From Sea to Shining Sea

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

Why You Should Pay Attention to Yemen

Nation by nation, Iran is extending its reach in a bid to rein over the Middle East. If allowed to continue taking control of the world’s strategic chokepoints, Iran can affect the world as it sees fit.

On Tuesday, Iran’s Fars News Agency, citing a spokesman for Yemen’s Revolutionary Forces, reported that “the Yemeni people are deeply interested to establish stronger and very intimate relations with Iran.” According to Fars, the spokesman “reiterated that once the Yemeni people take back power from the Saudi-U.S. pivot, Tehran and Sanaa would certainly develop their ties” (emphasis added).

So, what does Iran expect to gain by establishing a strong presence in Yemen?

Take a look at the accompanying map. Basically, Iran wants Yemen for the same reason it wants Ethiopia, Eritrea and Egypt: to control the Red Sea!

(See full story for map)

Yemen is adjacent to both the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. It sits on the north side of the Bab el-Mandab passageway. Every ship that passes through this passage—and there are thousands every year—would travel within easy range of Islamist missiles stationed in Yemen. Consider the global ramifications: Nearly 30 percent of global oil supplies, more than 2 million barrels per day, pass through the Suez and the Red Sea. Roughly 20,000 ships, an average of 55 per day, pass through the Suez Canal and Red Sea each year. About 15 percent of global maritime trade travels through the Red Sea.

Talk about power and leverage!

Few see it, but ultimately, this is Iran’s grand strategy for endorsing and promoting the Islamification of Egypt, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and to a lesser extent, Yemen and Djibouti!

Think about the leverage Iran is gaining. It already effectively controls the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. Now, in the 18 months since the Arab Spring touched off the rise of Islamist forces throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Tehran has made enormous strides in gaining influence over the Gulf of Aden, the Bab el-Mandab passageway, the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. If Egypt takes control of the Sinai, which appears imminent, Iran will also gain a foothold in the Gulf of Aqaba. It’s startling, when you really think about it, the way Iran is quietly, steadily—without hardly anyone noticing—locking down the Red Sea!

Full article: Why You Should Pay Attention to Yemen (The Trumpet)

Russia upgrades Syria-based electronic station to warn Iran of US/Israeli attack

The Russians have upgraded their Jabal Al Harrah electronic and surveillance station south of Damascus opposite Israel’s Sea of Galilee, adding resources especially tailored to give Tehran early warning of an oncoming US or Israeli attack, debkafile’s US military sources report.

Before it was boosted by extra advanced technology and manpower, the station covered civilian and military movements in northern Israel up to Tel Aviv, northern Jordan and western Iraq. Today, its range extends to all parts of Israel and Jordan, the Gulf of Aqaba and northern Saudi Arabia.

Full article: Russia upgrades Syria-based electronic station to warn Iran of US/Israeli attack (DEBKAfile)