The United Arab Emirates said on Monday that it shot down a missile fired by Yemen’s Houthis, an attack that happened just after a symbolic day of visits by Israel’s President. It would be unusual if the timing were not on purpose. However, Iranian media did not highlight the attack during the early morning hours, just as they tended to ignore the visit. This is because Iran is wary to give press to the important visit by Israel’s President. The Houthis, an Iranian proxy, are not so circumspect. They want to send yet another message to the region about their missile and drone capabilities.

The reports of the attack, with the UAE saying they intercepted the projectile, came after the UAE also published information about airstrikes in Yemen. It appears the UAE struck the platform for launching the ballistic missile that targeted the UAE this morning. The UAE Ministry of Defense Joint Operations Command announced at 00:50 UAE time the “destruction of platform for a ballistic missile launched from Al-Jawf, Yemen towards UAE. The missile was intercepted at 00:20 by air defenses. Video of successful destruction of missile platform and launch site.”

The Houthis said they carried out “a large-scale military operation deep inside the UAE.,” according to The Wall Street Journal. It was not clear if there was any evidence of the size of the attack. The attack comes days after pro-Iran militias in Iraq targeted Baghdad International Airport with 107mm rockets. The rockets damaged one plane on January 28. On January 24 the Houthis also targeted the UAE and they carried out another wide-ranging attack on January 17. The UAE has increased its effectiveness in stopping the attacks with air defenses.

The appearance of an attack by the Houthis coinciding with the high-profile visit show how they are trying to score points in regional propaganda. This is similar to the attack on Baghdad airport. It appears that Iran’s proxies are aiming for larger propaganda victories. It also comes after pro-Iran groups in Syria attempted a wide-scale infiltration of Jordan using drug smugglers. Jordan killed numerous smugglers last week.

We are seeing a rise in Iranian-backed attacks in the region, even as Iran’s regime remains relatively quiet. Iran wants to show it can operationalize the militias and terror groups from Yemen to Iraq and Syria, while it plays a double game in Vienna, talking with the West. Iran wants sanctions relief from the US but it is also working with Russia and China and trying to portray itself as a strong, normal country in the region. It is in that context that it hosted a high-level visit by Qatar and its media has downplayed some bellicose actions. Nevertheless, these missile attacks on the UAE and the airport in Iraq represent a kind of impunity for Iran’s militia allies in the region.

Source » jpost