Yemen’s Houthis: Saudi Oil Remains a Target

Houthis say they did Saturday attack, will do more

On Saturday night, drones attacked a Saudi oil infrastructure site, causing fires and knocking out some oil supply. Though the US was blaming Iran almost immediately, Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthi movement insisted that they were behind the attack.

Saudi Arabia has been invading Yemen, and the Houthis in particular, for several years, and the Houthis presented this as a retaliatory action for the Saudis’ strikes. Iran, by contrast, has denied having anything to do with it.

The Houthis my be worth paying attention to, however, even if the preference is to blame Iran. This is both because the Saudis have proven unable to prevent these strikes, and because the Houthis have promised to keep launching attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure.

A Houthi statement urged foreigners to leave areas around Saudi Aramco facilities, saying more attacks could come “at any moment.” The Saudi air defenses could be facing more challenges.

And even though the Saudis have the third largest military spending in the world, and access to myriad US-made air defense system, they don’t seem to have an answer for drone attacks. They had been able to intercept Houthi-fired missiles at least sometimes, but the drones are almost certainly both lower cost, and so far very effective, which points to them being used a lot more.

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.