Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Control of southern entrance to the Red Sea the next Mid-East flashpoint

The Israeli intelligence blog Debka File reports that pro-Iranian Houthi troops have taken over control of the strategic straits (Bab el-Mandeb) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea.  Possession of this choke point threatens all commercial and military maritime traffic from the oil rich nations bound for the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean.   
Control of the Red Sea Bab el-Mandeb Straits passed Tuesday, March 31 to pro-Iranian Yemeni forces when the Yemeni Army’s 117th Brigade loyal to the former Yemeni President Ali Saleh handed positions guarding the waterway to two Houthi commando battalions trained by Iranian Revolutionary Guards. This is revealed by debkafile’s military and intelligence sources.

The article goes on to say Iran is sending naval forces to the Straits to reinforce and protect the Houthis from an anticipated Egyptian/Saudi effort to dislodge them.  This could provide the first direct military confrontation between the Saudis and Iran, who up to now has operated only through surrogates. 

On another front, the same article states unknown aircraft (possibly Egyptian or Israeli) attacked a weapons depot in southwest Libya that held Iranian supplied munitions destined for Hamas in Gaza.

In another development Tuesday involving Iran’s spreading tentacles, debkafile’s military sources reveal that unidentified aircraft bombed Burak, a small military base in the Fezzan province of southwestern Libya, which serves Iran as a transit store for arms purchased in Sudan for the Palestinian Hamas. The weapons, which recently reached the Libyan base through Chad, were destroyed.
At the heart of all this mess is Iran.  Yet the US continues to treat them as a friendly nation in the nuclear talks.  The administration exhibits a willful blindness to Iran’s aggression.   It will come back to haunt us.