According to an article from The New York Times, on March 28, 2016 American Navy ships intercepted and confiscated a weapons shipment from Iran meant for the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The Yemen crisis is one of the most serious conflicts it has faced in years. The fight is between the government loyalists, backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia, and the Houthis, backed by Iran. The Houthis adhere to a branch of Shia Islam known as Zaidism, which makes up one-third of the population of Northern Yemen. Both of those groups are opposed by AQAP, an al-Qaeda group based out of the Arabian Peninsula. “Western intelligence agencies consider AQAP the most dangerous branch of al-Qaeda because of its technical expertise and global reach (BBC).” The violence in Yemen stems from problems of inequality in regards to power and resources. The government has been corrupt, unstable, and weak. The poorest country in the Middle East has been depleted both economically and in terms of infrastructure. More than 10 million citizens are lacking adequate access to nutritional food as well due to unemployment, a lack of social services, and high food prices. With the issues already surrounding the modern Middle East, the West fears that the issues in Yemen will only increase regional tensions.
Last week’s confiscated arms were hidden on a small dhow, a traditional sailing vessel used to transport goods and passengers throughout the Persian Gulf. The weapons included AK-47 rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and machine guns. The crew of the ship was released following the the confiscation of the weapons. Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, said “that Iran’s support for the Houthis in Yemen’s civil war was an example of its ‘destabilizing activities’ in the region (Reuters).’” Questions surrounding the weapons could be raised at the United Nations Security Council, the strongest body in the United Nations responsible for international peace and security.
|Some of the weapons seized on March 28, 2016|
Bibliography:Reuters. "Yemen: U.S. Seizes Weapons at Sea." The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 4 Apr. 2016. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.
"Yemen Crisis: Who Is Fighting Whom? - BBC News." BBC News. BBC, 26 Mar. 2015. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.