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The Ansar Allah movement (also known as the Houthis) continues pounding Saudi Arabia with drones and missiles.
Late on September 17, the Yemeni Air Force loyal to the Houthi government struck Abha International Airport in the Saudi province of Asir with Samad 3 combat drones, which can be used as loitering munitions. The Houthis claimed that the strike hit a military section of the airport causing material damage and casualties among Saudi forces.
The military infrastructure in the Abha airport area and southern Saudi Arabia itself has regularly become a target of Houthi missile and drone strikes. Just during the past month, Abha International Airport was targeted by at least 4 drone and missile strikes. The Saudi capital of Riyadh and oil infrastructure in the central part of the Kingdom are also not out of danger. The Houthis demonstrated this several times during the past few years. The most recent strike on Riyadh took place just a few days ago.
The September 17 attack, together with regular strikes on other targets inside the Kingdom, showed that efforts of the Saudi Air Force to destroy missile stockpiles and launching sites in Yemen did not lead to any notable impact.
Saudi proxies fighting the Houthis on the ground are also in a state of retreat. During the past few days, they lost even more positions south of the Marib provincial capital retreating from Najd al-Majmaa, Habisah, Ajam al-Sud and al-Atf.
The Maas Camp west of Marib city still remains in the hands of Saudi-backed forces. However, this stronghold is the last obstacle for the advancing Houthi forces in this part of the province. If the defense of pro-Saudi forces continues to crumble, the Maas Camp will be fully isolated and captured.
In the southern part of Marib province, Houthis and their local allies captured the area of Rahum. Here, the mid-term target of the Houthi advance is the town of Hurayb, located on the administrative border between the provinces of Marib and Shabwah.
It is interesting to note that the Houthi leadership recently declared that it stands against the US-promoted normalization with Israel and reaffirmed its support to Palestine. Abdul-Malik al-Houthi even stated that actions of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain contribute to Israeli plots against Muslim countries. He claimed that Yemen has become the target of the Saudi-led intervention due to Yemen’s alleged resistance to the Israeli agenda in the region.
On September 15, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially signed historic peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in Washington. The development is a major foreign policy victory for the administration of US President Donald Trump and its Israeli allies. The event was attended by Trump himself who noted that the courage of the Israeli and Arab leaders enabled these countries “to take a major stride toward a future where people of all faiths live together in peace and prosperity.”
On the other hand, the US State Department has already declared that the UAE and Israel could forge an alliance against Iran. Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, key US regional allies, will likely become a part of this effort. Therefore, the announced ‘peace and prosperity’ plan apparently includes a further strengthening of the pressure on Iran and even increases of chances of a potential military action against the republic.
The ongoing normalization campaign also triggered a new escalation in the Gaza Strip, including the exchange of strikes between Palestinian armed groups and Israel, as well as political instability in Bahrain. The population of Bahrain appears to be unhappy with the decision of the country’s leadership.
The modern Middle East could easily be compared with a powder keg that is ready to explode at any moment.