Yemen has strategic location for the Islamic Republic of Iran, given that it shares a border with Saudi Arabia, and sits on the shores of Strait of Bab el-Mandab. From a geopolitical standpoint Yemen is yet another area in the Middle East that Tehran’s regime views as a trump card. Via this route, it can control both Saudi Arabia and Israel. For this reason, the regime in Tehran will not give way to Saudi Arabia which is trying to defend its territory against Khomeiniist incursion, all that easily.
According to witnesses and informed sources, in 2016, the regime in Iran has given approximately $90 million in aid to Houthi rebels. Also arms and ammunition have been delivered via naval squadrons of classes 34 and 44 of the Iranian navy, all of which is fully protected against area pirates. Most of the arms shipments of arms from Iran are also sent via preparatory ships that are dispatched from Bushehr. (Photo of the pile of guns: Some of the 1,500 AK-47 assault rifles seized by the Navy on Friday, believed to be an Iranian shipment for Yemen’s Houthi rebels).
Based on reports, on Thursday, October 13th, 2016, Alvand class 44 destroyer, was dispatched from Bushehr, to the Gulf of Aden and the Straits of Bab el-Mandab (map). The Alvand class 34, was dispatched eight days prior, on October 5th. In April/May of 2015, contrary to its agreement with the U.S., Iran sent nine battleships, all carrying arms for Houthi rebels. But given the presence of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, in the area waters off the coast of Yemen, the nine ships returned to Iran. The Squadron is a form of administrative/support extension of the naval forces which is bigger than a regular division and smaller than a flotilla. It is also a form of tactical or operational structure within the Navy, which consists of two or more divisions. The rockets launched at the ship belonging to the UAE, in the spring, were made in Iran and have been delivered to the Houthis in this manner.
Iran has sent it’s Zelzal rockets to Yemen, via this method. The Zelzal rockets come in the forms of 1, 2, 3 and 110. Each one is an Iranian rocket with a short range of 150 Kilometers to a medium range of 350 Kilometers. After this, there are plans for said Squadron to travel to Tanzania; Rear-Admiral Habibollah Sayyari (below photo) has said that at that juncture, should the air and water conditions be suitable, it will also then travel to South Africa and onto the Atlantic.
Sayyari was born in January 1955 in a religious family in the township of Fasai in the province of Fars. In 1974, he graduated high school and enlisted in the army and following a preliminary course as a cadet, began his studies in the military school’s regular army. He continued his studies and following graduation, began to serve in the Navy. He has completed his Green Beret, the AJA University of Command and Staff studies and Strategic Sciences at Iran’s Supreme National Defense University.
In the operations for the liberation of Abadan (known as Samen Al-Aemeh), he was injured by shrapnel. His responsibilities are: Commander of Marine Corps training on Manjil, Commander of 1st Marine Brigade on Bandar Abbas, Deputy Commander of 1st Naval District of Iran. In 2005 he was promoted to the position of Commander of specialty naval training in the province of Northern Province of Gilan and Islamic Republic of Iran’s Navy’s fourth Naval district. In July 2007, the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei promoted him to the post of the Commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (the “regular Navy”).
Sources report that Iran has invaded the Norah Island off the coast of Eritrea to have full control of the situation in Yemen. Of course, they have their eye on Yemen’s Hanish Al Kabir Island as well. If Iran is able to seize that island, sending arms and financial assistance, as well as the control of the Straits of Bab el-Mandab, will then become much easier. Up until now however, they have not succeeded.
It is important to mention that 1100 Houthi forces have been trained in one of the IRGC bootcamps and at present approximately 250 of the Houthis are being trained in the Quds force garrison in the city of Hamadan.
Colonel Reza Yassini, Commander Ali Rajabi and Revolutionary Guards Major Mohammad Niazi are acting as military experts and are currently in Yemen. Also, as of early to mid 2017, a team of ammunition makers from the Ministry of Defense, headed up by one Bahram Rahnama, have been dispatched to Yemen, in order to assist in building arms and ammunition. It is said that Saudi Arabia is searching for the Houthi arms building factory and has, so far, been unsuccessful in finding any trace of it.
The most important island, for which Iran is making every effort to annex, is the Mayyun or Perim Island. This is an extremely important position and has been repeatedly bombed by the Arab coalition. Anyone controlling this island, will also be in full naval control of the Bab el-Mandab naval ingress.