(New York, N.Y.) — Last week, Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen targeted a Saudi Aramco oil facility in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, days after Houthi rockets previously targeted the Jeddah facility and other locations in Saudi Arabia. While the attacks have caused temporary stops in oil production, no significant damage has been reported.
Violent attacks by the Houthis, particularly against civilian targets, have only intensified since the Biden Administration’s removal of the Iran-supported group from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) in February 2021. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the United States have repeatedly condemned Houthi terrorist attacks, most recently on March 27, 2022. Earlier this year, President Biden acknowledged he is considering redesignating the Houthis as an FTO.
Over the past year, the Houthis have launched attacks against civilian infrastructure and military personnel across Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). An audacious January 17, 2022 attack against the UAE resulted in the deaths of three civilians while the UAE was hosting an international business conference as well as South Korea’s president. Later that month, on January 31, the Houthis fired Zulfiqar missiles at Abu Dhabi and drones at Dubai during an official visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog. The Houthis have warned foreign businesses and investors to abandon the UAE because it “has become unsafe.”
Iran’s relationship with the Houthi rebels offers the Islamic republic a staging ground to attack another key U.S. ally and Iranian adversary, Saudi Arabia. Since 2015, the Houthis have used Yemeni territory under their control as launching pads to fire more than 100 missiles and drones at Iranian rival Saudi Arabia. Such strikes have landed on multiple cities, including the Saudi capital of Riyadh. In addition to targeting Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, as in last week’s attacks, the Houthis have targeted the king’s official residence, military bases and encampments, the King Khalid International Airport, and shopping malls.
To read the Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s resource Houthis, please click here.
To read CEP’s resource Yemen, please click here.