Dubai: Iran is trying to bring “chaos” to Yemen and “destabilise the region” through Al Houthi militants, Colonel Turki Al Maliki, spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition told CNN in an interview.
Unlike Iran, Al Maliki explains that Saudi Arabia has a legitimate reason to be involved in Yemen as it received a request from “His Excellency President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and according to the UN Security council resolution 2216.”
Al Maliki also spoke of the alleged attack on Saudi infrastructure by Al Houthis saying: “Al Houthis are attacking those infrastructures because they have the order, they received the order from the (Iranian) Revolutionary Guard and they have to do it… We know that Al Houthi are running a proxy war and they want to make a huge effect, not just on Saudi Arabia that affect will also be an economic issue for the Globe.”
“We know how they interact, the Iranian regime in the region. How they are trying to spread the chaos around the region, destabilise the region and we know the connectivity between the Iranian regime and especially the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) with the Hezbollah in Lebanon… and also how they are supporting Al Houthis and how they are affecting the situation in Yemen and also regional and international situation.”
“We are supporting the Yemeni national army, they are implementing the ceasefire and we know Al Houthis are trying to drive the coalition to do a military operation on Hodeida. However, we are supporting the special envoy to Yemen, we need to implement the agreement of Hodeida. However, we do have the right to self-defence, they are attacking civilian infrastructure inside Saudi Arabia. Al Houthis have attempted to attack one of the vital points which serves thousands of people daily and if that attack happened we would have a loss of life.”
“For us, as a coalition we don’t look at Al Houthis as a Shiite group. They are part of the social fabric in Yemen and we don’t look to the crisis in Yemen as a religious issue, but we know that the appointment that we are facing in Yemen… we are not facing an official army, we are facing ideology. That ideology is being driven from the Iranian regime.”
The Saudi-led Arab coalition entered the Yemeni war in 2015 just months after an Al Houthi coup forced internationally-recognised Yemeni president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi out of power.
He later was able to escape house arrest and flee to Aden where he temporarily shifted government headquarters.
Since then, the coalition has gained back 86 per cent of Yemeni territory but major population centres still remain under Al Houthi control.
Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of illegally smuggling weapons into Yemen to sustain Al Houthi war efforts.
In December 2017, one such Iranian-made ballistic missile was fired towards Riyadh for the first time in the three-year war.
Although it was intercepted, Riyadh called it an ‘act of war’.
The war has cost the lives of thousands of Yemenis and pushed the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine.