I had a nightmare last night. In it, one of the guards from KAUST (who had inside information on the movements of the Houthi rebels in Yemen) told us that the rebels had breached the borders of Saudi Arabia and were headed to KAUST in a matter of hours. We were scrambling to find a way to escape, pack our bags…then I woke up. I looked at my cellphone. 5am. I checked the news sites right away and to my relief nothing of the sort had been reported. I just hope that the realness of the nightmare is just a product of my overactive pregnancy hormones and not some sort of premonition.
To anyone who has not been keeping up with the news, Saudi Arabia started attacking the Yemeni rebels just a few days ago. Their president escaped house arrest and is now seeking refuge in Riyadh, our capital. Seven airports in the south of Saudi have been suspended of all domestic and international flights. I guess they are concerned about terrorism-related activities. We are in the middle-west part of the country so not that close to Yemen but if you look at the map, we are surrounded by Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Iran–all war-torn countries that have good reason to hate Saudi Arabia. Earlier this month the American embassy was closed for a few days because of terrorist threats. Then the other day when we drove back into KAUST after a drive to the city, Jose told me he saw what he thought was a soldier with a rifle patrolling our gates (I didn’t see so I can’t verify).
Of course Saudi Arabia is a very rich country that has one of the most advanced military technologies in the world. Last year the government spent around $80 billion on defense expenditures alone. We are probably the most protected country in this whole region. But still, being in the middle of all these wars and conflict is pretty scary.