The Telegraph, 24 February 2018 - Iran’s support for Houthi rebel militia in Yemen could see ballistic missile expertise escape into the hands of terrorist groups such as al Qaeda, the Saudi government has claimed.
Mohammad Al Jabir, Saudi Ambassador to Yemen, said Tehran’s alleged supply of ballistic missiles to the Shia militia movement risks other extremist groups in Yemen gaining the same technology.
Yemen is wracked by a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia after a Saudi-led coalition intervened in 2015 to prop up government forces fighting Iran-allied Houthi rebels.
Saudi officials accuse Iran of smuggling missile parts into Yemen where Iranian experts help the militia assemble the weapons to fire into Saudi Arabia or at Yemeni government troops.
Boys look through a hole made by a Saudi-led airstrike on a bridge in Sanaa, Yemen
United Nations independent experts last week concluded parts from ballistic missiles fired into Saudi Arabia in 2017 were of Iranian manufacture, though did not identify the supplier. Tehran has denied sending weapons.
Mr Al Jabir said: “Iran is not just sending weapons, they are transferring the knowhow in ballistic missiles to Yemenis.
He said the expertise “could perhaps be transferred to the militia in Syria, maybe to Al Qaeda, maybe to ISIL”.
“In Yemen there are tribes where maybe one is a Houthi, but another from your family is Al Qaeda. You can transfer the knowhow, maybe not now but after one, two or three years.”
More than 10,000 are believed to have died in more than three years of the conflict, most of them civilians, but the fighting has also triggered what the United Nations calls the world's worst man-made humanitarian crisis.
Civilians caught in the middle face starvation and cholera.