Reuters Suggests But Can Not Find "Iran's new route to Yemen"

by Bernhard at  Moon of Alabama, August 1, 2017

The Trump administration is filled with people who, for whatever reason, hate Iran. These people are attempting to break the “nuclear deal” with Iran and other powers. Their propaganda accuses Iran of every “evil” in this world. Their position is fully in line with the Israeli-Saudi anti-Iran axis.
Since the U.S., the UK and the Saudis wage war against Yemen they claim that Iran is allied with the Zaydi people of northern Yemen who, together with the Yemeni army, resist the Saudi invasion. Iran is regularly accused of smuggling weapons to them even as no evidence for this has ever been shown.
Reuters jumps into the breach with this fantastic fake-news item: Exclusive: Iran Revolutionary Guards find new route to arm Yemen rebels:

LONDON (Reuters) – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have started using a new route across the Gulf to funnel covert arms shipments to their Houthi allies in Yemen’s civil war, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

For the last six months the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has begun using waters further up the Gulf between Kuwait and Iran as it looks for new ways to beat an embargo on arms shipments to fellow Shi’ites in the Houthi movement, Western and Iranian sources say.Using this new route, Iranian ships transfer equipment to smaller vessels at the top of the Gulf, where they face less scrutiny. The transhipments take place in Kuwaiti waters and in nearby international shipping lanes, the sources said.
“Parts of missiles, launchers and drugs are smuggled into Yemen via Kuwaiti waters,” said a senior Iranian official. “The route sometimes is used for transferring cash as well.”

The writer of that Reuters piece is one Jonathan Saul. Other most recent piece on his Reuters page are: European banks struggle to solve toxic shipping debt problemGlobal shipping feels fallout from Maersk cyber attack and Lenders to ramp up pressure on holders of toxic shipping debt – survey. Older stories by Saul have similar headlines. Saul writes from London about the global shipping industry. That surely qualifies him as an expert on Yemen.
But even an expert can err. The Houthi are not Shia in the sense that Iran is predominantly Shia. They are Zaidi and follow the Hanafi school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence. They pray in same mosques as Sunni believers do. Using the term Shia for the Zaidi side of the Yemen conflict is a lazy repeat of unfounded Saudi claims which try to set any local conflict in the Middle East into a “Sunni-Shia” frame even when that is completely inappropriate. As the Carnegie Endowment states:

Claims of Iran’s influence over the Houthis have been overblown. While the Houthis do receive some support from Iran, it is mostly political, with minimal financial and military assistance. However, since the Houthis took control of Sanaa, the group has increasingly been portrayed as “Iran-backed” or “Shia,” often suggesting a sectarian relationship with the Islamic Republic. Yet until after the 2011 upheavals, the term “Shia” was not used in the Yemeni public to refer to any Yemeni groups or individuals.

The Reuters piece comes with this rather unhelpful map.
While that map (biggeroriginal linkis headlined “Iran’s new route to Yemen” it shows no route at all.
Pushing anonymous rumors of Iranian weapon transfers at high sea the Reuters piece totally fails to explain how these weapons would then be transported INTO Yemen. There is no route shown for that. Saudi Arabia and its al-Qaeda allies on the ground blockade and control all sea and land routes into Yemen. Millions of Yemenis are near starving and a huge Cholera epidemic is ravaging the country with 400,000 infected and hundreds dying each day. Hardly any food and no medicine comes through. How please are Iranian weapons supposed to jump from some Daus into the hands of the Houthi when not even food can be passed along?
The claim of weapon transfers near in the upper Persian Gulf makes no sense at all. It is about 2,000 kilometers from the area to the Yemeni coast. There are many much shorter routes from Iran to Yemen which small ships could use without any higher risk. Deeper down the Reuters piece even admits that and thereby contradicts itself:

Smaller Iranian ports are being used for the activity as major ports might attract attention,” [a second senior Iranian official said.]

Another sign that the Reuters piece is utter bullshit is the claimed sourcing from three(!) anonymous “senior Iranian officials”. Are we to believe that multiple “senior Iranian officials” admit to a shipping correspondent in London that Iran is willfully breaching UN resolutions by smuggling weapons into Yemen? Why would they do that? Why would they confirm Saudi anti-Iran propaganda?
The Reuters piece makes a fantastic claim that has no practical logic. The author lacks knowledge of the actual conflict at hand. The sourcing is extremely dubious.  Reuters itself can not find “Iran’s new route” on the map it provides.
Reuters is the major British news agency. Britain is heavily involved in the conflict in Yemen and the Saudis and their allies are the biggest customers of British weapon manufacturers. The piece on the ominous “new route” will surely make a splash but it disqualifies Reuters as a reliable source of information.


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Aug 10, 2017 8:07 PM

If Jonathan Saul was reporting for his news org in 1930’s Germany, he’d be telling people that Jewish terrorists were organized inside Germany and nearby, hording weapons in secret staches and plotting the destuction of democratic Germany. The 1% and its media allies totally depend on people’s susceptibility to whatever ‘authorities’ say to get their propaganda/fake news out there. And the oh so trustworthy (as Udo Ulfkotte has revealed – http://tinyurl.com/ya8jjd2o), ‘professional’, journos, who have been embarrassed by those (an oppositional Left that is not much different than the Right and a real Left that exposes corruption and imperialism out of principle), doing real journalism – in regard to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, nonsense about Russian hacking the American election, etc – are happy as heck to oblige. It’s called revenge. It’s what you would expect from a group whose professionalism disappeared the minute they modified themselves (as we… Read more »

Michael Leigh
Michael Leigh
Aug 9, 2017 2:00 PM

I assume most followers of this website are aware that as long as the foreign policy, and even its ideology which rules the North American Nation ( and which is also supported by an alliance of other nations whose political appointees are still dreaming of imperial rape and plunder) is solely at the behest of the ” global one-per-cent ” who directly, and indirectly through their corporate holdings illegaly rule the world via the medium, of a singular territorially intrusive Nation of dubious sovereignty and origins – and not to be forgotten its particular ownership of the major media outlets for distribution in the English language, worldwide.
The political leaders of these other Nations which slavishly support Israel and the USA are in fact, unconvicted ‘ fifth columnists ‘ to their national community’s and their regimes are bolstered and upheld by the self-same media dictatorship’s ?

Eric Blair
Eric Blair
Aug 9, 2017 1:24 PM

b from MoA is usually very accurate but he is wrong about the Zaidi being Sunni. They are most definitely Shi’a as I pointed out to him when he first posted this piece on his blog. Apparently he did not bother correcting his mistake which is puzzling since it is easily verifiable to anyone with an Internet connection which I assume he has.
It is true that the Sunni/Shi’a split isn’t as prominent in Yemen as in other places and that Saudi Arabia has done a lot to drive Sunni and Shi’a apart. <a href=”http://www.yementimes.com/en/1759/opinion/3540/Yemen-is-more-nuanced-than-‘Sunni’-%C2%A0‘Shia’.htm”>This article explains the unique situation in Yemen but that still does not make the Zaidi in any way Sunni. It’s not a controversial claim it is simply true, and b’s leaving a falsehood in his otherwise fine piece does not reflect well on his commitment to truth.

Eric Blair
Eric Blair
Aug 9, 2017 1:27 PM
Reply to  Eric Blair

Sorry mods, the link template got messed up. I can’t edit it from my end so if one of you can fix it that would be great. Thanks in advance!

Aug 8, 2017 8:12 AM

The public is being ‘softened up’ or prepared for more war. The war party in the United States and their vassals across the West seemed determined to fight more wars and lash out at any perceived threat any imaginary adversary who refuses to bend the knee and acknowledge American leadership and hegemony. The Baltic States, Ukraine, Iran, Korea, the South China Sea… the list of possibilities and excuses for war is ever expanding and frightening. How will the ruling elite in the United States deal with the rise of China? Arguably in precisely the same way the British Empire dealt with the entry of a powerful and united Germany onto the world scene, with confrontation and eventually war. The tragic irony that this didn’t work and merely delayed the rise of Germany, whilst bankrupting the empire in the process, is probably lost on the Americans, who don’t seem to appreciate… Read more »

Aug 7, 2017 9:48 PM

The Reuters piece surely doesn’t make a big splash because all corporate media is busy with people stories around Trump. Some circle around the migration crisis. But the entire war in Yemen is hardly noticable.
Anyway, thank you for taking the piece apart. I didn’t know anything about Zaidi, for example. Also, most media sucks because they never explain their insinuations and, when pressed, claim anonymous sources.

Aug 7, 2017 3:51 PM

Reminds me of the Never proven Russian invasion of Crimea and Ukraine after the US coup in 2014…..

Aug 8, 2017 7:45 AM
Reply to  adambaumsocal

Yes, Crimea is 600 land km from Russia and yet the Russian ‘invading’ force managed use a cloaking device which made its armoured columns invisible as well as the elusive waves of infantry and helicopter gunships. They – devious as ever – got the idea from the Clingons in Star Trek and imported their technology to enable their evil plans. Mind you I can’t think of any battles that took place or any cities that fell or even the date on which this invasion took place. But hey, you know how fiendishly inventive these Russians can be.

Aug 9, 2017 11:18 PM
Reply to  Frank

Crimea, like Palestine, is a Muslim land occupied by foreign non-Muslims.