There is emerging in the Middle East, not a Shia Crescent, but actually an Iranian Shia encirclement from Iraq in the north to both the Persian Gulf and Red Sea waterways and Yemeni land area to the south, east and west.
The objective? To control the oil and gas resources of the Saudi peninsula, giving Iran enormous effectively blackmail leverage over the industrialized economies of the Western world, access to hundreds of billions in revenue, and consequently help establish Iran as the leading hegemonic power in the region.
Three strategies have been adopted by Iran to achieve this goal.
One, protect the Assad regime in Syria and establish a land bridge to the Mediterranean through Lebanon.
Second, establish a proxy regime in Yemen, just south of the Saudi Kingdom, from which to control access to the Red Sea and the Suez canal, including upwards of 5 million barrels of oil a day which transits these straits.
And third, maintain an alliance with Qatar from which:
Iranian-allied terrorist groups such as Hamas are provided financing ($1.2 billion in total and $400 million to Hamas in 2012 alone);
The pro-terrorist narrative TV station Al Jazeera broadcasts;
The Muslim Brotherhood, the subversive arm of Jihad, is given sanctuary; and now
Somalia terrorists are being supported in the Horn of Africa.
Critical to protecting our security says Ilan Berman of the American Foreign Policy Council in its Summer 2017 review is “implementing policies that deter or counter-balance Iranian adventurism” while also diminishing the “credibility of the Iranian clerical regime.
This requires defeating the Iranian backed Houthi rebels in Yemen and keeping the coalition of Gulf States together to end Qatar’s alliance with Iran.
Complicating matters are two countervailing pressures from Congress. This includes some Senators and Representatives seeking to:
Restore the status quo relationship between Qatar and the other Gulf states led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by opposing important arms sales to our allies; and
Curtail U.S. backed support for defeating the Houthi terrorists under the guise of reducing human rights violations in Yemen.
Both are misdirected and will if successful do nothing more than enhance Iranian power in the Gulf and serve to move forward the timetable for Tehran’s hegemonic goals.
Qatar’s embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, funding of Hamas, and propagation of Al Jazeera’s pro-terror broadcasts serves to increase terrorist attacks against U.S. forces and our allies in the region, particularly Israel, KSA and Egypt.
Qatar has also purchased billions in new military equipment which the government claims is to better fight “terrorism,” but ironically the terror the U.S. and its allies are fighting is precisely the upwards of two dozen terrorist groups Qatar is supporting financially including Al Qaeda’s financier Ibrahim al-Bakr. One cannot be allied with Iran, the most prominent terror sponsor on the globe, and simultaneously claim to be on the side of the counter-terror angels.
In Yemen, Iranian financed and supplied rebels have planted mines in the Bab al-Mandeb strait, threatening global shipping and particularly one third of all world oil carriers, as well as access to the Suez Canal.
In addition, in 2015 alone, the US Navy says there were 300 “interactions” with Iranian naval vessels, a “malign behavior” that the commander of our Fifth Fleet has only worsened over time.
As Iran seeks to push back on the American Naval presence, it is also using the Gulf to better transfer weapons to the Houthi, using smaller vessels in the waters around Kuwait to avoid the current arms embargo.
Iran also wants to prevent the return of the port of Hodeida to the control of the legitimate Yemeni government, claiming it would precipitate a humanitarian crisis. In fact, Iran really fears is an effective blockade to interdict its own arms smuggling which would be helped if the Hodeida port was unavailable to receive arms shipments.
The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is also the doing of the Houthi rebels as they have brought war to the country in service to their Iranian terror masters and former Yemeni government officials.
It is true that 10,000 civilians have been killed in Yemen, but it is primarily the Houthis and their allies including Al Qaeda that are forcibly recruiting hundreds of child soldiers, placing their military commands within civilian populations, seeding dense urban enclaves with land mines, (in an echo of the Cuba and Soviet allied FMLN tactics used in El Salvador in the 1980’s) and shelling areas indiscriminately such as Taiz, which the Red Cross has appropriately condemned.
A pause in the fighting to allow humanitarian relief has been tried repeatedly, but the Houthis and their allies have violated such ceasefires thousands of times. In part to rearm and receive missiles, UAVs, and drones from Iran to restore their depleted supplies.
And contrary to popular belief, the KSA has provided $274 million in humanitarian aid to Yemen through the United Nations. While also directly donating an additional $267 million in relief efforts to Yemen, in cooperation with the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders, all the while trying to prevent such assistance from being hijacked by the Houthi rebels and their allies.
As Austin Bay explained, “for over three decades the dictatorial regime spawned by Ayatollah Khomeini has been globe-girdling in terms of inciting revolution and armed conflict” all in pursuit of a globalist Islamic revolution. Iran is financing and arming over two dozen conflicts, as “creating violent trouble” is Iran’s business. As Secretary of Defense James Mattis correctly said, “Iran is not a nation-state but a revolutionary cause devoted to mayhem.”
Peter Huessy is the president of GeoStrategic Analysis, a defense consulting firm.
Discussions on Afghan and world politics, including Islam.
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