TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian foreign ministry warned against Riyadh and Abu Dhabi’s schemes to divide and disintegrate Yemen, stressing Tehran’s support for a united Yemen.
“The coalition of the Saudi and UAE aggressors along with their mercenaries who have failed to break people’s will with their different advanced weapons and through massacre and massive destructions in the past five years, and see themselves defeated against the spirit of popular struggle and resistance across Yemen are now after disintegration of Yemen within the framework of a suspicious plot,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Moussavi said on Wednesday.
He underlined Iran’s support for a “united Yemen”, saying that safeguarding the country’s integrity is a common responsibility of all the Yemeni people.
Moussavi expressed the hope that the Saudi-UAE aggression would come to an end and different Yemeni groups and parties would be able to attain results in Yemeni-Yemeni talks to resolve problems and form a comprehensive government across Yemen.
Amid a widening rift in the Riyadh-led military coalition waging war on Yemen, the port city of Aden — which bases the ex-government of the war ravaged country — was rocked by deadly clashes between the UAE-backed separatists and Saudi-backed militants this week.
The infighting broke out Wednesday after the Southern separatists attended a funeral for dozens of fellows, including a senior militant commander, who were killed in last week’s retaliatory missile attack by Yemen’s Ansarullah movement on a military parade.
Both the UAE-backed separatists and the militants loyal to the former Saudi-allied Yemeni government serve the Riyadh-led coalition, which has been engaged, since 2015, in a bloody military campaign against Yemen aimed at reinstating ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who resigned in 2014 and later fled to the Saudi capital.
During the funeral, the mourners chanted slogans against the self-proclaimed Hadi administration and exchanged gunfire with the guards at the presidential palace in Aden — where Hadi was supposed to be based but which remains largely empty as the ex-president lives in Riyadh.
The two sides pursue different agendas for Yemen’s future; the separatists want independence from Yemen, while the other militants seek to bring Hadi back to power, but the two camps have joined forces in the Saudi-led battle against Yemen’s Houthi movement, which has been both running state affairs and defending the country against the aggression.
Hani Ali Brik, vice president of the separatist so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC), called for a march on Hadi’s palace to oust his administration.
“The people of the south are all on the street. This is a movement by the people that cannot be stopped, except with the government’s downfall,” noted mourner Abdelhakim Tabaza.
Commander of Presidential Guard Brigadier General Sanad al-Rahwa told al-Masdar Online news website that his forces had clashed with armed groups, who were trying to storm the presidential palace and the central bank.
Ties between the pro-Hadi side and the UAE-sponsored militants have grown increasingly tense over a number of issues, including what the Yemenis view as Abu Dhabi’s intention to occupy Yemen’s strategic Socotra Island and gain dominance over the major waterways in the region.
The latest clashes erupted weeks after the UAE — a key party to the Saudi-led coalition — announced a surprise plan to withdraw its troops from Yemen in a major blow to its coalition allies.
It is not the first time such clashes break out between rival militants in Aden. In January, the UAE-backed southern Yemeni separatists took control of the two city after days of frighting and confined the Hadi administration to the presidential palace.
Last Sunday, Abdul-Khaleq Abdullah, former aide to Emirati Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed, said in a tweet that the war against Yemen is over for Abu Dhabi.
Abdullah asserted that the UAE involvement in the Saudi-led war against Yemen is over and it will be soon announced officially.
“The UAE, from now on, will put all its political and diplomatic weight behind resolving the crisis and establishing peace for the people of Yemen,” the senior Emirati figure underlined in his post.
In response to Abdullah’s tweet, Ania El Afandi, an Algerian journalist, posted a tweet asking the Emirati figure why the UAE did not put its political weight, from the very outset, behind efforts for materializing peace.
Then the Arab journalist questioned the game-over rhetoric of Abdullah, asking, “War should come to an end officially, are your words addressing Saudi Arabia?”
“Thirdly, will the blockade against Qatar be lifted if issues with Iran are solved?” she concluded.
The UAE seems to have started a U-turn in its regional polices after Iran’s tough warnings to Abu Dhabi about the dire consequences of the UAE’s destructive polices in the region.
The UAE was seriously criticized by Iran and warned of consequences after a US spy drone took off from an Emirati airport and intruded into Iran’s airspace on June 20. The Iranian air defense units shot down the American spy drone and lodged a complaint with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Also last Saturday, a senior member of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) of Yemen, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Arabi21 news outlet that Senior Emirati officials have reassured Tehran that they will start a major shift in policy in Yemen’s Southern provinces and launch intelligence cooperation with Ansarullah Movement.
The UAE has recently reached an agreement with Iran and within the framework of the agreement has promised Tehran that it will shift the state of political affairs in the Southern provinces of Yemen, the STC source added.
He added that the military and political heads of the STC, which is backed by Abu Dhabi, are among those who will be targeted by the new revisionist polices of the UAE in accordance with the agreement with Tehran.
According to the same source, now disagreements and rivalries have intensified among different fractions within the council, specially between the party of Aidarus al-Zoubaidi, who chairs the council, and the party of Ahmed Hamed Lamlas, the secretary general of the STC.
“One of the articles of the comprehensive agreement reached between Tehran and Abu Dhabi entails the UAE’s intelligence cooperation and coordination with Ansarullah Movement,” the source claimed.
Last Tuesday, a maritime security delegation from the UAE arrived in Tehran to resume bilateral coast guard meetings between Iran and the Arab country after a 6-year hiatus, in a bid to increase joint efforts on enhancing maritime security in the Persian Gulf region.
The seven-member delegation from the UAE coast guard was headed by UAE Coast Guard Commander Brigadier General Mohammed Ali Musleh Al-Ahbabi who later signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Commander of Iran’s Border Police Brigadier General Qassem Rezayee.
Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan, launched a brutal war against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
The aggression initially consisted of a bombing campaign but was later coupled with a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces to Yemen. Around 20,000 people have died since the war began, says Yemen’s Health Ministry.
The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The United Nations (UN) has said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger.
Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
According to several reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has driven the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster, as Saudi Arabia’s deadly campaign prevented the patients from travelling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country.
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