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Iran's Revolutionary Guards were deployed in Yemen-Are we close to a US strike on Tehran?

Commanders and advisers from Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are on the ground in Yemen and are playing a direct role in Houthi rebel attacks on commercial traffic in the Red Sea.

The Iranian Guards (IRGC) has sent trainers and missile and drone operators to Yemen, as well as personnel providing military intelligence support to the Houthis, U.S. and Middle Eastern officials said.

Iran is literally playing with fire

The IRGC, through its elite Qods force, is overseeing the transfer to the Houthis of attack drones, cruise missiles and medium-range ballistic missiles used in a series of raids in the Red Sea and on Israeli targets in recent weeks, US officials said.

The Houthis may claim that their military operations are designed to help the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, but their attacks are actually aimed at the US and the West.

Iranian general oversees everything in Yemen

The IRGC's overall presence inside Yemen is overseen by General Abdul Reza Shahlai, a senior Tehran-based officer whom the Trump administration attempted to assassinate in a 2020 drone strike inside Yemen, US officials said.

US intelligence agencies believe he is deeply involved in Tehran's overseas terrorist operations through his role as deputy commander of the Qods force.

The Iranian general was instrumental in overseeing a failed 2011 Iranian plot to assassinate the then Saudi ambassador to the US in a Washington, D.C. restaurant.

Shahlai, who has been placed on the US Treasury Department's sanctions list, also helped oversee IRGC attacks on US military personnel in Iraq over the past two decades.

We are probably very close to a US attack on Iran

The strong presence of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Yemen and their role in directing strikes against Western targets risks fuelling a direct confrontation with the US as the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip continues.

The Biden administration has so far expressed its intention to avoid a military confrontation with Tehran and prevent a wider regional conflagration.

However, the Pentagon and US allies began directly striking Houthi targets inside Yemen last week, increasing the likelihood that the US will also harm Iranian officers in the country.

U.S. officials say Tehran began significantly increasing its military presence toward the Houthis in the mid-2010s.

The Houthis are Shiites and have an advanced arsenal of offensive drones and cruise and ballistic missiles that allows them to inflict serious blows to global traffic through the Suez Canal and the Babe el-Mandeb Strait, all the way to the port of Eilat in Israel.

U.S. officials say Iran has deployed the Houthis at a central point in Tehran's regional alliance system known as the Axis of Resistance, which includes Hamas in the Palestinian territories, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Iraqi and Syrian militias.

This system allows Iran to project military power far beyond its borders, while also providing some deniability of participation in military or terrorist operations.

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