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Army Special Forces Secretly Help Saudis Combat Threat From Yemen Rebels

In April 2015, after a month of strikes, the Saudi-led coalition said it had accomplished its goals of destroying the missiles and the equipment used to launch them. But that June, Houthi rebels launched their first salvo of ballistic missiles, aimed at Khamis Mushayt, a Saudi city roughly 60 miles from the Yemen border.

Since then, Houthis have launched dozens of missiles, including shorter-range modified antiaircraft missiles and imported Iranian munitions. The White House and State Department have seized on the attacks to condemn not only the rebels but their Iranian supporters, underscoring the administration’s increasing hard line against Tehran.

“Iran destabilizes this entire region,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a visit to Riyadh on Sunday. “It supports proxy militias and terrorist groups. It is an arms dealer to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.”

Since 2015, Mr. Karem said, Houthi rebels have launched more than 100 ballistic missiles and many more rockets against major population centers, international airports, military installations and oil infrastructure — all within Saudi Arabia.

In the first four months of this year, the Houthis launched more than 30 missiles — roughly on par with the number fired in all of 2017, according to data compiled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Saudi forces trying to counter weapons from Yemen’s west coast — like the Houthi-held port in Al Hudaydah, where officials in Riyadh believe components of the missiles are shipped — have only two viable options, said Michael Knights, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

The first is to find the missiles where they are stored, which requires an extensive amount of intelligence, Mr. Knights said. The second is far harder: to attack the launch sites, he said.

Source: NYT > World

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