Hizballah chief criticises Saudi Arabia for Yemen intervention

Hizballah chief criticises Saudi Arabia for Yemen intervention
HIzballah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah is highly critical of Saudi Arabia's role in regional politics, and especially of its recent intervention in Yemen.
3 min read
28 March, 2015
Nasrallah said Saudi's air campaign could not achieve victory alone [Getty]

Hizballah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah made an extraordinary appearance to address the situation in Yemen Friday evening in Beirut, and attacked Saudi Arabia and its allies in the ten-nation coalition intervening in Yemen. Nasrallah made unusually sharp criticisms of the kingdom, while defending Iran and its policies.

Nasrallah warned that defeat awaited any ground forces that may enter Yemen, saying "all invaders end up being defeated". The Hizballah chief stressed all military doctrines understood that air strikes alone could never achieve victory, in a reference to Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen.

Nasrallah said the Yemeni people had a right to "defend themselves and resist the aggression", calling for an immediate end to the war and a return to initiatives for a political settlement, which he said was still possible.

He claimed the Arabs had forsaken all these countries and allowed Iran to step in, without demanding anything.

The Hizballah secretary general reviewed the situation as he saw it in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Yemen. He claimed the Arabs had forsaken all these countries and allowed Iran to step in, saying Iran supported the peoples of these countries without demanding anything. By contrast, Nasrallah said, Saudi Arabia's policy does not recognise the peoples of the region except as subjects, which he argued helped open the region's doors to Iranian influence.

Nasrallah said that for decades, "The peoples of the region, especially the Palestinian people, have been dreaming of a Saudi 'decisive storm', but the aggression on Yemen is new proof that Israel is not an enemy for some Arabs." He said that the Arab nations abandoned the Palestinians just as they had abandoned the Lebanese in 1982, adding "After the occupation of Beirut, the Lebanese people wanted to resist Israel, but they only found support from Syria and Iran, which sent weapons, expertise and money."

Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of providing funds to the former regime of Saddam Hussein, and of subsequently supporting the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, at a time when Iran, as he said, "defended the Iraqis and stood by their side politically and in international forums, and supported resistance against the Americans."

In Syria, the Hizballah leader blamed Saudi Arabia for preventing a political solution, as well as for financing and bringing in fighters from all around the world to destroy Syria, as he said. Nasrallah said that Saudi Arabia never wanted to support the Syrian people, but to subdue President Bashar al-Assad, who he said wanted to "preserve Syria's independence and sovereignty."

Nasrallah blamed Saudi Arabia for obstructing the election of a new president, but stressed his party would continue dialogue with the pro-Saudi Future Movement.

The head of the Future Movement, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, responded to Nasrallah's remarks, saying the Lebanese heard a "storm of hatred against the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries in response to Operation Decisive Storm against Iranian encroachment in Yemen."

Hariri said this "storm of hatred" deserves to be ignored, saying it is the result of "anger, frustration, and tension". Hariri stressed the relationship with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf would continue and was too strong to be "shaken by insults and tendentious campaigns."

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.