Tuesday, April 05, 2016

1,700 Iranian weapons seized on the way to Yemen? Its really nothing to trumpet...

via AOL Defense.
We write a lot on this site about high-tech, high-cost weapons. But it’s worth remembering that most of the killing around the world, an estimated 200,000 deaths a year, takes place with low-tech tools, like these AK-47 assault rifles the Navy seized Friday in the Arabian Sea. All told, the small cargo ship carried 21 fifty-caliber machineguns, 200 rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers, and a staggering 1,500 AK-47s.

Their origin, according to the US Navy? Iran. Their destination? The Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The Houthis have hit the Saudi army’s US-made M1 tanks with sophisticated guided missiles. They’ve even fired short-ranged ballistic missiles — cousins of Saddam Hussein’s Scuds — at Saudi targets to deadly effect. The Saudis have responded with the famous Patriot missile defense system, sometimes shooting down the incoming Houthi missiles and sometimes not. (See the graphic timeline below by Tom Karako & co. of CSIS).
This confounding combination of low-tech and high, of irregular militias with weapons once reserved for states, is known to many military theorists as a “hybrid” threat. Vladimir Putin’s use of separatist proxies and deniable “little green men” is arguably a case of hybrid warfare practiced by a major power. And Daesh, the self-proclaimed Islamic State, presents a threat that combines transnational terrorism, a popular (Sunni Arab) insurgency, and conventional fighting for territory.
Read the entire article, and if you don't like Breaking Defense then you can read different versions of this story at other places (CDR Salamander gave his take on it too).

From my perspective this is nothing to trumpet.  Has everyone forgotten that the US Navy simply monitored Iranian warships delivering supplies to the Yemen rebel forces?  If not take this step back in time and read the stories here, here, and here.

Maybe I'm a bit too cynical but from my chair the US Navy and Intel services could have made seizures at least 5 times (or more) bigger than this if they wanted to.  The real question is whether this is politically motivated, a warning shot across the bow of the Iranians to let them know that we have visibility on their arms shipments or both.

Its a nice story.  For people not paying attention this is huge.  But for those of us that are keeping an eye on these things this isn't a big deal. 

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