Friday, 8 February 2013

Seizure of Antiaircraft Missiles in Yemen Raises Fears That Iran Is Arming Rebels There



Seizure of Antiaircraft Missiles in Yemen Raises Fears That Iran Is Arming Rebels There

Source: The New York Times, 09/02/2103

By C. J. CHIVERS and ROBERT F. WORTH

Photographs recently released by the Yemeni government suggest that an interdiction last month by the United States Navy and Yemen’s security forces seized a class of shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles not publicly known to have been out of state control.

Such missiles, in the hands of militants, would pose new threats to military and commercial aviation and would mark an escalation in illegal arms trafficking in the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen has asserted that the missiles were bound for rebels in the country’s northwestern frontier, and both the United States and Yemen have suggested that the shipment may have come from Iran.

The missiles were displayed this week to journalists in Yemen, along with other weapons and military equipment that the Yemeni authorities said had been seized from the Jeehan 1, a dhow that was boarded at sea on Jan. 23.

The photographs and accompanying video images are grainy, but they show either modern Chinese- or Iranian-made heat-seeking missiles in their standard packaging. The weapons are of a class known as Manpads, for man-portable air-defense systems, of which the best known example is the American-made Stinger.

Matthew Schroeder, an analyst who follows missile proliferation for the Federation of American Scientists in Washington and the Small Arms Survey in Geneva, said that while a definitive identification was not yet possible from the information released, the missiles appeared to be either QW-1M missiles from China or Misagh-2 missiles from Iran.

“If these missiles are indeed one of these systems and were bound for an armed group, this is a significant development,” he said.

Many questions remain about the seizure, which Yemen said also included small arms ammunition, ground-to-ground rockets, explosives, military-grade binoculars and more.

Neither Yemen nor the United States has fully described the boarding of the dhow, including how it was detected or the precise roles of the security services and vessels that were involved. The dhow’s shipping documents, if they exist, have also not been made public, nor has any information obtained from the vessel’s navigation devices, logbooks or charts.

The seizure follows past joint operations by Yemen and the United States, including American Navy Tomahawk missile strikes against reputed Al Qaeda encampments in 2009 about which the governments issued false or misleading statements.

Investigations by members of the Yemeni Parliament and by Amnesty International later found that in one of those attacks, many civilians had been killed by American-made BLU-97 cluster munitions. The United States has not taken responsibility for the deaths or fully acknowledged its role, raising questions about the Pentagon’s honesty and transparency regarding its security collaboration with Yemen.

The antiaircraft missiles, as shown, included missile tubes and battery units, but not the trigger assemblies, known as grip stocks, necessary to fire the weapons.

The Yemeni authorities said they believed the missiles were destined for the rebels, known as the Huthis, who control a de facto statelet in northwestern Yemen, along the Saudi border. They also have a growing following, and are widely viewed as a threat to Yemen’s efforts to build a more unified nation after the uprising and political crisis of 2011.

The Huthis fought an intermittent guerrilla war against the Yemeni government from 2004 to 2010, gaining combat experience and building up supplies, including munitions obtained from Yemen’s corrupt military. They also briefly fought the Saudi military. Yemen has a vast supply of unregulated weapons and is a hub of regional arms trading.

The Huthis are Zaydis, followers of a variant of Shiite Islam, and they make up about a quarter of Yemen’s population. That sectarian affiliation — however distant — with Iran’s mainstream Shiite population has been the basis for repeated accusations of Iranian influence over the Huthis. Iran’s support appears to be ideological rather than military, and its extent is unclear.

C. J. Chivers reported from the United States and Robert F. Worth from Washington.

7 comments:

  1. Can you tell us more about this? I'd like to find out some additional information.

    My web-site ... Cheap NFL Jerseys

    ReplyDelete
  2. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a
    little bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog.
    A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

    My web site ... Gafas Oakley Baratas

    ReplyDelete
  3. obviously like your web site but you need to check the
    spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I
    in finding it very bothersome to tell the truth then
    again I'll definitely come back again.

    Check out my blog: Michael Kors Canada ()

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello there, I discovered your site by the use of Google at the same
    time as searching for a similar subject, your website got here up, it seems great.
    I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hello there, just changed into alert to your weblog via Google, and located that it
    is truly informative. I'm going to watch out for brussels. I'll
    appreciate in case you proceed this in future. Many folks will be benefited out of your writing.
    Cheers!

    Also visit my web site; Louis Vuitton Handbags

    ReplyDelete
  5. I almost never drop comments, however i did a few searching
    and wound up here "Seizure of Antiaircraft Missiles in Yemen Raises Fears That Iran Is Arming Rebels There".
    And I actually do have 2 questions for you if you don't mind. Could it be simply me or does it seem like a few of the responses come across like they are coming from brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are posting at additional online social sites, I'd like
    to follow everything new you have to post. Could you make a list of all of your social sites like your Facebook
    page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

    Look into my web site: Sac Guess

    ReplyDelete
  6. Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Thank you for providing this information.


    Stop by my web site ... Tory Burch Shoes ()

    ReplyDelete
  7. I got this web site from my buddy who shared with me on the
    topic of this site and at the moment this time I am visiting this web page and reading very informative content at this time.


    My web-site :: Cheap Jerseys

    ReplyDelete