Bab Al Mandab strait. Image Credit: Google maps

Abu Dhabi: The Yemeni National Resistance Forces have thwarted another attempt to smuggle quantities of weapons and equipment by a cell of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, with the aim of delivering them to Al Houthi terrorists, local media reported.

Coast Guard forces in the Red Sea sector were able to intercept a boat at sea, and arrested members of the smuggling cell, who are Houthis associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and operate within the weapons-smuggling network, Al Watan newspaper said.

The Iranian regime’s support of its proxy in Yemen serves to prolong the war and destabilise the region, and is in violation of international law, officials and activists warn.

Naval patrols in the Bab Al Mandeb Strait on July 16 intercepted a boat headed for the Houthis that was carrying large quantities of ammunition for automatic weapons, Coast Guard Director-General (Red Sea Sector) Col. Abdul-Jabbar Al Zahzouh said in a press statement.

It was the fourth operation of its kind in a month.

In one instance, two boats were seized after breaching Yemeni waters; another boat carrying 40 kilograms of cocaine and then another carrying a quantity of pistols and ammunition were seized in three separate operations.

Meanwhile, the Arab coalition announced on June 30 the seizure of Iranian weapons aboard boats headed to the Houthis in two different operations.

The weapons seized included thermal anti-armour rockets and drone-guidance systems.

Al Zahzouh commended Coast Guard forces for their efforts to secure the liberated coasts and prevent the flow of smuggled weapons and drugs to the Houthis.

He also underscored the Arab coalition’s role in rebuilding and training Yemen’s Coast Guard — Red Sea Sector.

Crippling the capabilities of Iran, Houthis

“The Coast Guard’s mission is to protect the coasts and prevent weapons from reaching the Houthis,” Yemeni political analyst Adel Al Shujaa said.

The seizure of contraband being smuggled to the Houthis “exposes the Iranian regime as a country that supports terrorism through smuggling weapons and drugs”, he said.

Iran is determined to continue with its smuggling operations to Yemen in order to support the Houthis and undermine the security and stability of the region, lawyer and rights activist Abdul Rahman Barman said.

Tehran is violating international law by breaking the arms embargo on Yemen, he added.

“The Houthi militias use drugs on the battlefronts, where they give them to their fighters,” said Barman, noting that some types of narcotics make fighters “feel braver and stronger and induce them to accept death”.

Hence, the Iranian regime funnels drugs to the Houthis “to make it easier to control them”, he added.

Iran also aims to use the Houthis for the purpose of smuggling contraband into Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, he said.

He praised the success of the Yemeni Coast Guard in curbing Iran’s operations.