When the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced its initiative to bring about a ceasefire and put an end to Yemen crisis, the Houthis not only rejected it but their chief negotiator Mohamed Abdul Salam condemned it in a tweet as “an initiative for media consumption, it is not serious and offers nothing new”. To complete their rejection, the Houthi Ansar Allah forces launched a military operation named “National Resilience Day Operation” which targeted the Saudi Kingdom’s interior with drones and ballistic missiles.
All these coincide with U.S. denunciation of the ongoing Houthi attacks. However, the condemnation was just words, particularly considering that Biden’s administration has rushed to lift the Houthis’ terrorist designation once he took office. It was apparently a free gift from the new US administration to the Islamic Republic of Iran, with no consideration for the daily attacks and violations committed by Houthis.
Decades have shown that the policy of goodwill is not suitable with Iran. What Hezbollah is doing in Lebanon, and what Iranian-backed militias are doing in Iraq are all similar to the Houthis’ actions in Yemen.
Since the eruption of the Islamic revolution in Iran, the country has never ceased to assault its neighboring Arab countries and violate their sovereignty whether directly or via funding and supplying proxy sectarian militias with arms to be a poisoned dagger in the side of the Arab countries. If the slogan of Tehran’s regime was to export the revolution, the reality is that they are exporting chaos and destruction. Their aim is to eliminate the states and their institutions, so Iran can control everything. How can a country be stable while an alternative army exists along with its national military?
Still, Iran’s actions in Syria is considered the most audacious interference. Indeed, the Assad regime enabled it to control the remaining parts of the country in exchange for protection. Not only did Iran occupy Syria and deploy its sectarian militias, it also displaced Syrian people, stole their properties and resettled its militias in their homeland.
The most telling example why no half measures should be taken with Iran and its proxy militias, is Lebanon. Since liberating southern Lebanon from Israeli occupation in 2000, Iranian militias of Hezbollah refused all calls to disarm or set a defense strategy in order to be a political party just like all Lebanese parties. In fact, Hezbollah has never been Lebanese, and thus all calls to return to the Lebanese state and society are unrealistic.
The crisis befallen upon Lebanon in the present is the culmination of a series of crises starting with the 2005 assassination of Rafic Hariri. In every single problem, Hezbollah was holding up the solution, with its power rooted in indifference towards Lebanon and its people. Each time, the group achieves more gains and takes over more of the state and the citizen’s rights, in violation of all norms and constitutions to reach a compromise that is considered at its best a half measure.
Today, some in Lebanon, and also Syria, see that the solution requires rushing to a compromise, as long as it is usual in the region. Although there is no indication that a U.S.-Iranian deal is coming up imminently, all the given and leaked information emphasizes that the U.S. is willing to concede in order to reach a deal with Iran.
If we are doomed to compromise ultimately, there are different kinds of compromises. Until now the Arabs have not provided a comprehensive approach to tackle repeated Iranian and militias’ attacks. All agree that Iran has an expansive destructive project in the region. Hence, it stands to reason that half-measure and goodwill policies are no longer valid. Now is the time to put an end once and for all to these Iranian approaches, at any cost.
The kingdom did well to propose the initiative in order to end the suffering of the Yemenis. However, the Houthis’ rejection and ongoing assault were unsurprising. Until a just and a comprehensive resolution is reached, everyone should seek to alleviate the civilians’ woes, in Yemen as well as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.