US, Allies Now Hype Drones as Major Threat From Yemen’s Houthis

North Yemen faction successfully outfitting commercial drones for war

For a long time, the US and its partners in the invasion of Yemen had been downplaying the drone capabilities of the Shi’ite Houthi movement. Even a couple of high-profile drone operations across the border were dismissed, and in the case of the UAE, denied outright, so as not to give the Houthis credit for having any combat capabilities.

Now, officials are conceding that the drones are a growing part of the Houthi strategy. After years of war, the Houthis have begun taking inexpensive, commercially available drones and rigging them into makeshift weapons. Saudi officials say they are now shooting down more drones than missiles.

From the US perspective, the whole point of this is Iran. Officials are eager to portray Iran is being to blame for the Houthis’ success, and therefore are claiming Iran must be showing the Houthis how to build these drones and get these readily available parts.

Though it fits the US narrative to blame Iran, the reality is that many of the drone parts are made in Japan, Germany, and even the United States. Making drones with significant capabilities is not hard, and with the Houthis long resisting invasion on a shoestring budget, it’s unsurprising that they have gotten quite adept at making such weapons.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of