Yemen minister calls for Gulf Arab military intervention

Yemeni protesters shout slogans and set alight tires during a demonstration against the Houthi takeover of several state facilities in the central city of Taiz. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

(Reuters) – Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yaseen called on Monday for Gulf Arab military intervention to halt advances by Houthi fighters, a move that could draw neighboring states into the country’s deepening power struggle.

The Sunni Muslim monarchies of the Gulf back President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, whose forces have recently suffered reverses at the hands of Iranian-backed Houthis approaching his base in the southern port of Aden from the north.

“We are requesting an intervention by the Gulf Shield forces to stop this Iranian-backed Houthi expansion,” Yaseen told the newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat, referring to a military force of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

“We have expressed to the GCC, the United Nations as well as the international community that there should be a no-fly zone, and the use of military aircraft should be prevented at the airports controlled by the Houthis.”

The Houthis, who share a Shi’ite Muslim ideology with Iran, seized the capital Sanaa in September, a blow to the state which widened splits in the army. The group initially shared power with Hadi but dissolved parliament last month.

Saudi Arabia and its Arab neighbors view their takeover as a coup and believe Iran is trying to build up its power in the region by backing armed proxies…

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