Another blatant attack by Iran- backed Al Houthi militias on Saudi Arabia has been foiled by the Kingdom’s air defences. Three ballistic missiles targeting the Eastern Province is the latest in a series of attacks by missiles and explosive — laden drones that test the patience and the resolve of the Saudi- led Arab Coalition.
The coalition condemned in a statement “brutal, irresponsible behaviour” by the Houthi terror group, which launched its attack on the eastern city of Dammam hours before the new United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg assumes his duties that will focus on ending the war
Saudi Arabia last year presented an initiative, supported by the GCC, the Arab League, the UN and the European Union, to end the war and form a new inclusive government in Yemen.
The plan was rejected by Al Houthis, most probably under orders by their sponsor, Iran. Tehran is believed to be using the ongoing conflict of Yemen as another bargaining chip in the current negotiations with the US and the West that are aimed at reviving the nuclear deal.
The Dammam attacks also comes few days after a drone hit Abha international airport in the south of the kingdom, wounding eight people. Last Sunday, Al Houthi strike on a Yemeni army base in the southwest of Yemen killed at least 30 soldiers were killed.
Exercising utmost restraint
These attacks can no longer be tolerated. The coalition has been exercising utmost restraint in order to support the UN efforts to find a political settlement to the Yemen war.
That war began long before the Arab Coalition intervened in 2015 to restore Yemen’s legitimate government — the internationally-recognised government — that was overthrown by Al Houthi militias, and help the people of Yemen rebuild their country and eliminate the existential threat to the region. Since then, most of Yemen has been liberated and the government President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi has started functioning in Aden.
But a political solution to the war has been elusive, chiefly because of Al Houthis’ rejection as they continue to control Sana’a with the continuing arming and training by Iran.
Therefore, the coalition, which has minimised its operations in Yemen for months to give the political efforts a chance, repeatedly called upon the international community to put pressure on Iran to stop the ongoing attack on Saudi Arabia and encourage its allies, Al Houthis, to join the UN- sponsored negations.
It is dangerous for the world community to appease such extremist elements. The groups and its backers must be condemned, and called out for what they are, a destabilising force in a region that is trying to diffuse tension and initiate a new order based on cooperation and friendly relations.
The attacks on Dammam, and on Najarn and Jazan in Saudi Arabia are a threat to the entire region. This terrorist group must be stopped by all means.