Interesting statements out of Tehran and Damascus today. They seem to be taking opposite sides in the conflict in Yemen.
In northern Yemen, near the Saudi border, a group of rebels called the Houthis are fighting the country’s army. Yemen has accused Iran of funding and arming the Houthis. The rebels say Yemen is being backed by Saudi Arabia.
A few days ago a number of Houthis captured an area of Saudi territory. Saudi Arabia bombed them, but insisted it was only targeting Saudi territory – not Yemeni territory.
But this is where it gets interesting. Today, Iran’s foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned against foreign intervention – a thinly veiled shot across Saudi Arabia’s bows. Saudi Arabi replied defensively: “We are not going to stop the bombing until [they] retreat tens of kilometres inside [the Yemeni] border.”
And they are getting support from Syria. Just hours after the Iranian statement, Syria’s SANA news agency published the following:
“[An official Syrian] source added that Syria supports Saudi Arabia’s legitimate right to defend its sovereignty and the safety of its territories.”