Russia Is Helping Iran Extend Its Influence in Yemen

March 14 2019

Tehran continues to deny its involvement in Yemen’s civil war, but there is no doubt it has become the main force behind the Houthi rebels, supplying them with materiel, military advisers, and perhaps manpower as well. And Moscow, much as it does in Syria, is aiding the Islamic Republic in these efforts. Micky Aharonson and Yossi Mansharof write:

Iranian activity [in Yemen] depends on cooperation with Russia, which protects [Iran] against unfavorable UN Security Council resolutions and enables [it] to continue exporting terrorism there [and] to extend its hold and influence in that country. Among other things, Russia makes it possible for Iran to foster the deadly terrorist attacks committed by the Houthis and their missile barrages aimed at Saudi Arabia, [which supports the government that the Houthis seek to overthrow].

After having been in contact with Russia a number of times since 2015, a Houthi delegation met with the Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov. The Houthis then declared that Russia should be involved in any settlement in Yemen. In 2018, the Houthis sent President Putin a letter calling on Russia to intervene in the war. Russia’s widely reported willingness to conduct a dialogue with the Houthis provides them with an international platform for voicing their demands. It also establishes Russia as an international patron of relevance to events in Yemen. . . .

To summarize, Yemen is another focus of instability in the Middle East. This instability, ostensibly a result of internal tensions, is exacerbated by external countries: both those in the region, like Iran, and more remote ones, like Russia. . . . One result of the cooperation [between the two] is the arming of groups that are inflicting horrendous damage on the people of Yemen. The result may be that the capabilities and interests of external players, such as Iran and Russia, in continuing their military and economic support for the parties in the conflict may be of more importance in determining its outcome than are the parties themselves.

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More about: Iran, Middle East, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Yemen

 

Maintaining Security Cooperation with the PA Shouldn’t Require Ignoring Its Support for Terror

In accordance with legislation passed last year, the Israeli government has begun to deduct from the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) an amount proportional to what the PA pays to terrorists and their families. Last year, a similar law went into effect in the U.S., suspending all payments to the PA so long as it continues its “pay-for-slay” policy. The PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, has retaliated by refusing to accept any tax revenue collected by Israel—raising concerns that the PA will become insolvent and collapse—while insisting that payments to terrorists and their families are sacrosanct. To Yossi Kuperwasser, Abbas’s behavior amounts to mere extortion—which has already worked on the Europeans to the tune of 35 million euros. He urges Israel and the U.S. not to submit:

Abbas [believes] that influential Israeli and European circles, including the security establishment, view strengthening the Palestinian Authority, and certainly preventing its collapse, as being in Israel and Europe’s best interests. They will therefore give in to the pressure he exerts through the creation of an artificial economic crisis. . . .

[T]he PA leadership’s insistence on continuing wage payments to terrorists and their families, even at the price of an artificial economic crisis, shows once again that . . . the Oslo Accords did not reflect a substantive change in Palestinian national aspirations or in the methods employed to achieve them. . . . If paying wages to terrorists (including the many terrorists whose attacks took place after the Oslo Accords were in force) is the raison d’être for the PA’s establishment, as Abbas seems to be saying, . . . one cannot help asking whether Israel has to insist on maintaining the PA’s existence at any price.

True, Israel cooperates on security issues with the PA, but that serves the interests of both sides. . . . The short-term benefits Israel gains from this security cooperation, [however], are of less value than the benefits enjoyed by the Palestinians, and worth even less when measured against the long-term strategic damage resulting from Israel’s resigning itself to the constant incitement, the promotion of terror, and the political struggle against Israel carried out by the PA. Israel should not do anything to hasten the PA’s breakdown, because it has no desire to rule over the Palestinians and run their day to day lives, but it also should not feel more obligated to the PA’s continued existence than do the Palestinians themselves, thereby leaving itself open to continuous extortion.

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More about: Israeli Security, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror