Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

Yemen Rebel Threats to Dubai Show Danger Looms

Yemen Rebel Threats to Dubai Show Danger Looms

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A false claim by Yemen’s Houthi rebels of an attack on the world’s busiest airport for international travel this week may have been quickly disproven by authorities in Dubai. That doesn’t mean, however, it can be taken too lightly. The insistence of the Houthis and hard-line media in Iran on trumpeting the falsehood serves as a warning to the city-state and other parts of the United Arab Emirates, now engaged in the yearslong Yemen war led by Saudi Arabia. And while a previous threat carried by Iranian media drew an immediate government response from censors, this one went by without censure. That means as American sanctions sparked by President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal increase, so too will the threats against the U.S.-allied UAE. The recent war of words began Monday afternoon. The Houthi-controlled satellite news channel Al-Masirah and others began claiming without offering any evidence that they attacked Dubai International Airport, a massive transit hub in the sheikhdom that saw 88.2 million passengers last year alone. Any attack on the airport would cause travel disruptions across the world, as the airport serves as the hub of the long-haul carrier Emirates that links the East and the West from the Arabian Peninsula. But the Houthi claim alleged the Shiite rebels used a Samad-3 drone to bomb an airfield some 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) away from territory they control in Yemen, far beyond the believed distance one of their bomb-laden attack drones can fly. Faked satellite imagery later circulated online, as did videos of an August 2016 Emirates crash-landing at the airport that some falsely claimed showed the supposed attack.
Though quickly disproved, the claim gained immediate traction in Iran, which backs the Houthis in the conflict. While Iran directly denies arming the rebels, the United Nations and Western powers have documented arms transfers to the Houthis by Tehran of everything from Kalashnikov assault rifles to the ballistic missile technology used to periodically target cities as far away as the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh. (AP)