Chris Stewart: Middle East at Edge of War Because of Iran

The Obama administration never took the threat of the Iranian terror network seriously. This administration must not make the same mistake, U.S. Representative Chris Stewart says in his opinion piece for Washington Examiner.

Last Tuesday, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen launched a ballistic missile against Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Fortunately, the missile was intercepted and destroyed by an American-made Patriot Surface to Air Missile. And it’s important to realize that this dangerous provocation is not an isolated incident. The Houthis have fired hundreds of short-range projectiles from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, including mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and short-range rockets.

Occupying one of the most impoverished nations in the world, one has to ask where the Houthis are getting such advanced weaponry. The culprit is, of course, Iran. Iran has been listed as a state sponsor of terror by the U.S. State Department since 1984. During this time, it has built a global terrorist network led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Inside Iran, the IRGC brutally represses any hint of resistance against the ruling religious class. Frighteningly, the IRGC is also the world’s largest criminal enterprise, with control over every key sector of the Iranian economy as well as expanding narco-terrorist operations in Africa, South America, and the U.S.

It’s an ironic challenge to U.S. policymakers that while most Americans recognize the threat of Al-Qaeda, most don’t understand that the worldwide terror network built by Iran is far more dangerous and deadly.

The 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon that killed more than 300 U.S. and allied personnel was masterminded and ordered by Iran. The 1994 bombing of the Jewish Community Center that killed 85 and wounded more 300 was once again Iran’s responsibility. The 1996 attack on Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 20 and injured 500 was masterminded and directed by Iran. Most damning of all is the fact that for years, Iran-backed groups have attacked U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq, killing more than 500 and wounding thousands of others.

These examples barely scratch the surface of the misery that Iran is heaping upon the world. The next ballistic missile fired by Iranian-backed Houthis may not be intercepted before it hits its target. If it isn’t, we can’t predict the outcome. Iran’s malevolent influence leaves the region standing on the very edge.

The Arab Coalition’s spokesman, Colonel Turki bin Saleh al-Maliki, announced in a press conference that weapons were seized from the Houthi militia that were provided to them by Iran. Al-Maliki also revealed aerial photos showing a militiaman carrying a SAM-7 missile, who was targeted by Apache plane, the same plane that also targeted Houthi militia border posts.

He added that the Apache planes also destroyed military vehicles belonging to Houthis, as well as weapon depots and Houthi checkpoints. Al-Maliki also said that the areas where Houthi ballistic missiles are being kept have been located and destroyed.

“The coalition and Yemeni army are specifically focusing on eliminating Houthi bases near the Saudi Arabian border,” he added.

Al-Maliki also stressed the coalition’s humanitarian aid efforts through airdrops of aid in several parts of Yemen and the work of human rights organizations in Sanaa amid Houthi threats towards humanitarian workers. The Arab Coalition has also distributed leaflets along with the Yemeni army to help those seeking safety, he said.

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