Iran strengthens hold in Yemen
Quds Force is continuing to strengthen Iran's hold over Yemen as an active combat zone for fighting its enemies, and as a vanguard and strategic logistics hub, in the spirit of the Iranian concept of regional takeover and control.
Similarly to the model of Hezbollah in Lebanon and using Hezbollah's help, Quds Force is grooming the Houthi Shiite militia in Yemen as its proxy against Saudi Arabia and Saudi allies in the UAE.
Meanwhile, Quds Force is providing the Houthis with advanced weapons, military training, and routine support in ground combat on the border of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It has recently launched SSR and SSM at Riyadh and at a UAE ship.
The person responsible for handling the Houthis, as part of Quds Force's general activity in Yemen, is Abdolreza Shahlaei, a senior commander in Quds Force's special operations unit (Unit 400).
Shahlaei has initiated, financed, and realized terror activity for many years, and took part in undermining stability in Iraq in 2008 and in the plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S. in 2011, as a result of which Shahlaei was included in economic deisgnations in the U.S. and Europe
Shahlaei's vast operational experience in establishing and arming Shiite proxy groups in Iraq in the previous decade and his close proximity to and influence over Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and the leader of the Houthis in Yemen, Abd Almalek Al-Houthi, are enabaling Quds Force to realize the Iranian vision in Yemen.
This vision is also translated into a strategy of decentralizing Quds Force efforts, including arming the Palestinian terror organizations Hamas and PIJ with quality weapons, even at the price of undermining the scope of weapons held by the Houthi militias.
The weapons intended for the Palestinians, which include rockets and advanced anti-tank missiles such as the Kornet, are being tranferred to the Gaza Strip via Yemen, which is part of their shipping route between Iran and Sudan or Egypt.
In Yemen, the weapons ar transferred from the responsibility of Quds Force and Hezbollah to the responsibility of the Palestinians, with the assistance of local key functionaries, such as Abu Ibrahim Alhadi and Rabe'e Jarman, for interim storage and transportation inside Yemen.
Despite Quds Force's ongoing efforts, the Palestinian terror organizations have not been able to transport quality Iranian weapons outside Yemen over the past few years.
The reasons for this include: The undermining of the activity of Abdulmajed Alharazi, aka Abu-Abdallah, Hamas's contact for Quds Force in Yemen; involvement of Yemeni elements whose interests differ from the interests of the Palestinians; and the international campaign for foiling shipments being transported via the Red Sea.