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YEMEN: Not an Iranian Invasion

Bottom Line: US claims that Iran is smuggling weapons to Shi’ite Houthi militants in Yemen come as Yemen embarks on a serious restructuring of the military to rid it of elements loyal to the former regime, which in turn is using militants attached to al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to sabotage oil operations and undermine the interim government. There is an Iranian presence in Yemen and this will likely be increased as Iran becomes more fully isolated in the Middle East and seeks proxy theaters to boost its strength, but this presence is still embryonic and by no means represents an Iranian “invasion” as Israeli and Western media would have us believe.

Analysis: Yemen and US claims that Iran was behind a recent shipment of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to Yemen lack evidence and should be understood on a geopolitical level and against the backdrop of a number of developments that have led to an intensification of the security situation: 1) the military has formed specialized teams to manage its restructuring; 2) the representatives for a National Dialogue were named on 13 February; 3) demonstrations have reached a dangerous level in Taiz; 4) a key oil pipeline in the Marib governate was blown up.

Iran denies involvement in the arms shipment, while the Yemeni government claims the arms were destined for the northwestern frontier where Shi’ite Houthi rebels are in a long-running standoff with the government of Yemen.…

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