Why Iran-Backed Forces Attacked Abu Dhabi https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/politics-current-affairs/2022/01/why-iran-backed-forces-attacked-abu-dhabi/

January 26, 2022 | Eran Lerman
About the author: Eran Lerman is vice-president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies and teaches Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Shalem College.

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 on Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security: https://jiss.org.il/en/lerman-us-policy-towards-the-yemeni-conflict-must-change/