The Houthi rebels in Yemen are armed, trained, and equipped by Iran. Days ago the Houthis launched ballistic missiles at a U.S. airbase in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The incoming missiles were fortunately destroyed by U.S. Patriot missile batteries.
The Biden administration’s response to this attack? Nothing. In fact, worse than nothing. The administration continues to press ahead with talks with Tehran aimed at resurrecting the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. The Iranians and their hirelings can shoot at us all they want. We will not respond.
The Houthis for their part left no doubt about their intentions. After the attack, they admitted that they had deliberately targeted the Al Dhafra Air Base in Abu Dhabi home of the Air Force’s 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. A Houthi spokesman then promised follow-on attacks and urged investors to leave the UAE “since it has become an unsafe country that will be targeted regularly” so long as the war in Yemen continues.
American forces were on a heightened state of alert and spent about an hour in security bunkers after the missile alert sounded, said Lt. Col. Phillip Ventura, a spokesman for the U.S. Air Forces in the Middle East. This was the second attack on the UAE by Houthi missiles in a week. The first attack hit Abu Dhabi, damaging the oil storage facility.
The missiles in use by the Houthis come from Iran or are built in Yemen based on Iranian designs and with the assistance of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). They include the Burkan-3 for longer-range strikes up to 1,200 kilometers, the shorter range Badr P-1 rockets, with a 150km range, and the Soviet-era Frog-7, which Houthis call the Zelzal, with a 65km range.
Reporting has for some time indicated that the missiles are not just built and fielded with Iranian assistance, however, they are fired under the “direct orders” of the IRGC. The Iranians supervise construction. The Iranians train the crews to use the missiles. The Iranians are directly involved in launching these weapons.
Fragments of Houthi missiles collected in the past from attack sites have, in fact, shown that at least some of the components of the weapons are made in Iran. During a display of such fragments at Bolling Air Base several years ago debris was visibly stamped with the logo of the Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group, a U.S. and U.N. sanctioned Iranian missile manufacturer. The Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group has two manufacturing facilities in Tehran and one in Parchin, a military installation in the desert near the Iranian capital. The group produces parts for ballistic missiles including the Qiam, as well as various types of surface-to-surface missiles which “are delivered by the IRGC to proxy groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah.”
The Houthis, in fact, make little effort to hide the Iranian hand in their missile program. The Ambassador of Yemen’s Houthi group to Iran, Ibrahim Al-Dailami, has admitted in the past that the group uses Iranian expertise in the field of missiles and drones. In an interview earlier today with the Iranian news agency ISNA, Al-Dailami said: “This is not something we want to hide or consider as a disgrace, and we welcome any country that wants to help us in this regard, whether it is Iran or any other country. We welcome Iran’s cooperation and experience in this field, and any other assistance that would thwart the aggression against Yemen.”
Iran, for its part, did its best to signal its intent to ramp up Houthi missile attacks following the American killing of Qassem Soleimani. In October 2020, a senior officer of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF), Gen. Hassan Irlu, was appointed as Iran’s “ambassador” to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Irlu specialized in manufacturing and launching ballistic and anti-aircraft missiles.
Irlu had a long history of involvement in IRGC-QF operations with the Houthis. He had been an integral part of the Iranian effort to arm and train the Houthis for years. Irlu, despite being called an “ambassador” actually had no diplomatic background of any kind. Irlu brought with him to Yemen in October of 2020 twelve other Iranian officers specializing in precision missile-and-drone production.
When Irlu died in late 2021 Iran announced that it would immediately appoint a successor. This individual according to Tehran would also be from the IRGC.
Iran, in short, knows exactly what it is doing. It made a clear decision almost eighteen months ago to ramp up support for Houthi missile programs and to begin a strategic offensive against not only U.S. allies but U.S. forces as well. That offensive is now underway and shows no sign of abating.
Meanwhile, Biden, whose capacity for delusion and obfuscation almost defies belief, continues to push ahead with the fantastic notion of sitting down and negotiating with a regime that is actively trying to kill American servicemen. Speaking earlier this month, he said that it is “not time to give up” on talks with Iran aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. “There is some progress being made,” he said.
Apparently, the team Biden has assigned to surrender to the Iranians in these negotiations does not agree. Three members of this team have resigned recently, and reporting indicates that at least two of these individuals left because they wanted to take a much tougher line with the Iranians than Biden would authorize.
We saw in Afghanistan that Joe Biden had no problem with jeopardizing the lives of American servicemen. We saw that he would negotiate with terrorists and abandon our allies. We now know that Kabul was not an aberration.
Our forces in the Middle East are under attack. Houthi forces, armed, trained, and directed by Iran are targeting our people. Biden is doing nothing, and he will do nothing. That is the cold, hard truth.