PEJOURNAL – Strategic think tank of explanation – The Yemeni army and popular committees in early June 2020, after a period of restraint, warning and threatening to carry out heavy and painful deterrence operations against the nine governing and non-economic goals finally, due to the continuing aggression and siege, using a significant mass of Samad 3 Offensive UAV, ballistic and cruise missiles of zulfiqar and Quds, crushed each other Saudi military and sovereign symbols in what became known as Operation Fourth Deterrence.
In this article, while briefly reviewing Ansarullah’s deterrence operations, the difference between the fourth deterrence operation and the previous three operations, as well as the reaction of the Saudi-US coalition to this operation and finally the impact of this operation on the war against Yemen are examined.
Overview of Ansarullah deterrence operations
It takes 10 months from the first deterrence operation to the fourth deterrence operation. The first deterrence operation took place on August 17, 2019; When Yemeni army UAVs and popular committees targeted Al-Shiba oil field affiliated with Aramco, located in southeastern Saudi Arabia, about 10 kilometers from the UAE border.
The field has more than one billion barrels of oil storage capacity. The attacks took place 10km from the Saudi-UAE border, and there was also a warning to the UAE from the Yemeni army and popular committees. Following these attacks, the level of UAE intervention in the war against Yemen has decreased, and the UAE moved more towards intra-coalition conflicts with Saudi Arabia and supporting its mercenaries in Yemen.
The first three operations targeted Saudi Arabia’s economic facilities, but the fourth operation targeted non-economic targets and key Saudi military and government symbols, such as the Ministry of Defense, the Intelligence Center, and the Salman Air Base in Riyadh, which is place to a significant number of American troops and military experts and has a special and strong protective wall.
14 September 2019, the second deterrent operation was carried out, during which Aramco oil facilities in Baqiq and Kharis in eastern Saudi Arabia were targeted by 10 UAVs, damaging half of Saudi oil production and oil prices rising by about 18%.
According to Saudi Energy Minister Abdul Aziz bin Salman, “Baqiq” is the heart of the Saudi oil industry, and in fact Ansarullah and the Yemeni army targeted the heart of the Saudi oil industry. One of the most important effects of the attack was that Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman was unable to sell some of the Aramco shares he needed to save his country’s economy.
Five months after the second deterrence operation, the third deterrence operation was carried out in February 2020, this time with the Yemeni army and popular committees with two Quds ballistic missiles, twelve “Samad-3” UAV and Zulfiqar long-range ballistic missiles targeted Aramco and other sensitive targets in Yanbu, west of Saudi Arabia.
The attack came in response to a Saudi coalition crime against Yemen’s Al-Jawf province. The Saudi coalition killed 35 people, including 26 children, and wounded 23, including 18 children, in an attack on al-Jawf. The attack showed that the Yemeni army and popular committees are responding to the crimes of the Saudi coalition.
Fourth deterrence operation took place on June 4, 2020. The recent operation, which was carried out in a calculated manner with a series of Samad 3 UAV, cruise and ballistic missiles in four consecutive waves, carried important messages, including that targeting sensitive military and intelligence locations in the Saudi capital shows Ansarullah’s targeting has gone beyond the level of warning or economic goals, the destruction of the bank has new non-economic goals on the agenda.
The fourth deterrence operation showed that “dialogue” and “negotiation” with Al-Saud will not work in practice. The Yemenis have not carried out a large-scale offensive against Saudi Arabia for four months since February 2020 to show goodwill to establish a ceasefire and end the war, but the Saudis have continued their daily attacks against different regions of Yemen despite claiming a ceasefire.
Investigating the similarities and differences between the previous three deterrence operations and the fourth operation
The previous three deterrence operations have similarities and differences with the fourth operation. The most important similarity of these deterrence operations is their defensive and deterrent nature, as well as the depth of more than 1000 km of operations. The first operation took place at a depth of 1,200 km in Saudi Arabia, and it was the first time that Yemeni UAVs flew to a depth of 1,200 km in Saudi Arabia.
The second operation was carried out at a depth of 1050 km and the third operation was carried out at a depth of 1000 km in Saudi Arabia. In the fourth operation, in addition to the border areas of Yemen with Saudi Arabia, the capital Riyadh was also targeted by missiles, which is more than 1000 kilometers away from Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.
The fourth deterrence operation also had important differences from the previous three operations.
In terms of tools, the first two deterrence operations were carried out with 10 UAVs and the third operation with 12 UAVs of Samad 3 type and two missiles of Quds winged missiles and Zulfiqar ballistic missile. The fourth operation was carried out with Samad 3 UAVs, which have a range of 1,500 to 1,700 kilometers, and the Quds and Zulfiqar missiles.
Geographically, it targeted the first and second operations in eastern Saudi Arabia, and the third in western Saudi Arabia. The fourth operation targeted both Saudi Arabia’s border areas with Yemen and the Saudi capital.
In terms of target, the first three deterrence operations were carried out against Saudi Arabia’s economic facilities, but the fourth operation targeted non-economic targets and important Saudi military and government symbols such as the Ministry of Defense, the intelligence center and Salman Air Base in Riyadh which place to a significant number of American troops and military experts and has a special and strong protective wall.
The operation also targeted some Saudi positions in Jizan and Najran. In other words, this operation was not limited to one geography, but targeted several places in different geographies (Riyadh, Jizan and Najran). The operation was a response to past threats by Ansar alIah and the Yemeni army to target the “depth” of Saudi Arabia if attacks against Yemen continue.
The fourth operation was different from the previous three deterrence operations in terms of its internal message. This operation showed that there is no point in Saudi Arabia that is beyond the range (gunshot) of Ansarullah forces. Mohammed al-Bakhiti, a member of Yemen’s Ansar allah political council, said the fourth deterrent operation showed Yemen’s ability to attack targets deep in Saudi territory.
Meanwhile, the fourth deterrence operation showed that “dialogue” and “negotiation” with Al-Saud will not work in practice. The Yemenis have not carried out a large-scale offensive against Saudi Arabia for four months since February 2020 to show goodwill to establish a ceasefire and end the war, but the Saudis have continued their daily attacks against different regions of Yemen despite claiming a ceasefire.
Al-Saud is well aware that it is trapped in the Yemeni swamp, but it still does not dare to end the war because it thinks of the consequences of a “war without victory”, especially in terms of regional power, and is concerned about weakening the regional position. It is against other competitors, especially the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The reaction of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to the fourth deterrent operation
Fourth Ansar allah Yemeni deterrence operation targets Saudi military and sovereign symbols. Thus, Al-Saud, in response to this operation, which dealt a heavy military and prestige blow to the country, claimed that it had failed. The Saudi government claimed to have shot down all Yemeni missiles and UAVs. This claim while news sources heard loud explosions in the north of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Unofficial sources also reported that several Saudi intelligence forces were wounded in Ansarullah attacks in Yemen.
The Saudis used this tactic in the second deterrence operation, but were eventually forced to admit it. Meanwhile, Al-Saud announced that the operation was carried out against civilians and is a clear violation of international law. This is the claim of Al Saud while more than 100,000 Yemenis have been killed, directly or indirectly, in the past 64 months as a result of the Saudi coalition’s war against Yemen.
The UAE government also reacted to the fourth deterrent operation, declaring that the UAE stands by Saudi Arabia to counter any threat to its security and stability, as well as to support Riyadh’s decisions to protect the safety and health of its citizens. The UAE Foreign Ministry also claimed that the continuation of such attacks demonstrates the nature of the dangers threatening the region and is another reason for the Houthis’ efforts to undermine security and stability in the region.
The UAE claims to support the security and stability of Saudi Arabia, while the dispute between Abu Dhabi and Riyadh in southern Yemen has increased more than ever and the UAE-affiliated militias have succeeded to take control of government and military institutions in Aden and the island of Socotra from the resigned Saudi-backed government.
It can be said that this reaction of the UAE to the fourth deterrence operation shows more than anything else that Abu Dhabi is increasingly afraid of such Yemeni operations, because in the nine goals of the Yemeni army and the Yemeni People’s Committee, there are 6 targets in Saudi Arabia and 3 targets also located in the UAE.
US reaction to Ansarullah attack on Salman air base
The fourth deterrent operation is the first Yemeni deterrence operation against Saudi Arabia since the United States announced in April 2020 that it would withdraw its Patriot system and a number of its troops from Salman Air Base in Riyadh. In fact, the inefficiency of the Patriot system in targeting Yemeni missiles and UAVs had already been proven.
After the Fourth Deterrence Operation, the Americans reacted differently. The US embassy in Saudi Arabia condemned the attacks and, contrary to the Saudi government’s claims, confirmed the missile and UAV strikes on Riyadh. Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia warned its citizens to take precautions. The Zionist newspaper The Jerusalem Post called the US embassy statement “unprecedented.”
• Predicting the future of changes in Yemen
Due to the (Given) four Yemeni deterrence operations against Saudi Arabia, the following two scenarios can be proposed for the future of Yemeni developments:
• Continuing the war and bombing of the Saudi coalition against different parts of Yemen
Although Al-Saud is well aware that it is trapped in the Yemeni swamp, but it still does not dare to end the war because it thinks of the consequences of a “war without victory”, especially in terms of regional power, and is concerned about weakening the regional position against other competitors, especially the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In addition, present-day Yemen is not only the backyard of Saudi Arabia, but also an ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran. For this reason, Saudi Arabia has not even taken the opportunity of covid19 to get out of the Yemeni swamp. Thus, it seems that Riyadh will continue to attack Yemen, but these attacks will “increase” the defeat of Al-Saud in the war against Yemen.
• Imposing heavier blows on Saudi Arabia
The four deterrence operations carried out in different geographies of Saudi Arabia, especially the fourth deterrence operation, which targeted Saudi intelligence and military symbols, prove that Ansar allah-Yemen has reached a stage of deterrent power that can deal heavy blows to Al Saud and increase the cost of the war for Saudi Arabia. “The offensive capacity of our UAVs has increased by 400 percent compared to last year,” said Brigadier General Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces, after the fourth deterrence operation.
In fact, these operations send a message to the Saudi side that ending the war against Yemen will serve Riyadh’s interests more than insisting on continuing the war. The Yemenis proved in the fourth deterrence operation attacked Saudi Arabia with Yemeni-made missiles. “The fourth deterrence operation is important in that the latest weapons of the Yemeni forces were used,” said Ali al-Qahoum, a member of the Yemeni Ansarullah political office. These new and advanced weapons were made by the Yemenis themselves without any foreign aid. The use of these weapons shows that Yemen has established a military balance of power in the face of Saudi Arabia.