It’s Unlikely the US Wants To Be Dragged into Another Middle Eastern Swamp*

*Editor’s note: On March 4, 2022, Russia enacted a law that criminalizes public opposition to, or independent news reporting about, the war in Ukraine. The law makes it a crime to call the war a “war” rather than a “special military operation” on social media or in a news article or broadcast. The law is understood to penalize any language that “discredits” Russia’s use of its military in Ukraine, calls for sanctions or protests Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It punishes anyone found to spread “false information” about the invasion with up to 15 years in prison.

European Union countries are negotiating the launch of their own maritime operation in the Red Sea. In response, German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock joined her French counterpart, Stéphane Séjourné, and told the press, “From our point of view, it is important that the European Union plays its role,”hoping that the EU “can come to an agreement as quickly as possible.”

Last week, Germany announced plans to send the frigate Hessen to the Red Sea on Feb. 1 and deploy Germany’s military to intercept Houthi missiles and drones. Bloomberg reported that EU member states could decide to begin the naval operation at a meeting of foreign affairs ministers on Feb. 19; the operation itself would start at the end of February. Kommersant’s columnist, Mikhail Gurevich, believes the Houthis have already achieved their objectives.

Could the entire world become a bargaining chip in the terrorists’ struggle for power in a backward country, basically razed to the ground? As the example of the Houthis shows us, this is not a hypothetical question but a real situation. Because of recent events, many believe that the Houthis are in sole control of Yemen; however, they are but one of nine factions continuing the endless war for strategically important territory in the southwest part of the Arabian Peninsula.

It is essential to understand that Shiite Islamist Houthis make up just over one-third of Yemen’s population. Consequently, they cannot acquire power through elections and attempt to claim it militarily. The author of this strategy is Iran, which, by supporting Shiite groups across the entire Middle East, bolsters its influence and advances in the geopolitical arena.

The Houthi, or more precisely, the Ansar Allah organization, is no more than another proxy for Tehran, similar to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Houthis’ slogan is inscribed on their flag: “God Is The Greatest, Death to America, Death to Israel, A Curse Upon the Jews, Victory to Islam.” Curiously, before the war in Gaza, they hated Jews in theory while waging war in practice against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

To these two countries, the Yemeni Shiite movements are like Hamas is to Israel. Houthis have constantly launched missiles and drones at the Sunni monarchies, to which the Sunnis responded with unsuccessful military operations.

Incidentally, in 2023, when Riyadh and Jerusalem actively negotiated normalizing relations, the Saudis demanded that Americans sign an agreement obliging the U.S. to defend Saudi Arabia in the event of an external threat. The agreement remains unsigned, but the Americans are already at war with the Houthis.

The paradox of the situation is that Israel, of course, suffers from Shiite attacks on its ships in the Red Sea, but the Saudis and Egyptians bear the brunt of the damage. For Egypt, the Suez Canal blockade from the south struck their already modest state income hard. However, officially, Cairo can’t express its dissatisfaction out loud. Yemen combatants are fighting Zionists, which evokes broad support across the entire Middle East and, naturally, in Egypt as well. So, the region’s countries prefer to solve the problem with foreign hands from overseas.

But frankly speaking, the U.S. also has little chance of success. It is impossible to defeat Houthis with air strikes, while both Washington and London wouldn’t dare send ground forces. Their experience in Afghanistan and Iraq could be mere child’s play in comparison to the invasion of a country where every citizen, according to tradition, has had a personal assault rifle since they were born.

They say that in Yemen, almost all passengers travel with their guns, even on domestic flights. It’s doubtful the U.S. wants to get dragged into yet another Middle Eastern swamp. For the Houthis, this is a perfect situation. They’re used to bombings, and the group’s authority growing with each day that passes because they’re bravely fighting the Western Satan. And who can say they are not successful?

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About Artem Belov 83 Articles
Artem Belov is a TESOL-certified English teacher and a freelance translator (Russian>English and English>Russian) based in Australia but currently traveling abroad. He is working on a number of projects, including game localization. You can reach him at

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