleh ruled Yemen for the next 33 years. Ansar Allah rose up to resist Saleh's regime during the 1990s, led by the charismatic figure of Hussein al Houthi. Beginning in the 1990s, the group rebelled against Saleh for his extensive corruption and theft of the country's wealth for his family's benefit, denouncing Saudi and American support for his dictatorship.

Saleh initiated a sequence of military offensives to try to exterminate the movement. In 2004, Saleh's forces murdered Hussein al Houthi. The Yemeni military and air force were deployed to quell the uprising in the northern regions of Yemen, particularly in the province of Saada. The Saudis closely collaborated with Saleh in these operations. But the Houthis emerged victorious against both Saleh's forces and the Saudi military, repeatedly outmaneuvering them, in a humiliation for the Saudis, who had invested tens of billions of dollars into Saleh's military dictatorship.

Ansar Allah has continued to be a proverbial thorn in the side of the US-Saudi alliance since this embarrassing defeat, and the conflict has continued. This brings us to where we are today, as Ansar Allah further humiliates the imperialists by shutting down one of the most important shipping routes in the world.

The West is a Paper Tiger

This inevitably drew the ire of the United States, which has desperately tried cobbling together enough naval power in the region to intervene and destroy Ansar Allah. US officials responded to Ansar Allah's blockade in the Red Sea with Operation Prosperity Guardian, which aims to secure access to this naval route which is critical to global trade. 

Initially, participants of the Red Sea task force included the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles, and Spain. European Union member states at first agreed to contribute via the European Naval Force, but the plans were quickly derailed after a veto from Spain, which had insisted on full EU involvement in the mission. At an urgent session on December 20, the EU's Political and Security Committee unanimously endorsed the bloc's involvement by broadening Operation Atalanta. However, Madrid reversed its stance on December 21st, blocking the decision during the working group meeting of EU advisors on international relations. France and Italy have also since abandoned Operation Prosperity Guardian.

Ansar Allah for its part has promised to defend Yemen against any aggression. "We will not stand idly by if the Americans are tempted to escalate further and commit foolishness by targeting our country or waging war against it," its leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi recently warned.

The US imperialists finds itself in a much weaker position than when it invaded Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. It is much riskier for the U.S. to conduct another such military operation. Ansar Allah and the Saudi government have both respected a truce between the two parties, and disrupting this would further erode failing U.S.-Saudi relations, as the latter pivots to China and other BRICS nations. A New York Times article featured a quote from Tim Lenderking, U.S. special envoy for Yemen, stating, “Everybody is looking for a way to de-escalate tensions. The idea is not to engulf the region in a wider war, but rather to use the tools available to us to encourage the Houthis to dial back their reckless behavior.”

The United States with all its military might is being outmatched by resistance militias with far fewer resources. It is clearer now than ever to the global majority that groups like Ansar Allah will never abandon the Palestinian people, and stand up to a superpower.

We have reached a multipolar world, in which the United States can no longer dominate the global shipping routes. No doubt, decision makers are aware of this. Ansar Allah has emerged as a key player in the bid to save Gaza from genocide, asserting itself fearlessly as a revolutionary and progressive force in the fight against imperialist barbarism.

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