Attacking Israel, Yemeni Terrorists Have Their Sights Set on Saudi Arabia

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.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Yemen


Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security