Missile attack on Makkah by Al Houthis is a dangerous escalation: paper

ABU DHABI, 31st October, 2016 (WAM) — A UAE newspaper has said that the missile attack on Makkah by Al Houthi rebels in Yemen is a dangerous escalation of the ongoing war.

“It is a tribute to the skills of the Saudi Air Defence that the missile was brought down, but it should never have been launched in the first place,” said Gulf News in an editorial on Monday.

The paper went on to say, “Firstly, to target a missile anywhere near Makkah is a terrible desecration of the Holy place, and secondly, it points to a far more dangerous level of support from the Iranians than previously suspected. Ballistic missiles are sophisticated weapons in both their manufacture and guidance systems, and despite some suggestions that the missile might have been made locally, it seems far more likely that they came from Iran that has been the main backer of Al Houthis and has encouraged them to keep fighting when peace talks may have succeeded.

“H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was making clear that anyone associated with such a gross attack needs to share in the responsibility for it.

“It is profoundly worrying that Al Houthis seem determined to escalate the violence when they should be thinking of joining the well-marked route to peace through the talks for which the preliminary discussions have laid out an effective way forward, should Al Houthis choose to join the way to peace.

“Instead, this is the second serious assault on Saudi Arabia this month. The missile was launched from Sa’ada province, as was another on 9th October, which was intercepted by Saudi air defences near Taif that is the site of an airbase and is 70km from Makkah.

“It is clear that Al Houthis and their allies, including forces loyal to ousted Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, possess a stockpile of missiles, including Soviet-era Scuds.

“For Al Houthis to use such random violence to support their cause speaks of their increasing desperation. They should abandon their false allies from Iran who are encouraging them to more and more violence, and instead start genuine peace talks to find a way to rebuild Yemen as an inclusive society,” concluded the Dubai-based daily.