A threat issued Monday (September 16th) by the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah), in which they said they would target the same Saudi oil facilities targeted in the weekend attacks, has met with strong condemnation in Yemen.
The Houthis claimed responsibility for Saturday attacks on the Abqaiq and Khurais facilities that halted half the kingdom's oil production and sent shock waves through energy markets.
But the US blamed Iran for the attacks, saying there was no evidence they were launched from Yemen.
Yemeni lawmakers denounced the Houthis' threat in strong terms.
Prime Minister Moeen Abdul Malik described the targeting of the two Aramco facilities as an act of terrorism that is "an escalation of the policies of Iran and its arms to destabilise the region and threaten the global economy".
Deputy Minister of Human Rights Nabil Abdul Hafeez told Al-Mashareq that the Houthis’ new threat to target these facilities and their warning to companies operating there makes it clear that they are just proxies for the Iranian regime.
"Despite the signs that were circulated today and yesterday about the origin of rockets that hit Abqaiq, the Houthis rushed to claim responsibility in order to alleviate potential international moves against Iran," Abdul Hafeez said.
"If we believed the Houthis’ version, the weapons, rockets and drones are undoubtedly Iranian, and Saudi Arabia has already proved that in previous occasions about the type and origin of weapons," he said.
As for the Houthis’ new threats, he added, "everybody knows about the sanctions against Iran, and that is why Iran wants to show, through the Houthis, that it is capable of causing global concerns about oil and the world’s oil needs".
"In this way, it wants to prove that it is capable of creating a global crisis one way or another, whether by hitting oil facilities in the region, or preventing global trade by blocking the passage of oil tankers," he said.
"This message is Iran’s and not the Houthis’, and these statements are an express Iranian threat to the world," he added.
Preventing 'economic terrorism'
Abdul Hafeez urged UN Security Council member states to pass legislation to protect the region's oil facilities and international shipping lanes "so Iran may not succeed in its goal of preventing the region’s oil exports".
This would help deter "economic terrorism" and prevent new attacks, he said.
The Houthis claim that they targeted the Abqaiq and Khurais facilities, and the scale of the economic consequences shows the war in Yemen is entering a new phase, said Studies and Economic Media Centre director Mustafa Nasr.
"The Houthis’ threats must be dealt with seriously after these attacks, as it is clear that they are working, with Iran’s assistance, on developing their capabilities of targeting Saudi Arabia’s economic facilities," he told Al-Mashareq.
"This means the conflict in Yemen has become a regional conflict," he said.
With its attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, Iran is acting on its threat of either being allowed to export its oil or stopping exports altogether for the entire region, political analyst and journalist Rashad al-Sharaabi told Al-Mashareq.
"The Houthis are just tools for realizing Iran's agendas, whether it was they who carried out the terrorist attack on oil facilities or they just claimed responsibility to cover others," he said.
"With this, the Houthis are compounding the Yemeni people's suffering because of their escalating aggressions on [Yemen's] neighbours and economic facilities that affect the entire world's needs," he added.
"The Houthis are determined to proceed with this battle which is hugely detrimental," he said, both to the Yemeni people and to other nations.
"This confirms that Iran and its military arms in Iraq and Lebanon use them for issues that have nothing to do with Yemen," he said, noting that Iran has been using the Houthis to help it force an end to economic sanctions placed on it.