Abdel Malek al Houthi, the leader of Yemen’s Houthi insurgent group, again promises to send fighters to battle alongside Hezbollah in any future war with Israel.
Backed by Saudi air power, Yemeni forces are advancing on a number of critical fronts including Yemen’s northern border and western coast.
The Houthis claim the missile used was a Burkan-2H, which recent evidence suggests is Iranian-supplied.
At the strategic level, if Iran’s provision of ballistic missiles to the Houthi rebels is confirmed, it could be seen as an indicator Tehran’s increased tolerance for risk in a distant conflict theater, one which has sought to weaken Saudi Arabia by any means possible.
Today’s launch comes less than a week after a similar ballistic missile launch directed at Yanbu, Saudi Arabia.
The insurgent leader said that his forces will take part in any future conflict with Israel alongside Hezbollah. The statement comes on the heels of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah pledging Shiite forces from around the Middle East and South Asia would be involved.
Indicators suggest that Tehran supports the Houthi anti-ship missile attack against the US Navy this past week. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps held the US directly responsible for the devastating Saudi-led coalition bombing last week in Sanaa, Yemen. The IRGC sought to pressure the US in order to push the Saudis to deescalate the war, calculating that the US wants to avoid more involvement in the war in Yemen.
A deeper look at a recent airstrike in Sanaa by the Saudi-led military coalition, where Iranian security elites display a penchant for narrative, a circumscription of their own support for the war, as well the traditional blaming of the United States. In so doing, light is shed on how these security planners see their regional rivalries.
Iran’s conventional Navy reportedly deployed two vessels to international waters surrounding Yemen yesterday. First reported in the semi-official Iranian press, the story has also been noted in the Western press, where it was framed as part of the larger Saudi-Iranian rivalry and the ongoing war in Yemen.
On Saturday, Yemeni Houthi rebels fired projectiles against an Emirati military vessel in the strategic Mandeb Strait. The U.S. Navy has dispatched three warships to the area. U.S. officials say Iran supplied “shoulder-fired rockets.” [Update: military experts say this claim is inconsistent with footage from the video and damage to the vessel]
The Yemeni Houthi movement, officially known as Ansar Allah, has recently deployed Zelzal-3, an Iranian-manufactured artillery rocket.
While the Saudi-led coalition has made gains towards the proclaimed Houthi capital in Sanaa, the Iranian-backed Shiites continue to hit the coalition hard in both Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia.