Ayatollah Khamenei Speaks Out Against The Saudis And The Western Media Regarding The Yemeni Conflict

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The Ayatollah’s Truth

Last week, Ayatollah Khamenei harshly criticized Western media outlets for their failure to cover the ongoing war between the Saudi-led Arab coalition and the Houthis Rebels in Iran. He said:

“The world’s media that are dominated by the US, Britain, and the Zionists sometimes launch a propaganda campaign over an animal’s life while they keep outrageously quiet towards crimes… such as the bombardment of Yemen these days as well as the past years’ aggression on Gaza and Lebanon.  What should a dignified person do in the face of such bias and evil?” – Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Saudis have been bombing the impoverished Arab nation since March and the U.N. estimates that over 2,600 Yemenis have been killed and as many as 11,000 injured by Saudi airstrikes.

A Little Background On The Conflict

Abd Rabbuth Mansur Hadi won the 2012 Yemeni presidential election, but did not serve out his full term. A group of Zaidi Shias, the Houthis, assumed control of the government in March 2015 in what the Saudis claim was a coup d’état.  The Houthis had been advancing on Hadi’s government since the autumn of 2014, and in March 2015, Hadi was forced to flee to Riyadh.

The Houthis are a powerful force in Yemen. Zaidi Shia Muslims make up about 42% of the Yemeni population. In addition, they have the support of large segments of the Yemeni Military which is still loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who lost power after 2011’s Arab Spring.

Mideast-Yemen_Ches_c-1Houthi Rebels-Image Source: Mashable

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia launched Operation Decisive Storm. They led a coalition consisting of troops from Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, and Egypt into Yemen, and bombarded the nation with airstrikes. This operation turned out to be a humanitarian disaster, as the bombings resulted in 78% of the Yemeni population cut off from supplies. 20 million Yemenis are now in desperate need of food, water, and medical care.

In spite of all this, the Saudis claimed that Decisive Storm was an unqualified success, and in April they began Operation Restoring Hope. This operation was designed to reinstate Hadi and consolidate power behind his government, with the promise that the airstrikes would end. The Saudis have not delivered on either of these promises and operation Restoring Hope is almost identical to Decisive Storm.

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The Iranian Response

yemen-war-control-map_2015-06-22Image Source: Polgeonow

The Iranian government has been critical of the Saudi-led Arab Coalition’s actions in Yemen. They attempted to aid the Houthi rebels throughout the conflict, but it is not known how effective their efforts have been. 

On one occasion, the Iranians attempted to fly in supplies to the Yemenis, but coalition forces bombed the runways of the Sana’a International Airport to prevent the Iranian plane from landing. This effectively blocked any aid delivers to the Yemeni capital and exponentially worsened the situation of starving Yemenis in the area.

Today, Iran officially censured Saudi Arabia’s aggression against Yemen. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham issued the following statement:

Saudi Arabia’s attacks on infrastructure and civilian targets and the killing and injuring of civilians are the continuation of blatant violation of human rights. International bodies and institutions, particularly the United Nations, are expected to fulfill their responsibility with regard to an immediate halt to the attacks and aid to the oppressed Yemeni people.”

It is unclear where this conflict will go from this point forward. The Saudis have increased their airstrikes over the past few days, and 120 Yemenis have been killed in the last 48 hours. The Iranians are increasing their efforts to put an end to the conflicted through pressuring the U.N. to take action against the Saudis. This is an extremely volatile situation that should be closely monitored until it is resolved.

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