U.S. Intelligence: Iran Sending More Fighters to Yemen

(Washington Free Beacon) Bill Gertz - The Iranian leadership earlier this month ordered militants from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) Quds Force, along with Lebanese Hizbullah fighters, to Yemen to aid pro-Tehran rebels, according to recent U.S. intelligence reports. Estimates put the number of both Iranian and Iraqi Shi'ite forces helping the Houthis in Yemen at around 5,000 people. On Sunday, Quds Force Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghani confirmed that the IRGC is training the Houthis in Yemen. "The defenders of Yemen have been trained under the banner of the Islamic Republic." Middle East specialists said the influx of Iranian and Hizbullah fighters is a troubling indicator of a growing Iranian threat to the region. "It would effectively put the Quds force on the Saudi border and potentially give Iran a naval and air presence near the Bab-el-Mandeb, and the exit from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean - a key trade route for petroleum and all trade and U.S. naval movements through the Suez Canal," said Anthony Cordesman, with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Shahin Gobadi, a spokesman for the Iranian opposition group Mojahedin Organization of Iran, said 50 tons of Iranian weapons was sent from Mehrabad airport in Tehran to the Houthis in Sanaa last March in four shipments disguised as humanitarian aid from the Iranian Red Crescent.

2015-05-28 00:00:00

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