Houthi rebels out of Yemen have launched a missile attack on Saudi Arabia, hitting a civilian airport in Southern Saudi Arabia. In this attack, there were a reported 26 people injured. In recent months, Houthi attacks have progressed with the Saudi airport attack being the most detrimental. The rebel group reportedly fired 10 Badr-1 ballistic missiles resulting in the death and injuries of civilians in the airport targeted. While these were the missiles that hit, Saudi-coalition officials claim to have intercepted another 6 incoming ballistic missiles; ballistic missiles which were targeting the city of Jizan, in the southwest region. The concern lies not only in the fact that these attacks are becoming more common but more so in the fact that the targets have become, more often than not, civilian areas. This calls for a much different reaction than if the rebel group were to be targeting mostly military/government locations.
According to Colonel Turki al-Malki, a Saudi coalition spokesman “The Houthi militias continued targeting of civilians through drones and ballistic missiles … is an act of aggression and terrorism and a war crime according to international humanitarian law,” Malki also stated that “This attack also proves this terrorist militia’s acquisition of new special weapons; the continuation of the Iranian regime’s support and practice of cross-border terrorism; and the continued violation of relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Malki later stated that Saudi Arabia would take “urgent and timely measures to deter this terrorist militia.”
This kind of aggression cannot be tolerated, especially in a region as fragile as much of the Middle East has been since the Arab Spring. Acts of violence upon innocent lives are inexcusable and the lack of global interest into this missile strike is appalling. Perhaps this general lack of interest is due to the fact that acts of extreme violence and terror have become normalized, thus leaving only the most severe to receive any actual attention. This points to a larger problem, there is always a root cause and the world must work in unison to find and resolve it. Regardless of what has been done by Saudi Arabia towards Yemen and towards the Houthi group, fighting fire with fire is not the answer; it only creates more fire. While responding to violence with violence may seem to be the easy course of action, it is not the right one if there is the hope of peace being someday achieved.
In the last four years, the Sunni led Saudi coalition has been essentially at war with the Houthi’s in Yemen. This round of, apparently religious-based, fighting began in 2015 and is clearly ongoing. During those four years, Saudi Arabia claims to have intercepted “most” of the incoming ballistic missiles; launched by the Houthi rebels out of Yemen. Since the beginning of this conflict, Yemen has seen massive decreases in the strength of its society. Countless people in Yemen are now without homes or families as a result of reportedly Saudi airstrikes; airstrikes for which the Saudi coalition could possibly be held responsible for war crimes. In the last year, the conflict has escalated despite attempted cease-fires throughout the region. In fact, just before this most recent attack, a new cease-fire was being attempted. Nobody has handled this four-year conflict well and it is more than time something is done about it.
It now seems as though, if left to their own devices, the rebel groups and the Saudi coalition will continue the trend of senseless violence known all too well throughout the region and the world. Moving forward there must be peace talks and enforceable cease-fires. This may mean bringing in UN security forces or impartial third parties to help maintain the peace. At this point, whatever it takes to bring an end to the rampant acts of terror and violence.