In Yemen, Iran Is Preparing for Its Next War with Israel

In the past few weeks, Houthi rebels backed by Iran have escalated their attacks on Saudi and Emirati positions in Yemen. On September 4, they also launched multiple ballistic-missile and drone attacks on several Aramco facilities within Saudi Arabia. The U.S. removed some of its anti-missile batteries from Saudi Arabia a week later, rendering the kingdom even more vulnerable. The Houthis—who mark every missile and drone launch by chanting their slogan, “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam!”—are part of the network of militias and proxy groups Tehran dubs the “axis of resistance,” which also operate in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip. Michael Segall writes:

Iran has turned Yemen into its testing range. . . . The repeated Houthi airstrikes on targets deep in Saudi Arabia as well as ground battles in various areas of Yemen against the Saudi-led [anti-Houthi] coalition, provide Iran with extensive knowledge and operational experience in the use of various weapons. In some cases, members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, as well as members of Lebanese Hizballah, are involved in operating the Houthis’ systems and in training. Iran is also closely monitoring the operation of Saudi air-defense systems supplied by the United States.

[Iran diffuses its know-how] through instructors in various areas and visits by Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad operatives to Iran to study the technology and means of production, and to coordinate the smuggling of components for the construction of heavy rockets, missiles, and other weapons. . . . During the May 2021 war in Gaza, several attempts were made by the terrorist organizations to launch Iranian-designed drones into Israeli territory. Iran is constantly working to equip all elements of the axis of resistance with asymmetrical capabilities for striking deep into Israeli territory and the lands of its regional rivals, mainly in the Gulf and Iraq.

In recent years, Iran has been trying to increase the linkage and fine-tune the coordination between the various components of the axis of resistance and improve their military-operational capabilities. According to Iran, the camp will eventually . . . be able . . . to act as one entity during a confrontation with Israel, the United States, or an Arab coalition, whenever Iran decides to do so.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Gaza Strip, Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Yemen

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict