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memri
November 16, 2017 No.
7183

Egyptian Historian: The Missiles Iran Is Providing To The Houthis Also Threaten The Suez Canal; Egypt Must Act To Defend Itself

Following Yemeni Houthi forces' November 4, 2017 firing of a ballistic missile at Riyadh, and against the backdrop of regional tensions and the fear of escalation of Saudi-Iranian conflict,[1] 'Abbas Al-Tarabili, historian and former editor of the Egyptian daily Al-Wafd, published an article in the Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Yawm titled "The Houthis' Missiles Threaten The Suez Canal." In it, he expressed fear that Saudi Arabia was not the only one in range of Houthi missiles emanating from Yemen, but that the Suez Canal was as well. Missiles fired at the canal, he said, would harm Egypt's economy, paralyze marine traffic in the region, and serve Iran's aim of completing its military expansion across the Middle East. He called on Egyptians to prepare for conflict with the Houthis, who are carrying out Iran's instructions, in order to defend the country and the canal.


Abbas Al-Tarabili. Source: Al-Watan (Egypt), September 1, 2017. 

The following are translated excerpts from Al-Tarabili's article:[2] 

"Houthi Missiles Threaten the Suez Canal – This headline is likely to shock, and some will think that it is fanciful, but I maintain that it is true and that we must take [the situation] seriously and deal with it from  this starting point.

"We are now witnessing declarations by Iranian sources that Iran is arming its allies, the Houthis, both with ballistic missiles – one of which was fired at Riyadh, deep inside Saudi Arabia – and with the missiles named 'Bab Al-Mandab,' some of which Iran provided to the Houthis, and which are now situated in and around Al-Hudaida port [in Yemen] and its environs.

"Likewise, the declarations that accompanied this were aimed at letting us know that the Suez Canal is not far [beyond] these missiles' [range], and that this does not necessarily mean that the missiles can reach the canal itself from where they are being fired – but that they can be fired at ships heading south out of the Red Sea, near Bab Al-Mandab – not far from the missiles in the Houthi-controlled Al-Hudaida region. [It also does not mean that they cannot be] fired at ships exiting the canal to the Red Sea and from there heading to the Indian Ocean.

"What it does mean is that these missiles threaten, or will in future threaten, international shipping channels using in the canal, an essential passage for global commerce. These are [surface-to-]sea missiles through which global commerce passing through the channel can be controlled. This [also] means that Iran is aspiring to expand militarily via its presence [in Yemen] and its alliance with the Houthis and their ally [former Yemeni president] Ali Abdallah Saleh. That is, the aim of this missile game in Bab Al-Mandab is to inflict financial and economic damage on Egypt. This is in line with [Iran's] aim to harm tourism!!!, [so as to] to weaken Egypt economically so that it can be more easily harmed and broken.

"Imagine that a cargo ship or oil tanker is struck by one of these missiles – passage through the Suez Canal will be stopped!...

"The danger looms, touching not only the southwestern Arabian Peninsula in Yemen. Some may say that the announcement of the presence of [surface-to-]sea missiles in Bab Al-Mandab could be aimed at dragging Egypt into bringing its forces into a war on Yemen – [even] after [Egypt] declared that it would not deploy its forces beyond its borders. But the situation here is completely different, because the danger is real. What will Egypt do? Will it remain silent in light of the danger to its present and its future?

"Here too we must not forget Tehran's dream of completing its plan to take over Iraq, when its fingers are already in Syria and its feet are in Lebanon. That is, it seeks to destroy the Arab homeland, link by link. Egypt is merely the biggest target that Iran aspires [to control], in order to revive the ancient Persian empire... Do you realize the magnitude of the disaster [if this happens]?...

"In order to defend its life and its economy, must Egypt deploy its military at the southern entrance to the Red Sea, at Bab Al-Mandab? If it does, it will have to step into the sick Yemeni quagmire... and participate alongside its sister Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, in confronting the Iranian terrorism in Yemen. Is anyone planning and acting to drag Egypt into the Yemeni quagmire, in order to ignite the entire region and thus gladden the weapons dealers and rehabilitation merchants? Will Egypt fall into this trap?...

"Egypt's destiny has been thus for centuries. It will not neglect its real leadership role to defend the entire region, not just itself... It must confront the Iranian terrorism that is now using these Houthis. Not only are Saudi Arabia and the UAE in danger, but so is the land of Egypt. This is Egypt's fate and pioneering role, and there is no escaping [it]. Thus, we defend the [Suez] Canal."

 

[2] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), November 12, 2017.