A French naval patrol intercepted a shipping vessel in the Indian Ocean with a large Iranian weapons cache on board headed for Somalia. This is the second largest seizure in the region this month and both were more than likely headed to Yemen as a resupply of arms for the Iranian-backed Houthi rebel fighters there (earlier in March, an Australian naval patrol seized a shipping vessel with a large arms cache aboard that was also speculated to have originated in Iran bound for Yemen).
French naval personnel detected the ship carrying the weapons cache as part of routine surveilance in the northern Indian Ocean. In a statement on Monday from the Combined Maritime Forces, it was noted that the French found “several hundred AK47 assault rifles, machine guns and anti-tank weapons” The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) is a multinational naval partnership that monitors over three million square miles of international waters with 31 countries participating in this partnership.
This latest seizure is just another example of Iran stoking hostilities in the Middle East through its proxy war with Saudi Arabia via the war in Yemen by backing the Houthi rebel fighters. Iran has a history of shipping arms to militants; for instance, in 2014, Israel intercepted a shipping vessel that had missiles aboard bound for Gaza. Israeli officials went on the record stating that they had undisputed proof that Iran was behind the operation.
Should Iran be sanctioned for shipping weapons to militants? How could the international community stop the influx of these weapons? Sound off in the comments below!