Group Financing Profile
The Houthis began a military campaign in October 2023 in solidarity with Hamas by launching missile and drone strikes that targeted an Israeli tourist resort. Their campaign escalated with additional missile strikes throughout the region and claiming the downing of a US drone. Further attacks in the Red Sea have affected global shipping between Asia and Europe, ultimately triggering retaliatory American and British air strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen. These events signal a deepening conflict intertwined with the Gaza war and mark a shift in the regional conflict landscape. In light of these developments, Canada is considering following the US in designating the Houthis as a global terrorist group, a move that underscores the threat the group poses to regional and international stability.
Who are the Houthis and how do they finance their organization and activities? Keep reading to find out.
Origins and Operations
The Houthis, also known as Ansar Allah, originated as a Zaydi Shia revivalist group in the 1990s in Yemen and evolved into an armed movement by the early 2000s. They have engaged in repeated conflicts with the Yemeni government since 2004 and seized the capital, Sanaa, in September 2014. The group espouses anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiments and plays a central role in the Yemeni civil war, opposing the Saudi-supported government.
The Houthis’ force of approximately 20,000 militants operates primarily in the northwest of the country. With financial and military assistance from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and Hizballah advisors, the Houthis have built up significant resources and operational capacity allowing them to conduct assassinations, attacks, and major strategic offensives.