On January 12th, enraged protesters demonstrated outside the Yemeni Mission in Midtown Manhattan. The group, however, wasn’t there to denounce the Houthis, Yemen-based militants that launched numerous missile and drone attacks against US troops, naval vessels, infrastructure, and private commercial shipping liners in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea. Contrarily, they were demanding that the U.S. and its allies stop defending themselves and were denouncing America.
At TQC, we find this as disturbing as we do unfathomable.
The Houthis: A (Very) Brief History
The Houthis are a militant group based in Yemen, loosely affiliated with Iran, which has supplied them with a diverse portfolio of weapons, including guns, attack drones, and anti-ship missiles. Following the overthrow of Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2014, the Houthis became embroiled in a civil war with the internationally recognized government. Once confined to Yemen’s sparsely populated north, after Saleh’s overthrow, the Houthis expanded their footprint, including seizing many of the country’s cities, including the capital, Sanaa.
In 2015, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened. The Saudis believed they could dispatch the Houthis in a matter of weeks and reinstall the internationally recognized government; they miscalculated. Almost a decade later, fighting continues with Iran supporting the Houthis via artillery and money, and the Saudis backing the government.
In 2022, the U.N. mediated a ceasefire, which lapsed after six months. Meanwhile, eight years of war has rendered Yemen a failed state contending with arguably the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Fighting has left over 150,000 people, including fighters and civilians, dead. Tens of thousands more have died from starvation and lack of medical care. Four-fifths of the population live in poverty.
Yemen is strategically located at the end of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Aden to the south and the Red Sea to the west. Approximately one-third of global shipping container traffic travels through these respective waterways.
In response to America’s support of Israel, the Houthis launched multiple unprovoked, direct attacks on US assets and troops stationed in the Middle East and targeted commercial shipping liners sailing through international waters in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
Although the Houthis’ stated intent was to target Israeli vessels, their attacks have been random, firing missiles at many boats that do not sail under the US or Israeli flags, threatening the lives of private seafarers from numerous countries and disrupting global trade, which threatens to raise the price of goods for some of the world’s poorest people.
The US and its allies exercised tremendous restraint throughout the onslaught, not hitting back after coming under direct fire multiple times. Finally, on January 3rd America and its allies issued an ultimatum: stop or we will respond with force; it was immediately disregarded. Hours later the Houthis launched a drone attack on commercial and American naval ships. More attacks followed.
Finally, America and its allies retaliated. On January 12th warplanes bombed dozens of Houthi targets in Yemen.
Hours later, angry protestors showed up at the Yemeni Mission in Midtown, shouting and holding up signs that read, “Hands off Yemen,” “The US could have ended the Genocide but chose to Bomb Yemen,” “F–k you Biden.” Others yelled “Genocide Joe has got to go,” “From the river to the sea, Yemen will be free!” and “Gaza called, Yemen answered. All Israeli boats are canceled.”
The rage and vitriol didn’t stop there. Outside the U.N. Nerdeen Kiswani, founder of a group called Within Our Lifetime shouted, “The Yemeni people and the Palestinian people are the only free people because we resist by any means necessary…We have no faith in your courts, your institutions, your governments. The United States, the United Kingdom, all puppet Arab Zionist normalizing regimes…We only have faith in the resistance.”
Some things can't be expressed diplomatically: What is wrong with these human beings? To be certain anybody can manufacture a narrative to fit a warped agenda, but this protest and corresponding rhetoric were absurd.
To argue that these protests are about a genuine concern for ordinary Yemenis is absolute hogwash. Over 150,000 (not a typo) people have been killed in Yemen’s civil war. Tens of thousands of these people were innocent civilians. Additionally, tens of thousands more innocent Yemeni civilians have died from malnutrition and lack of access to medical care and essential medications. The Houthis are a party directly responsible for this bloodshed.
They pilfer international food aid, impose bogus taxes on Yemini citizens to raise money for weapons, and according to the Economist, “have maintained a long siege on the south-western city of Taiz, barring civilians from bringing in food and medicine—exactly as they accuse Israel of doing in Gaza.”
To The Protestors
You want to talk about Genocide? If you genuinely had one iota of concern about the livelihoods of ordinary Yemenis, where on earth have you been over the last eight years when tens of thousands of them were murdered or starved to death?
But now, after the Houthis attack American troops, American citizens, and commercial shipping liners and the United States (finally) retaliates, you march to the Yemeni mission and say “F--k you Biden,” “Genocide Joe has got to go,” and “From the river to the sea, Yemen will be free!”
It is blatantly apparent these odious protests are poorly disguised displays of your hatred towards the United States (and Israel). On a subconscious level, might your displaced rage be about how poorly you feel about yourselves?
At TQC, we support the servicemen and women who fought for the right to give these (and other) fools the right to (peacefully) protest and we respect their rights. However, if these protestors have this much disdain for America, why not leave?