‘We were forced to intervene in Yemen’

Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri. (SPA)
Updated 09 October 2016
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‘We were forced to intervene in Yemen’

RIYADH: The lack of intervention by Saudi Arabia and Arab coalition forces in Yemen would have turned the country into an Iranian missile base with dangers extending up to the southern border of the Kingdom.
And all this would have happened without Iran taking any direct responsibility, said spokesman for the Arab coalition forces Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri in a statement to the media.
The Kingdom intervened together with the 11 coalition countries to support the Yemeni people and to protect the southern border of the Kingdom, especially as security at the Yemeni border has been compromised in the chaos after the coup to smuggle weapons, drugs and people from different nationalities into the kingdom at a rate of 8,000 to 10,000 people a month,” said the spokesman.
“There are three main factors that prompted the Kingdom’s immediate intervention in Yemen. After the attacks of Houthi militias on the Kingdom’s borders in 2009, an agreement on end of all hostilities and for the Yemeni border guards to spread along the border was to take effect, but unfortunately the government of (Ali Abdullah) Saleh did not comply and the area became a base for Houthi militias to smuggle weapons, drugs and illegal people, creating a security problem for Kingdom.”
The second reason, he said, was the instability in Yemen, which has a direct bearing on the Kingdom. The absence of state institutions and lack of government meant that there would be voids to be filled and governed by terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and Daesh, similar to situations in Iraq and Syria.
The spokesman said the absence of prestige and power of the state weakened by war, sectarian strife and armed groups, such as what is happening in Libya today, would affect the southern border of the Kingdom and turn Yemen into a base for terrorist operations against the Kingdom. The Kingdom’s defeating of Al-Qaeda inside its territory moved Al-Qaeda to Yemen, where it has been incubated under the auspices of the deposed leader, because there are areas in Yemen where the government has no influence.
As for the third reason, which Al-Assiri considers to be the most important, the coup led to the rise of militias, not internationally recognized, who control ballistic missiles with a range 500 km and advanced weapons, tanks, armored vehicles, and airplanes. This means any foolish act could result in a disaster that would harm the Kingdom and countries in the region.
Furthermore, the ties of these militias to Iran, a country that shows open hostility toward the Kingdom means that they would be supported to expand their efforts, not only targeting the Kingdom, but also regional countries, especially as the Iranian government announced its satisfaction about the fall of the fourth Arab capital under its control.
Regarding the measures taken by Iran after the coup, Gen. Al-Assiri said there appears to have been an agreement between Iran and the rebels, led by Saleh and the Houthi leader, to use flights to ferry arms. There were 28 flights weekly, at a rate of four flights a day, which were not for tourism, but rather to deliver weapons and ammunition to the Houthi militias, he said. This would have been followed by the deployment of Iranian forces on Yemeni territory, and the deployment of missiles to empower Yemen’s military to achieve Iranian plans against the Kingdom through its neighboring country, without direct legal responsibility from Iran.
The excuse, said Al-Assiri, would have been that Yemen was a failed state with no internationally recognized government.
For this reason, the situation demanded decisiveness, rather than waiting for the situation to reach the point of no return, and thus the Kingdom proceeded to set up the coalition consisting of 12 countries to address the situation and support the legitimate Yemeni government.
The spokesman said the Kingdom’s intervention was in the best interest of the region and cannot be disputed, as lack of intervention at the appropriate time would have led to a situation far worse than now with the region at the mercy of Iranian missiles.
He said Yemen would have become an Iranian missile base with dangers extending to all parts of the Kingdom and border regions, a scenario that warranted immediate action.
He said the Kingdom intervened as an Arab and leading nation in the region, especially after the legitimate Yemeni government requested Arab countries to intervene and assist because it could not face the militias alone.
As such, the Arab coalition’s intervention was not an attack on Yemen, but rather in support of the legitimate Yemeni government, he said, similar to the intervention of NATO and the United States in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and other countries.
The spokesman added: “When citizens unite, the Kingdom becomes stronger n the face of enemies. Thus citizens should be aware that they are the first and foremost security inside and outside the Kingdom. The state needs citizens to stay away from rumors, especially those on social networking sites which aim to weaken us internally and spread toxins between us to tear the national fabric apart.”
He called on citizens to rally around the leadership and support the armed forces because showing strengthen and cohesion will raise their morale and help defeat the enemy.


Sharm El-Sheikh main road named after King Salman

Updated 26 April 2019
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Sharm El-Sheikh main road named after King Salman

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt: The main road in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh has been named after King Salman, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

Maj. Gen. Khaled Fouda, governor of South Sinai, made the announcement during a ceremony to mark the 37th anniversary of Sinai Liberation Day.

Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Egypt Osama Nugali, who is also the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the Arab League, participated in the event.

Nugali thanked President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for bestowing the honor on King Salman.