Houthis accused of threatening world’s electricity supplies

The tanker ‘Arsan’ suffered minor damage in the Houthi missile attack. (Courtesy: marinetraffic.com)
Updated 27 July 2018

Houthis accused of threatening world’s electricity supplies

  • Saudi Arabia suspended oil shipments through the Bab Al-Mandeb strait after the missile attacks
  • The protection of Red Sea shipping is one of the aims of the Saudi-led coalition fighting to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized government

JEDDAH: Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen were accused on Thursday of threatening the world’s electricity supplies after they attacked two oil tankers in a crucial Red Sea shipping lane.

Saudi Arabia suspended oil shipments through the Bab Al-Mandeb strait after the missile attacks, in which one tanker — the Arsan, operated by the Saudi shipping company Bahri — suffered minor damage.

The Houthis have threatened before to block the strait, and said on Thursday they had the naval capability to hit Saudi ports and other Red Sea targets. Iran has also threatened to block another strategic shipping route, the Strait of Hormuz.

The protection of Red Sea shipping is one of the aims of the Saudi-led coalition fighting to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized government. The rest of the world must now be alert to the threat posed by Iran and its Houthi proxies, analysts told Arab News.

“Saudi Arabia cannot put the lives of its men and material in danger. It is too risky in Bab Al-Mandeb, as evident from the Houthi attacks,” said Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar in Riyadh.

“Had the attacks succeeded, it would have been catastrophic. The world, especially the European nations, must step up to the plate and play their part in neutralizing the threat from Iran and the Houthis.

“All this while Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have been fighting this scourge of terrorism and blackmail with little or no help from the Europeans. This is not just our fight. These militias, who are armed to teeth by Iran, pose a threat not just to us but to the entire global economy.

“Iran has repeatedly threatened that it will attack oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. And what has been the response from Europe? Criticism of the Saudi efforts and more pandering and cajoling of Tehran. Well, this cannot go on. They need to decide, and fast, what they want — oil to keep their economies running, or ties with Iran. Now is the time for them to take a stand.”

Oubai Shahbandar, a Syrian-American analyst and fellow at the New America Foundation’s International Security Program, echoed that view. 

“Disrupting the freedom of movement of oil shipments and threatening the sanctity of global energy markets will be viewed by the international community as a red line,” he said.

 “Targeting international shipping through the Bab Al-Mandeb really highlights the strategic threat to regional stability posed by Houthi militants and their missile arsenal.”

 


Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Updated 30 May 2020

Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Hana Abdullah Alomair is the director of Netflix’s first Saudi thriller original series, titled “Whispers,” which is due to begin streaming in 190 countries on June 11. 

A Saudi writer, filmmaker, and movie critic, Alomair won the Silver Palm Tree Award for best script at the Saudi Film Competition in 2008.

She gained a bachelor’s degree in Arabic-English translation from King Saud University in 1992 and four years later a master’s degree in the same field of study from Heriot-Watt University, in Scotland.

Her documentary “Beyond Words” was screened during the Gulf Film Festival in 2019 and was selected for the main competition in this year’s Muscat International Film Festival.

A member of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, she has worked as a head writer in writing workshops for several TV series. She was a jury member at the Saudi Film Festival held by Rotana in 2013. Her second
flick, “The Complaint,” was selected in the main competition of Tessa’s Festival for Asian and African Films in Morocco in 2014 and it won the Golden Palm
Tree Award for best short fiction film in the Saudi Film Competition in 2015.

In 2016, Alomair, together with Hind Al-Fahhad, scooped the prize for best script for the short film “Peddlers” at the King Fahd Center Short Film Competition.

She recently published a book about the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa, and in 2017 wrote a play called “Qat Oqat.”

Last year, she wrote and directed her latest short film “Swan Song,” which won the Golden Palm Tree Award for best actor in the Saudi Film Festival.