Below are the takeaways for the week:
- The al Houthi movement demonstrated the strength of its ballistic missile capabilities on the three-year anniversary of the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen, launching seven ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia. Iran has helped the al Houthis develop this capability. The al Houthis have also demanded an end to the air campaign and lifting of the blockade before entering into political negotiations.
- Iranian security forces are militarizing to prepare for future internal security challenges. Iran’s parliament increased a budgetary line item for the purchase of police weaponry and equipment in the 2018-2019 annual budget by nearly 400 percent from 2017’s allocation. The increase follows the late December 2017 anti-regime protests and the February 19 Gonabadi Dervish protests that exposed deadly security flaws in police defenses.
- Separate economic protests in Morocco and Tunisia may evolve into demands for regime change. Protests calling for economic reform that began in northeastern Morocco are spreading to other parts of the country. Rumors about Moroccan King Mohamed VI’s declining health and possible divorce may increase social unrest in Morocco. Similar economic protests are also growing in Tunisia.