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Iranian Designs in Southern Saudi Arabia - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iran is poised on the southern border of the Arabian Gulf countries after having swallowed Lebanon to the north through its divine party [Hezbollah] and settled in the veins of the wounded Iraqi state. What is left? Can Saudi Arabia be blamed if it takes the Huthist danger seriously and dealt with it firmly? I believe that Saudi firmness came much later than it should have.

By firmness I do not mean only military effort but I mean something that is much deeper. The literature and “manuals” of Hussein Badr-al-Din al-Huthi, the first commander of the Huthist current, show that it is part of Iran’s policy in the region. It has the same slogans, same flavor, and same approach as that of Hezbollah in Lebanon. This means appropriating part of state land, imposing control over this piece of land, creating a specific security and political fence around it, and resorting to popular slogans that titillate the sentiments of the wretched masses. And there is nothing better than attacking the United States — the mother of all evils — and Israel and, of course the agents of the United States. Nothing tops mobilizing the masses that are groaning under the burden of poverty and that are weak with ignorance. This is how Hezbollah in Lebanon was first established and this is what the Huthist current is trying to do. The recent clashes in the border region of Jabal Dukhan between the Huthist militias and the Saudi Army mark a tolling alarm bell. The problem should be examined more thoroughly and comprehensively. What can the Huthists do more? Is the Iranian operations room, intelligence services, and the intelligence organs of the Revolutionary Guard that support and manipulate the Huthist band taking the pulse of the situation?

Some people become angry when we talk about Iranian fingers in Yemen. They say that we are repeating the lies of the hostile government in Sanaa, that the Huthist current is a domestic movement, and that the members of this current are the sons of the Yemeni people and that they have just issues with the government. This is a distorted and empty discussion. No one said that the Huthists came from Madagascar and no rational person has said that they justified demands regarding the government in Sanaa. However, this is one thing and manipulating these matters in the interest of a political agitation that is bigger than mere demands is another. In Lebanon, Hezbollah too is originally from Lebanon, its human resources are the sons of Lebanon, and its geographic presence is in Lebanon. However, this is not important in the balance of political interpretation that wants to know who will gain from Hezbollah’s activities in the region. Of course, it is Iran. The same thing applies to the Huthist current in Yemen. In fact, it is an amazing cloning process of the Hezbollah model in Lebanon even in the most insignificant things. I saw a video clip on YouTube of Abdul-Malik al-Huthi addressing his masses and repeating the same chants of sacrifice and redemption as he waved his hand, raised and lowered his voice, and kept silent to give the gathering masses the chance for organized, not spontaneous, chanting. This is exactly how Hasan Nasrallah appears as he addresses the masses in Al-Dahiyah al-Junubiyah [Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut] or Al-Nabatiyah.

Saudi Arabia is justified in repulsing Al-Huthist’s militias. It should take the matter more firmly and seriously and should use all the necessary force to protect the land and deter aggression. But this is part of the solution. The broader framework of the solution should have the military efforts complementing the political and strategic efforts. All the countries of the Arabian Peninsula — the Gulf countries and Yemen — should take the matter seriously and leave petty differences behind them. Iran is targeting Saudi Arabia through Yemen and Saudi Arabia — in geography, demography, economy, and spiritual and international status — constitutes the heart of the region and the umbrella of the Arabian Peninsula. No one wants to be in the mood for wars. We have had enough wars that have mutilated us and obstructed our progress, but it seems that the mullahs of Tehran have another opinion.

Mshari Al-Zaydi

Mshari Al-Zaydi

Mshari Al-Zaydi is a Saudi journalist and expert on Islamic movements and Islamic fundamentalism, as well as on Saudi affairs. He is Asharq Al-Awsat’s opinion page editor. Mr. Zaydi has worked for the local Saudi press, and has been a guest on numerous news and current affairs programs as an expert on Islamic extremism.

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