Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen have reportedly fired another missile aimed at Israel on Monday. An initial launch of a couple of missiles over a week ago saw a US warship of Yemen's coast intervene to shoot down the projectiles.
This time the Houthi missile flew over Saudi territory, putting the kingdom on a high state of alert. While fighting between the Saudi-UAE coalition and Yemen's Houthis has raged since 2015 (also with Washington backing), the last days have seen an uptick in fighting, which regional observers believe is connected with events in Gaza. Israel too sees Yemen as a dangerous 'pro-Iran' base of operations threatening the broader region. However, the Houthis are by and large an impoverished rag-tag regional rebel movement which sees Riyadh as trying to bolster an unpopular puppet government by force of superior air power.
"Saudi Arabia’s military has gone into a state of high alert following deadly clashes with Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who also tried to fire a missile over the kingdom toward Israel, according to people familiar with the matter," Bloomberg reports. The fresh clashes resulted in four Saudi soldiers dying in the southwestern Jazan Province on the border with Yemen, based on defense sources cited in the report.
Bloomberg additionally emphasizes that this shatters forward momentum made on a developing peace deal. "Before the escalation, the two sides were on the cusp of a deal despite the death of four Bahraini soldiers serving in the Saudi coalition in a Houthi drone attack last month," the report continues.
There's also Saudi-Israel normalization which remains a big question. It was only a little over a year ago that Saudi Arabia began opening its airspace for Israeli flights to pass through, and this summer saw the unprecedented opening up of the kingdom's airports to Israeli carriers.
But since the Hamas Oct.7 attack on southern Israel, and return strikes which have pummeled Gaza, resulting in a massive civilian death toll - the Saudi and Israel relationship has once again deteriorated. The hoped-for Abraham Accords are effectively dead, and some analysts have pointed out this is exactly what Hamas and its Iranian supporter wanted. Israeli carriers are now greatly scaling back flights over the region due to the new security threats.
As for the Houthis, the Shia group vying for full control over Yemen has also long been seen as supported from Tehran, having also received covert weapons shipments.
Netanyahu is meanwhile issuing new threats aimed at Iran:
🚨JUST IN - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:— Mario Nawfal (@MarioNawfal) October 30, 2023
Iran is an axis of evil and terror and is working to finance Hamas
Hamas uses mosques to strengthen its military positions and keep civilians in harm's way
Calling for a ceasefire is a call for surrender, but we will not do that… pic.twitter.com/3sGzVWrxOR
Elsewhere in the Middle East on Monday, an American base in Iraq has once again come under attack. "Four Katyusha rockets on Monday fired at Iraq's Ain al-Asad air base which hosts U.S. and other international forces in western Iraq," security sources told Reuters.
Casualties were unknown in the immediate aftermath. "Rockets were fired from a desert area around 25km (15 miles) north of the base and Iraqi security forces launched a search for the attackers, two security sources said," the report continues.
Attacks on US forces in both Iraq and Syria are becoming a daily occurrence, despite the last Friday early morning airstrikes on 'Iranian targets' in Syria. The White House has warned of more 'decisive action' to come, but the reality is that the US occupation in Syria leaves American forces exposed.