IRAN SENDS WARSHIPS TO YEMEN AS ARAB COALITION CONSIDERS GROUND TROOPS on April 8, 2015, reported that the Iranian Navy departed for the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandab Strait “in line with the country’s policy of safeguarding naval routes for vessels in the region,” according to state-run Press TV. Excerpts below:

The Iranian government said it will observe international law while conducting a mission “to provide (safety for) Iran’s shipping lines and protect the Islamic Republic of Iran’s interests in the high seas.”

Critics say Iran supports the Shia Houthis targeted by Saudi Arabia and its Arab coalition.

On April 7 the United States announced it is expediting arms shipments to the coalition and providing intelligence for a bombing campaign against the Houthis rebels who overthrow the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who was supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said on April 8 ground troops are ready to be used in the Saudi war against the Shia Houthis.

Zayed Al Nahyan made the remarks during a visit by Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassen to the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi.

He also directly accused the Iranians for the conflict and said the Houthis’ overthrow of the Saudi-supported government in Yemen is part of an effort to export its Islamic revolution and expand its influence in the region.

At the beginning of the conflict late last month, Egypt announced it will send troops to Yemen in support of the Saudi effort “if necessary.”

“Egypt has declared its political and military support,” Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian foreign minister, said on March 26 at a meeting of foreign ministers in Sharm el-Sheikh ahead of the Arab League Summit.

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