US Navy Seizes Yemen-Bound Assault Rifles

The US announced on Tuesday the seizure of over 2.1k assault rifles on a ship in the Gulf of Oman, believed to have come from Iran and bound for Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

US Navy Seizes Yemen-Bound Assault Rifles
Imafe credit: Bexar Arms / Unsplash

Facts

  • The US announced on Tuesday the seizure of over 2.1k assault rifles on a ship in the Gulf of Oman, believed to have come from Iran and bound for Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
  • The Bahrain-based US Navy Fifth Fleet discovered the cargo Friday on a small wooden boat crewed by Yemeni nationals off the coast of Oman. The Yemeni crew will reportedly be repatriated back to a government-controlled part of Yemen.
  • The weapons appear to be Chinese-made T-56 rifles and Russian-made Molot AKS20Us, according to experts who examined photos released by the Navy. Similar weapons suspected to be from Iran and headed to Yemen have previously been seized.
  • Last month, the US Navy claimed to have captured one million rounds of ammunition, rocket fuses, and propellant on a fishing vessel traveling to Yemen from Iran. In November, the Navy also said it found 70 tonnes of missile fuel allegedly being smuggled from Iran to Yemen.
  • A UN arms embargo prohibited weapons transfers to the Houthis in 2014 when Yemen’s civil war erupted.

Sources: CNN, Al Jazeera, and Associated Press.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by U.S. State. The ongoing illegal flow of weapons to Yemen is causing significant suffering for innocent civilians. International negotiators are working hard to find a political solution to the war. The most recent seizure of Iranian weapons is just one more example demonstrating that Iran is continuing to arm the Houthis and disregard peace-making processes.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Ink Stick Media. Washington's role in the influx of weapons in the conflict— and by extension, its role in the country's crisis — can't be overlooked. As it hypocritically denounces Iran's suspected supply of weapons, the US itself is heavily arming Saudi Arabia in the hopes of cozying up with the oil-rich nation, and innocent civilians are paying the price.