What if a French, British or American airport were to be hit by a missile that was launched by an armed group stationed on its borders, what would the expected reaction be?
We do not really have to imagine such a scenario; the interests of these countries were attacked, and the offences happened outside their borders, which resulted in retaliatory devastating attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Mali, Libya, and other countries.
The Iran-backed Houthi militia targeted Saudi airports and cities and the international reaction to these attacks was limited to media condemnations of the aggressor and calls on the victim for self-restraint as if they were confiscating the victim's right of military response. This is evidence for the double standards major countries hold to achieve their interests and confiscate the rights of others to respond to attacks that violate international law, and even amount to war crimes, such as targeting civilian airports.
Worse still, the US administration took the initiative to remove the Houthi group Ansarallah from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations just hours after the same group targeted a civilian airport in Saudi Arabia, damaging a commercial passenger aircraft. What message is the Houthi receiving and what message is the US administration sending?
The US and European countries declare their commitment to defending the safety and security of Saudi Arabia and protecting its territorial sovereignty. However, at the same time, they freeze arms deals with the Kingdom, stop supplying any weaponry to it, and limit its ability to defend itself. What kind of a commitment is this?
The West recognizes that the Houthis are a mere terrorist tool in the hands of Iran, just as Hezbollah is in Lebanon and the Popular Mobilization Organizations in Iraq. The actions of all of these groups are carried out at the expense of the people of those countries for the sake of Iran. However, the West continues to repeat the mistakes it previously made in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria; instead of weakening and besieging the Houthis, the West's policies are strengthening and empowering it.
Saudis who have watched for years the events that took place in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria realize now that their national security and sovereignty must not be held hostage at the mercy of Western policies. Media condemnations will not protect Saudi borders or ensure the safety of the Saudi people. The international law that grants the Kingdom its right to defend itself must not be this selective.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, Saudi newspaper Al Okaz.