Eilat is closer than Abu Dhabi

Tony Francis

Published: Updated:

The Houthis of Yemen follow the Iranian political school, which for the last 40 years has been chanting two main slogans relentlessly and a few others occasionally.

In their demonstrations, the Houthis repeat the mother school’s trademark chant: “Death to America, death to Israel.” In the last few years, Iran added another chant for its supporters to regurgitate: “Death to the Al Saud family,” and pro-Iran groups wasted no time putting their drones where their mouth is, targeting Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, especially the UAE. By threatening the skyscraper cities of the Gulf, they dragged their countries to a vortex of hostility toward the only Arab countries to enjoy progress and prosperity in this region of backward sectarian destruction, and, more importantly, the only states to offer refuge to those fleeing this destruction in search for a better life or for fear of persecution.

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Dispatching the bomb-laden drone to Abu Dhabi yesterday was the work of the Iranian school. Similar acts committed by the Houthis confirm this. The bomb production, design, and training source is clear, regardless of whether they were launched from Sanaa, Iraq, or southern Iran like some investigations claimed happened during the Aramco bombing two years ago.

The crime committed yesterday cannot be justified as being a retaliation for the Houthi losses in Shabwa and Marib. There, the supporters of the Yemeni legitimacy are the ones fighting, not the Emirati Army. The Giants Brigades, which became known in the battles against the pro-Iran Ansarullah, are neither Emirati nor Saudi brigades: they are elite forces created by North Yemen President Ibrahim al-Hamdi about half a decade ago!

There is no justification for the targeting of civilian facilities in Abu Dhabi or Saudi Arabia. This can only be understood as Iranian escalation just as negotiations resume in Vienna. Coincidentally, the head of the Iranian delegation returned to the negotiating table yesterday, in parallel with Iranian statements on positive developments in relations with Saudi Arabia, including the dispatch of three Irani diplomats to Jeddah recently to join the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

This is not the first time Iran follows this policy of diplomatic appeasement in exchange for mobilizing Houthis or their likes in Iraq and Lebanon. The day Ebrahim Raissi was elected President of Iran, his statements on good-neighborly relations were accompanied by 17 rockets targeting the Kingdom! Yesterday, Houthi spokesman Muhammad Abdulsalam was meeting with Raissi and Ali Shamkhani, head of the Iranian National Security, when the drones were launched toward the two Arab states. Some even said the Houthi statement on these attacks was issued late because it was being formulated in Tehran.

Is this merely an escalation aimed at improving Iran’s position in the negotiations, or is it a purely Houthi-made decision that will increase the international siege on the group following the recession of its Iranian role?

All of these likelihoods have some truth to them, but one question remains without an answer: Where’s Israel in all the Houthis’ threats? The Saada leader has outdone his masters in threatening the Israeli entity and, just like them, has not fired a single shot in its direction, although Eilat is just as close as Abu Dhabi.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, Lebanese newspaper Nidaa al-Watan.

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UAE foreign minister says Houthi attack on Abu Dhabi ‘will not go unpunished’

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