UAE intercepts Houthi missile fired toward Mokha in Yemen

This file photo shows the UAE armed forces, operating within the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, in Yemen. The UAE intercepted a ballistic missile launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Mokha, southern Yemen. (AFP)
Updated 18 February 2018
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UAE intercepts Houthi missile fired toward Mokha in Yemen

MOKHA, Yemen: The UAE armed forces, operating within the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, on Sunday intercepted a ballistic missile launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia.
The missile, which was intercepted by the UAE’s Patriot Missile Defense System, was fired toward Mokha in the Taiz governorate, according to UAE state news agency WAM.
The coalition fighters also destroyed a ballistic missile launchpad belonging to the Houthis near Hodeidah airport, where rebels were preparing to launch a missile.
Yemen’s National Army forces also made progress in regaining control of the territory, following a collapse among the Houthi ranks and mass retreats by militants, WAM reported.
Meanwhile, coalition forces continued to attack strongholds of the Houthi militias and conduct air raids on vital areas between Hays and Al-Jarrahi in the south of Hodeidah governorate on Yemen’s Red Sea Coast.
The raids led to numerous lives lost and damaged the Houthi equipment, as the forces loyal to the legitimate Yemeni government blocked their attempts to infiltrate liberated areas.
An official source from the Yemeni Resistance told WAM that the Arab Coalition Forces carried out air raids last night on areas where militias were gathering in Al-Hameli, Mawza District, and east of Khalid bin Al Walid camp, destroying their military equipment and weapons.
The source added that the Arab Coalition Forces are still clearing pockets of Houthi militias in areas between eastern Mokha and Hays, while highlighting the violations and crimes carried out by the militias.
The UAE Armed Forces are providing military and logistical support to ground, air and maritime operations, as part of the Arab Coalition Forces.


Sabotage of oil tankers stirs concerns over Gulf shipping

Updated 22 May 2019
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Sabotage of oil tankers stirs concerns over Gulf shipping

  • The acts of sabotage near the UAE coast highlight new threat to maritime traffic and global oil supplies
  • Experts say increased threat to navigation and global oil supplies not limited regionally but has global dimension

DUBAI: Amid rising tensions between the US and Iran, sabotage attacks on four commercial vessels off the coast of the UAE’s Fujairah port have raised serious questions about maritime security in the Gulf.

The incidents, which included attacks on two Saudi oil tankers, were revealed by the UAE government on May 12, drawing strong condemnation from governments in the Middle East and around the world as well as the Arab League.

Now experts have warned that the sabotage attacks highlight a new threat to maritime traffic and global oil supplies.

A Saudi government source said: “This criminal act constitutes a serious threat to the security and safety of maritime navigation, and adversely affects regional and international peace and security.”

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said the incidents threatened international maritime traffic.

While crimes on the high seas, including piracy, have tapered off in recent years, the attacks on the ships, three of which are registered to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have called into question common assumptions about the Gulf’s stability.

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Theodore Karasik, a senior adviser at Gulf State Analytics in Washington D.C., said governments of the Gulf region are mandated to watch over oceans and waterways. “On top of this requirement is the need for a new regime of maritime coordination to prevent attacks on shipping because of the repercussions for logistical chains, corporate strategies and insurance rates,” he told Arab News.

The sabotage attacks took place east of Fujairah port, outside the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway through which most Gulf oil exports pass and which Iran has threatened to block in the event of a military confrontation with the US.

Johan Obdola, president of the International Organization for Security and Intelligence, said the recent attacks underscore the need for closer intelligence-coordinated capabilities among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, including satellite communication and maritime or vessel security technology.

“The threats to oil tankers are not limited to the Gulf, but have a global dimension,” he said.

According to Obdola: “A coordinated joint task force integrating oil, intelligence security and military forces should be (established) to project and prepare (for potential future attacks). This is a time to be as united as ever.”

GCC countries have intensified security in international waters, the US navy said. Additionally, two US guided-missile destroyers entered the Gulf on May 16 in response to what the US called signs of possible Iranian aggression.

“The attack has brought (the region) a bit closer to a possible military confrontation amid the escalation in tensions between the US and Iran,” Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a former chairman of the Arab Council for Social Sciences, told Arab News.

He said Iran is purposely dragging Saudi Arabia, the UAE and possibly other Gulf countries into its fight with the US. “The credibility of the US is at stake and Trump has said he will meet any aggression with unrelenting force. If Iran continues on this path, we might see some kind of a military showdown on a limited scale.”

Given the importance of the region’s oil supplies to the US, Abdulla said “it’s not just the responsibility of Arab Gulf states but an international responsibility” to keep the shipping lanes safe.