Riyadh – Saudi Arabia faced in 2016 many political, diplomatic and security challenges – it also achieved the preventive equation of the region by showing a more decisive position against terrorism, in solidarity with the Gulf countries.
The region has also suffered from Iranian terrorism which recruited its militias in threatening Gulf countries’ security, Tehran has made many attempts to reach its goal, however, the awareness of these countries and their keenness to maintain their security, stability, and national unity along with their war against ISIS and the proactive Saudi hits for many operations and sleeping cells, have foiled these attempts.
Executing 47 Terrorist Members
With the beginning of 2016, Saudi Arabia and the neighboring countries waited for the execution of 47 people accused of terrorism. After years of trials, and based on the Islamic Sharia, Courts sentenced those terrorist members to death and executed them in different regions – especially that Saudi Arabia has decided not to show empathy in dealing with terrorists.
The list of members sentenced to death included cells and members from Al-Qaeda, Sunni and Shi’a people who sought to spread discord in the Saudi society like Al-Qaeda scholar Fares Al Shwail al-Zahrani and the Shiite Cleric Nimr Al-Nimr, who was deeply linked with Iran.
Iran’s Revenge after Executions
The Iranian regime took advantage of the executions which were implemented in Riyadh and sought to provoke the Kingdom by attacking its embassy in Tehran, which urged Saudi Arabia to suspend its diplomatic relations with it and to withdraw its diplomatic representatives. Then, the Kingdom reached a unified Arab position against Iran and the Security Council also denounced attacks against the Saudi embassy; this is how Iran led itself to a sort of isolation as many countries withdrew their ambassadors in from Tehran.
Iran Prevents its Pilgrims from their Duty
Following the failure of the Iranian authorities and the Saudi confrontation for its sabotage, and while Riyadh was excluding the pilgrimage and Umrah out of political disputes, the stubbornness of political and religious authorities in Tehran led to prevent hundreds thousands of Iranian pilgrims from fulfilling their duty in 2016.
Tehran refused to ink the pilgrimage agreement in May and set hard conditions aiming to obstruct the duty’s process.
Gulf Countries Destroy “Hezbollah’s Axis “
In March, in their ministerial meeting held in Riyadh, Gulf countries have agreed on labeling the so-called Hezbollah, including its leaders and factions, as a terrorist organization and added it on the same black list with ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
Abdul Latif Al Zayani, secretary general at Gulf Cooperation Council said that this decision came to punish the continuous assaults of these militias and its efforts to recruit youth to implement terrorist attacks, smuggling weapons and explosions, provoking discords and incenting on violence and chaos.
Proactive Hits against ISIS
During 2016, Saudi security forces succeeded in foiling tens of terrorist attacks planned by ISIS, which sought to implement painful operations. These security achievements included the foil of an attack at Al-Masjid an-Nabawī in Medina in July and another at a restaurant in Qatif region in August.
Another major achievement was to fail an explosion attempt in Al-Jawhara Stadium in Jeddah during a Football match between the national teams of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Houthis attempt to Target Mecca
On the Yemeni level, as part of the Kingdom’s security and prevention plans, the security military operations bet the Houthi rebellions who sought to target the Kingdom. The Saudi security defenses dropped a ballistic missile that was targeting Mecca.