Houthi tribesmen gather to show defiance after US and UK air strikes on Houthi positions near Sanaa, Yemen February 4, 2024.

IRGC Forces Serving Side By Side Houthis In Yemen, US Confirms

Friday, 02/16/2024

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards forces are present in Yemen, “serving side by side” with the Houthis, the deputy commander of US Central Command has revealed.

In an interview with CBS published Thursday evening, Vice Adm. Brad Cooper said IRGC personnel are on the ground “advising” Houthis and “providing target information”, which helps them attack commercial vessels and even US warships in the Red Sea.

With IRGC’s crucial help, the Houthis have targeted more than 40 ships in the Red Sea since October. They claim to be targeting Israeli-connected vessels only, but their operation has effectively disrupted global maritime trade, with many major operators avoiding the passage altogether and going around the southern end of Africa.

The Houthis began their attacks in mid-November after Iran's ruler Ali Khamenei called on Muslim nations to enforce a blockade against Israel. They have continued to launch missiles and one-way drones despite several rounds of US/UK airstrikes on their sites.

"[IRGC is] resupplying them as we sit here right now at sea," Vice Adm. Cooper

said in his interview.. "We know this is happening… This is crystal clear."

When asked about the US efforts to counter IRGC support and “degrade” the Houthi capabilities, Cooper pointed to the Biden administration –in what some may read as an indirect criticism of the administration’s Iran policy.

“In the end it’s a policy decision,” he said, “our role at this point is simply be ready and continue to be aggressive and exercise our right to self defense.”

The Biden administration has faced constant criticism over its cautious approach towards Iran. The critics say the policy of ‘avoiding confrontation at all costs’ has in fact cost American lives and raised the cost of confronting Iran, which, they say, may be inevitable, given the regime’s growing belligerence –not to mention its nuclear program.

One of President Biden’s earliest decisions entering the White House in 2021 was to delist the Houthis as a terrorist organization. It was a controversial decision from the outset, and was eventually reversed after three years when the Houthis carried out numerous attacks on commercial ships (and US warships) in the Red Sea.

Earlier Thursday, US Central Command announced that US Coast Guard forces had intercepted a vessel in the Arabian sea with Iranian weapons headed for Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

"This is yet another example of Iran's malign activity in the region," CENTCOM commander Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla said in a statement. "Their continued supply of advanced conventional weapons to the Houthis is in direct violation of international law and continues to undermine the safety of international shipping and the free flow of commerce."

The cargo contained components that would be assembled on site, including for medium-range ballistic missile and underwater drones. There were also military-grade communication and network equipment, as well as anti-tank guided missile launcher assemblies.

NBC News also reported that the US also conducted a cyberattack recently against an Iranian military ship in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden that had been collecting intelligence on cargo vessels.

The cyberattack took place a week ago as part of a government response to a drone attack by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq that killed three US service members in Jordan late last month and wounded dozens of others, the report said.

Iran has been arming and supporting the Houthis for at least a decade. The rebel group began fighting the government in 2014 and has been controlling one third of the country for some time.

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