The recent interception of arms-laden boats approaching western Yemen from Iranian territorial waters is another sign that the Iranian regime is undermining efforts to achieve peace in Yemen, security officials tell Al-Mashareq.
Coalition forces announced on November 15th that their helicopters had intercepted two boats laden with weapons bound for the port of al-Salif in al-Hodeida province, which is controlled by the Houthis (Ansarallah).
The two boats were inspected, and large quantities of weapons and advanced communication equipment were found on board, local media reported.
In documented confessions, the crews of the two boats confirmed the weapons on board the vessels were intended for the Houthis.
The incident confirms that Iran is exporting arms to the Houthis with the clear intention of obstructing peace efforts in Yemen , Abaad Centre for Strategic Studies director Abdulsalam Mohammed told Al-Mashareq.
This support is intended to prolong the war in Yemen and exacerbate regional conflict by pushing the Houthis to attack neighbouring Gulf states, he said.
With its decision to arm the Houthis, he added, it is clear that "Iran is following a different line of thinking than that followed by the rest of the world, which aims to put an end to the chaos, stop the war and establish peace".
"It seems [Iran] has priorities that it puts ahead of regional security, and they involve encircling oil-producing Gulf countries with a cordon of fire to impose its will on the region," Mohammed said.
Threatening regional security
The Iranian regime is delivering weapons to Yemen via all available means , he said; via ships positioned in Bab al-Mandab strait, amid international ships, under the pretext of fighting piracy; and via arms and drug-smuggling gangs.
But "Iran knows that it is incapable of achieving a great victory for its militia in Yemen, even if it supports it with weapons", he added.
By arming the Houthis, he explained, Iran hopes to put pressure on Saudi Arabia and prevent Houthi militias "from collapsing or being defeated".
It also seeks to enhance the position of the Houthis in any future peace negotiations and settlement, he said.
"One of Iran’s most important goals is to keep the Yemen-Saudi border aflame and in chaos," he said.
This threatens regional security, he added, and ensures Iran has access to and control over the straits of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandab, "unopposed by the Gulf states".
Defying international resolutions
The Iranian regime supports Houthis because the militia is an ally, along with Hizbullah in Lebanon and Syria and other militias in Iraq, political affairs researcher Adnan al-Humairi told Al-Mashareq.
"Iran would not stop pursuing the goals it aspires to achieve by supplying the Houthis with weapons, even if the war ended," he said, adding that the pace of arms smuggling might slow down, but would not stop altogether.
He noted that in recent years, even in times of peace, numerous weapons-laden ships from Iran bound for the Houthis have been intercepted.
"This confirms Iran's determination to achieve its goals in clear defiance of international resolutions and the peace the international community is trying to impose in Yemen," he said.
International resolutions must be implemented, and a ban must be imposed on the smuggling of weapons to Yemen, because this undermines the prospects for peace and prolongs the war, said political affairs researcher Khaled Tuaiman.
"Prolonging the war will precipitate more humanitarian disasters and suffering brought on by hunger and malnutrition, which already pose a threat to the lives of most Yemenis ," he told Al-Mashareq.
Tuaiman called on "all internal and external parties, especially the sponsors of peace in Yemen, to work towards stopping the war and deteriorating living conditions experienced by the majority of Yemenis".