After the spectacular, game-changing attack on Abqaiq, the Houthi movement, via President of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council Mahdi al-Mashat, offered a ceasefire to MBS. His entourage only accepted a “partial” stop to the relentless bombing campaign. So more daring operations, complete with drone swarms and Quds-1 missiles, are inevitable. As Bukhaiti remarked, they “will target more vital and critical facilities of Saudis.”
A taste of what is in store was the fire on Jeddah’s train station – which is the $7 billion-plus hub of MBS’s 300km high-speed rail link to Mecca and Medina. The Arab street is consumed by rumors that the Houthis won’t stop before they reach Mecca.
As for the capabilities of the Yemeni Quds-1 cruise missile, here is a superb technical analysis, which comes with a crucial insight in view of the UK, German and French claims that Iran is behind the Saudi oil attacks:
“Notably, the Pentagon has not accused Iran of the strike and is keeping quiet, knowing full well that the Quds cruise missile came from Houthi territory.”
After Abqaiq and Operation Nasrallah, to say that MBS is wallowing in a vicious blowback swamp is an understatement. The relentless bombing of Yemen for over four years during his term as minister of defense is his Frankenstein baby.
In Beirut, I also spent many hours discussing the internal Saudi quagmire with analysts of the organized opposition, who run the website The Saudi Reality.
Among other things, they said that Jamal Khashoggi was killed because the Saudi consul in Istanbul exaggerated the dose of the shot to paralyze him. Then he was bone-sawed and the body was burned – so no wonder it was never found.
The opposition sees the internal Saudi dynamics as MBS being Trump’s man in Riyadh – because of the oil angle – while the CIA, like Khashoggi, would rather deal with a constitutional monarchy and have its own asset in command.
Total instability reigns. The only certainty is that the Houthi movement’s increasingly sophisticated offensive will continue to be deployed inside Saudi Arabia, unless MBS shelves his vicious war. Otherwise, he’d better start booking a one-way ticket to London.
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This article was originally published on Asia Times.