Thursday, November 26, 2009

Yemeni Situation Update and the Hajj

Debka has two updates on the situation in Yemen and the Houthi Rebellion. First, Debka is reporting here that the Iranians are planning to deploy midget submarines to the area. This is apparently in response to the assignment of the USS Chosin to lead Task Force 151 patrolling the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

The Yemeni conflict is fast evolving from a Houthi insurgency against the Abdullah Salah regime in Sanaa to a broad regional conflagration drawing in Saudi Arabia and Egypt as major players and increasingly the United States, whose involvement is building up into a direct confrontation with the rebels’ sponsor, Iran.

The belief is that the Iranians are bringing the midget submarines to assist in the supplying of arms and equipment ot the Houthi rebels.

On the same note, Debka is also reporting here that Jordan has sent its 2000 strong Special Forces to assist the Saudis in dealing with the Houthi Rebellion. This dispatch was at the request of the Saudis.

At the same time the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is reporting in translation here that Iran is attempting to create chaos during the Hajj.

A few days before the Hajj (November 25-30, 2009), Iranian officials deliberately intensified statements calling on Shi’ites, and all Hajj pilgrims to Mecca, to conduct baraa - a kind of political protest against the infidels and apostates instituted by the founder of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini - against the U.S. and the Saudi Wahhabis, whom Iran currently claims are slaughtering Shi’ites in Yemen. [1] During the baraa ceremony, pilgrims demonstrate in denunciation of apostates and the enemies of Islam, chanting political slogans such as “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

In addition, Iranian senior officials, as well as the country’s leading newspapers, hinted and warned that the unrest in Yemen would not be bound by that country’s borders, and could spill over into Saudi Arabia, threatening the stability of the regime there.

It would appear that Iran is attempting to arouse unrest in Saudi Arabia, against the backdrop of increased demands in recent days by the U.S. and Russia that Iran accept the conditions for its nuclear program proposed by the 5+1 in Vienna, and also against the backdrop of the ongoing fighting in Yemen between the Shi’ite Houthis, who are aided by Iran, and the Yemen government troops, aided by Saudi Arabia, in which the latter side is prevailing.

Please read the entire article which is too long to print here.

Analysis.I believe that there can be little doubt that the theocracy of Iran is attempting to destabilize the region. Unlike the MEMRI analysis in the third paragraph above, I believe that the pressure on Iran to stop enriching uranium is only part of the impetus behind the Iranian efforts.

The major goal of the Iranians is to make Shia Islam the primary sect of Islam.

Shiites believe that the leadership of Islam should follow the lineage of the family of Mohammad. The Sunni believe that there is no supreme leader but that leadership in Islam is by a caliph selected as the most pious among them. Secondarily I believe that the theocracy is attempting to create the chaos necessary to cause the Hidden Imam to return.

This particular confluence of events is most demonstrative of the goals. The Iranians have already established their Northwestern Front with Syria and Lebanon. Yemen is the Southwestern Front. Mecca is only about 350 miles from the Saudi/Yemeni border.

While I doubt that the Houthi could reach Mecca en masse, it is quite possible that small groups of saboteurs could reach Mecca and possibly cause a mess as happened in 1987. This would be another embarrassment to the Saudis.

The question right now is how far the Iranians will go. Will they use their midget submarines to try and break the blockade of the Yemeni ports to get arms and supplies to the Houthis and take the chance of engaging American warships?

Will they cause the Syrians or Hezbollah to threaten Jordan to force the recall of the Jordanian Special Forces? Will they try to disrupt the Hajj? All the above? None of the above? Something in the Persian Gulf?

At this point all we can do is react. That is not a good mode to be in but short of direct military action against Iran there is little that can be done at the moment. It is clear that diplomatic efforts are having no effect on Iran’s goals or actions.

I would expect that Debka will reveal additional meetings between the Intelligence chiefs of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel. Nor would I be surprised that the Iraqi Intelligence Chief had joined the group since the shrine that is built over the well that the Hidden Imam will use to return is in Iraq.

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