Al Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia must stop now

The Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen on Friday intercepted yet again another Al Houthi explosive-laden drone that was targeting the southern border areas of the kingdom. It was the latest terror attempt by the Iran-backed militias against Saudi Arabia.

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The Arab coalition has been exercising utmost restraint in the face of continuing terror attacks on the kingdom by Al Houthis to give the international efforts, aimed at ending the war, a chance. However, the Al Houthis seem to insist, most probably under instructions from their masters in Tehran, on prolonging the conflict that has ravaged the impoverished Arab country and killed thousands of people. The recent attacks on Saudi civilian areas is also a desperate attempt by the Al Houthis to stop the coalition’s vital logistical support to the Yemeni army, which has been making important advances recently, especially in the central provinces of Marib and Al Bayda.

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The Al Houthis have been on the defensive in the past few months following the continuing advances made by the government forces. These advances could very well prove a gamechanger in the six-year-old war. The looming defeat of the Al Houthis in these strategic areas will, of course, strip them, and Iran, of a critical bargaining card in potential future negotiations.

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The United Nations envoy Martin Griffiths has been active lately in an attempt to restart the political talks between the warring parties, supported by the Saudi leadership and the UK government. But his efforts are doomed to fail unless the international community stops the flow of arms from Iran to the Al Houthis through the Hodeida port. As a start, the UN must ensure that its arms embargo resolution is strictly implemented.

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The port was nearly captured by the coalition-backed government forces when the UN stepped in to force a ceasefire. The legitimate government agreed with the understanding that the port was to be placed under international supervision. Oddly enough, the Al Houthis continue to receive illegal arms shipments through the strategic port, including Iran-made drones and missiles that are increasingly being used to threaten civilian areas and installations on the Saudi border.

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Ending the war in Yemen, securing stability and restoring its legitimate government are vital for the security of our region. That is precisely why the Arab coalition intervened in 2015. The coalition, however, has suspended its operations recently, except for the badly needed humanitarian aid.

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The terror attacks on Saudi Arabia must stop. The coalition can no longer tolerate such aggression. The ball is in the UN’s court.

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