Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
Abu Dhabi - He said Iran clearly had plans to create another Hezbollah in Yemen by supporting the Houthis.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, attended at His Ramadan Majlis today a lecture delivered by Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
In the lecture, titled "The UAE, the Coalition and the Yemen Crisis: The Necessary Decision", Dr Gargash said the Arab decision to intervene to restore the legitimate government in Yemen was to "draw a line in the sand" and make it clear that the Arab states were united in their decision to stop the expansion of the Iranian role in the region.
"The Decisive Storm operation had three goals," Dr Gargash said. "The first was to bring back the Yemen crisis to the political track, the second to restore the legitimate government of Yemen and the third goal was to counter the Iranian interference in the region."
"The dimensions of the Yemen coup should be viewed in the context of Iranian expansion in the region," he said. "This is not something that I say, it's what Iranian officials have stated repeatedly following the coup."
The Iranian influence, he said, was also clear in the Houthis moves to establish ministries and government bodies that were clearly modelled after those built in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution in 1979.
He said Iran clearly had plans to create another Hezbollah in Yemen by supporting the Houthis, adding that Iran worked patiently on building Houthi military capability near Saudi Arabia's border. "The crisis was one of Yemen, but Iran had an ability to exploit the sectarian dimension of the crisis, patiently building militias in the borders with Saudi Arabia," he said. "Can we accept ideologically driven sectarian militias operating on the border of Saudi Arabia?"
He said the decision to intervene militarily in Yemen by the Gulf Arab states and allies came after all diplomatic and political options had been exhausted. The Houthi rebels continued to breach the sovereignty of Yemen, taking control of Sanaa and then Aden before usurping the legitimacy of Abd Rabbu Mansur Hadi government
"The UAE leadership was facing two choices, to intervene in a complex scene in Yemen or to let it develop into yet more complex situation facing the entire region," he said. "The military intervention has achieved its goal and the rest is left for the political track."
Gargash said it was now up to the Yemeni people and factions to agree on a political solution that save their country, reiterating the UAE and the GCC's support of such a solution. "The Solution is in the hand of Yemenis, but the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf states will help in that," he said. "We should exert all efforts toward a political solution"
He added: "Building a modern Yemeni state is a job that Yemenis will undertake with help from the UAE."
Gargash stressed the strategic importance of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, adding that the security of both countries was interdependent. "The security of Saudi Arabia has no future without the security of the UAE and vice versa, and this applies to the rest of the Gulf states," he said.
He said the military operation in Yemen was very successful when compared to similar operations carried out in recent years in other places such as Afghanistan because the goals of the Yemen operation were clear and well-defined.
"There strategic view was that it was us who should protect the region and double our efforts because we weren't going to witness another international coalition such that that liberated Kuwait," he said.
The Ramadan series of lectures is part of Shaikh Mohammed's effort to spread the spirit of knowledge and learning in the country, by inviting renowned scholars, experts, officials and entrepreneurs to speak at his majlis at Al Bateen Palace in Abu Dhabi.