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Saudi-led coalition hits Houthi-held areas in renewed air raids

Al Jazeera

Fighter jets belonging to a Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen's Houthi rebels have launched dozens of air raids on several Yemeni provinces, as the kingdom announced the start of a new military operation. The Houthi-run Al Masirah Media Network reported air raids on the capital, Sanaa, as well as Marib, al-Jouf, al-Bayda, Hajjah and Saada provinces throughout Wednesday and into the night. It said an elderly woman and a child were killed and four others wounded in Saada province. In Sanaa, residents described the air raids, which also struck the city's international airport, as "violent". Saudi state television reported earlier on Wednesday that the coalition had begun a military push against the Houthis after the group stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on the kingdom.


Saudi-led coalition says it destroyed missile targeting Najran

Al Jazeera

The Saudi-led military coalition, which has been battling the Houthi rebels in Yemen, said on Saturday it had intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile targeting the Saudi Arabian border city of Najran. In a statement issued via the Saudi state news agency SPA, coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said the missile was fired from the Yemeni city of Saada, and some people were slightly injured by fragments of the weapon when it was destroyed. The missile had targeted civilian facilities in the southwestern Saudi city of Najran near the border with Yemen, the coalition said. The Houthis, who have controlled the capital, Sanaa, and areas in the country's north since 2014, did not confirm the attack. The rebel group has launched dozens of drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in the past in what they call retaliation to the Saudi intervention in Yemen.


Devices found in Houthi missiles and Yemen drones link Iran to attacks

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – A small instrument inside the drones that targeted the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry and those in the arsenal of Yemen's Houthi rebels match components recovered in downed Iranian drones in Afghanistan and Iraq, two reports say. These gyroscopes have only been found inside drones manufactured by Iran, Conflict Armament Research said in a report released on Wednesday. That follows a recently released report from the United Nations saying its experts saw a similar gyroscope from an Iranian drone obtained by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, as well as in weapons shipments seized in the Arabian Sea bound for Yemen. The discovery further ties Iran to an attack that briefly halved Saudi Arabia's oil output and saw energy prices spike by a level unseen since the 1991 Gulf War. It also ties Iran to the arming of the rebel Houthis in Yemen's long civil war.


In wake of Soleimani's death, Tehran-backed Hezbollah steps in to guide Iraqi militias

The Japan Times

Gen. Qassem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq, the Tehran-backed Lebanese organization Hezbollah urgently met with Iraqi militia leaders, seeking to unite them in the face of a huge void left by their powerful mentor's death, two sources with knowledge of the meetings said. The meetings were meant to coordinate the political efforts of Iraq's often-fractious militias, which lost not only Soleimani but also Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a unifying Iraqi paramilitary commander, in the Jan. 3 attack at Baghdad airport, the sources said. While offering few details, two additional sources in a pro-Iran regional alliance confirmed that Hezbollah, which is sanctioned as a terrorist group by the United States, has stepped in to help fill the void left by Soleimani in guiding the militias. All sources in this article spoke on condition of anonymity to address sensitive political activities rarely addressed in public. Officials with the governments of Iraq and Iran did not respond to requests for comment, nor did a spokesperson for the militia groups.


U.N. can't confirm Saudi oil facilities and airport were attacked with Iranian weapons

The Japan Times

UNITED NATIONS – Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the United Nations has not been able to independently corroborate that the cruise missiles and drones used in attacks earlier this year on an airport and oil facilities in Saudi Arabia "are of Iranian origin." The U.N. chief said in a report to the council obtained Friday by The Associated Press that the U.N. also can't confirm that the missiles and drones were transferred from Iran "in a manner inconsistent" with the Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six key countries. The United States has blamed Iran for the attacks. The Saudis said the missiles and drones were Iranian but stopped short of accusing Iran of firing them. The U.N. chief said the U.N. examined debris from the weapon systems used in the attacks and is still collecting and analyzing additional information and trying to establish the supply chain.


Saudi Arabia says Iranian missiles and drones attacked oil sites but stops short of blaming Tehran

The Japan Times

RIYADH – Saudi Arabia alleged Wednesday an attack by drones and cruise missiles on the heart of the kingdom's oil industry was "unquestionably sponsored by Iran," naming but not directly accusing Tehran of launching the assault. Iran denies being involved in the attack claimed by Yemeni rebels, and has threatened the U.S. that it will retaliate "immediately" if Tehran is targeted in response. The news conference by Saudi military spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki comes after a summer of heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. over President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrawing America from Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The U.S. alleges Iran launched the attack, which Yemen's Houthi rebels earlier claimed as a response to the yearslong Saudi-led war there that's killed tens of thousands of people. Al-Malki made a point not to directly accuse Iran of firing the weapons or launching them from inside of Iranian territory.


Precision attack on Saudi oil facility seen as part of dangerous new pattern

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – The assault on the beating heart of Saudi Arabia's vast oil empire follows a new and dangerous pattern that's emerged across the Persian Gulf this summer of precise attacks that leave few obvious clues as to who launched them. Beginning in May with the still-unclaimed explosions that damaged oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, the region has seen its energy infrastructure repeatedly targeted. Those attacks culminated with Saturday's assault on the world's biggest oil processor in eastern Saudi Arabia, which halved the oil-rich kingdom's production and caused energy prices to spike. Some strikes have been claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels, who have been battling a Saudi-led coalition in the Arab world's poorest country since 2015. Their rapidly increasing sophistication fuels suspicion among experts and analysts however that Iran may be orchestrating them -- or perhaps even carrying them out itself as the U.S. alleges in the case of Saturday's attack.


'Locked and loaded': Military options on table in response to Saudi oil attack as Trump seeks to avoid war

FOX News

As the plumes of smoke settle over two of Saudi Arabia's critical oil production facilities – which came under crippling drone strikes over the weekend – both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are deliberating options for retaliation, raising the possibility of much broader instability across the region, although President Trump was quick to point out Monday, "I don't want war with anybody." Intelligence officials from both countries have been quick to point fingers at Iran as the orchestrators of the attack, which analysts have deemed as one of the most disruptive in history. "This is perhaps one of the greatest examples of kinetic economic warfare we have seen in recent times. Iran is suffering from our sanctions but does not want to escalate into an active war with us," Andrew Lewis, a former Defense Department staffer and the president of a private intelligence firm, the Ulysses Group, told Fox News. "They can do a lot to manipulate the world economy, which will have a negative impact on the U.S. and our allies in Europe."


U.S. accuses Iran in drone attack on Saudi Aramco plants

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday accused Iran of leading attacks on Saudi oil plants that cut the kingdom's output roughly in half, ruling out Yemeni involvement and denouncing Tehran for false diplomacy. Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group claimed credit for Saturday's attacks on two plants at the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry, including the world's biggest petroleum processing facility. Pompeo, however, said on Twitter that there was no evidence the attacks came from Yemen. "Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy," Pompeo said, referring to Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif. "Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply," he added.


Pompeo accuses Iran of 'unprecedented attack' after drones hit Saudi oil facilities

FOX News

The attack comes after Iran exceeded their enriched uranium stockpile limit in the nuclear deal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the international community to join him Saturday in condemning Iran for drone attacks on two Saudi oil facilities, which he described as "an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply." "Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while [President Hassan] Rouhani and [Foreign Minister Mohammad] Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy," Pompeo tweeted, referring to the nation's president and foreign affairs minister. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen." Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack hours before Pompeo's tweet. The world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field were impacted, sparking huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies. "The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression," Pompeo concluded. According to multiple news reports that cited unidentified sources, the drone attacks affected up to half of the supplies from the world's largest exporter of oil, though the output should be restored within days. It remained unclear if anyone was injured at the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, denounced Pompeo's description of the attack, calling it an "irresponsible simplification." "The Saudis and Houthis are at war.