Iran-Aligned Iraqi Shi'ite Groups, Leaders Congratulate Yemen's Houthi Militia For Attacking UAE, Call For Targeting Interests Of Saudi-Led Coalition, Warn Emirati Rulers Against Interfering In Iraq's Internal Affairs

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January 18, 2022

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Following the January 17, 2022 attack[1] carried out by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi militia, also known as Ansar Allah, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) using missiles and drones that killed three people and caused a fire near Abu Dhabi's airport, some Iran-aligned Shi'ite militias and leaders in Iraq praised the attack. A relatively new group, which has previously claimed responsibility for attacks in Saudi Arabia, urged "the brothers in the Arabian Peninsula" to support the Yemeni mujahideen and target the interests of the Saudi-led coalition. Meanwhile, an Iraqi Shi'ite leader celebrated the attack and warned UAE rulers against continuing their interference in the internal affairs of Iraq in what he alleged was an effort to sow the seeds of strife and division among Iraqis.

The Houthis have claimed they have conducted cross-border attacks on Yemen's neighbor, Saudi Arabia, yet most missiles and drones were reportedly intercepted. The group also previously claimed carrying out attacks on the UAE, with which it does not share a border, but such alleged attacks were denied by the UAE. Thus, this is the first deadly attack on the UAE in years which demonstrates the group's ability to launch long-range attacks and deliver on its previous threats against the UAE.

It should be noted that the Houthi group was designated a foreign terrorist organization under the Trump administration, in an effort to cut off its funding and weapons supplied by Iran. However, President Joe Biden reversed this policy and lifted this designation, citing the need to mitigate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Following is a summary of some of these reactions:

Several hours after the attack, "Al-Wa'd Al-Haqq (The Just Promise) Brigades – Sons of the Arabian Peninsula," published[2] a statement praising the Houthi attack and congratulating "the free men of steadfast Yemen for the operation targeting the Emirates of evil."

Describing the attack as the first of many more operations to come, the group urged "the brothers in the Arabian Peninsula to support their brothers the mujahideen, who are fighting at the front line to keep the momentum of operations and target the interests of the countries of aggression until truth is established."

The new group, which is affiliated with Iran-backed militias in Iraq, has previously claimed responsibility for an attack against Saudi Arabia and issued threats against the UAE.[3]

 

Another Shi'ite group called Liwa Thar Al-Muhandis (The Brigade For Avenging Al-Muhandis) released[4] a statement congratulating the Houthis in Yemen for the successful attack, saying it is the first of many more to come. The group also accused the UAE of being "part of the American-Zionist project" after normalizing relations with Israel.

The group concluded by reiterating that it will continue to support its Yemeni brothers in every way as the jihadi project to resist the occupation and oppression all over the region continues.

 

On Twitter,[5] Qais Al-Khazali, secretary-general of the Iran-aligned Shi'ite group 'Asaib Ahl Al-Haq, praised the Houthis for attacking the UAE in order to "defend their country and people against unjust aggression launched by an unjust coalition," a reference to the Saudi-led military campaign to crush the Houthis in Yemen.

Al-Khazali also warned the UAE's rulers who normalized relations with "Zionists" [Israel] against continuing their interference in the internal affairs of Iraq and allegedly sowing the seeds of strife and division among Iraqis. He also asserted that the Iraqi people will not accept oppression nor allow the UAE or others to continue to violate Iraqi sovereignty and threaten the domestic security and safety of Iraq.

 

For his part, Abu Ali Al-'Askari, the military spokesman for the Iran-backed Iraqi Shi'ite militia Hizbullah Brigades, published a post on Telegram[6] praising the Houthi attack carried out by "the mujahideen" in Yemen and accusing Emirati rulers of committing heinous crimes against children and innocent people and destroying the country to "achieve the goals of the Zionists."

"Striking the aggressors and weakening them in self-defense is the first step toward achieving a balance of terror with the enemy. Resistance is the right of all weak nations, so they can stand up in the face of the evil ones to prevent them from killing their sons, destroying their country, and stealing their wealth," he noted.

Al-'Askari concluded by saying: "May Allah bless the brave mujahideen in Yemen of Steadfastness for [launching] these successful strikes, which shook the throne of criminality in the UAE, guide them in striking [their targets], and grant them victory over their oppressors."

 

 

[2] Telegram, January 17, 2022.

[4] Telegram, January 17, 2022.

[5] Twitter, January 17, 2022.

[6] Telegram, January 17, 2022.

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