SHAFAQNA – Iranian journalist and political analyst Abshenas Emad told Sputnik – Russian-based media – on Friday that Houthi fighters have a stockpile of weaponry large enough to repel any potential Saudi ground campaign.
Commenting on the launch of a Saudi-led military campaign against Houthi fighters in northwestern Yemen this week, veteran Iranian veteran journalist and political analyst Abshenas Emad told Sputnik Friday that the country has a stockpile of weaponry large enough to repel any incursion.
“As far as a possible ground operation in Yemen is concerned, I can only say that it will be another big mistake for Saudi Arabia. Their first mistake was the campaign of airstrikes, and the second would be the introduction of ground forces –that is, a direct invasion of Yemen. History has shown that no country is able to attain their interests in Yemen,” the expert noted.
Emad added that the Houthi-controlled areas of the country “should not have a problem” when it comes to any ground campaign launched by Saudi Arabia. “Saudi Arabia remembers perfectly well that the arsenal the Yemenis have –consisting of Kalashnikovs and rocket propelled grenade systems, supplied to the country by the Soviet Union, enabled them to successfully repel the armed forces of the Kingdom in 2009. What we see now is a similar situation. The Yemenis have enough weapons to defend themselves.”
As far as Iran is concerned, Emad argued that political support is what is needed most. “Iran, of course, will assist the Yemeni people. This concerns political support. As far as military support and the supply of arms from Iran, this is improbable.” The expert noted that given the country’s ample arms stockpile, “there is no need for Iran to somehow intervene in this conflict…Iran is convinced that if a ground campaign led by Saudi Arabia is to take place, the Yemenis will be able to resist them. Saudi Arabia would be better off thinking about a way to get out of this situation, and not to be drawn into an armed conflict.”
Earlier this week, a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia launched a series of airstrikes against Houthi rebel positions in northwest Yemen in an operation said to be aimed at “the protection of the legitimate government in Yemen.” On Friday, they are also reported to have begun a naval blockade of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, linking the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
The Houthi rebels had ousted former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in late January, capturing the presidential palace and other government buildings in Sana’a, the country’s capital. Hadi, who was placed under house arrest in Sana’a, fled to the port city of Aden in February, later rescinding his resignation. Currently, Houthi fighters are battling government troops in the south of the country, while al-Qaeda militants make advances in the south and east.