The Houthis have a relationship with the Assad regime extending back before the Syrian civil war, as they would use the country as “a way-station through which they traveled to Tehran and south Lebanon for combat training,” the official said. They “would use Iranian documents to travel from Damascus so that Yemeni authorities would not know where they had been when they returned home.”
Two Hundred Houthi fighters left Yemen to fight in Syria, according to the report.
Houthis are Shi’ites from the Zaydi branch, also known as Fivers, who believe in the first five imans after Muhammad, up until the fifth, Zayd ibn Ali. Most Shi’ites are Twelvers, including the leadership of Iran.
The Houthis have been fighting a rebellion from their base in northern Yemen since 2004, with a number of cease-fires and mediation attempts.
-The Jerusalem Post, 2 June 2013
Recent news reports indicate that the battle for Syria between Assad’s forces and the rebels is intensifying. It seems as if this civil war is becoming more dangerous day-by-day. In the meantime, European states have received the green light to supply weapons to rebel forces. Talks about the US doing likewise are also on the table for discussion. Although there is reluctance by some nations to actively assist the rebels, the majority is dead set against Assad’s power structure. The Arab League is almost unanimous in favor of replacing Assad as the head of Syria. But, the question remains, what will happen after Assad? No one really knows for sure. Some point to Iraq, a country of chaos. Instead of creating peace, the US-led invasion has resulted in continuous destruction and bloodshed. Even Egypt, where the people ousted President Mubarak, is far away from achieving the much desired peace. Based on our understanding of the Arab world, the uprisings popularly called the Arab Spring will continue until all factions involved will literally become tired of war.
Syria, with its capital of Damascus, is mentioned often in Scripture. Isaiah 17:1 reads, “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” Images in the news media would almost indicate that Damascus is a “ruinous heap,” but in reality, that’s not the case. Although great damage and destruction has come upon the city, it is far from being eliminated. Doubtless, however, we recognize a form of judgment upon Damascus. The question often asked is, “Will Damascus cease to exist?” Our answer is no, because most of the judgment mentioned in Isaiah 17 has been fulfilled.
The interesting part about Damascus is its relationship with Israel. Moses, who summarizes Israel’s history, tells his people to admit their relationship, “And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous” (Deuteronomy 26:5).
Going back to the beginning with Abraham, we notice how the one called the father of all believers pleaded with God not to make his servant Eliezer, a Syrian, his heir, “And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?” (Genesis 15:2). That is the root of the present day conflict—Damascus attempts to replace Israel as the heir of the Promised Land. However, the opposite will take place—Damascus, as well as most of Syria, constitutes a large part of the Promised Land and will eventually be taken possession of by Israel, according to God’s promise.
(For more on this subject, read Democracy Invades Islam, Item 1072.)