A British-based Conflict Armament Research (Car) found that weapons seized from Iranian-made dhows by Australian and French warships in the Arabian Sea matched similar weapons captured from Houthis in Yemen.
According to the report, weapons captured in the raids on the dhows had sequential serial numbers of new weapons, suggesting they came from a national stockpile. Lot numbers from anti-tank weapons found aboard one of the dhows matched the production run of similar weapons said by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to have been captured from Houthis.
Some of the weapons found were made in Iran, while others were made in Russia, North Korea, China, Bulgaria and Romania, reported the analysis.
The report which came after a U.S. officials claimed to have captured five shipments of Iranian weapons bound for Yemen, revealed that are an important role of Somali ports as transfer points, and said the warships HMAS Darwin, FS Provence, and USS Sirocco had seized more than 4,500 assault rifles, mortars, machine guns, and rocket launchers in a four-week period between February and March 2016.
Although Iran has denied usually US and Gulf accusations that it sends weapons to the Houthi rebels, the new report suggests the existence of a weapon pipeline extending from Iran to Somalia and Yemen, which involves the transfer, by dhow, of significant quantities of Iranian-manufactured weapons and weapons that plausibly derive from Iranian stockpiles.
This report provides evidence suggesting Iran is playing a hand in supplying weapons to the conflict in Yemen, a hypothesis that is highly adopted by several countries, specially Saudi Arabia who led a coalition against Houthis in Yemen.
Talking to Reuters, an Iranian official from the foreign ministry denied the report’s findings, saying “It is not true and Iran has never provided weapons to Houthis or any other group in Yemen”.
“CAR” RESEARCH CENTER
CAR found that Al Mansoor has been involved in previous gun running operations in Somalia, from supplying local markets, to accessing Somalian ports and transferring arms between vessels heading to other destinations in the region. “Since 2012, Al Mansoor dhows have been involved in multiple cases of trafficking in heroin, cannabis, and more recently, weapons,” CAR’s report stated. “Analysis of the weapons suggests that at least two of the three deliveries were probably supplied with the complicity of Iranian security forces.”
According tO “CAR” Al Mansoor which is an Iranian shipbuilding corporation is involved in these operations beyond the role of being a mere manufacturer of the vessels.
The research center also found that Al Mansoor has been involved in previous gun running operations in Somalia, from supplying local markets, to accessing Somalian ports and transferring arms between vessels heading to other destinations in the region
Egypt and Oman are also accused
Iran is not the only country which is accused of being a gunrunner for Houthi rebels in Yemen.
On September 16, Al-Hayat Saudi newspaper reported that Allies of Yemen’s president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Marib, in the south of Yemen, found weapons bound for Iran-aligned Houthi forces on trucks with Omani license plates.
Although the Saudi newspaper said that is no evidence of any link to Omani authorities, who are according to Saudi Authorities, neutral in Yemen’s war, Oman foreign minister has denied in an official statement these accusations.
Following Middle East Eye, Oman has strongly denied claims that Iranian arms are being smuggled through its border with Yemen to Houthi rebels>
“This is baseless,traffickers were using unmonitored areas of the war-torn nation’s coast.” Oman’s foreign ministry said in a statement on its website, adding”There are no weapons passing through the sultanate’s territory” to Yemen.
Furthermore, The New Arab had accused the Egyptian navy in October of delivering hardware to the Houthi rebels during the past two months.
Quoted a senior Yemeni official, the Qatari newspaper said that Houthi rebels have received a dozen advanced military boats and other supplies from Egypt, through boats which were supplied by the Egyptian navy and to the commander of a military base in western Hodeida province.
“The transaction took place on an island off the coast of al-Luhayyah, in northern Hodeida province, and through an associate of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh,” the Yemeni official told The New Arab newspaper.