The Houthis Change the Rules | رأي اليوم
By Abdel Bari Atwan | 16 septembre 2019
(...) Houthi Spokesman Yahya Sarie’ said the operation was carried out after a “careful process of intelligence surveillance” of the sites. He did not elaborate about how and by whom this surveillance was carried out, nor comment on this apparent breakthrough in the Houthis’ intelligence capabilities. Neither did he explain how, if the drones were launched from Yemeni territory, they managed to make the 1,000 km-plus journey without refuelling or being detected.
He did, however, make a point of praising “honourable and freedom-loving people” inside Saudi Arabia for their contribution to the operation. This sounded like a reference to the participation of members of Saudi Arabia’s persecuted Shia minority, who are concentrated in the Eastern Province, in the attack, or at least in the intelligence/surveillance process that preceded it.
The drones seem unlikely to have been launched from within Saudi Arabia itself. It would have been very difficult to smuggle such large devices into the kingdom or assemble them there. They were probably fired from a neighbouring country: Iraq is increasingly being identified as the most likely source (the drones that struck the east-west pipeline were also widely reported to have come from there). There has also been speculation they may have been clandestinely launched from Bahrain, or from a ship sailing off the Saudi Gulf coast.
But the precise source of the missiles is immaterial. Since the start of the Saudi-led war on Yemen, the Houthis have become increasingly closely aligned with the regional ‘resistance axis’ comprising Iran and Syria and their allies in Iraq, Lebanon and other Arab countries. They no longer attempt to conceal this: their envoys now visit Tehran openly and their leaders express pride about their relationship with the Islamic Republic. .
Sarie’, meanwhile, warned that Ansarullah’s list of targets inside Saudi Arabia is “growing by the day”, meaning that more such attacks can be expected until Riyadh ends its war and lifts its blockade of Yemen. (...)