Political Analysis

KSA border troops step up alert after Yemen port raid

National Yemen

GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN

Saudi troops along the Kingdom’s southern border have been placed on high alert after Houthi rebels seized a strategically important Yemeni land port close to Jazan.
The Haradh port, one of three major land entry ports in the north of Yemen that connects the two countries, is used for both travel and trade.
“The Saudi Border Guards across the border with Yemen have been placed on high alert,” said a Saudi official on condition of anonymity.
This was further confirmed by Border Guard spokesman Gen. Mohamed Al-Ghamdi, who told Asharq Al-Awsat, a sister publication of Arab News, that security forces positioned on the Kingdom’s northern and southern border have been placed on full alert.
“The Border Guards are carrying out round-the-clock checks for cross-border violations, including drug-trafficking, weapon smuggling and infiltration by terror groups,” said Al-Ghamdi.
In fact, Houthi rebels, who are in control of as many as nine Yemeni provinces, have continued their push across the country, raising concerns within the Kingdom.
For the Kingdom, which shares a porous 1,770 kilometers of southern border with Yemen, the stakes are high.
Senior intelligence officials consider Yemen to be the weakest security link in the Gulf and an easy prey for Tehran to penetrate and manipulate.
The Saudi-Yemen border also serves as the primary point of infiltration for Al-Qaeda, considered the biggest terrorist threat to the Kingdom.
The port of Haradh, captured by Houthis, is located in Yemen’s northern Hajah governorate and contains the strategically-important Tawwal border post, which witnesses massive traffic between the two countries.
Houthi militants have been aggressively pursuing an agenda of attacks, bloodshed and annexation.