In the news and reports I have read from Yemen there has not been a reference to the scope of the meddling by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force in this country. In this article I would like to assess the dimensions of the Quds Force’s meddling according to the news received from inside the Iranian regime.
Iran’s has brought about ISIS (Daesh) for the region, resulting in the crackdown of the people in Iraq and Syria under orders issued by Tehran. Recently, ISIS has been able to rise in Yemen thanks to Iran’s meddling in this country. This has been one of the objectives of Tehran in this country, and throughout these years it has sought to indirectly keep ISIS active in Yemen by providing substantive and arms support for this group.
“Strengthening ISIS in Yemen can play into the interests of the Islamic republic of Iran and the Houthis. Currently the IRGC is evaluating the indirect strengthening of ISIS in Yemen and the Saudi peninsula,” said IRGC Political Bureau member Saadollah Zarei.
This is the criminal measures Iran has undertaken in the formation of ISIS in Syria to provide support for Bashar Assad by placing ISIS against forces of the Free Syrian Army. In Yemen, resorting to the same tactic, Iran has been strengthening ISIS against the popular forces.
- In early 2015 the Iranian regime widely used its regular military’s navy forces to transfer arms and ammunition to Yemen, and delivering to the Houthis. Quds Force special forces were also dispatched to Yemen. Fat’h and Fajr missiles made by the IRGC were sent to the Houthis and the Quds Force’s objectives was to take over Sanaa, the Yemeni capital.
- As Operation Decisive Storm was launched and Yemen’s ports and airports were closed, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was able to convince Oman to play a transit role in Iran sending so-called humanitarian aid, and even military equipment, to the Houthis. Oman agreed to a large extent to board ships in this regard.
- In mid-April an Iranian regime warship entered Yemeni waters controlled by the Houthis. However, due to airstrikes launched by the Saudis they were unable to unload their arms and ammunition.
- In May 2015, Hossein Amir Abullahian, former Iranian deputy foreign minister said Tehran was able to pull Lebanon out of the Saudi’s grasps, Iran is calling all shots in Iraq and the status quo is very good in Palestine. Iran is the number one power in Yemen, he added. Of course, we know that the Houthis cannot rule the country alone, he continued. Abdullahian went on to say that our plan for Yemen was similar to Lebanon. As the Lebanese Hezbollah cannot rule the entire country in Lebanon, the Houthis also cannot rule all of Yemen, he added. The Houthis will have their region under their full control, play a role in the central government and have their own share.
- In April 2015, Ahmed Ali Abdullah Salah, son of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Salah, departed Masqat for Tehran. He stayed in the Iranian capital for two days and held meetings with two security officials and generals, including IRGC General Qani.
- In April 2015, former Iranian deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abullahian, himself a Quds Force element, made strong remarks against this organ.
“The period of bullying and political/military measures without mutual consent has come to an end. The attack on Adan was a strategic mistake by our friends in the IRGC; it is clear that Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries will not tolerate this attack; on the first day we wrote for the IRGC and said very specifically the Houthis must remain in Sanaa and then launch talks with Riyadh,” he said.
- As Operation Decisive Storm was launched a Quds Force commander made serious remarks regarding IRGC policies.
“The IRGC policies consists of comprehensive talks and local conciliation in Yemen by the Foreign Ministry, and placing pressure on Saudi Arabia through mortar attacks by the Houthis on Saudi cities, sudden attacks against Saudi borders to create a climate of fear regarding ground attacks against Riyadh, the policy of patience in the face of attacks and politicizing the media in international arena. Iran’s objective is to portray Saudi Arabia in the international community as a face of aggression, murderer, child killer, deceiver and lacking any diplomacy for negotiations. Furthermore, Iran is certain that if it places further pressure on the Saudis and Riyadh responds in a strategic mistake of launching a ground attack into Yemen, in the end the Saudis will suffer defeats in the first days of the war due to the lack of an experienced ground force and a real army. To this end, the Houthis will take confiscate the necessary equipment,” he said.
- “Dispatching weapons to the people of Yemen to defend themselves in the face of aggressions by a number of Arabic countries is a humanitarian and Islamic matter, and the Red Crescent has twice helped our brothers in Yemen in transferring weapons,” said Nosser Charkhsaz, President of the Red Crescent in Iran.
- In early June the Quds Force sent a large number of missiles to the Houthis with the objective of having these forces launch unorganized attacks against Saudi Arabia targeting border cities and bases on a widespread scale. These attacks were to be staged using the very missiles received by the Houthis from Iran to target Saudi soil in depth. They sought to provoke Saudi Arabia to begin a ground war to result in a decrease in international support for Saudi Arabia and a defeat for the Saudis as they lack a dependable ground military force.
- In August 2015 an informed source inside the IRGC confirmed the launch of a SCUD missile from Yemen to Saudi Arabia.
“The second Zelzal missile built by the Islamic Republic of Iran was launched from Yemen against a target near Riyadh. But unfortunately this missile did not hit its target,” he said.
“According to the news we have received the fault factor of this missile was 3 kilometers and the Saudi were able to intercept and destroy the missile before reaching the target,” he continued.
- In early August 2015 Majeed Zargham, a senior official of the Houthis in Yemen made significant remarks in an interview.
“The Tehran-Sanaa air route remains closed due to Saudi fighter jet activity, and the Houthis are not receiving any support through air transfers,” he explained. “Prior to the war and when the Houthis launched their attacks against the central government, we had received a large number of short-range and surface-to-surface missiles from Iran, which was a significant support for us. Still there is a large portion of these weapons available in our warehouses.”
“Currently, small arms and medium-weight weapons are being sent for us, which are currently received from the al-Hadida Port. This port is our only connection to the outside world,” he added.
- In late August 2015 deputy IRGC commander General Hossein Salami said Iran is sending various types of weapons to Yemen.
“A caravan of Iranian weapons is being delivered to Yemen after the Saudis intensified their attacks and foreign forces have entered the scene,” he said. “The IRGC arms consignments consist of various types of short and medium-range missiles to target the Saudis, advanced anti-aircraft weapons, advanced binoculars, various types of surveillance radars, light and medium-weight weapons, and artillery equipment,” he explained.
- In August 2015 a representative of the Houthis participated in a session of the Iranian regime’s Supreme National Security Council during which the Houthi’s defeats and the advances made by the legitimate Yemeni government were discussed.
- In early mid-September following the delivery of Iran’s missile consignments, sources in Yemen said the Yemeni missile unit launched attacks targeting Saudi military bases in the border province of al-Tawal. The Yemeni army missile unit and popular forces linked to the Houthis staged rocket barrages on Saudi military bases in Wadi Abolsalul, Wadi al-Malah, al-Masfeq and al-Khoja in al-Tawal Province in southern Saudi Arabia, sources in Yemen said. In other words, General Salami fulfilled his pledge. Iran’s missiles landed into Saudi Arabia and all the missiles were made in Iran.
- In mid-October a senior delegation of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and the IRGC Quds Force went to Moscow to discuss Russia supporting the war in Yemen and the Houthis in particular. Iran has officially requested from Russia to directly provide support for the Houthis and enter the war in Yemen, or indirectly provide aid to the Houthis, especially regarding its air units.
- In late October the Katayeb Hezbollah militant group, linked to the IRGC Quds Force, announced its readiness to support the Houthis in the Yemen war.
- In the Yemen peace talks the Houthis were directly in contact with the Quds Force representative in Tehran and resolving all issues with Tehran.
- In late December Iran reached this conclusion to extend the war to Saudi Arabia’s Shiite regions and place pressure on Riyadh through such measures and force its troops to pull out of Yemen. Therefore, the IRGC Quds Force sought to activate Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a Shiite cleric proxy of Iran, in Saudi Arabia.
- In mid-January two IRGC generals by the names of Ali Haddadi and Mohammad Rouhani were killed following air attacks by Saudi fighter jets on a Houthi base in southern Sanaa.
- In late January IRGC Political Bureau member Saadollah Zarei said, “Strengthening ISIS in Yemen is in Iran’s interests, and against our interests in Iraq and Syria.”
“Currently in this bureau we are busy evaluating this issue; strengthening ISIS and increasing their military ability in Yemen is in our country’s interests as they can significantly decrease pressure on the Houthis,” he added.
- In mid-February Houthi spokesman Mohammad Abdulsallam said this group currently possesses 31 Ghaher missiles in its warehouses, all sent from Iran. The Houthis intend to target sensitive areas of Saudi Arabia, he added.
- In June 2016 according to information received there are two factions inside the Houthis. One is seeking to negotiate with the Saudis, while the other faction – loyal to Iran – is against negotiating with the Saudis. The IRGC Quds Force has described this situation inside the Houthis as dangerous, evaluating that the Houthis have become warn out of war and there is a possibility of this group leaning towards the Saudis. In response to any possible close relations between the Houthis that may result in negotiations with the Saudis, Iran is taking actions and sending arms and missiles to the Houthis to flare the war in Yemen.
In the abovementioned facts we evaluated a segment of the Iranian regime’s meddling in Yemen. Iran’s goal was to establish an Islamic republic in Yemen. To this end Tehran had established a strong foothold in the Arabian Peninsula to easily export its terrorism to other Arab and African countries. If not for Operation Decisive Storm, the Iranian regime would have definitely reached its objective and the Arab World and Africa would be facing a new dilemma.