Deterrent Balance 7

“Operation Deterrent Balance 7 is the most recent in a series of large-scale missile and drone attacks by the Houthis against Saudi Arabia.

  • Operation Deterrent Balance 1 targeted the Shaybah super-giant oil field in southeast Saudi Arabia on August 17 of 2019.
  • Operation Deterrent Balance 2 targeted two strategic oil facilities in the eastern Saudi areas of Buqayq and Khurais on September 14 of 2019.
  • Operation Deterrent Balance 3 targeted an oil facility of Aramco as well as “sensitive targets” in the western Saudi city of Yanbu on February 21 of 2020.
  • Operation Deterrent Balance 4 targeted the headquarters of the Saudi Defense Ministry, intelligence facilities, King Salman Air Base and other positions in Riyadh as well as in Jizan and Najran on June 23 of 2020.
  • Operation Deterrent Balance 5 targeted military sites in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, as well as in the Kingdom’s southern cities of Abha and Khamis Mushait on February 28 of 2021.
  • Operation Deterrent Balance 6 targeted Ras Tanura oil port and an unspecified target in the nearby city of Dammam as well as several targets in both Jizan and ‘Asir on March 7 of 2021.

These large-scale operations inflicted some serious losses on the Saudi military and the Kingdom’s highly-profitable oil sector.” SF

Comment: Mike Pompeo (pomposity personified but first in his class at USMA) used to denigrate the Ansar Allah (Houthi) by laughing at the thought that the Houthi could hit targets in eastern Saudi Arabia. I suppose that fit well with the Trump administration focus on Iran above all else.

When I lived in Yemen in the early 80s the Yemen Army had a guided missile battalion (5 0r 6 hundred men, LeAnder et al). They were armed with Soviet SCUDs and became quite skilled with them. The descendant unit has adhered to Ansar Allah. In spite of Pompey’s expressed contempt for the smaller “wogs,” it seems very clear that they have achieved a range capability (with reasonable accuracy) of a thousand miles. pl

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12 Responses to Deterrent Balance 7

  1. Barbara Ann says:

    And this is in addition to the attacks on MbS’ and MbZ’ cannon fodder inside Yemen, like the recent one on the al-Anad AFB which killed dozens. The wogs’ efforts are certainly more effective than the Israelis’ whose air attacks on Syria are regularly seeing 90% attrition rates. Sad.

  2. j.+casey says:

    Yes, but Pompeo looks so marvelous after his gastric bypass! No more manatee jokes.

    • Leith says:

      He will always be remembered fondly as Fat Mike. If he used Chris Christie’s surgeon, he’s going to gain most of it back.

  3. LeaNder says:

    Colonel, you met Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar? He seems to be called Mohammed Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar over here, or simply Muhsin by some over here.

    If so, what were your impressions?

    And sorry, I hope this not a borderline question? Quite a lot of rumors around him, e.g. his businesses. Something I am more interested in: Did he support religious education (Salafist?) as some type of bastion against the socialist, communist, secular South? Did the US?

    • Pat Lang says:


      You mean the leader of the Hashid Confederation? I met the leader of the confederation. I don’t remember his name. “Al-Ahmar” of course. He was a typical Zeidi Shia. They all despised the heathen government of the south and the Sunnis in the southern part of the YAR. “Salafist” is a meaningless term in the context of Zeidi tribal and religious life at that time. President Salih was a Sanhan tribesman from a small tribe who lived just south of Sanaa and was part of the Hashid Confederation. The US was pre-occupied with its relations with the YAR state as a client of Saudi Arabia. I was the only person in the embassy who had knowledge or interest in the National Front sponsored in South Yemen unless the fighting, which was unmentioned in YAR media, threatened USAID projects south of Sanaa.

      • LeaNder says:

        Hashid Confederation? I met the leader of the confederation. I don’t remember his name. “Al-Ahmar” of course

        No Zaidi, and not related to those Al-Ahmars either, at least it felt then. Complicted context, complictated history. At least for this nitwit.

        Initially part of Saleh’s inner circle, man of the military, general, before he joined the opposition during Yemen’s variant of the Arab Spring.

        He is only five years younger than you, that’s why I wondered:

        He was close to Ali Abdullah Saleh since 1973, and when Saleh seized power in 1978, Mohsen was promoted to full colonel in 1979 and given command of one of the Armoured Brigade. In 1983 he became Chief of Staff of the 1st Armoured Division, as well as the command of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Armored Division. He became a commander of North-Western Military District on 8 January 1995. On 22 January 2001, he was appointed as a commander of 1st Armoured Division and North-Western Military District. He became a President’s Advisor for Defence and Security Affairs on 10 April 2013.

        Oh, here is an allusion to his activities in religion too:
        Mohsen is known to have Salafi leanings and to support a more radical Islamic political agenda than Ali Abdullah Saleh. He has powerful supporters in Saudi Arabia and has aided the Saudis in establishing Wahhabi/Salafi institutions in the Zaydi heartland of Sa’dah[10] creating internal tension.[11/i>]

        • Pat Lang says:


          I don’t recall the man you are referring to. A Sunni? You mean this guy – I don’t think I ever met him. Extended Arab families sometimes have parts that are Sunni and others Shia in this case Zeidi. It is a political matter.

          • LeaNder says:

            The author below cites you on the Zaidi religion and offers an interesting, rather Machiavellian take on the conflict between the General and Saleh. Rumor? Nevertheless, it somewhat fits into more vague allusions elsewhere about a longer estrangement between the two before the break. 😉

            Al-Akwaa, L., “The Houthi-Saleh Alliance of Convenience”, IndraStra Global, Vol. 003,
            Issue No: 05, 0027 (2017),

            The direct PDF link is a little long.

            I checked what may have been one of the sources on my mind. His argument is, that inner Saleh government circles, with the general in a leading role, sponsored religious education directed both towards the Zaidi and against the socialist secular South between 1980-1990. … The article deals with the rise of the Ansar Allah movement, focussing on economics, politics and religion.

            We no doubt have the counterargument over here too:
            Becoming Ansar Allah: How the Islamic Revolution Conquered Yemen
            Oved Lobel, March 2021, European Eye on Radicalization

            Furthermore, it is almost universally asserted that the initial 2004 rebellion by Hussein Badr al-Din al-Houthi and his faction of the Believing Youth organization was purely a response to domestic grievances, including the Saudi and government-sponsored spread of Salafism in Zaydi areas and the alleged threat to Zaydi religious practice.

            This report will re-examine these long-standing assumptions, demonstrating that in fact there is a deep ideological connection between Iran and the Houthis that stems back to 1979; that Iran carefully cultivated the al-Houthi family and its associates, using them to orchestrate an ideological schism in the Zaydi revival movement; and that far from being a reaction to domestic grievances, the 2004 insurrection by the Believing Youth was long-planned and a part of Iran’s broader regional attack on the US and its allies in the ‘war on terrorism.’ Moreover, Iran’s support for the Houthis is not merely a recent, convenient side hustle to needle Saudi Arabia, but is in fact the key battlefield in Iran’s export of Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution, the driver of all Iranian policy since the founding of the Islamic Republic.

            Thanks for your attention.

          • Pat Lang says:


            Do you have some commercial interest in this rather obscure subject? Ali Abdullah Salih didn’t give a rat’s ass about religion as such. I knew him well. He and I and the MI-6 station commander were hunting buddies. But Salih was a a Zeidi tribesman as I have written and therefore had the “inside track with the Hashidiin rather than everyone else. Did Iran manage to split off a segment of the Zeidi population as the basis of the Houthi rebellion? Quite possibly they did but I do not know. There is very little in the way of a close relation ship from the point of view of; sharia, philosophy given the mu’tazila connection in Yemeni shiism and the sheer unwillingness of the Zediya to accept the legitimacy of Imam’s after the fifth one – Zeid. So, I don’t knw and have always been suspicious of the Israeli claims that the Houthi are servants of Iran.

          • LeaNder says:

            Do you have some commercial interest in this rather obscure subject?

            None whatsoever. I should have?

            I don’t think I ever met him. Extended Arab families sometimes have parts that are Sunni and others Shia in this case Zeidi. It is a political matter.

            As in Iraq? …

            The link to the article and the author that cites you is above.

            Loaai Al-Akwaa
            Advisor, Gulf State Analytics
            Washington, DC, May 11, 2017
            Here again:

          • Pat Lang says:


            Yes. As in Iraq.

  4. Pat Lang says:


    “The author below cites you on the Zaidi religion” Who?

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