Yemen’s Houthis Attack Saudi Oil and Gas Fields

The rise of drone warfare leaves Saudi infrastructure vulnerable

Over the weekend, Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthis reported that they launched major drone attacks against Saudi oil and gas fields, setting oil refineries ablaze and also slowing some energy production on the Arabian Peninsula.

The Houthis confirmed being behind the attacks, as part of years of Saudi war against them in northern Yemen, saying it was a “response” to Saudi aggression. The Houthis still control much of northern Yemen despite the long Saudi-led war against them.

The Houthis have been making some early steps toward drone warfare for awhile, and this seems to be a major step forward in that, both in capabilities and in the Saudis’ inability to stop them.

Despite Saudi Arabia spending the third most of any nation on the planet on their military, they’ve so far proven ill-prepared to do anything about Yemeni drones, and as these attacks step up, they will pose a growing danger to Saudi Arabia’s general infrastructure.

These attacks are raising questions as to Saudi air defenses, as the nation seems to be able to intercept at least some missiles fired by the Houthis, but have proven unable to prevent drone attacks.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.