Steven Sahiounie, journalist and political commentator
On February 6, the Houthis of Yemen fired missiles on two civilian ships in the Red Sea. The group are attacking ships as they pass by Yemen as a protest to the US-supported Israeli genocide ongoing in Gaza.
The Houthis are one group among many resistance groups calling for the end of the occupation of Palestine, and demanding an end to the US-supported attack on Gaza by Israel.
The US and their allies have attacked 36 sites in Yemen claiming that was in retaliation for a strike by a resistance group in Iraq on a US military site in Jordan which killed three American personnel.
Yemen is one of the poorest countries on earth, and the UN has repeatedly warned of famine and starvation in Yemen after years of war. One of the richest countries on earth, the USA, has been attacking Yemen.
Experts on Yemen explain that the Houthi ideology calls for resistance to the occupation of the Palestinian people, who are denied human rights, and have been held under a brutal siege since 2007.
The attacks on ships in the Red Sea would stop if the Israelis would stop the genocide in Gaza. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed a ceasefire deal with Israel yesterday, but PM Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the proposal worked on by the US, Egypt and Qatar.
Steven Sahiounie of MidEastDiscourse interviewed Ahmed Abdu-Almalik Al-Ansi, a Yemeni Journalist and Activist, to get a better understanding of the situation unfolding.
1. Steven Sahiounie (SS): A ceasefire deal is being proposed between Gaza and the Israeli occupation. In your opinion, if the ceasefire goes through, will it decrease the tension in the Middle East?
Ahmed Abdu-Almalik Al-Ansi (AA): I think, that while a ceasefire between Gaza and Israel could potentially decrease tension, a lasting peace requires honest intention of Israel toward peace. In fact, Israel doesn’t have any real intention to stop committing genocide in Gaza because Israelis are the main enemy of humanity; even if they say: ” we defend human rights and peace” they are liars. People around the world discovered this lie in Gaza.
2. SS: The situation in the Red Sea is very dangerous. In your opinion, will the tension between the US military and the Houthis decrease after a ceasefire in Gaza?
AA: The Houthis have demanded a ceasefire in the Israel war against Gaza, and an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza, as conditions to end their attacks in the Red Sea. From the first day of Yemeni Marine operations in the Red Sea, they just target Israeli ships, or those heading to the ports of Occupied Palestine. The Houthis say to the world: “Stop the war in Gaza, we will stop our operations in the Red Sea.”
3. SS: The US military and allies bombed Syria, Iraq, and Yemen in response to a drone attack on the US troops in northern Jordan that killed three US soldiers and injured 43. In your opinion, will this escalate the situation in the region, and will we be going to a regional war?
AA: Certainly, the US military operations against Yemen will definitely escalate the situation in the whole region, and the world. The United States of America does not have any legal evidence to attack Yemen as well as Iraq and Syria; she just puts herself in a trap. Therefore, USA comes from far away in order to escalate the situation in the Middle East, she comes with a black lie of “Safety and Protection of Maritime Navigation”. In fact, the United States comes to protect the Israeli brutal war against Gaza and Humanity in reality.
4. SS: The Iranian-Saudi relationship has improved greatly in the last few months, after the Israeli genocide on Gaza, and the US airstrikes on Yemen, we did not see the tension in the Middle East affect the relationship between Tehran and Riyadh. In your opinion, is the new relationship bigger than all the tension in the region?
AA: I think that this relationship is a normal diplomatic relation between the two countries. While the new relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia is noteworthy, it’s essential to recognize that the broader tensions in the Middle East, including the conflict in Yemen and the Israeli aggression against Palestinians, continue to have a significant impact on regional dynamics.
5. SS: The Houthis supported the Palestinian resistance after the Israeli aggression on Gaza, but now reports are saying that Israel might start a massive attack on south Lebanon. In your opinion, would the Houthis, and other resistance groups in the region, step in and support Hezbollah like they supported Hamas ?
AA: The Houthis are smarter than Israelis, they interfere in a required humanitarian situation, and they have their own decisions. I think that the resistance groups in the region are brothers and they will support each other normally.
Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist