The Empire Accuses Iran of Smuggling Weapons Into the Warsaw Ghetto

If Iran is indeed smuggling anti-aircraft missiles into the open-air prison that is Saudi-blockaded Yemen then that is a heroic act

Delivering tools that might keep Saudi bombers and blockaders at bay to the most victimized people in the world right now at great risk to itself — where’s the problem? While the US aids the Saudi starvation blockade, Iran at a great potential cost to itself is trying to alleviate it. You can’t just say you’re “the good guys”, you actually have to start not starving people to death in collective reprisals. Too much to ask?

Imperial troopers are proud they have intercepted two small shipments or arms to Yemen’s Houthis and their government in Yemen’s capital Sanaa:

U.S. Central Command spokesperson Navy Captain William Urban hosted a press conference Wednesday in which he displayed slides detailing two separate weapons caches on dhows seized by two U.S. destroyers on November 25 of last year and earlier this month on February 9. The first unmarked vessel was intercepted by the Arleigh Burke-class USS Forrest Sherman and the second by the Ticonderoga-class USS Normandy.

Among the captured cargo were said to be components for “351” ground-to-ground cruise missiles, “358” surface-to-air missiles, “Dehlavieh” anti-tank missiles, Noor/C802 anti-ship missiles—all of which Urban said were manufactured in Iran. While he said he could not provide the exact chain of custody, he said the Pentagon assessed that they had been sent by the elite Revolutionary Guard to Yemen’s Zaidi Shiite Ansar Allah, or Houthi, movement.

“If the weapons were manufactured in Iran, then they came from Iran,” Urban said when pressed on how the Pentagon could be sure Iran directly provided the weapons.

“Certainly, 150 anti-tank guided missiles do not just walk away,” he added. “They are illicitly smuggled for a purpose and that purpose is to spread lethal assistance to the Houthis, to Iranian proxies, there’s not a plausible explanation on how these weapons got on to a vessel in Yemen without the sanction of the Iranian government.”

The main part of the haul were 150 Iranian license-built copies of the Russian Kornet anti-tank missiles, a weapon in the same class as the US TOWs, along with 8 Iranian shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles known only as “358”.

Meanwhile, the UN confirmed at least 31 civilians were killed in Saudi airstrikes that Houthis characterized as a reprisal for Houthis downing a Saudi Tornado bomber just hours before in the same area:

Yemen’s Houthi rebels say more than 30 civilians have been killed in air raids carried out by a Saudi-UAE-led military coalition, with the United Nations confirming the death toll as it deplored a “shocking” failure to protect the war-torn country’s unarmed population.

Saturday’s air raids in northern al-Jawf province came hours after the Houthis said they had shot down a Saudi fighter jet in the same area with an advanced surface-to-air missile.

“Preliminary field reports indicate that … as many as 31 civilians were killed and 12 others injured in attacks that hit al-Hayjah area of al-Maslub district in al-Jawf governorate,” said a statement from the office of the UN resident coordinator and humanitarian coordinator for Yemen.

Indeed, collective punishment is a cornerstone of Saudi strategy in Yemen most apparent with the naval blockade (maintained with the help of the US Navy) which has killed over 130,000 civilians through privation. Additionally, the Saudis have killed over 8,000 civilians in airstrikes, but what is the most glaring is the proportion of strikes that land on civilians. Fully one third are known to hit civilian targets (the real proportion could be up to two thirds). Some of these are absolutely deliberate. In 2016 the Saudis double-tapped a funeral for the father of the Houthi-appointed interior minister, killing 155 mourners. The Saudis initially laughably denied they had carried out any such strike, then claimed the funeral hall was a “military target”. In 2018 they killed 40 school children when a school bus was destroyed, perhaps unintentionally in what the Saudis intended as just another mundane “marketplace bombing”.

Houthis are under a UN Security Council arms embargo (unlike the Saudis who can buy as much weapons as they want) but let’s be real here. US, Russia, China, France, and the UK all signing onto something doesn’t make it just, or law, or moral. (Even the US isn’t claiming the Houthis as a terrorist organization, unlike the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula which is so designated and sometimes collaborates with the Saudis against the Houthis.)

Iran getting the blockaded and bombarded Houthi-ruled Yemen missiles with which to try and keep Saudi bombers (or blockade ships) at bay is a heroic and humanitarian act. The closest analogy that comes to mind is the Polish resistance throwing small arms across the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Numbers from early 2019:

The Yemen Data Project has documented — in a very careful, conservative estimate — Saudi attacks on at least 1,968 residential areas, 640 farms, 237 schools, 185 communication buildings, 129 water and electricity plants, 70 healthcare facilities, 64 food storage units, 38 universities, 21 radio and TV stations, seven refugee camps, and even seven UN buildings.

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