Iran’s destabilising support to Houthis

Despite attempts by the Houthis to obliterate markings on explosives and military equipment, Iran’s fingerprints are all over them.
Sunday 30/09/2018
Houthi followers hold up their weapons as they shout slogans during a demonstration against the UN in Sanaa. (Reuters)
Houthi followers hold up their weapons as they shout slogans during a demonstration against the UN in Sanaa. (Reuters)

At the UN General Assembly, Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi called on the world to stop Iran from fuelling his country’s devastating civil war. Iran and Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group have “blatantly” supported the Houthis with money, “weapons, missiles and experts,” he said.

The Yemeni president’s anguished plea came the very day British experts said they had evidence of Tehran’s military support to the Houthis. The UK-based investigative organisation Conflict Armament Research (CAR) revealed that the Tehran-supported militia is mass-producing improvised explosive devices whose components originate in Tehran.

Recapping the results of his organisation’s investigative work in Yemen, CAR Executive Director James Bevan said: “The vast majority of landmines being recovered are improvised, standardised and mass-produced, domestically by Houthi forces on a scale only previously achieved by Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria.

“The use of landmines and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) is a growing threat in Yemen and one that will persist long after the current phase of the conflict concludes,” he added.

The report revealed that electronic components used in remote-control IEDs were “identical to material that CAR has previously documented and which it has determined originated from Iran.”

Despite attempts by the Houthis to obliterate markings on explosives and military equipment, Iran’s fingerprints are all over them. They are on the transmitters used to arm radio-controlled IEDs and on IED switches and electronics, which “originate in Iran,” noted the report.

The CAR had already said in a March report “multiple strands of information suggest that Iran orchestrated the transfer of technology and material to Houthi forces in Yemen to assist in the manufacture of [radio-controlled IEDs].”

The new armament information surfaced while the Houthis are being assailed on human rights grounds as well. Human Rights Watch has accused the Houthis of perpetrating serious abuse, including hostage-taking and acts of torture on arbitrarily detained Yemeni civilians.

“Some Houthi officials are exploiting their power to turn a profit through detention, torture and murder,” Human Rights Watch said in its report.

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