Last Updated: Wed Nov 03, 2010 13:02 pm (KSA) 10:02 am (GMT)

Saudi Arabia and Mottaki’s “Yemeni initiative”

Zuheir Kseibati

For Tehran to consciously consider Yemen’s security to be an Iranian, or an Iranian and Arab Gulf- issue, this inevitably leads to the following question: if Iran is acting now as if the issues of Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon and now Yemen are part of its responsibilities, while it does not yet have the ability to enrich uranium to nuclear weapons grade, what will Iran do when it succeeds in building a nuclear bomb, or becomes capable of building one, on the assumption of good faith?

This is a question that Tehran does not hesitate to do everything in its power to exacerbate the gloom of the answers to this question, even when it insists upon giving itself a certificate of good will.

Once again, Iran is tyrannizing the Arabs, and in what regards the conflict between the Yemeni government and the Huthis, Iran is now attempting to also dictate terms. Otherwise, what is the meaning of the statement given by the Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki regarding the “right solutions”, and the need for the Yemeni government to reassess its relations with its “social groups” including the “Shiites”?

As such, Iran volunteers again, and in the clearest possible way, to provide evidence that indicts itself, when Iran falls into the trap of contradictions between what it says and what it does, and then between what it states between one day and another.

Mottaki thus warns the countries in the region – which are all Arab countries – not to interfere in the affairs of Yemen, another Arab country, before proposing his “approach” hours later, and which he considered to be the only viable way to restore stability and security to this country. In fact, the solution he proposed in his initiative which is based on “collective efforts”, paves the way for Tehran to play a role in putting an end to “the killing of Shiites in Yemen” - as described by the Iranian cleric Safi Golpayegani in his letter to the Organization of Islamic Conference.

What the minister simply wants then is a Gulf-Arab acknowledgement of a certain role for the Iranian “partner” in issues related to the Gulf and Yemen, under the excuse of the region’s security, after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had seemingly adopted a “vacuum filling” policy starting with Iraq.

With the last campaign carried out by the Yemeni army in its fight against the Huthis, which started 4 months ago, the question/dilemma that was raised was how is it that they are able to face an army and seek to fight a war of attrition against it - in preparation for a certain step perhaps-when the prospect of their victory is impossible?

Moreover, soon after the Huthi violation of Saudi territories and borders and after the suspicions about the nature of this move grew stronger, minister Mottaki proposed his “only viable approach” to restore security in Yemen, right after the Saudi army succeeded in repelling the aggressors.

While the Iranian minister is warning the countries in the region to not “intervene” in Yemen’s affairs, he afterwards called for a “collective” intervention with Iranian participation, after having enumerated the perils facing Sanaa, including the terrorism of al-Qaeda, the separatist movements (in the south), and the “developments associated with the Shiite community”. Simply put, what Mottaki is saying is that Tehran holds the key to the solution in Yemen, and that all that Sanaa has to do for this to happen is to become an Iranian satellite...after the Huthis dared do what al-Qaeda had failed to accomplish.

In fact, this brings to mind the fate of the people of Gaza, especially after the Iranian support for Hamas’s rebellion against the Palestinian National Authority, and the “fierce” Iranian war against Israel which was fought with the blood and lands of the Palestinians. Similarly, the sympathy expressed both politically and in the media in Iran with the “Shiite” Huthis and their rebellion against the Yemeni government, reached the extend where it is now claiming that a “genocide” is taking place, while also claiming that Iran is able to come up with solutions for the whole region.

The ambition of the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad republic then, while continuing to “export its revolution” to where it sympathizes with the “oppressed” and steps in to defend them – even while threatening to stir sectarian wars -, its ambition then is to drag the Arab Gulf states into negotiations over the question of regional roles. Even more, the attempt is rather to drag them into acknowledging that a new era in the region has started, and that what the Western shore of the gulf decides for its own affairs will not be done except with the partnership of the other shore; this is of course in a partnership whose criteria are well known in the Iranian concept.

Because these criteria are known, even when it comes to the Iranian defence of the Shiites in any country, the “exportation of the revolution” approaches red lines in the manipulation of the unity of this country, regardless of whether this invokes the signs of an impending sectarian clash that Tehran reiterates night and day, its keenness to suppress.

The fact of the matter is that the Yemeni response to Minister Mottaki and his complaint about the nature of the relation between the government in Sanaa and the Shiites, as it naturally rejects the hegemony of another country on a part of the Yemeni people, also entails an obvious condemnation of any Iranian mediation with the Huthis. This is because when the mediation enters from the window of the North, it will open the door wide open to the secession of the South, and give the excuses for this a fertile soil to be sown in.

Which initiative then will motivate the Iranian “good will”? Yemen has entered the bleak tunnel of wars and crises, and its unity is now being threatened, and is yet another Arab country that is being strangled with the rope of discord, following the fragmentation of the Palestinian will, and the wars of destruction against the will and capabilities of Iraq. There are no fears about the strength of Saudi Arabia and its ability to protect its sovereignty. However, is not what the Huthis did in their adventure of attacking the border, another message to the major Arab countries, that there is an attempt to confuse and upset their roles, after having entrenched the Palestinian strife as an attempt to circumvent the Egyptian role via Gaza, following the damage done to this role in Sudan?

*Published in the London-based AL-HAYAT on Nov. 12, 2009.

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