Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Friday bemoaned the Saudi-led Arab coalition engaged in a campaign against rebels forces in Yemen, saying Arabs should unite against Israel rather than the Houthi militias who have taken over the capital Sanaa and much of the country over the past months.
The leader of Lebanon’s Shiite terror group slammed Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen, dubbed Operation Decisive Storm, calling it “surprising and painful.”
Hezbollah, like Yemen’s Houthi rebels, is supported by Iran, which Saudi Arabia views as its main regional rival. Iran has openly armed and assisted Hezbollah since its creation, but both Iran and the Houthis deny Tehran has sent arms to the Yemeni rebels.
Nasrallah said Hezbollah would have been glad to be “partners” in a coalition against Israel, but lamented the fact that “for decades there has been no ‘Decisive Storm,’ not even a slight gust of resolve to fight Israel.”
Nasrallah expressed wonder that Riyadh felt compelled to intervene in Yemen, when “everything that has happened in our region for years didn’t necessitate Saudi intervention.”
“You say the new situation in Yemen threatens your national security,” he noted. “Do you not feel the threat posed by Israel, which has one of the strongest armies in the world?”
He continued: “This means that in the eyes of (the Saudis) Israel is not an enemy or a threat that requires such a ‘storm.’”
Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of abandoning the Palestinian people, leaving the region to Israel “to murder and expel, and to the US to search for an illuionary diplomatic solution.
“You have money, so why do the Palestinain people live in poverty? This people has called on Iran to aid it, and Iran, despite the economic siege placed upon it thanks to you, has given everything it can to the Palestinian people, both by way of its diplomatic positions and through funding and weapons.”
But Nasrallah denied that Yemen’s rebels were being aided militarily be Iran.
“Where are the Iranian armies in Yemen and where are the Iranian bases there?” he asked.
The real reason for the campaign, Nasrallah asserted, “is that Saudi Arabia lost its control and dominance in Yemen and the aim of war is to restore control and hegemony over Yemen. Period.”
The Hezbollah leader suggested Riyadh would suffer a “humiliating defeat” if it didn’t resolve the conflict through negotiations.
“Throughout history, invaders were defeated and the invaders were humiliated,” Nasrallah said. “The rulers in Saudi Arabia still have an opportunity in order not to face a humiliating defeat.”
Nasrallah said the countries taking part in the military campaign should review their policies. “Should the region go to war because of Saudi money?” he asked.
In some of his harshest comments to date, Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of sending suicide attackers to Iraq and of creating the Islamic State group. Addressing Saudi Arabia, he said Iran had expanded its influence in the region because “you are lazy, losers, and you don’t take responsibility.”