On January 21, 2022, ARCHumankind organised an online seminar regarding the attack on the Abu Dhabi International Airport by the Yemeni Ansar Allah, also known as the ‘Houthis’. The terror assault against this internationally crucial infrastructure, where some European countries have military facilities, caused severe damages, and led to at least three fatalities. The group is part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) network led by the Iranian regime and has been waging war against Yemeni authorities throughout the last decade.
The webinar was moderated by Paulo Casaca (ARCHumankind) and included presentations by Ellie Cohnim, journalist and former Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the United States Department of State; Manel Msalmi, International Affairs advisor to a Member of the European Parliament and President of the liberal party’s woman section in Brussels city; and Irina Tsukerman, human rights and national security attorney as well as New York-based analyst.
Irina Tsukerman explained who the Houthis are in the historic, religious, and ethnic Yemeni context. She paid special attention to the Sayyid fundamentalist tradition of the group and greatly elaborated on their racist persecution of Jews, as well as on their fanatic opposition to women’s rights. Regarding the latter, Irina stressed that the women situation is fast deteriorating due to Houthis’ measures aiming to entirely eradicate any female presence in Yemen’s public sphere. She also explained the process through which the Houthis become a proxy force of the Iranian regime.
Ellie Cohnim focused on the IRGC’s destabilisation strategy. She explained that the Yemeni ‘Ansar Allah’ (Houthis) is a variation of the Lebanese Hezbollah and part of the vast array of Iran’s Iraqi and Syrian proxies. She explained how the Yemeni terrorist proxy was enrolled in the US list of ‘Foreign Terrorist Organizations’ (FTO) during her tenure in the Trump US administration and how extraordinary it was to have seen this move countered by the present administration. Ms Cohnim explained that US authorities are now considering amending their position as the group’s terrorist activities are escalating.
Manel commented on the need for the West to show its solidarity with the Arab world in the face of Iranian aggression and underlined the significance of European engagement in the region.
All speakers expressed their solidarity with the authorities of the United Arab Emirates, as well as with other victims of Iranian aggression such as Saudi Arabia. Condolences were sent to the families of the three fatal victims (two Indians and a Pakistani). Paulo Casaca highlighted the importance of the Secretary General of the United Nations’ words condemning this terrorist attack.