US military release video showing arms smuggling off Yemen

A team from the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham inspects a dhow while conducting maritime security operations. (AP)
Updated 01 September 2018
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US military release video showing arms smuggling off Yemen

  • Similar vessels intercepted in the same waters in recent years were shipping weapons to the Houthi militia in Yemen
  • Vessel was carrying hundreds of small arms, including AK-47s

DUBAI: The US military released a video showing small ships in the Gulf of Aden smuggling weapons amid the ongoing war in Yemen. 
The short video, published on Friday, says the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham seized over 1,000 weapons from the “stateless” vessels, the  Associated Press reported. 
The US Navy’s 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Meanwhile, a US defense official told Reuters on Wednesday that the US Navy seized hundreds of small arms, including AK-47s, from an unflagged boat in the Gulf of Aden.

Similar vessels intercepted in the same waters in recent years were shipping weapons to the Houthi militia in Yemen from their backers in Iran.

The defense official told Reuters that the incident took place on Tuesday and the boarding was carried out by the crew of the Jason Dunham destroyer. The unflagged vessel was a traditional dhow.

The defense official declined to comment on the destination of the small vessel, but it was being investigated.

He added that the US Navy and allied ships have carried out similar operations in the past, including seizing drugs from vessels in the area.

The Arab coalition, which is supporting Yemen’s government forces in the war against Houthi militia, has repeatedly accused Iran of shipping weapons, including ballistic missile components, to the group.

Weapons seized by the US Navy from a dhow in 2016 that were believed to be on the way to Yemen. (US NAVY)

In September, Vice Adm. Kevin M. Doneganthe, the top American navy commander in the Middle East, said Iran was smuggling illicit weapons and technology into Yemen, that enabled the Houthis to fire increasingly more sophisticated missiles into Saudi Arabia.

In 2016, the British-based Conflict Armament Research provided detailed evidense of the arms smuggling route between Iran and Yemen. 

The group found that weapons seized from Iranian-made dhows by international warships in the Arabian Sea matched similar weapons captured from the Houthis.

In October 2016,US ships intercepted five Iranian arms shipments bound for Yemen.

The Gulf of Aden is one of the world’s busiest shipping routes connecting Europe to Asia and the Middle East, with Yemen to the north, Somalia to the south and the Arabian Sea to the east


Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

Updated 19 July 2019
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Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

  • Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil
  • Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is suspected to be involved in the killing

ANKARA: Turkey on Thursday launched an air attack on Iraqi Kurdistan in response to the killing of a Turkish diplomat in the region, the country’s defense minister said.
The Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil. Police sources said two other people were also killed.
There was no claim of responsibility for the shooting, but many Iraqi experts have pointed to the probability that the Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist group, was behind the attack.
“Following the evil attack in Irbil, we have launched the most comprehensive air operation on Qandil and dealt a heavy blow to the (PKK) terror organization,” defense minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Targets such as “armaments positions, lodgings, shelters and caves belonging to terrorists” were destroyed.
“Our fight against terror will continue with increasing determination until the last terrorist is neutralized and the blood of our martyrs will be avenged,” he added.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which now leads the regional government, enjoys good political and trade relations with Turkey.
But Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign since May in the mountainous northern region to root out the PKK which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
Earlier this month, the PKK announced that one of those raids killed senior PKK leader Diyar Gharib Mohammed along with two other fighters.
A spokesman for the PKK’s armed branch denied the group was involved in Wednesday’s shooting.