US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has accused Iran of enabling Yemen’s Houthis to launch missile and drone attacks against Saudi Arabia.
Reacting to multiple attacks over the weekend, Sullivan issued a statement condemning the aggression against Saudi civilian infrastructure, including oil and gas, as well as water treatment facilities.
Notably, the national security advisor also pointed his finger at Iran for “enabling” the Houthis to launch such attacks.
“The Houthis launch these terrorist attacks with enabling by Iran, which supplies them with missile and UAV components, training, and expertise,” the statement read. He noted that this violates UN Security Council resolutions “prohibiting the import of weapons into Yemen.”
Sullivan’s statement came amid news reports that Washington is contemplating to remove Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The Guards with their extraterritorial Qods (Quds) Force are in charge of arming and guiding Tehran’s militant affiliates and proxies in the Middle East and beyond.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan
After almost a year of talks between Iran and the West in Vienna to revive the Obama-era nuclear deal known as JCPOA, it appears that the last hurdle is Tehran’s demand to have the IRGC sanctions removed. The US is reportedly seeking a guarantee that Iran would curtail the activities of its military-intelligence force in the region.
Many are skeptical about the value of any assurances by Tehran when the Islamic Republic’s core values are based on spreading its Shiite influence in the region.
Israel has voiced strong public opposition in recent days to IRGC’s ‘delisting’ as a step that would create more instability in the region. Persian Gulf Arab states are believed to have sent the same message to Washington, albeit quietly.
The Biden administration removed the Houthis from its list of terrorist organization a year ago and it did not help peace efforts for Yemen. Sullivan in his statement drew attention to Houthi intransigence.
“Saudi Arabia and the Yemeni Government have endorsed multiple UN calls for ceasefires and de-escalation over the last year. The Houthis have rejected these calls, responding instead with new offensives in Yemen and terrorist acts,” the national security advisor said.
It is noteworthy that the State Department had not issued a statement on Houthi attacks at the time of this publication.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the United States has transferred “a significant number of Patriot antimissile interceptors” to Saudi Arabia after repeated appeals by Riyadh to replenish its arsenal. The missiles have been effective in destroying most Houthi projectiles and drones.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration has been scrambling to have Arab states supply more oil to world markets, which apparently, they still hold back. Arab producers cling to OPEC+ agreements in capping oil exports and they have not broken from Russia in their cooperation to manage supplies and prices.
One reason is also their dismay at the US policy of signing a limited new nuclear deal with Iran, which they believe will not contain Tehran’s aggressive behavior in the region.
The transfer of Patriots could be an attempt to improve the administration’s relations with Riyadh, at the same time adopting a tougher position against Houthis and Iran’s military support for them.