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Drone strike on UAE by Houthis is unprecedented

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Smoke billows from oil tankers bombed in a drone strike on Abu Dhabi by Houthi militia. (Screencap: Oneindia News video)

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On Monday, Iranian proxy militia, Houthis attacked petroleum tanker trucks at an oil facility in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), using drones.

Two Indian and one Pakistani national were killed, and six were injured, after three petrol tanks exploded near the storage facility and a fire ignited at a construction site in the Abu Dhabi airport. Houthis have taken responsibility for the incident but the flight path taken by the drones is not yet established. The assault is believed to be in response to UAE being part of a Saudi-lead military coalition that assists Yemen’s Hadi government against Houthis. 

The Houthis militia have repeatedly targeted Saudi Arabia and carried out multiple cross border strikes and booby trap attacks on shipping lines in the past. However, this particular drone strike on UAE by an Iranian proxy is simply unprecedented.

The UAE government has pledged to hold the responsible parties to account. Anwar Gargash, former UAE Minister of state for foreign affairs, tweeted on Tuesday (in Arabic) that the authorities are dealing with the “sinful” attack “transparently and responsibly.” He also assured that the terrorist militias’ attempt to tamper with the nation’s stability is “too weak” to unbalance its security and safety. 

UAE joined the coalition fighting Houthis in 2015 but considerably reduced its troop presence since 2019. However, its footprint stayed on as it continued to train and support its allies.

In addition, the gulf nation provided humanitarian aid, while concurrently pushing for a diplomatic end to the conflict that has killed an estimated 377 000 lives since 2014; Houthis on the other hand, have to date, rejected the multiple peace offerings. 

Afghan and Syrian Shia fighters participate in combat alongside Houthis in Yemen. Given the hasty US withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan last year, it is highly possible that the alchemy will shift towards more Afghan Shia guerrillas joining the Iranian-backed militia in the future.

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In August 2020, the UAE signed the Abraham Accords, normalising ties with Israel and since then, Jewish life in the nation has witnessed somewhat of a ‘Renaissance’ since.

In contrast, Houthis have been vehemently antisemitic and anti-Israel (just like their financers in Tehran) and expelled the last remnants of the millennia old Jewish community in 2021. One individual, Levy Salam Marhabi, is still being held captive by the militia. Only four other Jews – elderly men – are believed to remain in Yemen. 

This attack by an Iranian-backed group deep in the heartland of the UAE is very concerning not just for the for UAE, but also for Saudi, Israel and the rest of the world since the nation is such an important international trade hub, and also Dubai International Airport is the world’s busiest in terms of international passenger traffic. 

Also of note is that the UAE and Yemen – both share borders and are connected via land with Oman and Saudi Arabia. So, the question of how an Iranian-backed, Yemen-based Houthi militia struck a nation that it shares no border with, is definitely a huge concern. Saudi and Oman will possibly consider ramping up border security in light of this.

Some analysts claim that Iranian proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah has more firepower than many small nations; Houthis are estimated to have more fighters and if they reach that level of sophistication in terms of technology and arsenal, it’s anyone’s guess what would ensue.

It is also possible that potentially more advanced drones could be used to target Israel, after bypassing the Saudi and Jordanian borders – this could be more taxing on the Iron Dome. 

Avi Kumar is a historian of Sri Lankan descent who lives in New York.

He has a unique spin on current affairs.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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