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Break the Houthi Thorn - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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There is no other way to deal with the Houthi attack on Saudi territory – that led to the vicious deaths of a number of border guards not to mention civilians – but with a preventitive response and by breaking the Houthi thorn decisively and quickly. What the Houthis dared to do was not incidental; it was a calculated operation with well-known repercussions. What the Houthis want is escalation with Saudi Arabia in order to move on from their predicament in Yemen, and above all, [they want] to serve Iranian goals, the most prominent of which is to preoccupy the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with a blazing front on the Saudi borders.

The area of Jebel Dukhan, or the terrestrial Saudi-Yemeni borders, is an area basically inflamed by arms smuggling operations and operations to infiltrate Al Qaeda militants into Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the clear goal that the Houthis undertook in the attack on Saudi territory and on armed border guards was to disturb and preoccupy the Saudi borders so that the Houthis could benefit from provoking the sentiments of some people in Yemen and preoccupying the Saudi border guards so that members of the Al Qaeda terrorist organization could benefit from these circumstances, thus making it easier for them to sneak into Saudi Arabia. The other point is that Tehran wants to send a message to Riyadh to the effect that Iran is very close to the Saudi borders.

Naturally, respecting the sovereignty and territories of Yemen is a decisive matter to the Saudis and it is not something that is up for debate or something that can be bargained. This is what I heard from a Saudi official [who said so] in a clear and concise manner. However the challenge against the Houthis and breaking the Houthi thorn is nothing but full support of [the state of] Yemen and before anything else it is for preserving Saudi’s security, which is one of its rights after the Houthis violated Saudi’s sovereignty and territory.

When we say “break the Houthi thorn” the meaning is clear in that it is to teach them and Iran’s agents in the region a harsh lesson that Saudi security and territories are not matters that can be bargained. Moreover, what is happening is not a result of internal problems in Yemen but rather the result of foreign interference in Yemen developing so much that it has reached the Saudi borders.

Media support and Iran’s supplying of weapons to the Houthis – and this is something the Yemeni government has declared on more than one occasion, most recently when the Yemeni authorities seized a ship and questioned its Iranian crew, as it accused it of providing weapons to the Houthis – is clear evidence of the magnitude of Tehran’s involvement in this conflict, the aim of which is to transform Yemen into a battleground and a source of unrest.

Just as we have said time and again, Yemen’s unity and security is a red line that must not be crossed, and what is happening in Yemen is a threat to Saudi’s national security and to Gulf countries as well. There must not be any negligence whatsoever in this regard, and it must not be left open to false mediators [representing] anyone in search of a role in our region. Therefore, as long as the Houthis violated Saudi territory then the appropriate response must be to break the Houthi thorn just as Riyadh is doing today because there is an important message in that for those who think tampering with Saudi’s security and stability is easy; a message to the effect that the price for this will be very high.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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