Deciphering the Houthi Narratives and How They Won the Lobby Wars.

April 26, 2023

Join us Thursday, April 27 @ 1pm EST/ 8pm Aden for a virtual panel broadcasted via ACSYS Twitter @acsys_us:


Title: Deciphering the Houthi Narratives and How They Won the Lobby Wars.


This virtual panel will discuss the content and dissemination of a narrative composed by Sana’a-based Houthi rebels that sustains the group's image as revolutionaries. Houthis have come a long way from their initial anti-War on Terror rhetoric launched against the US and the regime of former Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh following the events of September 11, 2001.

Houthis have engaged in a well-coordinated strategy, inspired by narratives disseminated by Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the regime in Tehran, that has attracted support from anti-war and progressive activists in the USA, UK, and the European Union (EU). Since 2011, as they joined the youth in Sana’a during the Arab Spring against Ali Abdullah Saleh, Houthis presented themselves to the outside world as anti-Imperialist revolutionaries. This has paved the way for an unlikely alliance with Progressive activists that directly aims to cover crimes committed against Yemenis beyond the territory under their control and into southern provinces.

Our panel will examine the Houthi narrative focused on strengthening their legitimacy abroad while referring to Yemeni rivals as mere mercenaries, justifying the indiscriminate arrest of outspoken critics as spies, enforcing extremist moral rules on women, and referring to the Arab Coalition as the aggressor and occupier. This well-coordinated narrative, amplified by sympathizers living in the US, UK, and EU lobbying progressive organizations and politicians, has made its way onto publications by mainstream media outlets and even Think Tanks in the West. The narrative is meant to bolster their legitimacy abroad, not among the Yemeni population, to gain momentum in negotiations within the United Nations-led peace process and/or Arab neighbors, which deflects from the fact Houthis overthrew the Internationally Recognized Transitional Government of President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi on 21st September 2014 and later used irregular militias to attempt a take-over of the southern provinces starting in March 2015.


Dr. Ahmed Atef ( )


Abdul Ghani al-Iryani (

Senior Researcher @SanaaCenter

Dr. Kristian Ulrichsen ( )

Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. Author, The UAE: Power, Politics & Policymaking

Thomas Juneau (

Associate professor at the University of Ottawa Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (@UOttawaGSPIA)

Alaa Mohsen (

Doctoral researcher in political science at the University of Utah. His work focuses on Middle East politics, with a particular emphasis on Yemen, the Gulf States, and Turkey.