Press releases Middle East

Press Release: Houthi Escalation

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London, July 8th 2019

Tactics Institute for Security & Counter Terrorism deplores the continuing escalations of violence in the four-year-old Yemen war that has caused so much devastation to civilian life in the country.

Tactics’ urging of a cessation of violence comes as the Iran-aligned Houthi group escalates its attacks against Saudi Arabia. The Houthis are displaying increased offensive capabilities.

Four years ago, the Saudi-led coalition announced it had destroyed 80% of the Houthis’ heavy-weapon warehouses and neutralised 95% of their arms used in airstrikes. But we see now that Houthi missiles are reaching deep into Saudi Arabia and threatening the United Arab Emirates, the Saudis’ key ally.

In recent days, Houthi attacks against Saudi targets have increased in frequency and scale. The attacks have included a noticeable increase in the use of sophisticated drone technology. It is possible that Iranian technical and military support is behind the Houthis’ increased deployment of drones.

Houthi rebels also launched several attacks against government targets in Yemen’s Marib province on July the 4th, using a ballistic missile and armed drones. The Houthis also claimed to have killed dozens of people in other attacks in Marib that day, using drones armed with bombs. One attack was said to have been against a Patriot missile system that the Saudi-led military coalition had supplied to the government.

On July 2nd the Houthis targeted the Saudis’ Abha airport, wounding nine people. In recent months Houthis have repeatedly attacked Abha as well as other airports: Jizan, Najran and Khamis Mushayt military base. A June 24 attack on Abha killed one person and wounded 24 others, and on June 12, a Houthi-launched cruise missile injured 26 civilians at that airport, according to the Saudi-led coalition.

While most of the civilian casualties in Yemen have been caused by the Saudi-led coalition, the Houthis are also responsible for civilian deaths and have contributed significantly to the humanitarian crisis in the country. The UN Security Council has condemned the Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, calling for those responsible to be held accountable.

Tactics Institute also condemns the Houthi escalation, which has come in the context of increasing international pressure being applied on Iran. Tehran is the key sponsor of the Houthi rebels in Yemen, providing political and media as well as suspected military support.

Both sides must stop using Yemen as a site for a proxy war and allow the people of Yemen to choose their own leadership, in their own interests, not those of rival regional states.

Tactics Institute for Security and Counter Terrorism is an independent, non-partisan, think tank. Tactics researches terrorism to identify its causes and best possible remedies, always bearing in mind the protection of individual liberties and the human rights of all those affected.

For more information please contact Tactics Institute for Security and Counter Terrorism at