LONDON (Reuters) - The site has seen a secret UAE report criticizing Saudi Arabia's response to Houthi drone attacks on oil tankers and installations in the Gulf, a Middle East site writer said.
According to an article by David Hirst, the UAE report suggests that Saudi media have rushed to blame the movement of Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, which the UAE describes as a sign of "unprofessionalism." The report also criticizes Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih for giving the media detailed descriptions of the attacks.
Hirst points out that the report contradicts Riyadh's panicky response to the attack on four tankers off the port of Fujairah on May 12. The report says that the UAE Foreign Ministry has not held any party responsible, nor did it refer to Iran as the party responsible for the attacks.
"The UAE position stressed the importance of completing investigations before any decision is taken," the report said. "The Emiratis were careful not to give the Houthis any credibility that could strengthen their international standing."
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The report shows UAE intelligence acknowledging that the number of Houthi attacks on targets in and around Saudi Arabia is far higher than publicly acknowledged
"This is the protocol that the Emiratis are following at the time of serious attacks, such as the attack on Abu Dhabi airport (and adopted by the Houthis). This left open the door to investigate Iran's involvement through evidence of these attacks."
Hearst says the report also exposes Saudi Arabia's serious defenses against Houthi drones, and shows UAE intelligence acknowledging that the number of Houthi attacks on targets in and around Saudi Arabia is far higher than publicly acknowledged.
The success of Houthi drones also appears to affect the morale of Saudi soldiers stationed on the kingdom's southern border, Hirst said.
Hirst concluded that the UAE report also points to the extent of the Saudis' reliance on US "confused" policy with Iran, and reveals that media circles at the Saudi royal court "have followed with great interest" an analysis by Stephen Walt, a professor of international affairs at Harvard University, noting that The United States is swinging between abandoning its regional allies and regime change in Iran.