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Iranian involvement in subversive movements in Persian Gulf nations and Yemen exposed

Monday, 25 February 2013

Since the beginning of 2013, Iranian involvement in underground movements and in the establishment of terrorist infrastructures in several Persian Gulf nations as well as Yemen has been exposed once again. This involvement is part of Iranian policy to export the revolution to countries experiencing instability and to support the Shiite populations that are directing the political-military fight and popular protests against Sunni governments.

It is against this background that the Yemeni Coast Guard intercepted the Jihan II, a ship that was carrying weapons and arms[1] for the Zaydi Shi’ites and the Houthi rebels in North Yemen, who are fighting the central Sunni government.[2] On February 22, 2013, a United Nations delegation arrived in Yemen to investigate the seizure of the ship and the arrest of the crew “in light of the Yemeni government’s accusation that Iran was behind the shipment.” This is not the first time Iran has been caught shipping arms to Shiite militants in Yemen. In October 2009, an Iranian ship was intercepted carrying arms, and specifically anti-tank weapons. For its part, Iran accuses Saudi Arabia of assisting the Yemeni army in its effort to suppress the Shiite rebellion.

Iran is trying to establish a land and naval presence in countries and ports in countries bordering on the Red Sea and bases that control the shipping lanes from the Persian Gulf into the Mediterranean and Europe such that Iran can smuggle weapons to various war-torn areas and unstable hot spots such as the Sinai, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan and even Mediterranean ports.

Beyond directing subversive activities in Yemen, Iran perceives Yemen as a springboard for launching subversive activity against its religious-political rival in the region, Saudi Arabia, as part of its desire to achieve regional hegemony. The Arab Spring (dubbed by Iran as the ‘Islamic Awakening’) and the instability in the Arab world has inspired Iran to become even more audacious and determined to leverage the changes occurring in the Middle East and the strengthening of Islam to promote its own interests and ambitions to spearhead the change and to push out the US and moderate Arab (Sunni) regimes from the power centers in the region.

Another arena in which Iran has recently been expanding its activity is Bahrain, where the Shiite majority (approximately 70%) continues to challenge the Sunni monarchy. From Iran’s perspective, this is a classic “test case” of the West’s real commitment to changes the Arab Spring is bringing to areas where its interests would be endangered if change occurs. Bahrain, like in Saudi Arabia, has become one of the frontlines of the Iranian-Saudi confrontation, in which Iran is fanning the flames of Shiite protests and providing concrete assistance in the form of weapons, establishment of terror cells and subversive action by the IRGC[3] (as was exposed last week by the director of internal security in Bahrain), while Saudi Arabia is working to suppress the protest (for example by sending in military forces of Gulf nations).

Yemen and Bahrain are examples of the key fronts of confrontation between Iran and the West is being played out (the Fifth Fleet base located in Bahrain, and in Yemen, the US, along with the Yemeni government, is waging a war against al-Qaeda, which is threatening territorial integrity) and between the Shiites and Sunnis, and especially what Iran calls the “new order” in the Middle East and the fight being waged by the Sunni-led Saudi Arabian regime, and the restoration of the old order. Given this set of circumstances, it would appear that Iran will increase its attempts to undermine stability in the Gulf Nations and in Yemen as well as in other Arab countries in an attempt to establish its status.

[1] The weapons include ATGMs, C-4 explosives, mortar launchers, RPGs and mines.

[2] The Zaydi Shiites had held a relatively moderate view of Islam, but has undergone a process of radicalization following its exposure to extreme Shiite Islam following the Iranian revolution.

[3] http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=347761.

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  • Published: 144 days ago on Monday, 25 February 2013
  • By: Iran Daily Brief
  • Last Modified: February 25, 2013 @ 3:33 pm
  • Filed Under: Editorial
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