Sunni Vs. Shia: Yemen President Tells Iran To Stop Selling Weapons To Separatists Groups
By Maya Shwayder | February 9, 2013 4:49 AM EST
Two weeks after Yemeni officials seized a vessel filled with weapons destined for separatist groups and believed to have originated in Iran, Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi pointed and shook his finger in Tehran's direction, demanding they cease arming these groups.
Tehran, of course, shrugged its shoulders and claimed it had no idea was Mansour Hadi was talking about.
On January 23, Yemeni forces discovered a boat off the coast loaded with Katyusha and Strella rockets, anti-aircraft missiles, rocket propelled grenades, and C4 explosives, which Sanaa claimed was headed for anti-government militant groups, including the Shia insurgent group the Houthis.
Now, Yemeni government officials told the BBC that Mansour Hadi had contacted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about the smuggling problem, but declined to comment further on what the conversation entailed.
The BBC also reported Yemen has requested the U.N. Security Council to investigate the shipment, and that if they determined that it did indeed originate in Iran, they should file notification that Iran has again breached western sanctions.
Yemen, an impoverished Sunni-dominated state and ally of Saudi Arabia, experienced its own bouts of instability during the Arab Spring in 2011 after the resignation of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Saudis, a Sunni-ruled kingdom, have long accused Shia-dominated Iran of arming and supporting Shia insurgencies across the region.
On Thursday, U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen Jamal Benomar told journalist that the situation in Yemen "remains fragile."
“While progress has been made and the transition remains largely on track, it is clear that there has been active resistance to the transition,” Benomar said. He added that Yemen is still "awash with arms, light weapons, and heavy weapons which are available to private citizens and groups," and that Yemenis are "still waiting to see tangible improvements in their daily lives."
Yemen is also a known al-Qaeda haven, but both the Yemeni and U.S. governments maintain they are united in fighting al-Qaeda militants.
Iran and Yemen have had mostly good relations since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, but continued support by Iran for armed Yemeni rebels has degraded ties. When this particular weapons shipment was caught in January, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that this was "an escalation" by Iran.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Taylor Swift Named Forbes' Second Highest Paid Country Musician [PHOTOS]
- Forever Lost: Indescribable Anguish for Malaysia Airlines MH17 Families, Remains of Some Victims May Never Be Found (PHOTOS)
- Global Aviation Accidents: UN to Form Safety Task Force, Gov'ts Should Share Intelligence Info to Avert Future Incidents on Flying Over Warzones (PHOTOS)
- Lunch with the Gods: Pope Francis Eats with Vatican Workers in Cafeteria
Join the Conversation
- ACT Party's Demand to Re Consider Maoris Privileges Evokes Reprimand
- Opinion Poll in New Zealand Shows National Party Far Ahead in Popular Support
- “Women should not laugh in public” - Turkish Deputy PM says
- Iran Leader Asks Muslims to Supply Arms to Palestine, Calls Israel ‘Rapacious Wolf’
- Canada Claims Good Progress in EU Trade Pact Despite Germany’s Defiant Postures
- Transfer News: Ron Vlaar to Consider Villa Exit, May Move to Tottenham
- AS Roma's Seydou Keita Throws Water Bottle at Real Madrid defender Pepe for Spitting [VIDEO]
- The Mentalist Season 7 Spoilers: CBS Skips Simon Baker's Patrick Jane in Fall Schedule, Josie Loren Joins Cast
- Game of Thrones Season 5 Update: Maisie Williams Talks Arya Stark, Lady Stoneheart, and Surprises
- Transfer News: FC Barcelona, Man Utd to Compete for Juan Cuadrado's Signature as Fiorentina Reveal Willingness to Sell