Iran-backed Houthis aim to redraw map of Middle East with attack on UAE - analysis

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Iran-backed Houthis aim to redraw map of Middle East with attack on UAE - analysis
The attack by the Houthis is openly aimed at changing the “equation,” the Houthis said Monday.
By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
Published: JANUARY 17, 2022

The attack on the United Arab Emirates on Monday was meant to be a major warning from Iran to the UAE. It was an unprecedented attack on the UAE, although not an unprecedented attack in the region. Iran attack Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq facility in September 2019 in a similar attack which was seen in the region as a major wake-up call. Iran has used drones and ballistic missiles increasingly in the region and trafficked the same technology to the Houthis, Hamas, Hezbollah and Hashd al-Shaabi militias in Iraq. The attack on the UAE killed three people. This is a major escalation by Iran and its Houthi proxies. However, the UAE will have to weigh its response because the message from Iran is that it has impunity to murder civilians in the UAE and knows it will face no consequences.

The attack by the Houthis is openly aimed at changing the “equation,” the Houthis said Monday. Iranian media emphasized this point. That means the Houthis are now saying they can strike at the Gulf state and move beyond their attacks on Saudi Arabia. The UAE may be more vulnerable because of their large expat population and the fact they are a major tourist destination.

The Houthis say the attack was “part of a legal and legitimate response and was carried out in response to the UAE's ongoing attacks and military actions against the Yemeni people.” The Houthis want the UAE to withdraw support from groups in Yemen. Saudi Arabia and the UAE entered Yemen in 2015 to support the government as the Houthi rebels appeared on the verge of taking Aden. Years later much has changed and Iran's backing for the Houthis put them on steroids. The Houthis warned the UAE for days and have also attacked a ship linked to the UAE. Meanwhile, Iran has been on a rampage in the Gulf of Oman as well, mining ships in 2019 and using drones to attack a tanker in July, killing two people. Iran also sends IRGC ships to the Red Sea to spy on the region.

more.............. https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/article-692814
 
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