Wednesday (March 31st): Houthi Victory in sight?

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi

Name? Mohammed Ali al-Houthi

Westphalian identity? Yemeni/Houthi

Age? 42

Why is he in the news? He is the de facto President of Yemen and cousin of Houthi leader Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi whom we covered in January when we last wrote about Yemen. Mohammed Ali is now in the news denoting a UN report blaming the Houthis for the attack on the internationally-accepted government and killing 25 at Aden airport.

Why do we care? Despite Saudi Arabia’s military offensive against the Houthi rebels, they are still advancing and currently battling for Marib, the last major city under government control. The Biden administration’s end to Saudi Arabia’s free pass for its actions in Yemen gave the Houthi rebels the upper hand. 

Why should you care? Because the upper hand to the Houthis has implications for the 80% of Yemenis who are dependent on humanitarian aid. In our last daily on Yemen, we covered how Mohammed Ali’s cousin oversaw the diversion of 1,9 billion USD (in 2019) to war-related matters instead of humanitarian aid. If someone with the track record of Mohammed Ali oversees resources that save people’s lives, then you should care 7/10. 

Who else cares? Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. He recently proposed a ceasefire to the Houthis which Mohammed Ali rejected. Faisal bin Farhan did so out of a position of weakness as the Saudi military offensive had not reached its goal. With a ceasefire he hoped to at least preserve a Yemeni government stronghold to avoid a country at its southern border under the complete control of a Iranian proxy.

Any further comments? On top of this, the Houthis continue their attacks targeted at facilities owned by state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco and military sites. These attacks are carried out by using 18 drones and eight ballistic missiles; most likely provided by Iran as there is no other actor aligned to the Houthi and capable of delivering these weapons.

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordinator