Yemen's Houthis threaten Saudi Arabia with aerial footage of key airports

Yemen's Houthis threaten Saudi Arabia with aerial footage of key airports
The Houthis have released a video of various locations in Saudi Arabia, reminding the kingdom of their military capabilities.
3 min read
08 July, 2024
The Houthi leader has accused the US of 'entangling' Saudi Arabia in attempts to financially cripple the Houthi-run part of Yemen [Getty]

The media of the military wing of Yemen’s Houthi rebels published a video on Sunday showing aerial drone footage and coordinates of important and prominent airports and ports in Saudi Arabia.

The video, titled "Just try it", contained images of King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, King Fahd International Airport in Damman as well as the ports in Ras Tanura, Jizan and Jeddah.

The release of the images coincided with a speech by Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi, in which he addressed Saudi Arabia directly saying: "America is trying to entangle you, and if you want that, just try it. If you want good for yourselves, stability for your country, and your economy, stop your conspiracies against our country.

"If the American succeeds in entangling you, it is a terrible stupidity and great failure, and it is our natural right to confront any aggressive steps."

The video is widely seen as an attempt by the Houthis to remind Saudi Arabia that they are still capable of hitting deep into the kingdom, with the rebels blaming the US and Saudi for trying to economically destroy Houthi-controlled Yemen, after "failing militarily".

"Americans sent us messages that it will push the Saudi regime into aggressive steps, and American visits to Saudi Arabia took place for that purpose," al-Houthi said.

"The pressure to transfer banks from Sanaa is a crazy and stupid step, and no one in the world thinks this way. America knows the negative impact of transferring banks on the living reality of the Yemeni people, their currency and prices in the country," he added.

"We have directed advice and warnings through all intermediaries for the Saudis to back down from this foolish step, but they are still procrastinating."

Al-Houthi is referring to the decision by the Aden-based central bank, run by the UN-recognised Yemen government, to give 60 days to relocate their headquarters to the southern city and stop operating under Houthi policies, or else risk facing sanctions related to money laundering and anti-terrorism laws.

The struggle between the Houthi-run central bank and the government-run one has led to Yemen’s already dire economic situation drastically worsening.

The threat to Saudi Arabia by the Houthis comes amid reports that the government and Houthis failed to strike a fresh prisoner exchange deal. 

Officials from the two sides declared on Saturday night that the UN-brokered discussions in Muscat had ended without reaching an agreement on a new prisoner arrangement.

The UN Yemen envoy, Hans Grundberg, announced the end of the talks in Muscat, saying that the talks achieved “a significant breakthrough” when the Yemeni government and the Houthis agreed to release prominent politician Mohammed Qahtan, a point of contention between the two sides.

Saudi Arabia has been at war with the Houthis since 2015, when Riyadh intervened on behalf of the transitional government following a coup by the rebels, who the Saudis claim are backed by Iran.

The war has led to widespread devastation in Yemen, already the Arab world’s poorest country, with war crimes being committed by both sides and the creation of one of the worst humanitarian crises on earth.

Open hostilities between the two have largely ceased amid ongoing negotiations, but tensions remain high with no formal truce in place.