On October 31, Israel shot down a ballistic missile more than 60 miles above sea level, that is, in outer space—likely a first in military history. The missile was fired by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, and was one of several attempts they have made to strike Israeli territory since the war with Hamas began, including another ballistic missile intercepted last night. Yoel Guzansky and Sima Shine write:
[T]he fact that the Houthis have joined the war against Israel strengthens the approach that Iran has adopted since Hamas’s brutal attack in the western Negev on October 7: . . . to cast the war as the entire “axis of resistance” fighting Israel and supporting Hamas. From Tehran’s perspective, it is now seeing the fruits of the years of effort it made nurturing the belief that all the militias it supports across the region help one another and are unified in particular in the battle against Israel. Indeed, since the outbreak of the fighting, all the militias have joined the fighting, from Hizballah, which has attacked Israel’s northern front with varying degrees of intensity and frequency, to the Iraqi militias that are attacking U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
The concern that the Houthis’ joining the war against Israel would also [affect] other countries in the region was validated following an incident in the Jazan province of Saudi Arabia, on Yemen’s northern border, in which four Saudi soldiers were killed in clashes with Yemini militia fighters.
Riyadh faces a particularly complex dilemma: it is in its fundamental interests to hurt Hamas and deny the axis of resistance any accomplishments, but it is clearly the Saudi preference to remain outside the conflict. . . . Iran and the Houthis understand this, which is why they are trying to exacerbate the dilemma confronting Riyadh.