A fuel tank caught fire at a Saudi oil facility after being struck in an attack by Yemen’s Houthis, Saudi Arabia said on Friday. The Houthis said they launched drones and missiles into Saudi Arabia on Thursday, targeting military sites and oil facilities owned by the state-run Saudi Aramco company.
Friday marked the sixth anniversary of The US-backed Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. Since then, coalition aircraft have regularly targeted civilian infrastructure. The vicious bombing campaign came with an air, land, and sea blockade that is still being enforced despite UN warnings that 400,000 Yemeni children will starve to death this year if conditions don’t change.
While the Biden administration claims it is trying to end the war, lifting the blockade is a precondition for a ceasefire with the Houthis, and the US has not pressured Saudi Arabia to end the embargo. Earlier this week, Riyadh cleared four fuel ships to dock in Yemen’s Hodeidah port, but other vessels are still being blocked.
The fact that the Houthis are able to strike inside Saudi Arabia shows that the blockade and air campaign are doing nothing but starving civilians. The Houthis’ capabilities to launch these attacks have only grown over the years, and while the embargo is still being enforced, they have no reason to stop.
“The operation has successfully fulfilled its objectives,” Houthi military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Saree said of the recent attacks inside Saudi territory. “We affirm that we are ready to carry out a more severe and more cruel military operation in the coming period.”
The Biden administration released a statement on the attacks and blamed the Houthis for prolonging the war. “The Houthis’ actions are prolonging the suffering of the Yemeni people and jeopardizing peace efforts at a critical moment when the international community is increasingly united behind a ceasefire and a resolution of the conflict,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.
Despite Price’s comments, neither the Saudis nor the US is making a serious effort to end the war. On Monday, Saudi Arabia presented a new ceasefire proposal. But the Houthis said the proposal was “nothing new” since it only offered to allow certain flights into the Sanaa airport and would not fully lift the blockade. Besides the continued blockade, Saudi airstrikes continue to pound Yemen. Earlier this week, the Saudis bombed a grain port.