The Iranian-sponsored Houthi militia fighting the internationally-recognized government in Yemen said Monday that their missiles could reach the Saudi capital of Riyad, as well as tourist hotspots in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Iran is using Yemen as a testing ground for its ballistic missile program, as well as a battleground to expand its influence on the Arabian Peninsula. Their ability to wage proxy war on the region has seen nuclear power plants, civilian airports, and oil tankers all targeted.
“Our missiles are capable of reaching Riyadh and beyond Riyadh, to Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” said Abdul Malik al-Houthi. “It is possible to target strategic, vital, sensitive and influential targets in the event of any escalation in Hodeidah,” he added. “We are able to strongly shake the Emirati economy.”
The port of Hodeidah is the rebel group’s prized possession, accounting for at least 80% of Yemen’s aid and the illegal flow of Iranian weaponry to Houthi fighters.
UN-led peace talks kicked off in Sweden in December and resulted in a fragile ceasefire, which demands a full withdrawal of Houthi militias from Hodeidah’s three ports and city. UN Resolution 2216 mandates the Yemeni Government and Saudi-led coalition to ensure all territory seized by the Houthis is returned to the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump vetoed a bill passed by Congress to withdraw support for the coalition. “This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,” Trump wrote to the Senate.
The civil war started in 2015 and has left Yemen’s economy in ruins. 80% of the country’s population is now dependent on humanitarian aid.
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