Col. Turki Al-Maliki, the spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition, denied rumors circulated by some media release that Houthi militias managed to successfully target Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport. Al-Malki confirmed that it was rather a failed attempt by the Iran-backed militias to fire a ballistic missile toward an uninhabited desert. He pointed out that the terrorist Houthi militias have admitted through their media outlets that they deliberately target civilians, in clear violation of international humanitarian law.
The head of the Presidential Council Al-Serraj met the Arab League envoy to Libya Salah Al-Din Al-Jamali. According to the statement of the Information Office of the Presidential Council, Al-Jamali said that the Arab League will support Libya in its process of reconciliation with all the assistance and cooperation also to the initiative of the UN envoy Salamè, in order to help the country to achieve unity and security. He also added that the Arab League will assist Libya in the electoral process, cooperating with the United Nations. During the meeting he invited Serraj to attend the Arab Summit, set for next March in Riyadh.
The economic reforms held by the heir prince Bin Salman, are in line with the economic provisions set this Monday by the International Monetary Fund. It is making growth provision throughout the middle east. However, the dependence to the oil market, which in this particular moment is favouring the exporting countries, is in the end perceived as a weakness that the prince is trying directly to face. The International Monetary Fund has raised its growth projection for the deficit-hit Saudi economy on the back of higher oil prices but retained its estimates for the region. In its World Economic Outlook update, the IMF said the Saudi economy — which shrank 0.7 percent last year — is expected to grow by 1.6 percent in 2018, up 0.5 percent on its October estimates. The Saudi economy is also projected to grow by 2.2 percent next year, up 0.6 percent on the previous estimate, it said. However, the IMF maintained its October projections for growth in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan (MENAP) region at 3.6 percent and 3.5 percent for this year and 2019, respectively. IMF’s representatives stated that: “While stronger oil prices are helping a recovery in domestic demand in oil exporters, including Saudi Arabia, the fiscal adjustment that is still needed is projected to weigh on growth prospects”. It said oil prices rose 20 percent between August and October of last year. The Saudi economy, the largest in the region, contracted last year for the first time since 2009 when it dove into negative territory due to the global financial crisis. The kingdom has posted budget deficits in the past four fiscal years since oil prices began to plunge. It is projected to remain in the red until 2023. Thus, Riyadh has introduced a series of austerity measures to boost non-oil income, raising the prices of fuel and power, imposing fees and charges on expatriate labor and introducing a value-added tax (VAT) of five percent.
The top US Air Force officials in the Mideast says that the ballistic missile fired by Yemeni rebels that targeted the Saudi capital was from Iran and bore “Iranian markings”. Harrigian said authorities were investigating how the missile was smuggled into Yemen amid a Saudi-led coalition controlling the country’s airspace, ports and borders. Previously, the White House has condemned the missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi militias on Saudi Arabia on 4 November, and said Iran “enabled” the attacks which had threatened stability in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has said that the ballistic missile had a range of more than 900 km and was made in Iran, describing that attack as an “act of war”. The Yemeni rebels said they hit Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport to the north of Riyadh with a Burkan-2H ballistic missile and released a video that purportedly showed the missile being launched at night. The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that air defenses had intercepted the missile before it hit the airport and its remnants landed in an uninhabited area north of the capital.