The Child Killers of Iran -- 'Read All About It!'


The 1890s-1940s saw young newspaper boys walking city streets selling papers. Shouting out news of the day to attract buyers, the stock phrase for breaking news was, "Extra, extra, read all about it!" That era disappeared long ago, but newsboys selling today's big story might shout something like, "Iran spreads fake news to gullible West while killing children - Extra, extra, read all about it!"

There is no doubt that, just as the U.S. news media have lost a great deal of credibility due to the heavy liberal slant laid bare leading up to the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath, the media in other democracies are just as guilty. Nowhere is this more obvious than the United Kingdom where news influencers, such as the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and others, are guilty of slanting news to promote their own liberal agenda.

U.K. news coverage has turned a blind eye to an ever-increasing domestic threat posed by Islamic extremists. Meanwhile, however, it uses the current war in Yemen to cast Saudi Arabia as the bad guy while giving the real evildoers - the Iranians - a free pass.

If one depended solely on liberal news sources for news, one would believe that the realities of the war's collateral damage in Yemen fall solely on an insensitive Riyadh. While starvation now is part of the collateral damage equation plaguing Yemen, what Riyadh does in its aftermath receives minimal media coverage.

The public undoubtedly knows war has raged in Yemen for two years, but the media seem unwilling to explain that the conflict was triggered by an Iranian-backed Shia group - the Houthis - to overthrow an existing, legitimate government. The Houthis play a similar role for Iran as another proxy group Tehran uses - Hezbollah - in places like Lebanon, Iraq and Syria to weave its caliphate web by destabilizing existing governments.

The Houthis continue to fight with weaponry representing a sophistication bearing (mostly) Iranian markings. This is reflected both by the group's missile attacks against U.S. Navy ships in the Red Sea and against Saudi Arabian civilian population centers - acts of war that would only be undertaken with Iran's approval. (The latter attack would also qualify as a war crime.) Additional weaponry sophistication has included the planting of mines at sea and the use of kamikaze drones, neither of which the Houthis, independent of Iran, possesses.

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the conflict is an atrocity Iran employed extensively during its eight-year war with Iraq (1980-1988) and that continues today - the sacrificial use of children. This, also, is an obvious war crime.

During its war with Iraq, to spare the loss of its seasoned warriors, Iran engaged thousands of its own children to penetrate Iraqi mine fields in human waves, to clear approach lanes for its warriors. Before doing so, Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini presented each child with a cheap, made-in-Taiwan plastic key, telling them it would open the gates to the paradise that awaited them. An estimated 36,000 children lost their lives clearing those minefields.

Today, the Houthis use food to woo starving children as young as 6 - a force reportedly now forming 40 percent of their army. They are taught their only options are battlefield victory or death.

Interestingly, while silent about Iranian/Houthi war crimes, BBC's source for reporting alleged crimes by Saudi Arabia is often Iran. BBC has gone so far as to accuse the U.S. of complicity with the Saudis in such crimes as well.

Besides plans for a Middle East caliphate, one day to be connected to their Latin American caliphate also in formation, the mullahs focus on Yemen because it offers them a strategic advantage via control of that country's Bab al Mandab strait.

Obviously, world oil transit choke points are critical to global oil security. The Bab al Mandab is just such a strait. It is estimated commercial tankers carrying 3.4 million barrels of crude oil pass through it daily. Bab al Mandab, leading to yet another oil choke point at the Suez Canal and the already Iranian-controlled choke point at the Strait of Hormuz, give Tehran a tremendous opportunity to negatively impact global oil flow.

Were Yemen to fall into Iran's grasp, it would also provide Tehran a springboard for destabilizing its archenemy and Sunni counterpart, Saudi Arabia. The mullahs have long resented that the Saudis, rather than the Iranians, are Custodians of Islam's two holiest mosque sites, in Mecca and Medina, and seek to usurp that guardianship.

Iran's sights on expansion would not end with Saudi Arabia but extend to spreading the Islamic Revolution as mandated by its constitution (the only country in the world claiming extraterritorial application) to East Africa and beyond.

While liberal reporting in the U.K. presents the picture of a heavy-handed Saudi Kingdom which, along with the coalition of fellow Sunni states it leads, is desensitized to the human suffering taking place in Yemen, such is not the case. Riyadh leads the world community in aid, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, to the war-torn country, even delivering food supplies to starving populated areas controlled by the Houthis.

While many Brits, due to the slanted media coverage on Yemen, may not understand the Iran versus Saudi Arabia engagement on its battlefields and what exactly is at stake should the Houthis prevail, President Donald Trump does. This is exactly why he supports the Saudis in their effort to restore Yemen's legitimate government. That assistance has enabled the coalition to recapture much of the territory lost earlier to the Houthis.

Soldiers know the cost of war and that no matter how much effort is directed at limiting collateral damage, it will occur. In analyzing any conflict, therefore, the main focus should be on whether such damage was intentional, unintentional, negligent or unavoidable as well as what actions were taken in the aftermath to remedy it.

But the willingness of the Iranians and their Houthi proxies to sacrifice their own children should leave little doubt what players in the conflict do so intentionally.

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Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of "Bare Feet, Iron Will--Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields," "Living the Juche Lie: North Korea's Kim Dynasty" and "Doomsday: Iran--The Clock is Ticking." He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.

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