In a move that, if confirmed, is certain to escalate the Yemen conflict which as a reminder is a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, overnight local media first, and Reuters subsequently, reported that local militiamen in the southern Yemeni city of Aden said they captured two Iranian military officers advising Houthi rebels, during fighting on Friday evening.
Many news outlets are taking about 2 Iranians from the revolutionary guards caught fighting along Houthis in Aden! #Yemen— Hussain Al-Yafai (@crazyyafai) April 10, 2015
Yemen FM Riyad Yasin says Iranian revolutionary guards are present inside Yemen— Mohamed Yehia (@yeh1a) April 9, 2015
Since Tehran has strongly denied providing any military support for Houthi fighters, proof of the arrest would indicate that the proxy war has transformed into a land incursion by at least one of the interested parties.
While the Houthis deny getting help from Shi'ite Iran and say their armed campaign is designed to stamp out corruption and Sunni al Qaeda militants, Saudi Arabia and its allies describe them as an Iranian-backed threat to regional security.
According to Reuters, "if confirmed, the presence of two Iranian officers, whom the local militiamen said were from an elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, would deepen tensions between Tehran and Riyadh, who are vying for influence in the Middle East." It would also make a land invasion by the Saudis, one for which the Kingdom has been peparing for the past two weeks and just needed a catalyst, practically assured.
Reuters furter reports, citing three three sources in the city's anti-Houthi local militias, that the Iranians, identified as a colonel and a captain, were seized in two different districts rocked by heavy gun battles.
"The initial investigation revealed that they are from the Quds Force and are working as advisors to the Houthi militia," one of the militia sources told Reuters.
"They have been put in a safe place and we will turn them over to Decisive Storm to deal with them," the source added.
Heavy Saudi-led air strikes and ground combat between armed factions battered southern Yemen on Saturday, killing around 20 Houthi fighters and two rival militiamen, residents and militiamen said.
Reuters concludes by noting that the middle eastern proxy war threatens to turn Yemen into a failed state. Or rather, the latest failed state, the most recent one of course being Iraq, where consecutive US presidents have taken turns to send thousands of troops in a now successful attempt to thoroughly destroy the country. And let's not forget Egypt, Tunsia and Libya all recently "liberated" from their evil dictators by the humanitarian, democracy-spreading US foreign intervention machine.