Houthis can no longer get away with playing the victim

Houthis can no longer get away with playing the victim

Yet again, the Houthi militias aimed their missiles at Riyadh; and yet again, their cowardly attack, aimed deliberately at seven million civilians, was successfully intercepted by Saudi air defense forces. 
This is not the first time these barbaric religious fanatics have targeted Saudi cities. In fact, we should all remember that these terrorists — whose official slogans are “Death to America” and “Death to the Jews” — had previously launched missile attacks that were intercepted near Makkah, the Saudi city that is home to the holiest site for two billion Muslims throughout the world. 
Cynics would say that this is the price Saudi Arabia has to pay for interfering in Yemen. They forget that the Riyadh-led Arab coalition is fighting a war on behalf of the international community, and indeed all of humanity. They forget that the intervention came at the request of a UN-backed legitimate government that was overthrown by these thugs. They also forget that, had it not been for the sacrifices of the brave Saudi and Arab coalition soldiers, civilian lives, Islam’s two holy shrines and the world’s biggest oil reserves would have been at risk. 
Cynics would also argue that the Arab coalition has blood on its hands. That is true. However, there is a world of difference between military strikes in Yemen that accidentally cause civilian deaths, and the deliberate — and repeated — targeting of residential areas, which is what the Houthis are perpetrating against Saudi Arabia.   
 

Attacks that deliberately target civilians will rid these cowardly thugs of their most effective weapon — playing the underdog. ​

Faisal J. Abbas 

Another major difference is that when the Arab coalition makes a mistake, it investigates and issues a report on the findings. It also introduces measures to ensure that such errors do not occur again. The same cannot be argued for the Houthi thugs, who are driven by the hope that their indiscriminate terrorist tactics will strike fear into the hearts of Saudis, and prevent them from leading their normal lives. 
Well, the bad news for the Houthis is that they seem to have underestimated the resilience of the Saudi people. With each and every attack, our support and appreciation of our armed forces increases. With every failed missile they fire, we become more determined to turn our ambitious reform plans into a success. The Houthis preach death; our leadership wants us to live better. 
More importantly, attacks that deliberately target Saudi civilians will rid the Houthis of their most effective weapons — playing the underdog and playing the victim. Human rights groups such as Amnesty International are now finally condemning these indiscriminate attacks. 
The only people who appear to remain unconvinced are the Al Jazeera Arabic news channel. Their biased reporting, and justifications of the Houthis’ conduct, are shameful. The Qatari broadcaster seems to have forgotten that Qatar itself was part of the Arab coalition, until its participation was ended last year when the Anti-Terror Quartet (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt) cut off diplomatic ties.  I wonder if Al Jazeera — and some Qatari commentators — would take the same view if the Houthi missiles were raining down on Doha.

Twitter: @FaisalJAbbas 
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point-of-view