EXCLUSIVE – Arab Diplomat: Iran Exploits U.S.-Saudi Rift to Fuel Yemen Conflict

TEL AVIV – Iran is exploiting America’s rift with Saudi Arabia to increase its support to Yemen’s Houthi rebels, an Arab intelligence official told Breitbart Jerusalem.

Case in point is the region of Taiz, a Houthi stronghold and a strategic location en route to the capital Sanaa that the Saudis have failed to take, he said.

“For more than a year of fighting, and in spite of official American backing, the Saudis find themselves alone in the quest to thwart Iran’s influence,” he said.

Iran’s supports for its allies, on the other hand, continues unabated. This led to a stalemate in the conflict. Washington is well aware of Riyadh’s distress, but instead of helping them tip the balance – and I don’t mean with boots on the ground – they have twisted the Saudis’ arm into negotiating with the Houthis without a prerequisite to decommission and withdraw from Sanaa and other areas. It will only legitimize Iran’s allies and make them equal decision-makers, even though they are foreign agents rather than a homegrown political movement.

He said that when they forced the Saudis to negotiate, the Americans cited the need to form a united front against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

In effect, they tell the world that Iran suppresses, rather than supports terror. It will take years to rehabilitate the trust between the moderate Arab world and the United States that the last few years – which were riddled with disappointment on the Syrian issue, the Iranian nuclear program, and a handful of other crucial policy issues – destroyed.

“The Arabs see America’s reluctance to impose sanctions on Iran following the ballistic missile tests and their direct interference in Syria,” he added. “Radical forces in Iraq and Yemen realize that the current administration won’t pull its weight on any of the issues and would rather avoid confrontation with the Iranians, which [the Iranians], for their part, exploit to the full.”

Meanwhile, Asharq al Awsat newspaper quoted a Yemeni general saying that Hezbollah gunmen have been fighting alongside the Houthis. 

Jahdal Alolki, commander of the Yemeni army’s Division 21, currently deployed in the region of Shabwa, told the newspaper that his men find themselves facing Hezbollah fighters.

He said that his troops have failed to make headway in the regions of Bijan and Shabwa. He stated that the reason is the Houthis have held on long enough to set up formidable fortifications bolstered by explosives.

“We will eventually defeat the forces of aggression and their allies,” he concluded.


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