Crack down on Iranian arms smuggling in Yemen

Yemeni forces, in cooperation with the Arab coalition, have successfully blocked Iranian arms smuggling attempts to the Houthis via Yemeni ports and border crossings, curbing Iran’s support for its proxies, officials said.

Yemeni and Arab coalition operations in al-Mahra province recently netted a number of weapons and suspected drug smugglers with links to the Houthis and Iran.

On October 10, security services in al-Mahra referred 16 individuals to the specialised criminal prosecution in Hadramaut province in connection with charges of smuggling weapons and bringing in drugs.

Of this number, a seven-member Houthi cell was charged with smuggling weapons from Iran to Yemen, and six Iranian sailors were accused of bringing in narcotic substances. Drug traffickers and dealers also were charged.

These arrests and court summonses come as a direct result of operations carried out by Yemeni forces in co-operation with Arab coalition forces, said Deputy Minister of Legal Affairs and Human Rights Nabil Abdul Hafeez.

These efforts aim “to contain Iranian smuggling and communication in support of terrorism, whether with weapons or drugs”, he told Al-Mashareq.

Yemeni forces and allied forces operating in the region have “succeeded in clamping down on the smuggling operations carried out by sea and by land by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to support its Houthi militias”, he said.

Deputy Minister of Justice Faisal al-Majeedi told Al-Mashareq the IRGC has been engaged in smuggling “weapons and war technology to the Houthis via various sea and land routes”.

Certain Iranian ports, including Bandar Abbas, are known to have been used for smuggling arms to the militia, he said.

The IRGC relies on a network of pirates and duped seafarers in the Gulf region for its smuggling operations, in a bid to circumvent the arms embargo on the Houthis that was imposed by the UN Security Council in April 2015.

The IRGC and its proxies, including the Houthis, Hizbullah and affiliated militias in Syria and Iraq, depend entirely on the war economy, Abaad Centre for Strategic Studies director Abdul Salam Mohammed said.

Iran is living in a war economy, and is using all illegal tools at its disposal to make money

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