Saudi Arabia faces a persistent mid-level terrorist campaign by the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda. Neither group is strong enough to threaten the survival of the kingdom but they are capable of high-profile spectacular attacks and assassinations. The Saudis are a crucial part of the war against Islamic extremists for the United States but that partnership is at risk.
This month, the Saudi Interior Ministry reported that 128 terrorist attacks took place in 2016, resulting in 1,147 killed and injured. Two more terrorists blew themselves up Jan. 21 in Jeddah. The most dangerous attack last year was in Medina on July 4 near the Prophet's Mosque, the second-holiest site in Islam, which killed four policemen on the eve of Eid al-Fitr. A suicide bomber also blew himself up close to the US Consulate in Jeddah on the same day and a Shiite mosque in Eastern Province was also attacked; multiple simultaneous attacks are a hallmark of al-Qaeda.