Abu Dhabi: For the good of Yemen and for the good of the region, the Arab coalition has no other option but to use the political track in Yemen, Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs told a packed house at the majlis of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces last night (Wednesday).
Gargash said the UAE leadership believes that the military operation in Yemen has achieved its goals and it was time now for an inclusive political settlement to build a “modern” Yemen.
“Thanks to this campaign, most of Yemen is now under the control of the legitimate government and Yemenis should follow the “no victor, no vanquished” approach.
“It is not the duty of the UAE, nor that of Saudi Arabia to build the modern Yemen. It is absolutely a Yemeni task,” Gargash said, appealing to Yemeni leaders to seize the opportunity of Kuwait peace talks, which, he said, could be the last chance.
Gargash said the military operation in Yemen was very successful when compared to similar operations carried out in other places such as Afghanistan. He pointed out that the goals were clear and action was taken in coordination with the local population.
“The strategic frame was always present and the strategic decision was that our role in protecting the area has been doubled down and that we won’t witness another coalition such as that [which] liberated Kuwait,” he said.
“The other strategic view was that the importance of linking the UAE’s security to that of Saudi Arabia.”
In the lecture, titled “The UAE, the Coalition and the Yemen Crisis: The Necessary Decision”, Gargash said the Arab decision to intervene to restore the legitimate government in Yemen was to “draw a line in the sand” and make it clear that the Arab states were united in their decision to stop the expansion of the Iranian role in the region.
“The Decisive Storm operation had three goals,” Gargash said. “The first was to bring back the Yemen crisis to the political track, the second to restore the legitimate government of Yemen and the third goal was to counter Iranian interference in the region.”
“The dimensions of the Yemen coup should be viewed in the context of Iranian expansion in the region,” he said.
“This is not something that I say, it’s what Iranian officials have arrogantly stated repeatedly following the coup.”
Iranian influence, he said, was also clear in Al Houthis’ moves to establish ministries and government bodies that were clearly modelled after those built in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution in 1979.
He said Iran clearly had plans to create another Hezbollah in Yemen by supporting Al Houthis, adding that Iran worked patiently on building the Al Houthi military capability near Saudi Arabia’s border.
“The crisis was one of Yemen but Iran had an ability to exploit the sectarian dimension of the crisis, patiently building militias on the borders with Saudi Arabia,” he said. “Can we accept ideologically driven sectarian militias operating on the border of Saudi Arabia?”
He said the decision to intervene militarily in Yemen by the GCC countries and allies came after all diplomatic and political options had been exhausted. Iran-backed Al Houthi militants continued to breach the sovereignty of Yemen, taking control of Sana’a and then Aden before usurped the legitimacy of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government
“The UAE leadership was facing two choice: to intervene in the complex Yemen war or allow it to develop into a more complex situation for the entire region,” he said.
Solution is in the hand of Yemeni, but the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf states will help in that. We should exert all efforts toward a political solution
“The security of the Saudi Arabia has no future without the security of the UAE and vice versa, and this applies to the rest of the Gulf states,” he said.
The Ramadan series of lectures is part of His Highness’s effort to spread the spirit of knowledge and learning in the UAE, by inviting renowned scholars, experts, officials and entrepreneurs to speak at his majlis at Al Bateen Palace in Abu Dhabi.
Gargash said Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed was able to build a strong army, a sword to protect the nation
“We saw an epic campaign in Yemen. The performance of our air force was astonishing and so was that of the land forces,” he said.
He concluded by sharing in the UAE’s mixed feeling of “pride, happiness, sadness and tears” during its participation in the Arab coalition.