Houthi forces bring down MQ9 drone in Yemen's airspace

Nov 10, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas

The Houthis shot down a drone on the evening of the eighth of this month. This drone is the American MQ9 drone that assassinated the Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

In the details of the operation, the Yemeni Armed Forces announced the drone's downing during its hostile activities, surveillance, and espionage in the airspace of Yemeni territorial waters.

However, Washington has not commented, but a senior official in the Secretary of Defense confirmed the operation to American media.

The US Air Force uses the MQ9 drone for gathering intelligence, surveillance missions, and precise strikes on specific targets. Its primary target is the Houthi group and its missile arsenal.

But how was the MQ9 targeted?

The downing was carried out with a suitable weapon, not specified by the Yemeni Armed Forces spokesman. However, Yemeni military experts suggest that the weapon used to down the drone is advanced, possibly either the "Fater-1" missile, a modified Russian SAM-6 missile in Yemen, or the "Bark 2," a Yemeni-made missile designed to intercept armed and unarmed reconnaissance aircraft.

The scene of downing an MQ9 drone is not unprecedented. Going back to 2017, the Yemeni air defenses shot down the first drone of this model in Sanaa. At that time, the US did not confirm the news.

Two years later, the Houthis shot down another drone of the same type in the "Dhamar" province in central Yemen. At that time, the Americans acknowledged its downing.

The crucial question remains: Will the United States directly respond to this targeting?

Jason Brodsky, an expert on Iranian affairs and policy director of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), concludes that what the Houthis did falls within the framework of attacks by armed factions supported by Iran in the region to confront Israel and those supported by the United States in the war against Gaza.