Editorial: Tehran’s unabated meddling in Yemen

Updated 02 October 2015

Editorial: Tehran’s unabated meddling in Yemen

Iran's intemperate attack on the Kingdom over the organization of the Haj and the Mina tragedy is in reality a cynical effort to open yet another front in its meddling in the region. The agony of Syria owes much to Tehran’s interference. Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorists are bought and paid for the Iranians. They were thrown into the fight to protect Bashar Assad, along with Iranian Revolutionary Guards. In Iraq, Iranian intervention has been catastrophic for the country. By exploiting pliant Shiite politicians Tehran has sought to ensure that it will not have a strong and united Arab neighbor. The decade of misgovernment by ousted Premier Nuri Al-Maliki could not have done more to further this devious policy. Iraq is divided and in political and military ruins. The leaders in Tehran are rejoicing.
The Houthi rebellion in Yemen is yet further evidence of the Iranians’ clear intention to destabilize the region. Tehran has been frustrated by the firm response of the Kingdom at the head of a coalition of fellow Gulf countries. Since it was launched in March, Operation Decisive Storm has checked the revolt. It has wrested Yemen’s port city Aden from the Houthis, who are now being driven back toward the capital Sanaa. The country’s internationally recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is in Aden leading the fight-back against the Houthis and their Iranian masters.
Yet even as the rebels’ cause collapses, Tehran is redoubling its efforts to sow mayhem. It is making desperate attempts to bolster the Houthi and the discredited former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has placed himself at their head. On the third day of the Eid coalition forces intercepted a vessel off the coast of Salalah in southern Oman. Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Assiri, from the Ministry of Defense, revealed that it was carrying a huge shipment of arms. The weapons were meant to be smuggled into Yemen. The boat was reportedly manned by 14 Iranians and carried several documents indicating it was owned by an Iranian national.
This is by no means the first such seizure. The Iranians have been caught sending rockets, RPGs, ground-to-air missiles, explosives and even armored vehicles to the Houthis. The iniquity is that the rebels are still being urged on by the Iranians, even though the revolt is clearly doomed. Tehran is brazenly prepared to fight this conflict down to the last Houthi terrorists.
What matters, of course, is that the Iranians have lit yet another fire in the Arab world. If they care about the destruction of life and property in a country that already faced severe economic challenges, it is only in celebration. Tehran’s planners of havoc have been frustrated in their attempts to sow dissent and disorder in Bahrain. Yemen appeared to be the vulnerable backdoor to the Arabian Peninsula. It is a door that the Saudi-led coalition is firmly slamming shut.
The calamity is that Washington, though fully supportive of Operation Decisive Storm, refuses to recognize the insidious Iranian threat to the region’s stability. The nuclear deal with Iran has mesmerized the Obama administration. Yet the removal of sanctions will empower the Iranians to continue their deadly campaign of mischief-making
Obama has been suckered by the acceptable, civilized face of the Iranian regime. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif led the negotiating team that finally hammered out the nuclear deal. It was an easy matter for Obama to shake Zarif’s hand when their parties bumped into each other at the United Nations in New York this week. Obama was no doubt glad to exchange the greeting with a man who had given him what he regards as his main foreign policy success.
Yet that handshake caused an absolute furor back in Tehran. Hard-line mullahs who still characterize the US as “the Great Satan” were outraged. There appears to be a real prospect that Zarif will be fired.
Obama and his people take a quick lesson from this alarming reaction. They should immediately think again about the nuclear deal and the easing of sanctions. A regime that can regard the civilized greeting of a handshake as a scandal, is clearly not itself civilized. It cannot be trusted to behave in a reasonable and moderate fashion. If Iran’s dangerous meddling in the Arab world has not been enough to convince Washington of its political dementia, the furious protest at that handshake ought to clinch it.

Editorial: Iran must not go unpunished

Updated 16 May 2019

Editorial: Iran must not go unpunished

  • Arab News argues that while war is always a last resort, an international response is a must to curb Iranian meddling
  • US strikes worked well when Assad used chemical weapons against his people

The attacks on Tuesday by armed drones on Saudi oil-pumping stations, and two days beforehand on oil tankers off the coast of Fujairah in the UAE, represent a serious escalation on the part of Iran and its proxies, should the initial conclusions of an international investigation prove to be accurate. 

Riyadh has constantly warned world leaders of the dangers that Iran poses, not only to Saudi Arabia and the region, but also to the entire world. This is something former President Obama did not realize until the Iran-backed Houthis attacked the US Navy three times in late 2016. The recent attacks on oil tankers and oil pipelines were aimed at subverting the world economy by hitting directly at the lifeline of today’s world of commerce. Tehran should not get away with any more intimidation, or be allowed to threaten global stability. 

It was in 2008 that the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz called upon the US to “cut off the head of the snake,” in reference to the malign activities of Iran. Nearly a decade later, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman referred to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the “new Hitler of the Middle East.” We are in 2019 and Iran continues to wreak havoc in the region, both directly and through its well armed proxies. Crown Prince Mohammed was therefore clearly correct when he argued that appeasement does not work with the Iranian regime, just as it did not work with Hitler. The next logical step — in this newspaper’s view — should be surgical strikes. The US has set a precedent, and it had a telling effect: The Trump strikes on Syria when the Assad regime used Sarin gas against its people.

We argue this because it is clear that sanctions are not sending the right message. If the Iranian regime were not too used to getting away with their crimes, they would have taken up the offer from President Trump to get on the phone and call him in order to reach a deal that would be in the best interests of the Iranian people themselves. As the two recent attacks indicate, the Iranians insist on disrupting the flow of energy around the world, putting the lives of babies in incubators at risk, threatening hospitals and airports, attacking civilian ships and putting innocent lives in danger. As the case always is with the Iranian leadership, they bury their heads in the sand and pretend that they have done nothing. Nevertheless, investigations indicate that they were behind the attack on our brothers in the UAE while their Houthi militias targeted the Saudi pipelines.

Our point of view is that they must be hit hard. They need to be shown that the circumstances are now different. We call for a decisive, punitive reaction to what happened so that Iran knows that every single move they make will have consequences. The time has come for Iran not only to curb its nuclear weapon ambitions — again in the world’s interest — but also for the world to ensure that they do not have the means to support their terror networks across the region. 

We respect the wise and calm approach of politicians and diplomats calling for investigations to be completed and all other options to be exhausted before heading to war. In the considered view of this newspaper, there has to be deterrent and punitive action in order for Iran to know that no sinister act will go unpunished; that action, in our opinion, should be a calculated surgical strike.