According to Fox News, officials from the U.S. Navy confirmed this past Thursday that they had intercepted a vessel hosting Iranian-made weapons. The Naval warship was among the Arabian Sea earlier in the week when the seizure transpired.
Crew members from the USS Normandy managed to take control of an enormous number of weapons from aboard a dhow, which is a small vessel with lateen sails, on February 9th.
The seizure occurred while the USS Normandy was engaged in maritime security operations in the U.S. Central area of operations.
Navy seizes missiles, weapons linked to Iran from fishing vessel in Persian Gulf https://t.co/r2LnzeD7jc
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) February 13, 2020
Officials stated that the weapons and various components were destined to arrive in the hands of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Some of the weapons obtained were 150 “Dehlavieh” anti-tank guided missiles, which are essentially Iranian copycats of the Russian Kornet anti-tank guided missiles.
Other weapons that were noted in the seizure were three surface-to-air missiles, thermal imaging weapon scopes, components for unmanned aerial and surface vessels, and various other munitions and advanced weapons components.
JUST IN – US Navy seizes a cache of weapons bound for Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels, Pentagon says, including 150 anti-tank missiles & other arms "of Iranian design and manufacture" such as surface-to-air missiles, weapon scopes, and drone parts.
— Taiz Post News تعزبوست (@NewsTaizpost) February 13, 2020
It was noted that a number of the weapons that were in this latest catch were identical to ones seized back in November of 2019 by the USS Forest Sherman while in the Arabian Sea.
Just like the recent apprehension, those November weapons were also thought to be headed toward Houthis based in Yemen.
The thwarted acts also happen to be a direct violation of UN Security Council Resolution, as the resolution forbids the direct or indict supply, sale, or transfer of weapons to the Houthis.
US Navy seizes Iranian missiles en route to Yemen https://t.co/P5Sh9kMafT
— Arutz Sheva (@ArutzSheva_En) December 4, 2019
As of now, the weapons are in the custody of the United States while their fate awaits a final disposition.
It was mentioned that the assessment of the material will be an interagency and also international effort. According to the report, international partner nations as well as organizations have been invited to inspect the recent seizure by the U.S. Navy.
The concern of the destination for the weapons isn’t without reason, as the country of Yemen has been engaged in a civil war for years.
Since 2015 Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project had recorded over 100,000 deaths as a result from the war within the region. 2019 proved to be the bloodiest year of conflict within Yemen, where there were more than 23,000 fatalities reported that year alone.
The country of Yemen has been in a constant state of war and conflict, with many players involved in the fray.
Portions of the country are controlled by the Yemeni government. Then there are large portions that are controlled by the Houthi forces.
From there, you also have United Arab Emirates-backed anti-Houthi forces that also don’t like the Yemeni government controlling areas.
To complicate matters even more, there’s also United Arab Emirates-backed anti-Houthi forces that bear no conflict with the Yemeni government. The several factions have created blanketed areas of conflict zones throughout Yemen.
Retaliating against the recent Yemeni escalation, Houthi’s have brought down the 3rd drone of Saudi Arabia in less than a week. The Yemen War has already killed more than 100,000 people, most of whom were innocent civilians. The parties at war have failed to uphold an agreement. pic.twitter.com/pXej39Sggl
— Yemen Matters (@YemenMatters_) February 13, 2020
The chaos ongoing within the country has afforded militants from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the rival Islamic State group, to take advantage of vulnerable areas within Yemen.
This has given those groups the opportunity to carry out deadly terrorist attacks within the southern portion of the country, most notably Aden.
Houthi militia imposed a suffocating blockade preventing food and medicine and killing civilians by indiscriminate shelling, the city of Taiz has crossed the famous siege of Leningrad.Houthis crimes committed against Yemeni can be easily compared to the crimes of the "ISIS". pic.twitter.com/Xa408k1Hbt
— Rolla Karime (@rolla_karime) February 14, 2020
With an area rife with conflict, it’s comforting to know that the U.S. Navy has managed to intercept more artillery from entering the clashed country.
Considering that more than 12,000 non-military civilians have been killed in targeted attacks in Yemen since the start of the conflict, it’s possible that countless lives were saved as a result of the recent seizures.
While it’s difficult to project when the conflict will end within the country, hopefully the infighting will cease soon before more innocent lives are lost.