Politics |

Iran's support of Houthis destabilises Yemen

By Abu Bakr al-Yamani in Sanaa

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A handout photo provided by the office of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shows him speaking during a meeting with farmers in Tehran on November 21st. [HO/Iranian Presidency/AFP]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's attempt to justify the Houthis' (Ansarallah) November 4th missile attack on Riyadh -- which was intercepted by Saudi ground forces -- runs counter to Yemen's interest, experts tell Al-Mashareq.

The ballistic missile was fired towards Riyadh from Yemen, and intended to target civilians in densely populated areas, said Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki.

Rouhani's defence of the missile attack -- regarded as evidence of Iran's support for the Houthis, as the missile was Iranian-made -- disregards international diplomatic norms, writer and political analyst Wadhah al-Jalil told Al-Mashareq.

"Iran's support for the missile attack is sufficient evidence that Iran is involved in supporting the militias with strategic weapons that threaten the sovereignty and social cohesion of regional countries," he said.

The Houthis' attacks have prolonged the war in Yemen, al-Jalil said, adding that "continuation of the war means the destruction of the people's capabilities, their country's economy and infrastructure".

Iran’s continued support of its proxies in regional countries, including the Houthis in Yemen, also will split the region along sectarian and ethnic lines, making it difficult to restore stability, he said.

Al-Jalil called on the international community to "put an end to Iran's interference, which portends more humanitarian disasters and destruction for the countries of the region".

"Iran's support of the Houthi militias with missiles poses a continuous threat to the national security of neighbouring and regional countries," he said.

Following a closed-door meeting on the situation in Yemen on Tuesday (December 5th), the UN Security Council said it strongly condemned the recent missile attacks on Saudi Arabia.

Also on Tuesday, Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) members strongly condemned the Houthis for killing former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, calling on Yemenis "get rid of the Houthi militias which are following and being backed by Iran".

The GCC condemned "all terrorist actions carried out by Iran and its continued interference in the internal affairs and Arab countries", a statement said.

Yemen reaps 'nothing but ruin'

By attempting to rationalise the Houthis' actions, "Rouhani admitted that Iran is behind the Houthi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia", Abaad Centre for Strategic Studies director Abdulsalam Mohammed told Al-Mashareq.

The Iranian regime "does not currently aim to serve stability in the region or Yemen's interests", he said. "It wants chaos and the war to continue in Yemen to confound Saudi Arabia."

If the Iranian regime continues to support the Houthis, "we will be facing open scenarios for war in the region", he added.

"Everyone knows the missile fired by the Houthis at Riyadh originated from Iran and its aims are Iranian," said political researcher Yassin al-Tamimi.

Yemen has become an "arena for regional confrontation par excellence, and consequently our country is losing a great deal as a result of this confrontation from which Yemen can reap nothing but ruin", he told Al-Mashareq.

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