Houthis officially “Ansar Allah” are a Yemeni rebel group which adherent to Zaidism a branch of Shia Islam. Zaidi Imams ruled Yemen for 1,000 years until the 1962 revolution. Houthi movement in early 1990 began as a cultural movement intended to counter Wahhabist and Salafist influence and end the political and economic marginalization of Yemen’s Zaydi population. The movement took up arms in the year 2004 on grounds of self-defence when the first war with the government of then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh erupted which killed its founding leader Hussein Al-Houthi. What started as the theological movement advocating peace now finds itself in the centre of a wider regional proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Houthis rather than acting as an indigenous movement are now acting as Iran’s proxy. For some time, Houthi rebels with greater Iranian assistance have escalated their missile attacks on Saudi Arabia. Iran is providing Houthis with a variety of rockets and missiles to develop their resistance capabilities in comparison to its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah which is known as the most powerful Arab Shiite militia force in the Middle Eastern region. It’s very unfortunate that Houthis don’t realise that Iran is not interested in seeing peace and prosperity in Yemen. Rather Iran is helping them further its own political interests in the Arabian Peninsula.Many analysts argue that Houthis cannot be associated with Iran as Hezbollah has been for many decades. Even Hezbollah did not start in Lebanon as an organized Iranian proxy the way they are functioning today. Initially, Hezbollah was an amalgamation of a number of insurgent groups: Amal, Palestinian factions, Daawa party, among others. With increased Iranian support, these groups eventually emerged in the form of Hezbollah which is now known as the extension of Iranian Revolutionary Guards. “The Houthi militias, which claim to be fighting to liberate Yemen and in name of Yemeni nationalism have blindly chosen to take orders from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, even when these orders completely contradict their agenda”Clearly, Iran current approach in Yemen mirrors the strategy it used to support its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah. Iran has two arch-rivals in the region: Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Hezbollah is strategically positioned to confront Israel and by strengthening Houthis in Yemen, Iran wishes to have its powerful proxy on Saudis borders. Hence by having Hezbollah and Houthis Iran can anytime bleed its rivals through its proxies.at the beginning of current Yemeni conflict, Iran was not providing a substantial assistance to Houthis but recently Iranians have started pouring significant resources in Yemen. The Islamic Republic has provided Houthis with various light-arms like AK-47s, sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and Iranian copies of American and Russian antitank weapons. It has also equipped the Houthi insurgency with drones as well as roadside bombs which are used by another Iranian proxy, Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) in Iraq. Iran’s support has significantly enhanced Houthis missile capabilities. Given the fact that Yemen has no known history of producing its own ballistic missiles, let alone extended-range Scud versions, the emergence of the Qaher and Burkan missiles appear to support claims made by the Saudi led coalition and US officials that Iran is militarily involved in Yemen. In addition to this, Houthis use a number of short-range Iranian missiles and rockets most notably Borkan-1, Borkan-2, Qahir and Zelzal-2 missiles. None of these missiles is known to have existed in the Yemeni arsenal before the conflict. Iran is not just sending weapons; the country is transferring the missile technology to Yemenis. Apparently, Iran is also using Yemen as a testing ground for its missiles. Arguably, the Iranian advisors in Yemen who are helping the Houthis are basically testing the accuracy and efficiency of their missiles against the missile defence system the United States has deployed in Saudi Arabia. However, the greater Iranian support to Houthis is unsurprising. What is surprising is that the Houthi militias, which claim to be fighting to liberate Yemen and in name of Yemeni nationalism have blindly chosen to take orders from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards even when these orders completely contradict their agenda. Now Al Houthis are a mere tool in the hands of the Iranian regime. Iran has always taken advantage of the chaos in the Middle East through its proxies in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Iran has an active interest in keeping Yemen a failed, for an unstable Yemen can help Tehran in expanding its foothold in the region through its militias. Houthis need to review their current approach which heavily relies on Iran’s support; therefore turning it into a proxy of the former rather than a nationalist movement.Author is a columnist for Middle-East and Af-Pak region and Editor of geopolitical news agency ViewsAround can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, April 14th 2018.