21 December 2023 • Faculty Philbrick Yadav Discusses Yemen, Red Sea Attacks in TIME

Professor of International Relations Stacey Philbrick Yadav was featured in a recent TIME magazine article discussing the ongoing conflict involving Yemen’s Houthi rebels and the geopolitical context of their attacks in the Red Sea.

The latest fallout of the Israel-Hamas war can be seen in recent attacks in the Red Sea, where the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels have begun targeting ships they believe are heading to Israeli ports. Professor of International Relations Stacey Philbrick Yadav was interviewed in a TIME magazine article, “Who Are Yemen's Houthi Rebels? Red Sea Attacks' Global Impact,” where she reflects on the Houthis’ goals and the broader context of the turmoil in the Red Sea.

While they have become increasingly aligned with Iran, the Houthis “are not a straightforward proxy of Iranian interests. They have their own locally defined interests and so I think that their actions in the past two months have reflected that,” Philbrick Yadav explains in the article.

Some of the Houthis’ “grievances against the government aligned with the grievances of other sectors of Yemeni society around government corruption and mismanagement, but they also had some specific grievances regarding perceived infringement on the cultural rights of Zaydi Muslims,” she says. 

Within Yemen, capitalizing on popular support for Palestinian people “is a way in which the Houthis can try to expand their appeal to Yemenis who don't support their domestic political project,” she says.

Read the full story.

Philbrick Yadav, who has conducted field research in Yemen, Lebanon and Egypt, is the author most recently of Yemen in the Shadow of Transition: Pursuing Justice Amid War. Drawing on 17 years of field research and collaboration with Yemeni researchers, the book analyzes the efforts of the country’s civil actors as they try to build peace amid the ongoing civil war, diplomatic stalemate and humanitarian crisis that followed the Arab Spring. Her previous book explores the dynamics of Islamist activism and alliance building. Her scholarly articles have appeared in journals such as The International Journal of Middle East Studies and Middle East Report.

As chair of the Middle East and North African (MENA) Politics section of the American Political Science Association from 2021-23, Philbrick Yadav supported scholars from the MENA region through a Research Development Group and is spearheading work to guide the section’s ethics and best practices regarding cross-national research collaboration in the MENA region.

A member of the HWS faculty since 2007, Philbrick Yadav earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies from Smith College. In 2008, she was a visiting scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. For her outstanding scholarship and public engagement on the complex politics of the Middle East, Philbrick Yadav was named the 2018-2019 recipient of the John R. and Florence B. Kinghorn Global Fellowship.