The Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen said on Monday that they had hit a large oil facility in Saudi Arabia’s southern city of Jizan with missiles and drones, while Saudi Arabia said it had intercepted and destroyed ballistic missiles and explosive-laden drones.
“With many drones our armed forces targeted military aircraft, pilot accommodation and Patriot systems in Khamis Mushait, and other military targets at Abha, Jizan and Najran airports,” Yahya Sarea, a Houthi military spokesman, said on Monday, as carried by Reuters.
The Houthis also targeted, accurately, “the giant oil facility in the Jizan industrial zone,” the Houthi military spokesman said.
Saudi Arabia, via its official Saudi Press Agency, said:
“Joint Coalition forces were able to intercept and destroy (2) ballistic missiles launched by the terrorist, Iran-backed Houthi militia to deliberately target civilians and civilian object, and (6) bomb-laden USVs launched by the terrorist, Iran-backed Houthi militia launched deliberately from (Sana’a) to target civilians and civilian objects in the Kingdom. The terrorist Houthi militia is deliberately escalating hostilities as it targets civilians and civilian objects in Yemen and neighboring countries using ballistic missiles and UAVs.”
Since 2015, Saudi Arabia and Iran have been essentially fighting a proxy war in Yemen, where the Saudis lead a military Arab coalition to “restore legitimacy” in the country, while the Houthi movement, which holds the capital Sanaa, is backed by Iran.
The Houthis have claimed responsibility for the September 14 attacks on Saudi Aramco’s oil facilities that cut off 5 percent of daily global supply for weeks. But Saudi Arabia and the United States have said that it was Iran—and not the Houthis—who was responsible for the attack.
The Saudis and the U.S. blamed the attack on Iran, claiming evidence showed the missiles had been fired from the north rather than the south, where Yemen is.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should take bold decisions of not only ending a costly and an unwinnable war in Yemen but should also reach some rapprochement with Iran. He should let the United States and Israel fight their own war with Iran. In so doing, he will save his country hundreds of billions of dollars he is spending on American weapons and also safeguard his oil installations.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London