Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

Who are the Houthis, the newest addition to Australia’s terrorist list?

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun2,2024
Key Points
  • Ansar Allah, otherwise known as the Houthis, is the latest group to be listed a terrorist organisation in Australia.
  • The Yemeni militant group has recently carried out drone and missile strikes on the Red Sea and parts of Israel.
  • Ansar Allah is closely affiliated with Iran, whose officials have expressed support for the Houthis’ cause.
Ansar Allah, the Yemeni armed group responsible for attacking ships, taking hostages and killing civilians in the Red Sea, has been officially listed as a terrorist organisation by the Australian government.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus announced on Thursday that the group, otherwise known as , would be recognised as terrorists following advice from national security agencies that said they were directly or indirectly engaged in preparing, planning or assisting in terrorist attacks.
“Ansar Allah’s violent attacks in the Gulf of Aden and surrounding region have killed civilians, taken hostages and severely disrupted navigational rights and freedoms in the waters around the Arabian Peninsula, undermining maritime security and global prosperity,” Dreyfus said in a statement.

The move makes Ansar Allah the 30th group to be currently listed as a terrorist organisation under Australia’s Criminal Code, and follows the United States’ earlier decision to label it a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group in January.

Who are the Houthis?

Ansar Allah is an Iran-aligned Islamist movement that has been fighting Yemen’s Sunni-majority government since 2004. It is derived from the Houthis, a large clan originating in Yemen’s northwestern Saada province.
While the group does not subscribe to a single coherent ideology, its official slogan includes the words: “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, damnation to the Jews, victory to Islam.”

Historically, Ansar Allah’s primary point of the conflict has been with Yemen’s internationally recognised government, which it seeks to overthrow. The ongoing civil war between the two parties, alongside a gradually escalating conflict between Ansar Allah and Saudi Arabia, has fuelled one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises in Yemen.

Food Crisis In Nine War Year In Yemen

People impacted by the war receive food from a local charity centre in Yemen in March. Source: Getty / Mohammed Hamoud

An estimated 4.5 million Yemenis — 14 per cent of the population — are currently displaced, while 21.6 million are in dire need of humanitarian assistance and protection services.

Ansar Allah is closely affiliated with Iran, whose officials have expressed support for the Houthis’ cause. At the same time, the Iranian government has repeatedly rejected accusations from countries such as Saudi Arabia and the US that it provides arms, funds or training to the militant group – despite a growing body of evidence that indicates as much.

They have also reportedly received funding from local supporters, sympathetic charities and illegal trade.

Why are the Houthis suddenly so prominent?

Over the past six months, against the backdrop of Israel’s war with Hamas, Ansar Allah has become one of the Middle East’s most prominent nonstate actors, attacking vessels and launching missile and drone strikes on , the Bab al-Mandab strait and the Gulf of Aden.
The US-led Joint Maritime Information Center noted that vessels attacked by the Houthis were: “likely targeted due to perceived Israeli affiliation”.
The leader of the Houthis, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, has also declared that the group would target ships of any company related to the supply or transport of goods to Israel, regardless of destination.

“These attacks against international shipping have endangered mariners, disrupted the free flow of commerce, and interfered with navigational rights and freedoms,” the US Department of State said when announcing the group’s terrorist designation, noting that such a move sought to “promote accountability for the group’s terrorist activities”.

Three men wearing dark clothing, light brown helmets hard hats, and black masks. They are carrying weapons.

The Houthis are an Iran-aligned Islamist movement that has been fighting Yemen’s Sunni-majority government since 2004 Source: AAP, EPA / Yahya Arhab

Since November, the Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, seizing at least one vessel and sinking another.

The group has also fired drones and missiles directly as Israel, vowing that it would continue to mount attacks “until the Israeli aggression [in Gaza] stops”.

What does a terrorist designation mean?

A group is recognised in Australia as a terrorist organisation if a court finds that it is directly or indirectly engaged in preparing, planning, assisting or fostering the doing of a terrorist act.
The designation, made under Australia’s Criminal Code, exposes the group to a range of terrorism offences while also alerting the community that it is a criminal offence to be a member of, associate with members of, participate in, train with, or provide support to that group.
Those found in violation those laws face up to 25 years imprisonment.
Other groups listed as terrorist organisations in Australia include Al-Qa’ida, Hamas, and the self-proclaimed Islamic State group.

The Australian government can list an organisation for three years at a time.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

Related Post

One thought on “Who are the Houthis, the newest addition to Australia’s terrorist list?”
  1. As an experienced journalist, it is concerning to see the addition of Ansar Allah, also known as the Houthis, to Australia’s terrorist list. Their violent attacks and affiliations with Iran pose a significant threat to regional stability and global security.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *