The threats recently made by the Iran-backed Houthi leader against Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states are nothing but "political messaging" aimed to serve Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) agenda in the region, experts told Al-Mashareq.
The Houthis' (Ansarallah) capabilities have been proven to be modest at best, they said, and the region is covered by a connected network of air defence and missile systems that protect it from any type of aerial attack.
On April 22nd, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi threatened in televised remarks to strike Saudi Arabia and the UAE with ballistic missiles and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
He threatened to hit the economic interests of both countries by targeting "vital facilities".
Recent events have "unequivocally confirmed the modest capabilities of the missiles the IRGC is threatening to use through the Houthis in Yemen", Saudi military expert Mansour al-Shehri told Al-Mashareq.
No direct hits have been made against any military or vital targets the Houthis have threatened to hit, he said, "so these new threats can only be classified as part of the IRGC's political messaging to Gulf states".
Since 2015, Saudi forces have intercepted many missiles launched by the Houthis from Yemen, but dozens of civilians, including children, have been wounded or killed with shrapnel from these missiles.
An integrated air defence system
"GCC states boast an integrated air defence system that has the capability to intercept any missile or UAV laden with explosives," said Col. Rashid Mohammed al-Marri, formerly of the Dubai Police Anti-Narcotics Department.
Through their strategic partnership with the US, the GCC states' air defence was strengthened with aircraft and anti-ballistic missiles (ABM), he told Al-Mashareq.
GCC states also boosted their defenses with the Patriot system, one of the world’s leading air defence systems that counters tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft, he said.
"With the Patriot missile system that now protects the skies of the Gulf region almost fully, it is not possible for any UAV or ballistic missile to get through," he said, particularly as the UAVs the Houthis are boasting about are "antiquated and ineffective models".
Abdul-Malik al-Houthi's threats represent "new incriminating evidence against both the Houthis and the IRGC", political researcher Abdul Nabi Bakkar told Al-Mashareq
The latest threats further reveal that the Houthis own ballistic missiles "that are essentially manufactured in Iran in the IRGC’s factories or in Yemen under the supervision of IRGC officers and with Iranian-made parts", he said.
Furthermore, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a member of the Houthis' political council, denied on April 15th that the Houthis' stockpile of ballistic missiles has declined, Bakkar said.
This admission renders the Houthis "subject to international accountability", he said, adding that the militia's main purpose is to undermine peace and security in the region.