Yemen’s Houthis have announced at the end of a dramatic week following the early Saturday aerial attacks on two Saudi Aramco facilities which knocked out up to half of the kingdom’s daily oil production their intent to cease targeting Saudi territories.
Pro-Houthi Al Masirah TV announced the news Friday, citing president of the rebels’ ruling council Mahdi al-Mashat, who said the group “will halt all attacks on Saudi territories with ballistic missiles and drones,” as translated by Bloomberg.
However, the statement said it was conditioned on the Saudi coalition halting its own devastating airstrikes over Yemen as well, which have been a constant since Yemen’s civil war brought Saudi military intervention in 2015. Houthi forces have “the right to respond to any aggression” the statement added.
Both Washington and Riyadh have long accused the Houthis of being the long arm of Tehran, given the Shia forces are ideologically aligned with the Islamic Republic.
Meanwhile on Friday Iran itself vowed to keep up its own ‘counter-pressure campaign’ against US threats “from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and to the Indian Ocean.”
“If the Americans think of any plots, the Iranian nation will respond from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and to the Indian Ocean,” a senior military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, said.
And separately a former chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Rahim-Safavi, echoed the threat: “The U.S. president (Donald Trump) will face the same fate as the six presidents before him who failed to impose their political will on the Iranian nation, and Trump will join history with the same yearning,” according to Reuters.
Both sides have expressed a desire to avoid war, yet this week Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif promised “all-out war” would result in any US or Saudi attack on Iran.
But the Houthis’ apparent attempt to offer an olive branch Friday in the form of announcing a halt to all attacks on Saudi soil could be a sign the nearly half-decade long war is possibly in the beginning phases of winding down.
Perhaps Tehran brought its own pressure to bear on its alleged proxies following the devastating Aramco attacks, which clearly did its work in sending a forceful message.