The U.S. government is reportedly considering sending Ukraine weapons and ammunition previously seized as part of efforts to combat Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The transfers could include assault rifles and associated ammunition, as well as anti-tank guided missiles, among other things.
The Wall Street Journal reported on these deliberations earlier today, citing unnamed U.S. and European officials. The U.S. military, together with various allies and partners, regularly conduct counter-smuggling operations to interdict the flow of weapons and other materiel from Iran to Yemen as part of a broader Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) construct.
“U.S. officials said they are looking at sending Ukraine more than 5,000 assault rifles, 1.6 million rounds of small arms ammunition, a small number of antitank missiles, and more than 7,000 proximity fuses seized in recent months off the Yemen coast from smugglers suspected of working for Iran,” according to The Journal. “The unusual move would open up a new supply of firepower [that] America and its allies could tap into as they struggle to meet Ukraine’s need for military support as its war with Russia enters its second year.”
The Journal’s story does not mention any specific types of weapons, but its descriptions line up with details from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) about the contents of three separate seizures since December 2022. All of these occurred in the Gulf of Oman and the material was assessed in each instance to have been headed from Iran to Yemen.
Related Story: U.S. Navy Intercepts Over 2,000 Assault Rifles En Route from Iran to Terrorist Proxy in Yemen