Drone strikes on a Saudi oil pipeline west of Riyadh on Tuesday have revealed an obvious significant leap in the capabilities of the Ansar-Allah Combat Team, also known as the Houthis.
The Aramco East-West Pipeline Extensions The land leading to the port and oil terminal at Yenbu was damaged in two places when pumping stations were hit.
The attacks caused little damage, but alarmed an international community already shaken by the sharp decline in relations between Iran and the United States.  Information about the attacks is rare and raises more questions than answers.
Signs of Sophistication
Drones are increasingly used by the Houthis in operations against the Coalition led by the Saudi Arab Emirates. In July 201
In January 2019, a high-ranking intelligence chief as well as several officers at the al-Anad Air Force Base were outside Aden with a drone that exploded over the delegation.
In March, the Houthis released video footage of a drone flying past Saudis al-Shuqaiq Water Treatment and Power Station, 130 km from the Yemeni border.
It was not attacked, but the warning was clear: water is a vulnerable resource, and many Middle Eastern countries rely heavily on desalination plants.
How did Houthis achieve this? Help of Iran for the Houthis.
A United Nations report submitted to the UN Security Council in January 2018 provided convincing evidence that locally produced drones had a nearly identical structure and capabilities as the Iranian Qasef-1 UAV or unmanned aerial vehicle.
|The remains of an Iranian Qasef-1 drone used as a disposable UAV to submerge on targets. [Cliff Owen/AP]|
This drone is often guided to the destination with GPS dipping into the target to cause damage.
While the Houthis have historically relied heavily on Iranian aid, Houthi drones have increasingly used parts available on the international market, with the conflict itself acting as a catalyst for design innovation.
Sami Hamdi, editor-in-chief of International Interest magazine, is not surprised that more and more drones are being used.
"[The Houthis] claim that they are making their own drones that they have learned how to do them, and outside of the Yemen war, for example in Iraq, we have seen this with Kurdish forces as well Making and deploying drones …
"So it's not very strange that we find drones among the Houthis. And let's not forget that they are being logistically supported by the Iranians who continue to provide them with expertise in developing some of these weapons, "Hamdi added.
What's different about these drones?
This latest attack means a big leap in ability as the drone flew more than 800 km to Saudi Arabia to successfully attack its target.
The drone was controlled using satellite technology because drones beyond a certain range require satellite data communication to provide information to the pilot
Who can secure the shipping lines in the Gulf? "(24:30)
With satellites, drones can be technically flown from half the world, as are many military drones, but they also need a second pilot station with line of sight for takeoff and landing.  This is due to the – albeit slight – delay of the Satellite incommunication, which can lead to delays that can be fatal to an on-land drone.
The Iranians and Houthis have no known communications satellites and would need to rely on commercially available satellites.
All this means that image analysts, communication experts, uplink engineers, two-pilot crews, armor manufacturers, and mechanics all need to work together for an attack to succeed.
This requires an ever higher level of education.  Why did not Saudi Arabia discover them?
A slow, precarious aircraft could fly for several hours deep into Saudi Arabia and was not detected and intercepted during wartime.
This will sound the alarm Bells, as retired The General of the Jordanian Air Force, Mamour al-Nowar, told Al Jazeera: "Their air defense system could not fend off such attacks, the Houthis now have the ability to reach Riyadh and Abu Dhabi and possibly paralyzing the country. " They encounter desalination water pumping stations or the nuclear power plant [almost built] in Abu Dhabi.
Why This Goal?
Analysts disagree on whether the pipeline attack and the earlier alleged sabotage attacks against the tankers off the US coast The Emirati Port of Fujairah is connected in some way.
Oil and gas economist Cornelia Meyer emphasizes that a connection is palpable: "In any case, and that tells me that it's not just an isolated rebel group doing this, but a very well-orchestrated campaign.
Hamdi is more cautious: "The circumstances of the sabotage attacks off Fujairah are not yet clear. The Houthis have announced that they are the ones responsible for the attack on Riyadh, but to the best of my knowledge no one has taken responsibility for the crackdown on tankers in Fujairah. "
First US investigations blame Iran for UAE ship attacks" (1:48)
The pipeline is an interesting destination for a number of reasons: It is located at the same latitude as Riyadh, which means that the Saudi capital is within reach.
It is also a gradual escalation that avoids mass losses. Although the damage was minimal, a warning was nevertheless sent.
The pipeline itself was built as an alternative to Saudi Arabia during the Iran-Iraq war, should the Strait of Hormus be closed for any reason According to military analyst Elias Farhat, the oil terminal was at the Emirati port of Fujairah.
"It is not safe for either the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia to bypass the Strait of Hormuz". 19659004] Despite the minor damage caused by the attack, there is now growing concern that, given the current tensions, small military acts of violence could trigger a regional conflict.