Has the Republic of Yemen declared war on Israel?

We came across posts on X that claim that the Republic of Yemen has declared war on Israel, in the latest development to the conflict that has been ongoing between Israel and Hamas.

The claims feature a video containing a declaration from an army official behind a rostrum, embellished by a coat of arms that corresponds with Yemen’s national colours. The military official states that the Yemeni armed forces have launched an aerial assault on Israel, in “solidarity” with their “Palestinian brothers”. In addition, the military official highlights this is the third exercise, and Yemeni forces will continue to provide support for Palestine until the end of the conflict.

Politics in Yemen

A reverse image search of screenshots from the video reveals that the army official is Brigadier General Yahya Sare’e.

Some prominent news sites in Iran consider General Sare’e as a spokesperson for the Yemeni army. However, under further inspection, General Sare’e appears to be a key figure among the Houthi population; an oppositional rebel movement in Yemen that has strong links to Iran.

The Houthi rebels are part of an “Axis of Resistance”  – “an alliance among Iran, Palestinian militant groups, Syria, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and other factions” – that benefit from funding from Iran.

Yemen has been in a political crisis since 2011 and about 80% of its population needs humanitarian aid and protection, rendering it the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.

Source: BBC

In 2014, the Houthi rebels seized control of Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, and gained command of much of the north and other big population centres. As a result, Yemen’s internationally recognised government was set up in Aden and is led by the Presidential Leadership Council. The council aims to, among others, secure peace and end human suffering in Yemen.

Yemen’s role in the developing Israel-Hamas conflict

In a televised statement, General Sare’e confirmed that Houthi had launched a “large number” of ballistic missiles and drones towards Israel on 31 October 2023, with more attacks to continue.

General Sare’e has also blamed Israel for the instability in the Middle East and warned that the Houthi group would continue to launch attacks “until the Israeli aggression stops“. This has also sparked larger concerns of the Israel-Hamas conflict worsening regional tensions in the Middle East and potentially creating a broader conflict in the region, especially due to Iran’s support of the Houthi rebels.

However, the actions by the Houthi rebels do not amount to Yemen declaring war against Israel, as the internationally recognised government of Yemen is not the same entity as the Houthi rebels.

In a statement to AP News, Professor Thomas Juneau from the University of Ottawa in Canada, who specialises in Yemen, highlighted that “[t]he Houthis are the de facto authority in Sanaa, the capital, but it is indeed inaccurate to say that ‘Yemen’ (or the Republic of Yemen) has declared war on Israel”.

There have also been no official statements released by Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council declaring war against Israel.

Hence, it is likely false that the Republic of Yemen has declared war against Israel. The actions of the Houthi rebels do not equate to that of the internationally recognised government of the Republic of Yemen.

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