Western interest in combating smuggling in Mahra raises the concern of Iran's arm in Yemen

English - Wednesday 08 March 2023 الساعة 04:11 pm
Mahra, NewsYemen, Private:

 The recent visit of an American delegation to Mahra Governorate raised the concern of the Houthi group, as it coincided with the escalation of Western interest in curbing Iranian arms smuggling operations to the group in Yemen.

Last Thursday, Mahra witnessed a meeting at the headquarters of the Arab Coalition that brought together the US Ambassador to Yemen, Stephen Fagin, and with him the Commander of the US Fifth Fleet, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, with Governor Muhammad Ali Yasser, and the head of the Yemeni Coast Guard, Major General Khaled Al-Qamali, and the commander of the Duty Forces (804), Brigadier General  Abdul-Qahtani.

According to a statement issued by the US forces, Commander of the Fifth Fleet Cooper said that the meeting discussed "Yemen's participation in multilateral anti-piracy exercises. In addition to bilateral coordination in banning and seizing illegal weapons and ammunition in the country."

While the statement indicated that Yemen has become, since 2013, the thirtieth member of the Combined Maritime Forces, which currently includes 38 member states and partners, Cooper revealed the launch of a new course for small boat operations for members of the Yemeni Coast Guard, pointing out that regional partners will facilitate this training course will take place in the coming months at CMF headquarters in Bahrain.

Over the past months, attempts to smuggle weapons coming from Iran to the Houthi militia in Yemen have been seized, the latest of which was the seizure by the British Navy in late February of a shipment of anti-tank missiles and missile components aboard a small boat in the Gulf of Oman.

Late last month, the annual report of the UN Security Council's Group of Experts highlighted the smuggling of Iranian weapons to the Houthi militia in Yemen, noting that the team is investigating the possible role of individuals and entities in Iran and Oman involved in smuggling these weapons.

The report listed the details of the investigations with a number of elements that were caught in the arms smuggling operations on board small boats by the US and British navies, indicating that there is a smuggling line through small boats from Iran to the Omani coast, after which weapons or chemicals used in the manufacture of explosives are transported by land.  into Yemen through the Governorate of Oman.

The Yemeni authorities had previously seized shipments of weapons and components for the drone industry at the Shahn border port in Mahra Governorate coming from the Sultanate of Oman, in incidents that were also documented in the latest report of the Committee of Experts, which explains the American and Western interest in Al-Mahra Governorate.

The Houthi group was clearly angry and disturbed against the recent US visit to Mahra Governorate, as a number of affiliated entities and institutions issued strong condemnation statements against the visit over the past two days, while clearly inciting chaos and violence within the governorate.