Bomb-laden drones of Yemen's Houthi rebels seen threatening Arabian Peninsula

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - A Yemen rebel drone strike this week on a critical Saudi oil pipeline shows that the otherwise-peaceful sandy reaches of the Arabian Peninsula now are at risk of similar assault, including an under-construction nuclear power plant and Dubai International Airport, among the world's busiest. U.N. investigators said the Houthis' new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 km (930 miles). That puts the far reaches of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the two main opponents of the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, within reach of drones difficult to detect and track. Their relatively simple design, coupled with readily available information online, makes targeting even easier, analysts say. "These installations are easily findable, like on Google Earth," said Tim Michetti, an expert on illicit weapons technology with experience in Yemen.


The Latest: Saudi airline suspending flights to Qatar

Associated Press

FILE - In April 20, 2010 file photo, an Emirates airline passenger jet taxis on the tarmac at Dubai International airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. FILE - In April 20, 2010 file photo, an Emirates airline passenger jet taxis on the tarmac at Dubai International airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The airlines' decision comes as Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE all cut diplomatic ties Monday to Qatar over its support of Islamist groups and its relations with Iran. Qatar's Foreign Affairs Ministry made the statement Monday, hours after Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced it would be cutting ties to the peninsular nation.


Saudi-led air raids target Yemen's Hodeidah

Al Jazeera

A Saudi-led coalition has launched air raids on Yemen's Hodeidah, in an apparent resumption of military operations on the strategic Red Sea city after Houthi rebels attacked two Saudi oil tankers and one of the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) main airports. The Houthi-run al-Masirah TV said in a series of tweets on Friday that coalition air strikes had targeted a radio station inside the city and a fishing pier. There were no immediate reports of casualties. The latest offensive on the port city of Hodeidah came a day after Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for a drone attack on Abu Dhabi's international airport. According to the Al-Masirah television channel, the Sammad-3 drone launched three attacks on the airport.


Iran claims Saudi missiles hit oil tanker in 'terrorist' attack

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – An Iranian-owned oil tanker was struck by two missiles off the Saudi port of Jiddah on Friday, Iranian state television reported, quoting the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) which owns the vessel. The tanker was set ablaze and suffered heavy damage and was leaking crude about 60 miles (96 km) from Jiddah, according to Iranian media. The alleged attack is the latest incident involving oil tankers in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf region, and is likely to ratchet up tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, which operates in the region, said it was aware of media reports about the tanker, but did not have any further information at this time. There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia.


U.K. minister says seized Iranian oil tanker could be released soon if Tehran gives guarantees

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Britain will facilitate the release of a seized Iranian tanker Grace 1 if Iran can provide guarantees the vessel will not breach European sanctions on oil shipments to Syria, Britain's top diplomat said late Saturday. The comments by Jeremy Hunt could help de-escalate tensions that have spiked in recent days. In apparent retaliation for the seized tanker, Iranian paramilitary vessels tried to impede the passage of a British oil tanker through the Strait of Hormuz, only turning away after receiving "verbal warnings" from a British Royal Navy vessel accompanying the ship, the British government said. Hunt said he held a "constructive call" with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and reassured him "our concern was the destination, not the origin, of the oil." Hunt wrote that Zarif told him Iran is not seeking to escalate the situation.