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Title:What the Red Sea ship attacks are really about

Yemen's Houthis say they're avenging Gaza. But there's a lot more to it. Help keep Vox free for everybody: After the Israel-Hamas war broke out on October 7, 2023, the Houthis, a Yemeni rebel group, began attacking ships passing through the Red Sea. The Houthis pledged to attack any ship in these waters that does business with Israel, to protest Israel’s war on Gaza and to show solidarity with Palestinians there. But as the attacks have continued, another motive for them has become apparent: strengthening the Houthis’ control of Yemen. After a nine-year civil war, the Houthis today control a sizable area in Yemen, with over 70 percent of the Yemeni population within the group’s territory. The conflict has devastated the country, creating one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. More than 377,000 Yemenis have been killed — by airstrikes from a Saudi-led coalition; landmines and detonations planted by the Houthis; a lack of medical services; and scarcity of food and water due to a naval blockade. And both the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis have been accused of committing war crimes against Yemenis. Today, the Houthis are attempting to establish themselves as Yemen's legitimate leaders in the eyes of Yemenis, though they’ve done little to improve the country’s humanitarian crisis. The Red Sea attacks, which appear to have significant support among the Yemeni people, might be a means to achieve that goal. Subscribe to our channel and turn on notifications (🔔) so you don't miss any videos: 00:00 The Red Sea attacks 1:09 Saleh and the Zaydis 3:19 The Arab Spring 4:24 Civil war 7:23 Ceasefire talks 8:23 Legitimacy Sources and further reading: Back in 2018, we produced a video on how the Saudi-led coalition uses weapons made by the United States to target Yemenis. You can watch that here for more context on Saudi Arabia’s and the United States’ involvement in this war: How the Saudis ended up with so many American weapons Here are a couple of analyses about the Houthis by the expert in our video, Fatima Abo Alasrar, that we found very useful: “The perils of underestimating the Houthi threat” “From Yemen to Palestine: The strategic depth of the Houthi-Iranian alliance” “The Houthis’ war and Yemen’s future” These reports helped us understand the political dynamics of the Zaydis and the 1962 revolution in Yemen: “The international history of the Yemen Civil War, 1962-1968” “Yemen’s war-torn rivalries for religious education” USIP Yemen country profile For our graphics, we relied on these maps: Critical Threats and the New York Times for the Houthis’ expansion over time: USIP for the Sunni-Shia breakdown: Institute for the Study of War for the Houthis’ current stronghold: To understand the Yemeni experience under Houthi control, we referred to reporting by Human Rights Watch: “Yemen: Houthi landmines kill civilians, block aid” “Houthi and Yemeni Government Violations of the Right to Water in Taizz” And lastly, to understand the daily reality of the huge numbers of Yemenis still suffering from the effects of the civil war and humanitarian crises, we recommend the stories featured in the Yemen Listening Project: Subscribe to our channel! is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out Watch our full video catalog: Follow Vox on Facebook: Or Twitter:


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