Iranian terrorist designated IRGC’s naval smuggling network in Yemen

Yemeni officials warn that the Iranian terrorist designated Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) is putting together a new naval force that they say will smuggle arms and undermine stability in Yemen and the Gulf states.

News of the IRGC’s latest recruitment efforts coincides with the passage on February 28 of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2624, which reimposes an arms embargo on the Houthis.

This came after the Houthis attacked the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia earlier this year, most recently claiming responsibility for drone and missile attacks on Saturday (March 19) targeting a number of “vital and important” Saudi sites, including Aramco facilities.

Past arrests made during Iranian arms smuggling operations revealed that many of the smugglers were fishermen who had been recruited by the Houthis, Yemeni Deputy Minister of Justice Faisal al-Majeedi told Al-Mashareq.

As pressure increases on the Iranian terrorist IRGC and the Yemeni Houthis, he cautioned, these groups will work harder to circumvent the constraints placed on them “by stepping up the recruitment of mercenaries and fishermen”.

In reports to the UNSC, experts have noted that the IRGC has multiple smuggling networks, especially maritime networks.

Fishermen are a primary target for recruitment by the IRGC and their Houthi cohorts, Abaad Centre for Research and Studies director Abdul Salam Mohammed said.

Iran-backed militias in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon engage in criminal and security-disrupting activities, he said, and facilitate Iran’s penetration into sovereign nations as it attempts to “dismantle them from the inside”.

The best means for smuggling weapons and drugs from Iranian ships at sea “are the small boats of fishermen, who are recruited, trained and qualified on handling the transport of contraband”, Mohammed said.

These boats are capable of delivering everything from hashish to weapons to designated areas on Yemen’s coast, he said.

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