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March 27, 2018 No.
7400

Article In Saudi Government Daily: It Is Our Right To Defend Ourselves Against Iran And The Houthis; To Hell With The Useless Efforts Of The UN

On March 25, 2018, when UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths was visiting Yemen and two days before Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres were set to meet in New York, Houthi forces in Yemen fired seven ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia, three of them at the capital city of Riyadh. According to Saudi reports, all the missiles were intercepted, but an Egyptian national in the country at the time was killed by shrapnel and several others were wounded.

The Saudis are blaming Iran for the attack, saying that it is providing the Houthis with missiles. At a press conference in the attack's aftermath, Turki Al-Malki, spokesman for the Saudi-led Coalition Supporting the Legitimate Regime in Yemen, said that to date 104 ballistic missiles had been fired at Saudi Arabia, and gave evidence that Iran is providing the Houthis with ballistic missiles and other advanced weaponry. He warned that  granting the Houthis such capabilities severely threatens regional and international security, and stressed that Saudi Arabia "reserves the right to respond to Iran at a time and in a manner that is appropriate and in compliance with international law, and [reserves] the right to defend its land, its people, and its interests in accordance with the international treaties."[1]


Al-Malki presents the remnants of the intercepted Yemeni ballistic missiles (Source: Al-Madina, Saudi Arabia, March 27, 2013)

On March 27, prior to the New York meeting between Crown Prince bin Salman and Secretary General Guterres, Saudi Arabia called on the UN and the Security Council to do their duty and hold Iran to account for its actions. In a letter to the Security Council, it requested that the council be responsible for maintaining international security and stability and prosecute Iran for arming the Houthis with ballistic missiles.[2] Saudi Ambassador to Washington Prince Khaled bin Salman wrote, in a series of tweets, that "[the] Iranian regime continues to violate international laws as it tests the world's resolve," and added: "The only way to prevent further conflict in the region is to hold Iran accountable for its violations of all international laws. Friends and enemies are watching for the world's reaction; it will shape the behavior of the countries in [the] region [in] the long term."[3]


Tweets by Saudi Ambassador to Washington Khalid bin Salman (Source: Twitter.com/kbsalsaud, March 26-27, 2018)

The Saudi government daily 'Okaz was harsher about the UN and the Security Council conduct in the matter of the Yemen crisis, criticizing their failure to enforce their resolutions. A March 27, 2018 article published in advance of the New York meeting stated: "Bin Salman will stand face to face with Guterres and explain to him the nature of Iran's interference in Yemen and [Iran's] support for the Houthi militias by providing them with ballistic missiles that are fired at Saudi Arabia to threaten its security and its citizens. Guterres must choose: Either the UN will support curbing the terrorism being perpetrated by the Iranian mullahs, or it will oppose doing so. There is no middle path."[4]

Also appearing the same day in Okaz was a hard-hitting column by Hamud Abu Talb criticizing the UN for its failure to tackle the Yemen crisis and clarifying that Saudi Arabia can no longer rely on the UN or the Security Council and must defend itself by eradicating the Houthi threat.

The following are translated excerpts from Abu Talb's column:

"On the evening of the day when new UN Special Envoy [for Yemen Martin Griffiths] undertook his mission [to  resolve the crisis in Yemen], the Houthi militia fired seven ballistic missiles at various areas in
Saudi Arabia. All the missiles were intercepted and destroyed, without causing any damage.[5] This was followed by an appearance by [Houthi leader] Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi on his television channel and threatening to launch more advanced missiles. Iran, which supplies this militia with missiles and crews, will, as always, deny any connection to the matter.

"Two UN envoys who were supposed to solve the crisis in Yemen have already failed, due to the obstinacy of the Houthi gang and its refusal to comply with the proposed initiatives. An additional reason for the failure, and  the most important one, is the Security Council's tolerance of the rebel militia and for its failure to comply with [Security Council] Resolution 2216 that passed under Clause 7 and states that if necessary force will be used [against the militia]. However, none of this actually happened, and this encouraged the Houthis to continue to trifle with the fate of Yemen and its wretched population and to threaten to continue firing missiles at Saudi Arabia.

"With the arrival of the third UN Special Envoy [for Yemen, Griffiths], the Houthi militia declared to the entire world its response to the UN, the Security Council, and the international community, as well as its position vis-à-vis the political initiatives for a solution [to the Yemen crisis] – by firing missiles at Saudi Arabia at a time when the UN Special Envoy was still in Yemen...

"It is perfectly clear that [the UN] has no real intention of resolving the crisis and ending the Houthi rebellion. We can say this with certainty, in light of the previous envoys' handling of the matter, and the UN's refusal to take the important decisions requested by the [Saudi-led] Coalition [Supporting the Legitimate Regime in Yemen] that would prevent the Houthis from being equipped with weapons that threaten the security of Saudi Arabia, and also [would prevent] the Houthis' abuse of the people of Yemen. A long time has elapsed since the passage of Security Council Resolution [2216], during which the Houthis continued escalate the situation, and not a single serious step has been taken to implement the resolution, or even to hint that it will be implemented. After all this, and in light of these facts, can we possibly rely on a UN solution, or trust in and rely on the Security Council?

"The fragments of the missiles fired [at Saudi Arabia] by the Houthis were displayed at UN headquarters. We heard the representatives of the international community condemning the militia that fired them, but this did not prompt the [UN General] Assembly or its Security Council to take one serious, practical step. Some even blamed the humanitarian crisis afflicting the Yemeni people on Saudi Arabia and the coalition [that it leads] – despite the tremendous assistance that the Saudis provide [to Yemen]...

"In light of everything that has happened in the past, and Sunday's [March 25, 2018] unprecedented targeting of Saudi Arabia with missiles, coinciding with the beginning of the term of the new UN Special Envoy, [the demand] is not only to reinstate the legitimate regime in Yemen, but also to remove the Houthi threat to Saudi Arabia and to ensure [Saudi Arabia's] safety... It is unreasonable [that the Houthi side] persists in its wild behavior as we not only refrain from completely destroying it, but wait for the outcome of the UN envoys' visits, which have only served to boost the [Houthis'] daring and arrogance toward us.

"So long as the international community, its institutions, its organizations, and its Security Council continue to take such a feeble stance against Iran – which is the source of the terror and chaos in our region – it is the right of every country directly harmed by it or by its agents, such as the Houthi gang and others, to defend itself appropriately. And to hell with the UN's promises of solutions which will achieve nothing."[6]

 

[1] Al-Madina (Saudi Arabia), March 27, 2018.

[2] Alarabiya.net, March 27, 2018.

[3] Twitter.com/kbsalsaud, March 26-27, 2018.

[4] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), March 27, 2018.

[5] As stated, an Egyptian national was killed by shrapnel from the missiles, and several others were wounded.

[6] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), March 27, 2018.