After Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired another ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia that came close to the royal palace earlier this week, the proxy war between Tehran and Riyadh could turn into an actual conflict between the two regional powers and archenemies, one expert is warning.

The Saudis have blamed Iran for the Houthi attacks, claiming — as the United States has — that Tehran is supplying the rebels with the ballistic missiles. The Saudis have since accused Iran of an act of war.

Marcus Chevenix, Middle East analyst at TS Lombard, said the Saudis’ conflict with Iran had become “unpredictable.”

“I really struggle to predict what’s going to happen next,” he told an American media outlet, CNBC.

“This is the first time for a very long time that there hasn’t been an external arbiter in the Middle East who basically defines everyone’s diplomatic relationships,” he continued.

“For a long time it was America and Russia, then it was just America and now there’s no one,” he continued. “So there’s a power vacuum and that power vacuum is pretty recent. The Iranians saw it first and Saudi Arabia has only really been engaging in this kind of rivalry for the last five years.”

He added ominously: “I would expect to see a lot more missiles coming out of Yemen.”

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