Tehran (AFP) – Two Iranian destroyers, sent to the Gulf of Aden to protect commercial ships, have reached the entrance of Bab el-Mandab, a strategic strait between Yemen and Djibouti, Iran’s navy said Thursday.
In another sign of tensions between Gulf rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, the Saudi charge d’affaires was summoned to the foreign ministry in Tehran to hear a “strong protest” over Saudi military action which prevented an Iranian plane from landing in Sanaa.
“We are present in the Gulf of Aden in accordance with international regulations to ensure the safety of commercial ships of our country against the threat of pirates,” said the head of the Iranian navy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari, quoted by the official IRNA news agency. Continue reading
Eighteen miles. That’s the width of the Bab el-Mandab passageway, the narrow stretch of ocean separating Djibouti from Yemen that connects the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea. In strategic terms, this passage is crucial. Control the Bab el-Mandab passage and you control the eastern half of one of the most important shipping lanes in the world.
That is exactly what Iran is looking to do. Few recognize it—but it’s happening under our noses. All you have to do is look at Yemen. Continue reading