Yemeni Diplomat: Washington Aware of Size of Iranian Involvement in Yemen
Riyadh – Yemeni ambassador to the United States Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak confirmed a “radical” change in the United States’ stances on Yemen under the President Donald Trump Administration. Recent statements made by Washington officials point out a more decisive and focused approach in the Yemen crisis, Mubarak clarified.
The Trump administration is well aware of the depth of Iran’s interference in Yemen today, Mubarak told Asharq Al-Awsat in a phone call.
Washington will not allow for Iran to exploit Yemeni territory, so that it becomes a secured arms-trafficking route serving their ends, he added.
A number of reports this week stated that Trump is considering providing assistance for an offensive on the key port of Hodeidah that is held by Iran-backed putschists in Yemen and has already increased intelligence sharing and logistics support.
Iran has long armed, funded and trained militias across the region, both expanding its sphere of influence and securing ground proxies that will eventually serve Tehran’s overall agenda. For example, Tehran arms and funds the Lebanon-based paramilitary militia “Hezbollah.”
The Yemeni diplomat pointed out to clear condemnations issued by Washington against the Iran-aligned insurgency forces fueling Yemen’s civil war.
Washington publicly reiterated its support for the internationally recognized government in Yemen led by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, added ambassador Mubarak.
Putschists in Yemen have staged loud transgressions against Yemen, overlooking international waters and their safety, referring to the insurgency-held port of Hodeida, the diplomat said.
He also shed light on Houthi militiamen looting aid sent to deprived areas that now face famine, especially in the port city of Hodeidah.
The World Food Program said earlier this month that the governorates of Taiz and Hodeidah risked slipping into famine if they did not receive more aid.
The Red Sea port near the Bab al-Mandab strait is under the control of Yemen’s armed Houthi movement. The Bab al-Mandab is a waterway through which nearly 4 million barrels of oil is shipped daily.
“Iran continues to smuggle arms in an effort to support Houthi and Saleh militias nestled in Hodeidah,” said the diplomat. The embassy now is seeking to employ more international influence into the efforts seeking to pressure the insurgency into releasing and lifting the blockade off the port city.
“Our government recognizes the significance of Hodeidah’s port for aid delivery, and therefore rooting out Houthis will eliminate their destructive meddling in aid distribution,” Yemen’s ambassador said.
Yemen’s civil war between the internationally recognized Aden-based government of Hadi and the Houthis backed by army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh erupted in March 2015. Shortly after the start of the conflict, the Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries launched Operation Decisive Storm, which aims to restore the constitutionally elected authority into power.