Israel Offers Intelligence & Security Support to UAE Amid Growing 'Strategic Capability' of Houthis
Global leaders have rallied around the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since Yemen's Houthi group attacked one of its oil depots using drones and missiles, killing three workers. Strategic analysts say that the attack indicates a significant shift in the strategic capability of militants targeting energy infrastructure in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has strongly condemned the drone attacks in Abu Dhabi, which he said were "carried out by the Iranian-backed Houthis," and vowed to extend support against extremist forces in the region.
"We stand ready to offer you security and intelligence support in order to help you protect your citizens from similar attacks. I have ordered the Israeli security establishment to provide their counterparts in the UAE with any assistance, should you be interested," Bennet wrote in a letter addressed to Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Tuesday.
The offer has been extended to the Emirates as security analysts indicate a significant shift in the "strategic capability" of Houthis, who have also carried out attacks on the energy infrastructures of Saudi Arabia in the past.
"The reported drone attack in UAE by Houthi militants is geographically curious. Yemen is the stronghold of the Houthis, which has Saudi and Oman in the middle. Houthis on sea operate around the Red Sea. How did they manage to launch drones into Abu Dhabi, and from where?" Kabir Taneja from Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation said.
Experts are also wondering if the UAE will join the renewed fighting in Yemen; Abu Dhabi started significantly reducing its troops in Yemen in mid-2019.
On 3 January, Israel's Elbit Systems announced a deal with the UAE for supplying direct infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) and airborne electronic warfare (EW) systems for Emirati Air Force's Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport Aircraft under a $53 million contract.
The announcement comes a few weeks after Naftali Bennett became the first Israeli leader to officially visit the UAE. Israel has been working to normalise ties with its Middle Eastern neighbours since 2020, when Tel Aviv signed the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement with the UAE.
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