Israel shot down a Houthi missile over the Red Sea on Monday, employing its Arrow aerial defense system. This follows the US Navy’s shooting down of Houthi missiles fired toward Israel on October 18.
The question now is whether the Houthis are ready to jump into the fray as Hamas allies and risk a full-on return to the Yemen battlefield of the Saudis. Such a move would threaten the Saudi-Iran rapprochement.
There has been some escalation of Houthi activity in Yemen since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, particularly with the killing of four Saudi soldiers on the Yemen-Saudi border. Last weekend, the Houthis also stated that they had set up a command center to support Hamas against Israel, and have vowed to continue to target Israel until aggression on Gaza is halted.
This, to the mind of many, is a direct indication that Iran will become involved in the escalating Hamas-Israel conflict. However, it is important to understand that the Houthis are not fully controlled by Iran. While Iran has long been using them in a proxy war against the Saudis in Yemen, the Houthis are nonetheless an autonomous group with their own agenda. That is why the Saudi-Iran rapprochement has not necessarily meant peace for Yemen. The conflict has subsided to a significant extent, but it’s left neither the Yemeni government nor the Houthis in full control, largely as a result of the Saudi-Iran rapprochement.
The Houthis are now seeking to take…