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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Analysis | Combatting Iran’s Houthis starts from Syria

A ship with a Yemeni coast guard patrolling the Red Sea; Credit: Khaled Ziad/AFP

There has been much discussion lately about whether Iran has the right to defend itself in the MENA region. Many who say that they do have also said that while Iran does have the right to “look out for its interests” in the region, the international coalition led by the United States does not.

To determine the legitimacy of these claims, it would be necessary to define what it means for a country to “defend itself” or “look out for its interests.” It would appear that Iran’s idea of defending itself for more than a decade has consisted of increasing its presence, as well as its control, in Iraq and Syria and at least in Syria through supplying enough militant groups to ensure the continuation of the Assad regime which has brutalized the Syrian people even as it welcomes occupation of the country by Iranians.

Yemen is currently facing serious security challenges due to the increasing terrorist activities of the Houthi group

There has also been a long-standing relationship between the Assad regime in Syria and the Iranian-supported Houthis who continue to wreak havoc in Yemen and the surrounding area. Yemen is currently facing serious security challenges due to the increasing terrorist activities of the Houthi group. In the face of these challenges and to ensure regional and global stability, the international coalition led by the United States has undertaken military intervention in Yemen. This article aims to analyze the legitimacy of this intervention and its compliance with international laws, focusing on the maritime challenges posed by the Houthis in the Red Sea.

The most crucial issue of international concern is that the regional waters of the Red Sea are witnessing tension due to the ongoing terrorist activities of the Houthis. The repeated interception of cargo ships is considered a real threat to freedom of navigation and global trade, prompting a legal analysis to determine the possibility of military intervention under international laws.

To understand the legitimacy of military intervention, historical context, and legal legitimacy must be considered. The international community’s right to defend itself is highlighted in the face of significant threats to regional security. The international coalition in the Gulf War of 1990 relied on UN Security Council Resolution 678 as a legal basis for its intervention.

The international coalition in turn must adhere to the laws of armed conflict and human rights, avoiding excessive harm to civilians and vital infrastructure

UN Security Council resolutions play a crucial role in determining the legitimacy of military intervention. The support of the Security Council for the international coalition’s intervention is evidence of its legitimacy and international endorsement to achieve stability in the region. Resolution 2722 acknowledges the efforts of member states in enhancing the safety of commercial and transport ships in the Red Sea, urging respect for ship rights and navigational freedoms while condemning Houthi attacks on ships.

The need to defend national security and regional alliances becomes a legitimate defense justifying military intervention against Houthi threats and ensuring security. The international coalition in turn must adhere to the laws of armed conflict and human rights, avoiding excessive harm to civilians and vital infrastructure.

Iran’s impact in the region and the urgent need to confront it

Current situations in the Middle East prioritize the axis of evil, where Iran emerges as a center of negative influence on regional security. Iran and its allies constitute a hub for negative influence and interventions.

Iran’s influence increases tensions, posing a threat to peace and stability

Iran’s visible prominence as a center of negative influence in the region has raised genuine concerns among neighboring countries and the international community. Iran’s influence increases tensions, posing a threat to peace and stability. By imposing its will on its axis countries, serious consideration must be given to the urgent need to confront this axis, which poses a real threat to regional and global security. This experience may serve as a catalyst for military intervention, especially given the significant threat posed by the Syrian regime which is closely affiliated with Iran.

The need for military intervention against the Syrian regime is strategically necessary, as the regime’s involvement in the production of chemical weapons poses a significant danger to global security. The Syrian regime today serves as a major center for the production of these toxic substances, necessitating immediate action to prevent their spread and minimize damage.

Achieving regional and global security requires effective international cooperation to counter Iran and its allies’ attempts to undermine stability and spread chaos in the region

Considering these new challenges, the international community must take effective and decisive actions to address these threats, either through coordinated military intervention or by increasing diplomatic pressure on relevant parties. Achieving regional and global security requires effective international cooperation to counter Iran and its allies’ attempts to undermine stability and spread chaos in the region.

If we look back through history, we find many examples that shed light on how military intervention has been used to address maritime security challenges and protect vital waterways, emphasizing the importance of balancing strategic necessity for intervention with compliance with international laws. Often these interventions have been deemed necessary to protect international supply chains and global food security.

Through legal analysis, it is evident that the current military intervention by the international coalition in Yemen aligns with legal legitimacy and constitutes a necessary response to significant threats posed by the Houthi group. This military intervention demonstrates the legal commitment of the international community to defend its interests and maintain security in the face of regional challenges.

Almoutassim Al Kilani
Almoutassim Al Kilani
Human rights and international criminal law legal expert with experience in legal documentation, currently based in Paris, France.

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