How to Stop Iranian Arms Smuggling

Last month, the Combined Maritime Forces, a naval partnership that includes 34 nations and is led by the U.S. Central Command, established a new multinational task force to help quell the Islamic Republic from smuggling weapons to its terrorist proxies. Bradley Bowman, Ryan Brobst, and Mark Montgomery report:

There is little doubt that the new task force will have its hands full. Iran has used the waters around Yemen to smuggle major quantities of weapons to the Houthi [rebel army] there. The Houthis, in turn, continue to use those weapons to stoke the conflict in Yemen, attack vessels in the Red Sea, and target civilians in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as documented in annual reports by the United Nations’ Panel of Experts on Yemen.

The reliable flow of weapons has given the Houthis little incentive to negotiate with Riyadh in good faith. Instead, the Houthis, sometimes employing human shields, conducted at least 375 cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia in 2021. And that does not include two Houthi attacks in January on the United Arab Emirates that struck the Abu Dhabi International Airport and targeted the al-Dhafra airbase, which houses American troops.

It is also worth remembering that the Houthis fired anti-ship cruise missiles at the U.S. Navy destroyer Mason in 2016 while it was operating in international waters in the Red Sea near Yemen. Since then, the Houthis have used unmanned “waterborne improvised explosive devices” to attack commercial vessels, according to a 2022 UN report.

Read more at Defense News

More about: Iran, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

 

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria