Asharq Al-awsat English https://aawsat.com/english Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper http://feedly.com/icon.svg

US Says Remains Committed to Helping Defend Saudi Arabia

US Says Remains Committed to Helping Defend Saudi Arabia

Friday, 23 April, 2021 - 07:00
General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Commander of the US Central Command. AP

The United States is committed to helping defend Saudi Arabia, as Iran continues to provide weapons, parts, and expertise to Houthi forces in Yemen for the purpose of attacking the Kingdom, Commander of US CENTCOM General Kenneth Mckenzie has announced.


Mckenzie said that since January 2021, Iran-backed Houthi militias have launched more than 150 ballistic missiles and drones against military, infrastructure, and civilian targets in Saudi Arabia.


He explained before the Senate Armed Services Committee that US assistance to Saudi Arabia focuses on providing information to Saudi armed forces to assist them in thwarting Houthi UAV, ballistic missile, and explosive boat attacks that contravene international law and undermine diplomatic efforts.


The Iranian regime’s provisioning of lethal aid to the Houthis to enable such attacks prolongs the conflict in Yemen, warned McKenzie.


He added that this “exacerbates regional tensions, threatens the security of Saudi Arabia, and extends the suffering of the Yemeni people who are subject to widespread food and water shortages, malnutrition, and insufficient healthcare services.”


Senator Jim Inhofe, the top Republican on the committee, stressed Saudi Arabia's right to defend itself against Houthi attacks, saying the US administration should understand this because it would have done the same in the event of similar attacks on its borders.


Inhofe warned the US administration against lifting sanctions on Tehran, indicating that it would use the funds resulting from the sanctions relief to finance terrorism in the region.


Earlier, deputy commander of al-Quds Force Rostam Ghasemi admitted in an interview to supplying the Houthis with weapons and helping the militias to develop them.


He also announced the presence of military advisors to assist the group in Yemen, stressing they are few, "you can count them on the fingers of one hand."


Ghasemi indicated that all the weapons that the Yemenis possess are the result of Iran’s aid, adding that the actual production of the weapons is done in Yemen.


“They produce the arms themselves. These drones and missiles are made in Yemen,” said the commander, claiming that his country no longer needs to send weapons to the Houthis.


His remarks contradict the reports that indicated the presence of hundreds of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) members in Yemen.


In response, Yemeni Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Muammar al-Eryani slammed Iran for admitting its role in the coup and providing military support to the Houthis, and for its involvement in the fighting alongside the militias in a blatant violation of international law.


He accused Iran of destabilizing Yemen and causing the humanitarian disaster.


"Tehran's use of Houthi militias as a tool to implement its expansionist agenda, and spread chaos and terrorism threatens international interests in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb," said the Minister.


Eryani asserted that Yemenis must understand the nature of the battle they are waging and the enemy, who is targeting "their identity, present and future, and separating them from their Arab surroundings," urging them to unite in confronting the Iranian expansion project and its tools in Yemen.


He called on the international community and the United Nations Security Council to act in pressuring the Iranian regime to stop its interference that destabilizes Yemen and the region.


Editor Picks

Multimedia