Sunday , 4 December 2022

Iran’s Role in Yemen: US, EU Go Wobbly

gatestoneinstitute.org – Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)… is a key supporter and sponsor of the Houthis, and has been stepping up its weapons supply to Yemen…. Saudi Arabia, Iran’s rival, has been the main target of Iran’s supply of weapons to the Houthis.

After the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations, Iran’s major state-owned newspaper, Kayhan, whose editor is a close adviser of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and was appointed by him, had a front-page headline saying: “The Houthis fired a missile into Riyadh. Dubai is next.”

The Houthis, already in 2019, fired a missile at an Abu Dhabi nuclear facility — an act most likely meant to create mass civilian casualties. Thankfully, the missile fell short.

Even the Iranian leaders have admitted they are helping the Houthis. Influential cleric Mehdi Tayeb said the failed Houthi attack on Abu Dhabi’s nuclear facility had been carried out in stages by the IRGC with the support of the navy.

By appeasing the ruling mullahs of Iran, the EU and Biden administration are empowering Tehran regime and its terror group, the Houthis.

The Iranian regime is delivering sophisticated weapons to Yemen’s Houthi militia group, which was designated as a terrorist organization by the previous US administration. Where are the European Union and the Biden administration on this issue? Pictured: Houthi militiamen in Sanaa, Yemen on January 11, 2021. (Photo by Mohammed Huwais/AFP via Getty Images)

More evidence is emerging, including a recent report by the United Nations, showing that that the Iranian regime is delivering sophisticated weapons to the Houthi militia group in Yemen. The Houthi group was designated as a terrorist organization by the previous US administration.

Where are the European Union and the Biden administration on this issue? The Biden administration has suspended some of the terrorism sanctions that the previous administration imposed on the Houthis, and the Biden administration is reviewing the Houthis file to possibly remove it from the terrorist list. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that he has “deep concern about the designation” of the Houthis as a terrorist organization. The EU and Biden administration also appear to be busy charting ways to return to the nuclear deal — which Iran never signed and which enables Iran ultimately to possess nuclear weapons — and lift sanctions against the theocratic regime.

The UN annual report also revealed that not only are the Houthis receiving weapons from the Iranian regime, they are also being trained by Iran’s military apparatuses:

“An increasing body of evidence suggests that individuals or entities in the Islamic Republic of Iran supply significant volumes of weapons and components to the Houthis. The Panel is also investigating a group of individuals who travelled to Oman on ‘mercy flights’ in 2015 and onwards to the Islamic Republic of Iran. One later publicly stated that he had received naval training in Bandar Abbas and went on to facilitate maritime smuggling for the Houthis.”

The Tehran regime even delivers weapons to the Yemeni ports, according to the UN report:

“The Panel documented several supply routes to the Houthis involving traditional vessels (dhows) in the Arabian Sea. Arms and equipment are trans-shipped in Omani and Somali waters to smaller boats, with the cargo being delivered to ports on the south coast of Yemen and smuggled overland to the Houthis or, in some cases, through the Bab-el-Mandab directly to Houthi-held areas. The lack of capacity of the Yemeni Coast Guard and prevailing corruption in areas held by the Government of Yemen are contributing factors that allow smuggling to flourish despite a number of high-profile seizures.”

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) — designated by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization — is a key supporter and sponsor of the Houthis, and has been stepping up its weapons supply to Yemen. The weapons include anti-tank guided missiles, sniper rifles and rocket launchers.

The Houthi terror group has been using the Iranian regime’s weapons to advance the mullahs’ interests. Saudi Arabia, Iran’s rival, has been the main target of Iran’s supply of weapons to the Houthis. In one 2017 attack, the Houthi militia targeted Saudi Arabia with four ballistic missiles. The Houthi rebels also claimed responsibility for the drone attacks on two Saudi Aramco plants at the heart of the Kingdom’s oil industry. The targets were the world’s biggest oil processing facility at Abqaiq near Dammam in the Eastern Province and the country’s second-largest oilfield at Khurais. The Houthis can grant Iran critical geopolitical leverage because the terror group is now able to fire ballistic missiles into any Gulf country.

After the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations, Iran’s major state-owned newspaper, Kayhan, whose editor is a close adviser of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and was appointed by him, had a front-page headline saying: “The Houthis fired a missile into Riyadh. Dubai is next.”

The Houthis, already in 2019, fired a missile at an Abu Dhabi nuclear facility — an act most likely meant to create mass civilian casualties. Thankfully, the missile fell short.

Even the Iranian leaders have admitted they are helping the Houthis. Influential cleric Mehdi Tayeb said the failed Houthi attack on Abu Dhabi’s nuclear facility had been carried out in stages by the IRGC with the support of the Iranian Navy. In addition, deputy commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force Esmail Ghani has said: “Those defending Yemen have been trained under the flag of the Islamic Republic.”

The mullahs also want to take over Yemen as they effectively took over other countries such as Lebanon, through Iran’s proxy HizballahSyriaIraq, with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip waiting in the wings.

In fact, this revolutionary mission of the regime is part of its constitution, the preamble of which states that it “provides the necessary basis for ensuring the continuation of the revolution at home and abroad.” It goes on to state:

“[T]he Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps … will be responsible not only for guarding and preserving the frontiers of the country, but also for fulfilling the ideological mission of jihad in God’s way; that is, extending the sovereignty of God’s law throughout the world.”

By appeasing the ruling mullahs of Iran, the EU and Biden administration are empowering Tehran regime and its terror group, the Houthis.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US foreign policy. He can be reached at [email protected]

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