TEL AVIV – The recent round of negotiations between the Yemeni government and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels has been marred by speculation that Russia will supply advanced weapons to the rebels in a bid to offset a similar gesture by Saudi Arabia to its loyalists, an Arab intelligence source told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Russia’s response may be to pull the plug on the negotiations, he said, “probably via Iran. It will have far-reaching ramifications for Yemen’s fate, as well as for the efforts to end the civil war in Syria.”
Iran agreed to support the Houthis’ participation in the peace process only thanks to Russia’s adamant pressure, he added. “If Moscow is persuaded that the Saudis took advantage of the quiet to gain the upper hand, it may be the end of the peace process.”
Russia has been following Saudi Arabia’s regional dealings closely, including the attempts to form a Sunni “anti-terror” coalition, but “as long as they didn’t jeopardize Russia’s regional interests, they let it slide. Now we’re witnessing a strongly dismayed Russia that has already given the Syrian regime a green light to continue its offensive on opposition groups that participate in the Geneva talks. It may happen in Yemen too.”
Iran is only waiting for the opportunity, he added, saying that Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, traveled to Moscow this week for talks about arms supplies to the Iranian army, some of which recently began.
A Syrian Ministry of Information source confirmed to Breitbart Jerusalem that “Russia has seen signs of Saudi efforts to upset the peace process in Syria by arming terror organizations with anti-aircraft missiles. They understand that we must hit those terror organizations in Syria. Their involvement in Syria may lead to the collapse of the talks. In fact, this is what’s going to happen if Saudi Arabia continues to arm terror organizations.”
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the CIA believes Mideast rebels have already obtained man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADs, and the agency fears the weaponry could be acquired by terrorist groups and used against civilian aircraft.