By Farzad Farhadi

Why Riyadh, allies worry over Yemeni ballistic missiles

May 23, 2018 - 11:26

TEHRAN - The Saudi-led war against Yemen continues. The topic that has kept analysts occupied involves Yemeni missiles and their high precision in striking their targets.

The Yemeni army and popular committees' fighters continue firing missiles at Jizan, Asir, Najran and Riyadh. This has forced the Saudis to appeal to members of the so-called U.S. Army Green Berets. According to U.S. media reports, their mission is to track down and destroy these missiles because they are a source of concern for Saudi officials.

The Saudis, weakened by Yemeni missile attacks, have turned to propaganda claiming that the missiles are Iranian.

Muhammad Abbas al-Zalehi, a Yemeni analyst, says: “It is believed that the ballistic missiles that Houthis are firing into Saudi Arabia belong to Iran or have been sent from Iran in small pieces. This is a misconception and contrary to reason and logic. It is evident that a large number of these missiles are being shot by the Houthis alone a daily basis into Saudi Arabia.

Alheyad.net website has also reported on missile launches in Yemen; “The source of Yemeni ballistic missiles should be searched in the 70s of the last century. Yemenis bought from the Soviet Union missiles such as Scud, Luna and Tuukka and they are Russian.”

The Yemeni army began to develop its missiles in cooperation with Iraqi experts and rocket engineers from the former Soviet Union in 1998. Yemen has one of the largest ballistic missile arsenals in the Middle East in terms of quantity and range. More than 60 percent of the Yemeni missiles are exported from North Korea, Russia and China, and 40 percent are built by Yemen.

Yemen, which did not initially have missiles with a range of more than 300 kilometers, later enjoyed strategic gains with ranges of 1,000 kilometers covering the entire island of al-Arab, excluding Kuwait, and the Horn of Africa and Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia.

Concerns over the missiles of the army and popular committees of Yemen have also reached the Zionists.

The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA Center) affiliated with the political science department at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, acknowledged in the research: “The ballistic missiles launched by the Houthis are extremely dangerous for the precise impact on the target and the development of its technology.”

BESA Center has claimed that the Yemenis acquired these missiles from Iran and North Korea.
The BESA Center’s study said Israel could play a role in the Saudi arms market and in equipping Riyadh with weapons systems to address the security challenges it faces.

Saudis seem interested in purchasing Israel's anti-missile Iron Dome

A study, conducted by Zionist scholar Delaney Nuchal, showed the desire of the Saudis to equip themselves with the Zionist missile defense system, in particular Israel's Iron Dome system. This interest has been described as a major development in relations between Tel Aviv and Riyadh.

In another study, published by the BESA Center, it has been emphasized that Saudi Arabia can be an area for testing the capabilities of air defense systems.

To strengthen the air defense system, King Salman went to Russia last October and signed a $3 billion contract, over which Moscow is committed to equip Riyadh with the advanced S400 system. The aim to purchase weapons from Russia relates to Riyadh's desire to develop cooperation between Moscow and Riyadh in many areas, including the containment of regional crises. The Saudis want to use Russians to pressure Ansarullah.

According to this report, Saudis are now relying on the Patriot, U.S.-based anti-missile system to fight Yemenis. Apart from that, Saudis purchased the Thadd Air Defense System in 2015 at an estimated cost of $15 billion.
In any case, it is evident that the Saudis are struggling to escape missile attacks by the military and popular committees of Yemen while the Yemenis continue to develop longer-range missiles.

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