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The Houthis and Sinwar, Two Points to Consider

Iran's Tactics with Sinwar Mirror What Sinwar Did to the Islamic Jihad: Why Is This Alarming?

Since Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021 and up until October 7, Sinwar had avoided a military confrontation with Israel. During this period, Hamas faced significant internal criticism for deciding not to engage in two intense rounds of fighting in Gaza, initiated by the Islamic Jihad. Israel interpreted this as a sign of Hamas being deterred. Now, it is understood that Hamas was strategically avoiding being drawn into conflict against its will, preferring to conserve resources for a major operation it had planned. In a similar vein, what Hamas did to the Islamic Jihad, Iran and Hezbollah have now done to Hamas. Unfortunately for Sinwar, they did not join in the 'full-on' campaign.

houties on donkeys

The major concern now is whether Iran and Hezbollah are preparing for something even larger. How significant could this be? The worries regarding this issue are why the anticipated escalation in the north is expected to be an Israeli initiative, and justifiably so.

The Houthis: The International Coalitions' Formation Doesn't Guarantee an End to the Siege

There's significant uncertainty surrounding the Houthis' motivations for their current behavior. Various prevailing theories include: allegiance to Iran; uncompromising religious zealotry (evident in their motto: "Death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, victory to Islam"); genuine solidarity with the Palestinians; and economically driven ambitions to expedite an alternative land transit route for goods, bypassing the Suez Canal, potentially benefiting Iran and Russia, among others. Each theory contains some element of truth, but none fully explain the Houthis' actions. Since their takeover of large parts of Yemen years ago, their conduct has consistently been erratic and unpredictable.

Currently, the international coalition led by the US, formed to secure navigation in the Red Sea, seems to have little impact on the Houthis. This implies that the coalition's formation does not necessarily signal the end of the siege. The Houthi army, roughly comparable in size to the IDF (including reserve forces), is equipped with precise kinetic weaponry. While the Houthis may not directly receive orders from Tehran, Iran undeniably benefits from the situation in the Red Sea, and its influence in Sanaa is evident.

The coalition should consider imposing a cost and focusing its pressure on Tehran.


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