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New Alliances And Military Strength Surge In Yemen’s Support For Gaza

Above photo: Asnar Allah recruits march during a rally of support for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and against the U.S. strikes on Yemen outside Sanaa, Jan. 22, 2024. AP.

In his traditional Tuhamian clothing, Ali, a Yemeni fisherman from the coastal city of Hodeidah, stands in a gathering of thousands of Yemenis and chants, “With you, with you, O Al-Qassam Brigades… until victory or martyrdom.”

Ali told MintPress News that with the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, he feels the suffering of his brothers in Gaza more than ever, so he decided to participate in today’s demonstration for the first time out of sympathy with Gaza and in rejection of what he described as the hideous practices carried out by the invaders in the Red Sea against fishermen.

At the beginning of Ramadan, he quit fishing in Yemen’s territorial waters for fear of his life. “Since the scary ships came, whoever goes out to fish will be killed or arrested, and whoever survives will not return with enough fish.”

Ali, a member of the Al-Hammadi family, who depend on fishing as their only source of income, says that one of his relatives, Qasim, was killed by foreign forces protecting Israeli ships at sea near the shores of Hodeidah. But Ali says he is happy that he now shares the suffering with the residents of Gaza.

Fishermen rally against foreign aggression

Qasim and seven other fishermen, all from the Al-Khawkha District in the coastal governorate of Hodeidah, lost their lives to the Western forces in the Red Sea while fishing in Yemen’s territorial waters. On January 26, 2024, a month after their disappearance, their bodies were found on the Dhu al-Harab Islands overlooking the waterway in the sea. The coalition allies control these islands. At that time, the Ministry of Fisheries, based in Sana’a, accused American coalition forces of the crime.

The murder of the eight fishermen: Qasim Hammadi, Ibrahim Mahnish, Zakaria Mansoub, Hamza Abdel Hafeez, Majed Bahidar, Ibrahim Salem, Ahmed Shaif, and Anwar Hattab is not an isolated case, but rather one of the dozens of incidents in which fishermen either lost their lives were injured or were arrested and disappeared, forcing other fisherman to stay in their homes starving rather than risk death or imprisonment.

The Ministry of Fisheries in Sana’a, which recorded dozens of violations against fishermen, including kidnapping and arrests carried out by the U.S. Navy, said in a previous statement that the U.S. Navy’s activity near the Yemeni coast and territorial waters threatens Yemeni fishermen, puts their lives in danger and causes them to lose their only source of income.

It mentioned that U.S. forces and their allies resort to the use of force and threats to prevent fishermen from exercising their right to fish, pointing to the tragic conditions experienced by thirty thousand Yemeni fishermen, who depend on the fishing profession as the only source of income for their families, due to the presence of American forces in the Red Sea.

It added that foreign forces also deplete and plunder fish stocks, leading to declining stocks and fishermen’s wages. “Sometimes we and our brothers in Gaza share the same suffering, siege, and killing,” Ali says.

Ali supports Ansar Allah’s blockade of Israeli ships from the Red Sea and likens his suffering to that of Palestinians. He does not hide his support for the targeting of American and British ships, describing it as a resistance operation against forces that came from the high seas, not to prevent them from fishing and polluting their waters, but rather to kill the people of Gaza. He says Israel, America and Britain should “drink from the same cup.”

Like the fishermen, residents still suffer from the repercussions of ten years of Saudi-led war and the U.S.-backed blockade, despite the relative cessation of bombing from 2022 until the start of the war on Gaza. Yemen is one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises, with more than 21 million Yemenis in need of assistance and suffering from inadequate food, health care, and infrastructure and 6.1 million facing “emergency” levels of food insecurity, according to a recent report from Human Rights Watch.

The situation has become much worse since the onset of the U.S. bombing campaign on the Yemeni mainland, the continuation of the blockade, and the prevention of any political settlement between warring factions in Yemen. The local population, however, does not appear ready to abandon Gaza and supports Ansar Allah’s operations against Israel, U.S. and British ships, even if it makes their own situation worse.

Residents in Hodeidah Governorate were not the only ones who took to the streets in massive demonstrations on Friday to express this sentiment. A massive demonstration took place in more than 140 governorates, cities, and regions, the most important of which was in the Al-Sabeen area in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, and the cities of Saada, Dhamar, Al-Bayda, Hajjah, Al-Mahwit, Amran, Al-Dhale’, Taiz, Al-Jawf, and Marib governorates. The theme of the protests was “Our operations continue. Stop your aggression.”

Escalating tensions: the Yemeni response

Most Yemenis see the aid airdropped by the U.S. in Gaza and the construction of a floating port as little more than a hoax, and Yemen’s leadership intends to escalate its blockade of the Red Sea further. This week, an Israeli ship, the Pacific 1, was targeted for the first time since November 19, 2023, when Yemen announced military operations in support of Gaza.

Recently, the leader of Ansar Allah, Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, announced that Israeli or Israeli-linked ships would not only be prevented from crossing the Red and Arabian Seas but would also be prevented from crossing the Indian Ocean and Cape of Good Hope until the war against Gaza is stopped and the blockade is lifted.

Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the spokesperson of Ansar Allah, confirmed that Yemen has moved towards escalation by targeting Israeli ships in the Indian Ocean and preventing them from sailing towards the Cape of Good Hope. International shipping companies linked to Israel, he said, “must take this escalation very seriously and know that any Israel-linked ship will be exposed to Yemeni missiles.”

Ansar allah’s pursuit of strategic superiority

In response to U.S. attacks on Yemen, Ansar Allah has not only upgraded their missile and drone capabilities, modifying explosive warheads to double their destructive power but has now manufactured hypersonic missiles with high destructive capability. High-ranking military sources within Ansar Allah told MintPress that Yemen is close to adding hypersonic missiles to its arsenal following testing against sea targets. In early March, Yemeni rocket scientists tested a solid-fuel hypersonic missile that can reach speeds of up to 10,000 kilometers per hour (Mach 8).

In a recent interview with MintPress News, ِMohammed Ali al-Houthi, Ansar Allah’s second-in-command, gave explicit hints about a “surprise” that could change the equation in the Red Sea, even against targets inside of the occupied Palestinian territories.

In a televised speech, which he usually delivers every Thursday to announce the latest developments in Gaza and Yemen, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the leader of Ansar Allah, said, “There is a noticeable development in Yemeni missiles, among these developments is a missile that arrived to Eilat this week without being detected or intercepted by the enemy. Others reached to the Indian Ocean, however, behind these developments is something more advanced, but we leave it for action first.

Last Thursday, al-Houthi announced that Ansar Allah has used new weapons in recent operations in the Red and Arabian Seas, which “surprised the United States and the United Kingdom.” He added, “Our enemies, friends, and our people will see a level of achievement of strategic importance that will place our country in terms of its capabilities among the few countries in this world.”

Brigadier Abdul-Ghani Al-Zubaid, Brigadier in the Yemeni Army and researcher in political and military affairs said that al-Houthi’s allusion to missile development and failure of Israel’s advanced air defense systems, such as the Hatz system, confirmed that hypersonic missiles are already available, perhaps in significant quantities. He continued, “We may witness qualitative operations targeting the enemy’s depth in the coming days, American and British ships in the Indian Ocean and South Africa.”

Israel acknowledged in a statement released on Monday that “a cruise missile” coming from the direction of the Red Sea from Yemen circumvented Israeli anti-air systems and struck territories in southern occupied Palestine near Eilat.

Ballistic missiles fly on a trajectory, allowing anti-missile systems to anticipate and intercept their path. The more irregular a missile’s flight path, the more difficult it becomes to intercept. Hypersonic missiles fly at speeds greater than Mach 5 and can change directions during flight. Undoubtedly, Ansar Allah’s new hypersonic missiles could pose a formidable challenge to air defense systems employed by the U.S. and Israel due to their speed and maneuverability. Another development that was met with less fanfare but was no less significant than Ansar Allah’s hypersonic missiles was the development of its diplomatic relationship with Russia and China.

Yemen’s geopolitical rebalancing act

Growing feelings of hostility towards the United States and the United Kingdom following their attacks on Yemen and support for Israel’s war in Gaza have not only prompted major countries such as Russia to strengthen their relationship with Ansar Allah to mire the U.S. in the Red Sea swamp, they have also prompted the group to enhance relations with Russia and China in a bid to bring about a strategic defeat for the U.S. in the region.

Member of Ansar Allah’s Political Bureau, Ali al-Qahoum, told MintPress that,

There is already development in relations between Yemen, Russia, China, and the BRICS countries, exchanging experiences and expertise in various fields. This serves a common interest with the goal of letting America, Britain, and the West sink into a quagmire in the Red Sea so that their unilateral polarity sinks, fades, and weakens.”

Al-Qahoum added,

This is not just my analysis but a clearly visible fact. Yemen is a state that has already succeeded in supporting Palestine and has been able to stabilize the Red Sea with great efficiency, representing a major strategic victory in the military, security and political spheres.”

“Thanks to God and our brave leader, Yemen was able to achieve this with unparalleled strength and pride,” he added, “To the point that major countries began coordinating and building relations with us on an equal footing, paving the way for the foreseeable future and laying the groundwork for the historic defeat of the United States, Britain and the West, and by extension, the collapse of the colonial project and Western hegemony over the region and the world.”

With the West, led by America and Britain, attacking Yemen and continuing to weave colonial conspiracies and preparing to expand their ongoing aggression against Yemen, and their failure to provide protection for Israel in the Red Sea, there is intensive work and movement by Yemen to support Palestine and continue useful and effective strategic military operations.”

Strategic coordination: Palestinian resistance

The strengthening of diplomatic ties with Russia, China, and the BRICS countries is no exception. Ansar Allah is also strengthening its relations with various Palestinian resistance factions, specifically the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement.

Nasr al-Din Amer, a leader in Ansar Allah and deputy head of the Ansar Allah Media Authority, told MintPress that Ansar Allah had given authority over the Israeli ship, the “Galaxy,” detained off of the coast of Yemen as well as its crew, to the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Amer emphasized Ansar Allah’s cooperation and coordination with Palestinian resistance movements, most notably Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

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