During the last five years of the Yemen conflict – which has pitted a Saudi Arabia-led coalition against Iran-backed Houthi militants – inertia has proven the only victor. The humanitarian situation has gone from bad to worse as Houthi fighters have largely held their frontlines whilst the Saudi-backed government has failed to regain sovereign control over the country.

If anything, the security situation – particularly for Saudi Arabia – has grown even worse in recent months. Late last year the Houthis resumed attacks on Saudi infrastructure, hitting oil storage facilities at Jeddah just a couple of weeks after targeting the Jazan refining complex lying just 100km from the Yemen border (MEES, 27 November 2020). The joint attacks comprise the biggest escalation since 2019 when Iran-backed groups launched a shocking attack on Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq crude oil processing plant (MEES, 20 September 2019). (CONTINUED - 886 WORDS)