New open-source intelligence indicates that Iran’s regime is providing Houthi proxies in Yemen with “suicide drones,” putting Israel, the United States, and other targets within the weapons’ 2,000 kilometer range within danger, while removing Iran from being traced back to the weapons, according to a Newsweek report Thursday.
“The Iranians have delivered to their Houthi proxies in Yemen advanced UAVs [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles]. They are forward deploying or prepositioning these drones in order to stage an attack against a variety of targets they have within range,” said an anonymous expert to Newsweek.
Newsweek obtained imagery of these UAVs in a northern region of Yemen currently controlled by Houthi rebels, who Iran has long been supporting through training, finances and arms transfers.
As tensions rise in the Middle East, Iran is “trying to achieve plausible deniability, as in being able to strike either a U.S., Saudi, Gulf, or Israeli target and then having the strike traced back to Yemen and hoping for deniability against any kind of retribution,” said the expert.
The Pentagon would not confirm or deny the presence of Iranian UAVs in Yemen but expressed concern about Iran’s influence in the Middle East.
“We won’t comment on intelligence reporting or open-source speculation but what remains a concern is Iran’s destabilizing activities across the region,” said Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Anton Semelroth.
This is not the first instance Iran has been suspected of supplying UAVs to Houthi-rebels for the purpose of attacking Iran’s enemies.
Saudi Arabia backs the Yemeni government though military coalitions in Yemen, and in 2019, Houthi rebels retaliated by attacking Saudi tankers and oil installations using drones thought to be provided by Iran, causing greater destabilization in the region and prolonging the humanitarian crisis.
President Trump took a “maximum pressure” stance against Iran in an attempt to stifle Iran’s ability to financially support Houthi-rebels.
This week, the Trump administration placed the Iran-backed Houthis on the U.S. terror list.
It is predicted that President-elect Biden will attempt to return to the original 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, potentially freeing up billions of dollars that Iran can then use to continue funding proxy wars.