Why Iran-Backed Forces Attacked Abu Dhabi

Jan. 26 2022

On Monday, Houthi rebels in Yemen fired ballistic missiles at Abu Dhabi, which were intercepted with American aid. The week before, the Iranian proxy group launched drones at the Emirati capital, killing three; similar attacks have targeted Saudi Arabia and other locales in the UAE. The Biden administration recently ceased to consider the Houthis—whose slogan includes the phrases, “Death to America,” “Death to Israel,” and “Curse the Jews”—a terrorist group. Eran Lerman calls that decision “a beginner’s mistake,” that was

interpreted by rulers in Sanaa and their backers in Tehran as a sign (one of several such indications) that the U.S. is turning its back on traditional allies such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The Houthis, indeed, soon sent a “thank you” note in the form of a long-range missile attack on Saudi civilian targets.

Meanwhile, Tehran is engaged in negotiations in Vienna with the U.S. over its nuclear program, a fact that some observers find paradoxical:

[T]here is no reason to be mystified by the dangerous combination of Iranian diplomatic action on one hand and Iranian-backed violence—in Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere—on the other. . . . Violence is a way of testing the proposition that the present U.S. administration has no stomach for a confrontation and, therefore, will impose its will neither in Vienna nor in the region.

The U.S. should change course and reverse the delisting of the Houthis as a terrorist organization. . . . In addition, there is a need to dispel Iran’s delusions, which allowed for the absurd situation in which Iran’s leaders Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi are the ones who decide if, and when, the U.S. will be allowed in the room in Vienna.

As for the Jewish state, Lerman cautions that it should avoid direct involvement in Yemen, but it should “prepare defensive options against missile or drone raids or attacks on shipping,” and provide intelligence and technological assistance to its allies in the Gulf.

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Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

 

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela