Why Iran-Backed Forces Attacked Abu Dhabi

On Monday, Houthi rebels in Yemen fired ballistic missiles at Abu Dhabi, which were intercepted with American aid. The week before, the Iranian proxy group launched drones at the Emirati capital, killing three; similar attacks have targeted Saudi Arabia and other locales in the UAE. The Biden administration recently ceased to consider the Houthis—whose slogan includes the phrases, “Death to America,” “Death to Israel,” and “Curse the Jews”—a terrorist group. Eran Lerman calls that decision “a beginner’s mistake,” that was

interpreted by rulers in Sanaa and their backers in Tehran as a sign (one of several such indications) that the U.S. is turning its back on traditional allies such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The Houthis, indeed, soon sent a “thank you” note in the form of a long-range missile attack on Saudi civilian targets.

Meanwhile, Tehran is engaged in negotiations in Vienna with the U.S. over its nuclear program, a fact that some observers find paradoxical:

[T]here is no reason to be mystified by the dangerous combination of Iranian diplomatic action on one hand and Iranian-backed violence—in Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere—on the other. . . . Violence is a way of testing the proposition that the present U.S. administration has no stomach for a confrontation and, therefore, will impose its will neither in Vienna nor in the region.

The U.S. should change course and reverse the delisting of the Houthis as a terrorist organization. . . . In addition, there is a need to dispel Iran’s delusions, which allowed for the absurd situation in which Iran’s leaders Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi are the ones who decide if, and when, the U.S. will be allowed in the room in Vienna.

As for the Jewish state, Lerman cautions that it should avoid direct involvement in Yemen, but it should “prepare defensive options against missile or drone raids or attacks on shipping,” and provide intelligence and technological assistance to its allies in the Gulf.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy, United Arab Emirates, Yemen


Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security