Iran has been watching closely the use of drone and missile attack combinations being used by its Houthi allies in Yemen. This week the Houthi rebels announced yet another new type of ballistic missile and showed footage of drones and other weapons they have used over the last years.
Iranian media has focused closely on this use of missiles and drones at the same time in an attack. In the past Iran has used drones to monitor its use of ballistic missiles. In the fall of 2018 Iran used ballistic missiles to target ISIS in Syria and Kurdish dissidents near Koya in Iraq. This use of drones was innovative for Iran and it appears that since then they have increased their capabilities. They used drones and cruise missiles in an attack on Saud Arabia’s Abqaiq in September 2019. Iran used ballistic missiles to attack US bases in Iraq in January 2020. That means that between September 2018, when they planned and executed the Koya attack, they became more proficient with these weapon combinations.
Reports indicate the missiles used in Koya were Fateh 110 and that Zolfagher and Qiam missiles were used for the attacks on ISIS in Syria. Now the Houth rebels, who receive weapons and technology for their drones and missiles from Iran, say that they will unveil a new missile. They referenced recent attacks on Saudi Arabia. Recent weeks have seen them use missiles and drones in combination. This should be of concern to the region. Even though Iranian shipments to Yemen have been intercepted three times by the US Navy, the Houthis have showcased impressive missiles and drones already. The wider concern is that if Iran seeks to strike at the US, Saudi Arabia, Israel or others, it may use the experience of the Houthis to inform its allies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
Recent research by the ALMA Research and Education Center revealed 28 missile sites in Lebanon. These are for Fateh 110 missiles and others. Iran is also improving Syria’s air defenses and has transferred drones in the past to T-4 base and drone units near the Golan. In 2018 an Iranian drone from T-4 penetrated Israeli airspace and in the fall of 2019 Israel struck a Hezbollah drone team near the Golan.
Iran has said it will retaliate if it concludes that a recent incident at its Natanz facility was done by a foreign country. The Houthi use of new missile and drone combinations may be what Iran is analyzing for a retaliation. It has shown in the past that these kinds of missile or drone attacks are its preference because it keeps Iranian forces far away from the battlefield while sending Tehran’s message. In the last two years Iran has reportedly transferred precision guided munitions to Hezbollah and has sought to move ballistic missiles to Shi’ite militia allies in Iraq.
Source » jpost