Hezbollah operating in Yemen with Houthis

 Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based Shiite militia, is operating in Yemen on the side of the Houthis with the aid of Iran, a senior Saudi diplomat claimed on Friday.

Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel Al-Jubeir made the claim in an interview on CNN with Wolf Blitzer. “We have reports that the Iranians are providing weapons, training and advisers to the Houthis. We have reports of Hezbollah operatives being in Yemen.”

According to Al-Jubeir, when the Houthis captured Sanaa one of the first things they did was to release captured members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.

“This is really a war to defend the legitimate government of Yemen and to protect the Yemeni people from being taken over by a radical militant group that is aligned with Iran and Hezbollah.”

Al-Jubeir said the coalition would do “whatever it takes to achieve that objective.”

“The fact that the Houthis are supported by Iran is not a good thing and we are determined to make sure that Yemen does not succumb to the aggression committed by them or any of their allies.”

To a question from Blitzer that there were reports of some Houthi rebels backedby Iran targeting Saudis in the Kingdom, Al-Jubeir said: “We are preparing for all eventualities, inside the Kingdom as well as outside the Kingdom. We are determined to defend Yemen, defend the legitimate government of Yemen, and degrade and destroy the capabilities of the Houthis.”

He said the Yemeni government tried repeatedly over the past year to reason with the Houthis, to negotiate with them, to go through a political process to resolve their differences peacefully. “Every time agreements were reached the Houthis reneged on every single one of them — 67 agreements to be precise,” said Al-Jubeir.

The Saudi diplomat welcomed US support. “We’re very appreciative of the support whether it’s political, logistical or intelligence,” he said. “We are working very closely with the US, consulting very closely … as well as with our other coalition allies.”

Responding to a question about whether there would be a ground invasion, Al-Jubeir said: “We will see what happens when the time comes. So far we are focused on the air war.”

On Iran’s nuclear issue, he said everybody in the region is worried about it. “We have been assured by the (Obama) administration that all paths leading to a nuclear weapon by Iran will be cut off. We have been assured that there will be very intrusive inspections that will ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear capability and we hope that this pans out,” he said.

Al-Jubeir said everybody wants a peaceful solution to Iran’s nuclear program “but it has to be a serious and solid agreement that is verifiable.”

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