Iranian ships turn away from, Yemen

A convoy of Iranian ships that were thought to be carrying weapons for Houthi rebels has changed course and is no longer bound for Yemen, according to the US Navy.

The climb down by Iran avoided a possible confrontation with Saudi and US warships enforcing a blockade of Yemen.

AFP:

Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin on Thursday accused Tehran of trying to break a naval blockade on his country, describing the war as an "Iranian plot implemented by the Huthi militia".

A US official said Thursday the nine-ship Iranian convoy that had been heading for Yemen is "no longer on the same course".

The USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier and other American warships have deployed off Yemen's coast to track the Iranian flotilla and possibly prevent any arms deliveries to the Iran-backed Huthi Shiite rebels.

The flotilla included two "armed vessels," said the US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

It was possible the Iranians "could make a turn to Yemen at any time," the official added.

Iran is a key ally of the Huthis but vehemently denies arming them. It has presented a peace plan to the UN calling for a ceasefire and the formation of a unity government.

With international pressure mounting for a political solution, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced plans to appoint Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as his new envoy to Yemen.

He replaces Morocco's Jamal Benomar, who resigned last week after losing support for his mediation efforts from oil-rich Gulf countries.

With the arrival of the Roosevelt in the Gulf of Aden, Iran probably thought discretion was the better part of valor and will look to supply the Houthis some other way - possibly overland from Oman. As it stands now, the Houthis aren't hurting for weapons, although it is thought the Iranians may have been bringing shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles to shoot down Saudi warplanes that have been bombing rebel positions at will.

There appears to be more pressure being placed on the Saudis to make a deal, but the Houthis have shown no interest so far in sharing power and would balk at bringing President Hadi back in office. That said, they are getting beaten up badly by Arab airstrikes and they may look to pause the war long enough to consolidate their gains and prepare for round two.

 

 

A convoy of Iranian ships that were thought to be carrying weapons for Houthi rebels has changed course and is no longer bound for Yemen, according to the US Navy.

The climb down by Iran avoided a possible confrontation with Saudi and US warships enforcing a blockade of Yemen.

AFP:

Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin on Thursday accused Tehran of trying to break a naval blockade on his country, describing the war as an "Iranian plot implemented by the Huthi militia".

A US official said Thursday the nine-ship Iranian convoy that had been heading for Yemen is "no longer on the same course".

The USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier and other American warships have deployed off Yemen's coast to track the Iranian flotilla and possibly prevent any arms deliveries to the Iran-backed Huthi Shiite rebels.

The flotilla included two "armed vessels," said the US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

It was possible the Iranians "could make a turn to Yemen at any time," the official added.

Iran is a key ally of the Huthis but vehemently denies arming them. It has presented a peace plan to the UN calling for a ceasefire and the formation of a unity government.

With international pressure mounting for a political solution, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced plans to appoint Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as his new envoy to Yemen.

He replaces Morocco's Jamal Benomar, who resigned last week after losing support for his mediation efforts from oil-rich Gulf countries.

With the arrival of the Roosevelt in the Gulf of Aden, Iran probably thought discretion was the better part of valor and will look to supply the Houthis some other way - possibly overland from Oman. As it stands now, the Houthis aren't hurting for weapons, although it is thought the Iranians may have been bringing shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles to shoot down Saudi warplanes that have been bombing rebel positions at will.

There appears to be more pressure being placed on the Saudis to make a deal, but the Houthis have shown no interest so far in sharing power and would balk at bringing President Hadi back in office. That said, they are getting beaten up badly by Arab airstrikes and they may look to pause the war long enough to consolidate their gains and prepare for round two.