On October 2, the Houthis (Ansar Allah) threatened to target oil fields in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), calling on energy companies in both countries to halt operations and leave.
The threat was made just a few hours after the end of the ceasefire in Yemen, which was brokered by the United Nations. The ceasefire entered into effect on April 2 and was set to end two months later, on June 2. However, it was extended two times, first until August 2 and then until October 2.
Brig. Gen. Yahya al-Sari’, a spokesman for the Houthis, warned that the group has the ability to deny Saudi Arabi and the UAE access to their resources, if they continue to deny the Yemen people the right to benefit from their own resources.
“The [Yemeni] armed forces give oil companies operating in the Saudi Arabia and the UAE an opportunity to settle their status and leave as long as the countries of the American-Saudi aggression are not committed to a ceasefire that gives the Yemeni people the right to exploit their oil wealth for the benefit of the salary of Yemeni state employees,” the spokesman said on Twitter.
The UN was working to further extend the ceasefire in Yemen. Nevertheless, the Saudi-backed Yemeni government rejected a demand by the Houthis to pay the salaries of state employees in their areas of influence from the national oil revenue.
To this day, the Saudi-led coalition and its allies control all major oil fields in Yemen and deny the Houthis-led government in the capital, Sanaa, any access to these resources.
A few hours before the end of the UN-sponsored ceasefire, chairman of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, Mahdi al-Mashat, was discussing the issue of Yemeni oil revenue with the Sanaa-based Ministry of Defense and the General Staff. This shows that the Houthis are very serious about their threats.
As of now, the situation in Yemen remains calm. However, the situation could explode soon, if the UN fail to renew the ceasefire.
The Houthis will likely follow through with their threats and attack oil and gas fields in Saudi Arabi and the UAE very soon. The Saudi-backed Yemeni government could prevent such a dangerous escalation by sharing oil revenue with the Sanaa-based government.