In early November, Houthi rebels in Yemen, backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, launched a missile strike targeting the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Although the missile, like more than 100 others launched at Saudi Arabia from Yemen over the past two years, was intercepted, and no casualties were incurred, the incident served as yet another reminder of Tehran’s aggression and hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East, through proxy terrorist organizations. The Houthis are but one example; al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah are others.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, U.S. President Donald Trump telephoned Saudi King Salman to repeat the importance of fighting terrorism in the region and the world — the stated purpose of the joint American-Saudi Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, which the two leaders inaugurated in Riyadh in May, at a gathering of representatives from 50 Islamic nations.
Since that summit in the spring — the first leg of Trump’s first official trip abroad as president – King Salman’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been pushing economic and social reforms, announcing a crackdown on corruption and an increase in women’s rights, including allowing them to drive.
At the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh at the end of October, Crown Prince Mohammed vowed to “return to a more moderate Islam,” saying: