On May 21, 2019, Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) aired a report about Houthi drone attacks against Saudi Arabia. According to the report, the Saudi-led coalition said that the most recent drone attack in Najran, Saudi Arabia targeted a vital facility used by civilians, while the Houthis claimed that it had targeted an arms depot. The report said that the attack in Najran was preceded earlier in the week by an attack on a major oil facility belonging to the Saudi oil company Aramco. The report also said that perhaps the Houthis are trying to send a message that they are able to target any site within 1,000 kilometers of Yemen, which includes Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, and oil facilities, airports, and seaports used by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Following are excerpts:
Reporter: When something is not expected, it changes the ordinary into extraordinary. The Houthi attacks on the Saudi hinterland fit this description. Their recurrence does not make them any less extraordinary. Thus, they can be described as a real danger, in the words of Colonel Turki Al-Maliki, the spokesman for the Riyadh-led coalition [that is fighting] in Yemen. This was said after a new attack took place in Najran, which lies in the southern part of the KSA, near the border with Yemen. The spokesman for the Saudi-UAE coalition said that the attack targeted by a vital facility that is used by civilians, and that it caused only material damage, whereas the Houthis said that they targeted an arms depot at Najran airport. The sides gave different versions concerning the identity of the target, but both sides confirmed that the attack indeed took place, and that it was carried out using an explosive-laden drone. This was the second attack in a week. It was preceded by an attack on a major oil pipeline and a pumping station that belongs to Aramco, the Saudi oil giant. What is the significance of timing and location in the message that the Houthis wanted to convey through these two attacks? In order to answer this question, we should refer to a declaration made by the Houthis a year ago, according to which it targeted the Abu Dhabi airport in the UAE. The attack coincided with an attack on a Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea. In all probability, the message that the Houthis wanted to convey through all this is that they are able to target any site within a range of 1,000 kilometers. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are both within this range, but more importantly, this range includes the elements of power of both the KSA and the UAE: oil, airports, and seaports. "Strike wherever it hurts!" is a strategy used in counter-attack in wars of attrition.