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Yemen’s Supreme Political Council recently displayed four new air defense systems developed by the country’s defense industry, seen as an effort to strengthen and boost its defense capability. The four are identified as Fater-1 (Innovator-1), Thaqib-1 (Piercer-1), Thaqib-2, and Thaqib-3. Yemen’s modernized air defense system recently shot down a Saudi-owned fighter jet in the province of Al Jawf, as Almasdarnews reported.

‘The New Defense Systems Will Change the Course of the Battle’

“The new defense systems will change the course of the battle against the coalition of aggression and pave the ground for the introduction of more sophisticated systems in order to engage enemy targets,” Houthi leader Mahdi al Mashat said.

In the exhibition, al-Mashat watched a documentary on the development stages of those air defense systems since the start of the Saudi-led coalition in one of the poorest nations in the Middle East. He thanked Yemen’s ministry of defense and other related institutions for their hard work.

A Brief History of the Yemen War

The bloodshed in Yemen stemmed from the Arab Spring uprising, the movement that led to regime changes in several the Middle East and North African countries such as Tunisia and Egypt. The movement also forced then the incumbent Ali Abdullah Saleh — who was later killed in December 2017 — to resign and let his deputy, the internationally-recognized Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi to take office, in 2011.

In 2014, Yemen’s Houthi rebel-affiliated with Iran-took over the Yemeni capital of Sana’a, forcing Hadi to share his power with the Shia rebel. There was a suggestion that both set up a federal system that split the country into six regions. However, the opposition refused the idea, fearing the impact on its alliance.

In early 2015, the Houthis arrested Hadi, but he managed to escape to Aden. Then, Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations launched a military intervention to contain the rebels, turning the conflict into the ongoing proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran that it is today.

The Awful Human Cost of the Yemen War

As of April 20, 2019, more than 70,000 people are recorded as having died in the Yemen civil war since 2016 as the data from ACLED (Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project) showed. As of June 20, 2019, ACLED also stated that that the Saudi-led coalition was responsible for 67 percent of casualties in Yemen since 2015. More data from Reliefweb states that 2.2 million Yemeni children live in 75 districts where they cannot access humanitarian aid and face a severe food crisis.

2020 is the Year of Yemen’s Air Defense System

In an interview with an Arabic-language site Mirat Aljazeera, Yemen’s Air Force spokesperson, Maj.Gen. Abdullah Al-Jafri was optimistic that 2020 would be the golden year of the country’s air defense following the shooting of the Saudi’s Tornado jet on Tuesday, February 18. He also added that the air defense would more sophisticated in terms of how it will be developed going forward.

Saudi Arabia demanded Yemen’s full responsibility for the security and safety of the Saudi jet’s pilot that Yemen downed. Regarding this matter, Jafri said that if they had been alive, Yemen would have held a dialogue with Riyadh in compliance with the international principles stipulated in the Geneva Convention.

Yemen Continues to Hit Saudi Arabia

Before the shooting of the Saudi Tornado jet, Yemen’s military — with support from the Houthi-affiliated Lijan Shaabiya fighters — hit three Saudi’s drones in less than a week.

Saudi Arabia — one of the world’s largest arms buyers thanks to the purchase of American arms — has been trying its best to protect its assets following the drone attack on its oil facility in September 2019. Therefore, the oil-rich nation borrowed the Patriot defense missile from Greece (with the U.S approval) to protect its oil installation.

“The deployment contributes to energy security, promotes our country as a factor of regional stability and strengthens our ties to Saudi Arabia,” Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said as army-technology quoted.

The U.S accused Iran of masterminding the attack on Saudi Aramco’s oil installation. While the Houthi rebels claimed responsibility despite the U.N investigative report in early January saying neither Iran nor the Houthis were the culprits.

With Yemen’s new air defense system and Saudi’s effort to shoo away the Iran-affiliated rebels’ attack, the war in Yemen seems to be far from over, and the humanitarian crisis will continue and worsen.

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