Iran Focus

London, 6 Feb - Eight armies, including Iran and the USA, are fighting for supremacy in Yemen but new sanctions against Iran by the US could lead to the two facing off.

The war rages on between the Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents and the Yemeni Army, who are loyal to President Abdulrabbuh Mansur Hadi, and supported by Saudi, Egyptian and UAE forces and their hired Colombian mercenaries.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) mainly act as advisors to the Houthi rebels but will intervene with their own forces on occasion.

For instance, last October they attacked US vessels in the Red Sea with missiles launched from shore batteries.

In response, the US Navy knocked out the batteries and the radar stations manned by the IRGC. Tehran hit back by deploying long-range Shahed 129 drones carrying Sadid-1 rockets to Yemen and planting sea mines around the international Bab Al-Mandeb Straits.

Last Friday, Donald Trump said that Iran had been “playing with fire” as he signed off on new sanctions against them following their ballistic missile test.

DEBKAfile reports that the Trump administration may see Yemen as a convenient battleground for six reasons:

1. The US could claim that this was not a direct attack on Iran, but rather an attack on the Houthi Rebels

2. As Tehran has constantly denied its interference in the Yemeni civil war, it couldn’t come out to complain if the IRGC got caught in the crossfire between the USA and the Houthi Rebels

3. Iran would be unlikely to launch a counter attack on America as the attack was not on Iranian soil

4. It would provide support for US allies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE

5. This additional force may cause Iran to rethink its support for the Houthi Rebels

6. The Russians are not involved in Yemen, so it wouldn't harm the US-Russia alliance with regard to Syria