Commanders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah are stationed in Yemen and are giving direct orders to Houthi rebels to launch attacks in the Red Sea. Four sources in the region and two in Iran told Reuters.
Iran provides arms, training and money to the Houthis. After the start of indiscriminate attacks by Israeli forces against Hamas in Gaza, Iran has increased the supply of weapons to the Houthis. The four regional sources said so. The conflict started on October 7 when Iran-backed Hamas launched an attack on Israeli territory. ( news from prothomalo)
The Houthis have been attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea since last November in solidarity with Palestinian victims of attacks in Gaza. Tehran has provided them with advanced drones, anti-ship cruise missiles, ballistic missiles capable of striking specific targets and medium-range missiles, the sources said.
IRGC commanders and advisers are providing information and intelligence support to the Houthis on which of the commercial ships sailing daily through the Red Sea are destined for Israel, the sources said. Based on this, it is decided which ship will be attacked.
Washington said last month that Iran was heavily involved in the ongoing crackdown on commercial shipping in the Red Sea. The country’s intelligence plays an important role in carrying out Houthi attacks on ships.
When asked for comment on this report, the Haight House referred to their previous statements about how Iran was helping the Houthis.
On the other hand, in a recent press conference, the spokesman of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Kanani, once again denied the allegations of their involvement in the Houthi attack on the ship in the Red Sea. IRGC’s public relations office did not respond when asked for a comment on the matter.
Houthi spokesman Mohammad Abdul Salam has directly rejected the allegations that Iran and Hezbollah are helping to attack commercial ships in the Red Sea. However, Hezbollah’s spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.
The Houthis emerged as an armed group in the 1980s in opposition to the influence of Saudi Arabia’s Sunni ideology in Yemen. They have been supporting Hamas by attacking Israeli-affiliated or Israeli-port-bound ships in the Red Sea.
A series of attacks by the Houthis has severely hampered sea trade between Asia and Europe through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait adjacent to Yemen. And because of this, the United States and the United Kingdom have launched a counterattack against the Houthis in Yemen. Along with the ongoing conflict in Gaza, the incident has heated up the entire region. gave birth to a new stage of conflict.
Due to the Gaza conflict, the conflict between Israeli forces and Hezbollah is going on in the border area of Lebanon. Meanwhile, Iran-backed groups have continued to attack US installations in Iraq and Syria.
An Iranian source told Reuters the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was helping the Houthis with training in the use of modern weapons. A group of Houthi fighters were in Iran last month. They are trained at IRGC bases in central Iran. At that time, Houthi fighters were taught how to use new technologies and missiles.
The sources also say that Iranian commanders have visited Yemen. They set up a command center in the capital Sana’a to carry out attacks in the Red Sea. The center is run by a senior IRGC commander serving in Yemen.
According to two analysts, attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea are consistent with Iran’s strategy of regional influence. Iran has adopted a strategy of organizing and increasing the activities of regional Shia armed groups to project its influence and its ability to pose a threat to maritime security in the region and beyond.
They say Iran is trying to show that if the war in Gaza continues, the West will pay a heavy price, and if the situation worsens, the consequences will be catastrophic.
In this regard, the director of the Gulf Research Center, Abdul Aziz Al-Sagher, said that it cannot be said that the Houthis are conducting activities independently. The Houthis have an estimated 20,000 fighters. Their manpower, skills and capabilities are not that advanced. Dozens of ships pass through Bab-el-Mandeb every day. The Houthis have none of the knowledge, strategy or satellite data to determine which ships to attack.
White House national security spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said last month that Iran’s strategic intelligence provided to the Houthis was critical in determining which ships to target.
Two former Yemeni military sources said there is a clear presence of IRGC and Hezbollah commanders in Yemen. They have a direct role in supervising the military activities of the Houthi fighters, training them, and assembling the missiles brought separately.
Abdul Ghani Al-Iriani, a senior researcher at Sana’a think tank Center for Strategic Studies, said it is clear that the Iranians are assisting the Houthis in determining the targets. If not, the local Houthis do not have that capability.
A senior regional source monitoring Iran’s activities said on condition of anonymity, “Political decisions come from Tehran.” It is managed by Hezbollah. And the implementation is done through Yemen’s Houthis.
Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea have shaken global trade. Merchant shipping through the Suez Canal is severely disrupted. Many ships are forced to make long detours through the remote coast of southern Africa for safety reasons. This increases the time and cost of transporting goods.
Weapons and advice
Houthi spokesman Abdul Salam said their targets are specific. That is – Israeli ships or Israeli ships. They don’t want to cause loss of life or significant property damage. He also said that the UK-US attack in Yemen will not stop them.
Abdul Salam said, “We never deny the relationship with Iran. It is also true that we have benefited from Iran’s experience at various times in terms of training, military equipment production and capacity building. However, the decision taken by Yemen is completely independent. There is no involvement of any other party with it.
But a security official close to Iran said the Houthis have drones, missiles and everything they need to fight Israel. They need guidance and advice. It is about shipping lanes and ships. And Iran is providing everything to the Houthis.
When asked what kind of advice was given to the Houthis by Tehran, the official said that the same was done in this case as Iran had advised Syria. Everything from training to expedition supervision when needed.
He also said, “A group of IRGC members are still staying in Houthi-controlled Sana’a to assist in the operation.”
Tehran has sent hundreds of IRGC members to Syria. They are training and organizing thousands of Hezbollah members as well as Shiite militias from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. Its aim is to keep President Bashar al-Assad in power in the face of a Sunni-dominated insurgency.
The United States and the Gulf countries have repeatedly brought forward allegations that Iran is providing arms, training and money to the Houthis. The Houthis are pro-Shia. Also, Tehran, Houthis and Hezbollah are part of the regional alliance against the West and Israel.
However, Tehran has denied any direct involvement in recent attacks in the Red Sea. However, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised the Houthis. He expressed hope that the Houthis’ attack will continue until “victory”.
A leader of a coalition of Iran-backed groups has denied allegations that military experts from the IRGC and Hezbollah are still in Yemen to help the Houthis. He said that the Iranian and Hezbollah experts were right in training, arming and increasing the military capabilities of the Houthis. But that was before the Yemeni civil war.
He added, “They (Iranian experts) came, helped the Houthi fighters, and left.” Earlier, they have done this for the members of Hezbollah and Hamas. He warned that the military capabilities of the Houthis should not be underestimated.
The person said on condition of anonymity that the Houthis have enough knowledge about their territory and sea. And now, where to attack ships, the Houthis have the necessary weapons to attack specific targets with the help of Iran.
The Houthis have strengthened their position in northern Yemen since the destabilizing period in the wake of the Arab Spring in 2011. The Houthis later took control of the capital Sanaa in 2014. A few months later, a Saudi-led coalition intervened militarily in Yemen.
When Hamas attacked Israeli territory, Iran had no choice but to support it. Tehran has been raging against Israel for years. But if Hezbollah is used in the conflict this time, Iran was worried that Israel might take a harsh revenge.
Abdul Ghani al-Iryani said a major war between Israel and Hezbollah would be disastrous for Lebanon. would endanger the future of Iran’s close ally. In contrast, the Houthis have chosen a unique strategy. Because there are big obstacles and uncertainties in world trade by sea. Small initiatives by the Houthis have seen big impacts.