International community must do its duty in Yemen

International community must do its duty in Yemen

Hodeidah port in Yemen is being used by the Houthis to smuggle weapons because of the inability of the UN to do its duty. (AFP file photo)
Hodeidah port in Yemen is being used by the Houthis to smuggle weapons because of the inability of the UN to do its duty. (AFP file photo)
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The Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen last month revealed evidence of the Houthis using Sanaa International Airport for military purposes. The information was gathered as part of a coalition intelligence operation, in which operatives penetrated the leadership pyramid of the terrorist Houthi movement.

According to coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Maliki, the Houthis have turned Sanaa airport into a training center and used its warehouses for launching missiles and booby-trapped planes against targets in both Saudi Arabia and Yemen. During a press conference in Riyadh, he showed a clip of a leader from the “Lebanese terrorist Hezbollah” giving directions to the Houthis’ Abu Ali Al-Hakim, while also criticizing the differences between the group’s elements and praising the role of the UN in preventing the Arab coalition from reaching the port of Hodeidah. This port is the lungs that allow the Houthis and other Iran-aligned militias to breathe. They use it to smuggle weapons and bring in fighters.

The coalition also showed another video in which a Hezbollah expert is seen training the Houthis to booby-trap drones. It was filmed inside Sanaa International Airport as part of the coalition’s intelligence operation. Al-Maliki said: “The Houthi movement is infiltrated and we have many details and evidence that will be announced in due course.”

The press conference focused on several points, two of which will be analyzed in this article: The presence of the terrorist militia Hezbollah in Yemen and the group’s belief that the UN’s position is serving its purposes.

Hezbollah is the group most responsible for the chaos in Yemen. Its terror has affected several countries because it has extensive experience of terrorism, as well as organized crime, killing, fighting, drug smuggling and interfering in several Arab and Gulf countries.

Today, it represents the infrastructure of every militia that fights and sabotages countries — Iran, whose project is mainly dependent on Hezbollah to intervene in Arab countries such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen; not forgetting its main stronghold in southern Lebanon. This militia operates on a sectarian structure imported from Tehran, under which it considers fighters, whose loyalty must be to Iran, on this basis. It even seeks to form militias bearing its name in Iraq and Syria.

The UN has served the terrorist militias by preventing the coalition from entering Hodeidah and seizing the port

Hamdan Al-Shehri

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps relies on its external arm, the Quds Force, which was led by Qassem Soleimani before he was liquidated in Iraq in 2020 along with Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis. We can now say that Hezbollah is the regional arm of the Quds Force. It is the first group to enter any country that Iran wants to control. It begins to prepare the ground for Tehran by building criminal and sectarian networks, allowing Iran to send in leaders from the IRGC to take command, while Hezbollah’s fighters dedicate themselves and their capabilities to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. This was clearly visible in Yemen with the role of Hassan Erlo, an IRGC officer who was killed in Yemen after leading the battle of Marib. Tehran insisted on naming him as its ambassador in Yemen. This was not in a diplomatic way, but in the manner of a criminal and smuggler for a terrorist group that is not recognized as the government of the Yemeni people.

The second important point was Hezbollah’s recognition of the position of the UN, which has served the group by preventing the coalition from entering Hodeidah and seizing it. Instead, the port remains the gateway for the militias to smuggle and transfer weapons. The UN’s role is close to complicity, as the Stockholm Agreement has not been implemented and Hodeidah port remains under the control of the Houthis. Under the terms of the agreement, it should have been handed over to the UN to prevent smuggling and bring an end to the war that Iran, the Houthis and all the terrorist militias want.

The UN has two options: Either it does its duty and prevents arms smuggling through this port or it declares the Stockholm Agreement inapplicable, meaning that the coalition and legitimate Yemeni forces should take control of the port and return it to the Yemeni government and the country’s people.

The solution to the Yemeni issue remains clear — the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which demands that the Houthis hand over their weapons and withdraw from the occupied cities, in addition to engaging in the political process. If an international coalition was formed to fight the Iran-aligned terrorists, as was done against Daesh, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon would all be freed of this scourge. But the international community remains unwilling to act.

During Al-Maliki’s press conference, the Kingdom spelled out the danger of these terrorist militias and the intervention of Tehran in Yemen, stating that 851 drones had targeted the Kingdom, 430 ballistic missiles had been intercepted, 100 booby-trapped boats destroyed, and 274 sea mines damaged.

Tehran and its terrorist militias are destabilizing the security and stability of the region and exposing international maritime navigation to great danger, in addition to threatening to close waterways and plant sea mines, amid an almost unbelievable international silence. Instead of facing firm action, the Houthis are rewarded by being removing from the US’ international terrorism list and Tehran is given time, despite the negotiations in Vienna, to develop a nuclear weapon.

There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia will work to protect its borders from the threats posed by the Iranian militias and their interference. The Kingdom’s national security will not be compromised and it will extend its hand to its Arab brothers to defeat terrorism. It will not stand idly by without holding terrorists accountable. The war on terrorism is not selective and based on interests. Those responsible must be held accountable without discrimination.

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri is a political analyst and international relations scholar. Twitter: @DrHamsheri

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