Iran smuggling increasingly powerful weapons into Yemen – Forward Observer Shop

Iran smuggling increasingly powerful weapons into Yemen

Western intelligence has suspected Iran of funneling weapons for some time to Houthi rebels in Yemen, but now, U.S. Vice Adm. Kevin M. Donegan has confirmed that not only is Tehran smuggling weapons into the country, they are increasingly lethal and are both widening and prolonging the conflict.

Included are longer-range, more accurate missiles that Iran-backed rebels have fired into neighboring Saudi Arabia, which is leading a coalition of nations in a campaign in support of the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Iran, meanwhile, backs the Houthi militia and loyalists of the former President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Donegan, who is completing a two-year tour as commander of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, told The New York Times that Iran is providing increasingly lethal anti-ship and ballistic missiles, as well as sea mines and even explosive boats that have already been used to attack allied ships.

“These types of weapons did not exist in Yemen before the conflict,” said Admiral Donegan. “It’s not rocket science to conclude that the Houthis are getting not only these systems but likely training and advice and assistance in how to use them.”

Donegan’s allegations are supported, in part, by a November 2016 report by Conflict Armament Research, a private arms consultancy, which concluded that there is evidence of a “weapon pipeline, extending from Iran to Somalia and Yemen, which involves the transfer, by dhow, of significant quantities of Iranian-manufactured weapons and weapons that plausibly derive from Iranian stockpiles.”

Why it’s on our radar: Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 4: What are the latest indicators of war in the Middle East?  Each week in our Strategic Intelligence Summary, we gauge the likelihood and scope of conflict with Russia, China, North Korea, and in the Middle East, and track the latest developments in each region. Subscribe here to receive our premium intelligence products prepared by Intelligence and special operations veterans.

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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