Conflict and Fragility

Policy briefs

Shades of grey: The evolving links between the Houthi and Iran

11 Jan 2023 - 14:43
Bron: Leader of the Houthi movement Abdul-Malik Badruddin al-Houthi addresses a rally / Reuters

The Houthi are not an Iranian proxy in the sense of unquestioningly doing Tehran’s bidding, voluntarily or under pressure. Yet, the movement can be viewed as an informal partner of Tehran. Their relationship has evolved from a partnership of convenience into a more strategic one. Despite this evolution, the Houthi have remained autonomous with respect to their domestic constituencies, political strategy and battlefield operations. For the purpose of peacemaking in Yemen today, as well as subsequent efforts to maintain any peace, this suggests that the Houthi should be considered an autonomous, domestically legitimate (in part) and capable actor, but that Iran also needs to be consulted behind the scenes due to the growth of its relation with the Houthi.

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