If the odd moves we are seeing in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon indicate a shift closer to war – at least a proxy war – over Iran’s predatory posture in the region, on what kind of timeline might we see more kinetic developments, as the old Obama administration used to put it?
A Saudi decision on Sunday certainly prompts that question. After Houthi-controlled Yemen claimed the ballistic missile launch against Riyadh – an attack the Saudis credibly blame on Iran and her backing (see here and here as well) – the Saudi regime announced a blockade of Yemeni ports and airspace.
A blockade is considered an act of war by international convention. Although no one is likely to go to “war-war” with Saudi Arabia over it, at least not soon (the Houthis themselves will basically continue their posture of military harassment against their neighbor), this is a formally disruptive action that potentially has significant consequences. It’s not a meaningless political gesture.