UAE Ambassador to Japan: Iran Backing Rebels in Yemen, Justifies Intervention

Friday, July 13, 2018

Ambassador Khaled Alameri

By Allison Pestotnik

Tokyo - (PanOrient News) The United Arab Emirates ambassador to Japan, Khaled Omran Alameri, accused Iran of deepening the conflict in Yemen by supporting the anti-government Houthi movement, thus necessitating the intervention of the Saudi-led Arab coalition which includes the UAE.

Alameri, in a speech on July 13 in Tokyo, further justified the Arab coalition’s current military operations in the Yemeni port of Hodeida by saying that the Houthis, who have controlled the port for several years, have undermined efforts to bring humanitarian aid supplies through the port and that control of the port has broad implications for global stability and energy supplies.

Yemen has been crippled by civil war since 2015, when the Shiite Houthi movement toppled the Sunni government led by President Hadi. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition of mostly Sunni states have stepped in to support the exiled president and accuse Iran of supplying the Houthi movement with weapons.

Although the U.S. warned the UAE against military intervention to take back the port of Hodeida, citing fears of a new humanitarian crisis, Alameni said that a military operation was necessary to prevent Yemen from turning into an “Iran-run and funded terrorist outfit modelled after Lebanon’s Hezbollah.”

Yemeni port of Hodeida

“A military option was forced on the coalition because the conflict got exacerbated due to the role of Iran in fomenting and keeping alive the fault lines,” said Alameri, who added that the situation was particularly alarming since terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS have taken advantage of Yemen’s power vacuum to gain ground.

He warned that by not acting, the Arab coalition would have allowed for the development of an Al-Qaeda-run quasi-state in parts of Yemen, and that “no one wants to see this happening.”

The Houthi-controlled port of Hodeida is a significant part of the UAE and coalition’s strategy to stabilize Yemen because the area is a strategic point for energy shipping routes between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. Much of the maritime trade between Europe and Asia pass through the narrow strait at the southern entrance to the Red Sea, in the area where Hodeida is located.

“It is a critical location for world trade and any disruption to commercial shipping, particularly the transport of oil, through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal will spell disaster,”said Alameni.

The port also serves as an access point for humanitarian aid directed toward Yemeni citizens suffering from the civil war. Although the U.S. fears that military intervention will risk further disrupting aid efforts, the UAE believes it has no choice as U.N.-led negotiations have not succeeded in settling the matter.

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