Complex Made Simple

Houthi targeting Aramco is part of an organized terror campaign

The economic reforms that have happened, in the past few years, have left Saudi nationals in an anxiety-induced state, according to Bloomberg.

First, subsidies are gradually getting trimmed from fuel to other resources that nationals were used to for years.

Then, anti-expat laws were put in place to increase job employment for nationals, but it seems that many sectors, and according to Bloomberg, especially construction, have taken a hit.

Finally, this year, VAT was implemented to increase the government’s budget and help finance some of the projects that the prince has planned, but this has caused some costs to rise.

Regardless and thanks to this non-oil strategy to diversify the economy and raise employment as per Saudi Vision 2030, GDP is already rising by 1% this year, according to Statista, compared to last year. In 2022 it is forecast to reach 2.2%.

Read: Get the latest news and views from AMEinfo on WhatsApp

But certainly, Saudi residents take comfort that the country’s many security factors, whether employment or otherwise, are there to keep their anxieties in check.

But something dramatic is adding to feelings of insecurity.

Houthis have been bombarding the nation for some time, and terrorizing its peaceful residents, causing death and injuries.

The latest attack, targeting the world’s largest business, Aramco, according to Houthi-run media channel al-Masirah, were dispelled by the oil giant as untrue, but still added to feelings of unease.

Read: Affordable housing to drive Riyadh’s real estate market

Attack or not?

A recent report by Reuters, and Yemeni rebels’ tweets (or more specifically terrorists), claim that Saudi Aramco was a target of a remote-controlled drone attack, another in the series of many, many attacks by the Yemeni terrorists.

“Houthi-run media channel al-Masirah said on Twitter that the rebels carried out a drone attack on the Riyadh plant, sparking a blaze,” said Reuters.

“Our drone air forces have targeted the refinery of ARAMCO company in Riyadh,” al-Masirah channel tweeted.

However, Aramco denied the Houthi claims and said there was only a limited blaze at a refinery caused by an “operational incident”.

Furthermore, Saudi Aramco added that there were no casualties caused by the fire and activities at the site continued as normal.

Read: How well is Saudi’s diversification strategy working?

Houthi attack history  

The Houthis have fired dozens of rockets into Saudi Arabia over the past year. Most of them have been intercepted by Saudi air defenses or fell without incident in the south of the Kingdom.

In 2018 alone, there were 9 attacks:

1-   The Houthis fired ballistic missiles at Najran on 11 January and 20 January. These attacks were confirmed by Saudi sources, which also reported that both missiles had been shot down, according to local news. Pro-Houthi sources reported an additional missile attack, aimed at Riyadh, on 30 January, according to sputnik.

2-  On 11 February and again on 14 February, Houthi fighters that had infiltrated into Saudi Arabia engaged in combat with the Saudi Armed Forces, near the city of Najran. The Houthis were repelled, according to Sputnik.

3-  On 20 February, Houthi snipers shot and killed at least five Saudi soldiers in the kingdom’s Jizan, Najran, and Asir regions, according to Yemeni local newspaper.

4-  On 22 February, three Saudi-led coalition vehicles were destroyed in a failed attack, reported Yemeni local news.

5-  On 11 March, Houthis launched a major attack on the Saudi army in Jizan, the attack began with artillery shelling that directly hit the ranks of the Saudi army. Meanwhile, Houthis targeted al-Marani camp and Saudi army positions in the village of al-Lahj. Engineering unit of the Houthis carried out an ambush and destroyed some Saudi-led force vehicles. The Saudi media acknowledged the deaths of 18 soldiers and wounded five others, Yemeni press reported.

6-  On March 26, Houthis fired 7 ballistic missiles towards the Saudi capital of Riyadh, all of which were intercepted by Saudi systems. 1 person was killed and 2 injured as a result, according to CNN.

7-   Pro-Houthis al-Masirah TV quoted Saudi sources as saying that 33 Saudi soldiers were killed and 12 others injured in Houthis retaliatory attacks in the first 10 days of April, a Syrian based news source reported.