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Exclusive: Yemeni ambassador: Houthis is part of Iran’s agenda in Yemen

Friday 19-05-2017 - 08:14 PM
Ghada Dajani
Exclusive: Yemeni
Sanaa is the first Arab capital that has been invaded by Iranian backed militias. Yemen’s legitimate government aims to reach a political solution that satisfies everyone.  We adhere to the Gulf initiative. day after day, yet, the Yemeni crisis is exacerbated without any signs of a near solution that will end the suffering of the Yemeni people.  This is the importance of Al-Bawaba’s interview with Dr. Riad Yassin,  the Yemeni Ambassador to France and member of the National Commission for Monitoring the Implementation of the Comprehensive National Dialogue in Yemen.  Dr. Yassin sheds light on the complete Yemeni scene and exposes the seriousness of Iranian expansion on the region as well as its targeting of the security of the Gulf.

Why is the Yemeni crisis continuing? What are the requirements of peace?

The conflict in Yemen has entered its third year since the leaders of the coup undermined the foundations of the state and its institutions after taking control of Sana'a, becoming the first Arab capital to be invaded by Iranian-backed militias.  Now the legitimate government is waging war to restore the state that is suitable for all Yemenis and to complete the transition process, which establishes a new social contract that redistributes power and wealth, and achieves justice for the Yemenis.  Of course the people of Yemen are suffering the horrors of war imposed by the Houthi/Saleh alliance and that of the legitimate government with the support of other Arab countries.  The Yemeni people did not choose this war, it was imposed upon them and they are the ones bearing the consequences that reached the level of a humanitarian disaster especially in parts of the country that are under the control of the coup.  The first objective of the legitimate government is peace, which leads to security, stability, construction and development.   Therefore, the international community must pressure the leaders of the coup to comply with UN resolutions and return to the political track, with decisive action against Iran, which continues to supply the Houthis with weapons in clear contradiction of decree 2216, so that a solution can be found to end the conflict.

What has hindered the peace talks in Yemen?

The legitimate government agreed on meeting with the leaders of the coup and even made many major concessions in the hope of lifting the suffering of the Yemeni people.  However, this was hindered due to the stubbornness of the leaders of the coup and their insistence on taking matters to the furthest point to harm Yemen, its people and the security of the region and the rest of the world.  Although the legitimate government has accepted negotiating with the coup leaders, it is sticking to the basic references; especially the Gulf initiative under which the Yemenis embarked on a process of transition and comprehensive national dialogue, as well as the national dialogue agreed upon by all Yemenis, and the UN decree number 2216 which sets out a road map for a clear peace process.

What is your opinion on the death sentences against Yemeni national figures?

During one single trial, the leaders of the coup sentenced President Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi along with five prominent Yemini officials to death and confiscated their assets.  The same death sentence was issued for Yehya Abdel Rakeeb El Gebeihy, the journalist who refused to pen articles to support them.  It is not unusual for the leaders of the coup to issue such sentences for they have been killing the Yemeni people and limiting their prospects for a brighter future, especially in the north.  Till this day, they are still arresting people by the thousands and no one knows what will become of them.  

Iran has always been the instigator of conflict within the Yemen. Your opinion?

The Iranian intervention in the affairs of Yemen must be firmly dealt with besides the Iranian backed gangs led by the Houthi militia and the coup alliance, which implements Iran's expansionist agenda in the region. They should be confronted as they attempt to control Yemen and attack the border areas of Saudi Arabia.  They are also trying to tear the fabric of Yemeni society, ignite religious strife creating terrorism in all its forms.  Moreover, they are working tirelessly to combat the concept of a united democratic nation in which Yemenis share power, wealth, justice and equality.

Has military operations stopped in western Yemen?

Not at all. There has never been a halt to military action, and there has been great progress on the ground, contrary to what the anti-Yemeni media is trying to show. We are building a Yemeni military institution to maintain security and stability in Yemen.

Is there a strategy to develop the military and security system?

There is a strategy that we are already working to implement through two parallel lines; the implementation of military operations that reduce the influence of the Houthi militia, in addition to establishing a powerful military institution.  We are also working on seizing all illegal weapons that citizens possess. Everyone is working under the umbrella of the Yemeni army which was created from scratch, and all the operations carried out by the Yemeni army are done with caution in order to protect lives and focus on achieving the safety of the citizens more than military success. We have succeeded in countering the influence of the militias and they now have only 45% of what they controlled in Yemen. Aden and Marib were also taken over as military bases; Aden because it represents the southern entrance to any military operation, and Marib because it represents the connection with the Saudi border.

Has the current situation affected the freedom of navigation in Bab al-Mandab?

Bab al-Mandab is one of the most important passageways of the global trade movement and it is in the interest of world countries to have a safe and stable passageway. The presence of the strait may have contributed to the intervention of major international powers to try to resolve the crisis.

How do you view the decline of military operations in western Yemen?

How do you view the
West Yemen is densely populated and any military operation that poses a risk to the lives of civilians is abandoned, which lengthens the military operations to put the enemy under siege and exhaust their energy and force them to retreat or withdraw.

What are the objectives that the Yemeni government is currently pursuing?

The Yemeni government is working on two paths. One is a military path that imposes the authority of the state recognized by the international community, enabling the 26 million people to take their fate into their own hands and not to be seized by a minority by force of arms.  The second path is political which aims to reach a middle ground that satisfies all parties and does not cause any problems in the future.

What about the current situation in Yemen?

Currently, Khalid bin Walid camp is under the control of the legitimate government, and the situation in general is moving in the right direction.  The air forces have carried out more than 100,000 strikes to target the areas of the Houthi military militia for they are trained at the highest level.  Today, we are working in the most dangerous, densely populated areas of Yemen to implement military operations with the least amount of loss on land.

How do you see the current crises in some Arab countries?

The crises in Yemen, Libya, Syria and Iraq are still ongoing and a clear strategy must be implemented.  We have to learn from the lessons of the past as Arab leaders did not have a clear vision of the future.  Also, we must create mechanisms of implementation and development, which made these countries poor, despite their resources and wealth, unlike the Arab Gulf States, led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which succeeded in the integration of the mechanism and implementation, due to determination and a clear vision.

How do you view President El-Sisi’s repetitive visits to Gulf countries?

These visits indicate the existence of a unified Arab project being developed to counter Iran's influence in the region in addition to discussing ways of enhancing Arab cooperation at various levels. It also bears the message of the Egyptian President's commitment and the Egyptian commitment to protect Gulf security and support joint Arab action to face terrorism related challenges.

What is your hope for the Arab World?

I hope for a shift from a stage of conflict, war and terrorism to that of stability and constructive development. This is a difficult challenge but everyone now realizes that we cannot develop without stability, unity and a state of coexistence.  For us to develop, we must overcome all conflicts because, in the end, it is the life of citizens that determines the fate of any nation.

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