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Yemen Government Warns of Houthi Threat to ‘World’s Digital Infrastructure’

Yemen Government Warns of Houthi Threat to ‘World’s Digital Infrastructure’
What happens if a large chunk of the world’s internet goes down?
By Christine Williams

According to the World Bank, “Yemen has long been one of the poorest countries in the Middle East and North Africa.” The Shia Houthis have been living in the “rugged mountains” since the 9th century and have been battling ever since for control of Yemen and beyond. In 2003, after the American invasion of Iraq, the Houthis adopted a slogan: “Allahu akbar, death to the U.S., death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam.” The group now threatens the globe. Its siege of the Red Sea due to its support for Hamas against Israel is being felt beyond the region as reported in the Daily Mail:

The Houthis, who control swathes of Yemen, began attacking international shipping in the Red Sea on November 19 in support of Hamas in its war with Israel in Gaza.

Since then several dozen ships causing major disruptions to global trade, some 12 percent of which passes through the Red Sea.

The U.S. and U.K. have launched a massive airstrike campaign against them.

Now there are concerns the Houthis could respond by targeting the internet and transmission of financial data.

It is estimated that 17 percent of global internet traffic travels via underwater fiber optic cables in the Red Sea.”

A little history about the Houthis sheds light on their religious zeal, determination and threat. Houthis adhere to the Zaydi branch of Shia Islam, taking their name from Zayd bin Ali, the great-grandson of Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law. In 740, Zayd rose up against the Umayyad caliphate. He died in the revolt and thus was enshrined as a martyr. His “head is believed to be buried in a shrine to him in Kerak, Jordan.” Zaydis believe that Zayd bin Ali was “a model of a pure caliph who should have ruled instead of the Umayyads.” Followers of Zayd, the Houthis established themselves in north Yemen’s rugged mountains in the ninth century, and have never wavered from their mission of conquest, though they have seldom had the chance they have now to perform actions that reverberate worldwide.

The Yemen civil war has been widely regarded as an Iran-Saudi proxy conflict, linked to the Shia-Sunni divide.

Given the historic battle for Yemen, the Houthis have had remarkable success. One may wonder how a jihad group from the mountains of poverty-stricken and war-torn Yemen could threaten the world, but they have managed to do so. Fanatical religious zeal combined with a sense of having nothing to lose is effective. Westerners underestimate the depth and power of Islamic religious zeal.

Yemen’s government warned that the Red Sea is ‘one of the three most important meeting points for cables’ on the globe and the Houthis pose a ‘serious threat to one of the most important digital infrastructures in the world.’

The Houthis posted a map on their social media channel, “showing the routes of various cables through the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Arabian Sea”, “accompanied with the ominous message: ‘It seems that Yemen is in a strategic location, as internet lines that connect entire continents – not only countries – pass near it.’”

This isn’t an idle warning. The nuclear-threshold Iranian regime backs the Houthis, and Iran aims for regional hegemony, as well as power over the entire Islamic world. Iran identifies its greatest enemies, of course, as Israel and America.

America and Israel are now engaged in a proxy war with Iran, as the regime buys time, prepares, and strategizes. If Houthis are not controlled in the Red Sea, the war is destined to escalate. Imagine the possibility of “a fifth” of the world’s Internet going down. The world economy would collapse and full-scale war would be inevitable.

Houthi jihad warriors who are humbly living in the mountains of Yemen do not have much to lose, and, they believe, a great deal to gain in the name of Islam.

Original Article

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