Thursday, March 15, 2012

Iran backing Houthi rebels, U.S. claims

WASHINGTON, March 15 (UPI) -- Iranian military forces are shipping light weapons to rebel groups in Yemen, a senior U.S. official claimed.
Yemeni forces in August 2009 launched a campaign against Houthi rebels in northern Yemen. The conflict threatened to spill into Saudi Arabia before the Yemeni government reached a cease-fire agreement with the Shiite rebel group in 2010.
An elite unit within Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps is using small boats to smuggle assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades to the rebel groups in Yemen, a source identified by The New York Times only as "a senior American official" said.
Yemen is in the midst of a political transition period following February elections. Long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down last year after his country was caught up in the so-called Arab Spring.
Yahya al-Houthi, identified by the Times as a spokesman for the Shiite group, denied the movement was getting military support from the Iranians. He said the claims are reiterations of previous allegations made by the United States and their allies in the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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