Yemen's president calls Shiite rebels 'stooges of Iran'
Yemen's embattled president today called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country "stooges of Iran," directly blaming the Islamic Republic for the chaos there and demanding airstrikes against rebel positions continue until they surrender.
Sharm El-Sheikh: Yemen's embattled president today called Shiite rebels who forced him to flee the country "stooges of Iran," directly blaming the Islamic Republic for the chaos there and demanding airstrikes against rebel positions continue until they surrender.
With Egypt's president also calling for a regional Arab military force and another Gulf diplomat separately warning Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen could go on for months, the spectre of a regional conflict pitting Arab nations against Shiite power Iran also has been raised.
The comments by Arab leaders including Yemeni President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled his country only days earlier, came at an Arab summit largely focusing on the chaos there caused by the advance of the rebels, known as Houthis.
Other leaders, including the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, obliquely referenced Iran earlier at the summit held in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
They blamed the Persian country for meddling in the affairs of Arab nations, with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi saying, without mentioning Iran by name, that it was "spreading its ailment in the body."
"This (Arab) nation, in its darkest hour, had never been faced a challenge to its existence and a threat to its identity like the one it's facing now," el-Sissi said.
"This threatens our national security and (we) cannot ignore its consequences for the Arab identity."
Hadi directly challenged Iran in his remarks and called for his supporters to rise up in peaceful protest against the Houthis.
"I say to the puppets of Iran and its toys: ... You've destroyed Yemen," Hadi said.
Iran and the Houthis deny that Tehran arms the rebel movement, though the Islamic Republic has provided humanitarian and other aid. Officials in Iran had no immediate comment on Hadi's remarks.
Hadi also said the airstrikes launched by Saudi Arabia and its allies against the Houthis must not stop before the rebels surrender and return medium and heavy weapons they looted from army depots across much of the country.
Saudi Arabia's monarch, King Salman, earlier pledged that the military campaign in Yemen would not stop before security and stability are restored.
Hadi fled Yemen earlier this week, making his way to Saudi Arabia after leaving the southern coastal city of Aden in the face of a push into southern Yemen by the Houthis and their allies, including forces loyal to ousted leader Ali Abdullah Saleh.