Into the fraught debate over Europe’s role as a haven for Middle Eastern refugees comes an investigative report from the pan-Arab news magazine Majalla, now available in English. It appears that for nearly a decade, Yahya al-Houthi, a senior member of Yemen’s Houthi rebels, has been enjoying political asylum in Germany. More:
In flagrant violation of the terms of his special status, he has used the European nation as a home base for political action and a springboard for armed operations, shuttling illegally to and from his home country. From the safety of German TV studios via Arabic satellite television, he has exhorted his followers in Yemen to fight. Among the channels he has used is the Arabic edition of Deutche Welle, the German government’s flagship international broadcast. He has coordinated these and other activities with Iranian officials through meetings in Berlin with Tehran’s ambassador to Germany, and also used German soil to hold talks with representatives of Iranian proxy militias in Lebanon and Iraq.
Al-Houthi is plainly no typical asylum seeker. But to the extent his brazen abuse of German hospitality was unknown to the German government, it speaks to the ease with which others may be able to similarly game the system. On the other hand, the investigation notes that in addition to meeting with Iranian officials and allied proxies, Al-Houthi met over the summer with members of the foreign relations committee of the German parliament—a few days before a German national held hostage in Houthi-controlled Sanaa was released without explanation. So either Berlin is inadequately vigilant in enforcing its asylum laws, or it is willing to selectively apply them.