Ambassador Al-Jubeir Discusses Yemen and Nuclear Accord with Iran on CNN
In an interview on CNN The Situation Room, Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel Al-Jubeir told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the Saudi-led coalition air campaign in Yemen has made a huge difference. Air strikes have successfully degraded rebel air assets, ballistic missiles, heavy weapons and command and control capabilities.
This campaign is having a huge impact in Yemen and it is not over yet. For us failure is not an option. We will destroy the Houthis if they don’t come to reason and go to the negotiation table and work this out peacefully.”
Asked about reports of a deepening humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Ambassador Al-Jubeir said, “Wars are never orderly, but we have taken every precaution to make sure that civilians are not damaged. We have taken every precaution that the targets that we hit are the targets that we intend to hit, and we have done so. We have inflicted tremendous damage on the Houthis and on other Yemeni groups during this air campaign. We intend to continue with this effort until we have destroyed their capabilities and by extension destroy the threat that they pose not only to us but to the rest of the world.”
group that is radical, that operates a military outside the legitimate government that now is in possession of ballistic missiles and an air force that represents a threat to Yemen, to Yemen’s people, to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to the region.”
And as far as Iranian support, he added the Kingdom knows that Iranian operatives are working with the Houthis and Iran has provided them money and weapons. The Ambassador disclosed that recently a ship was interdicted carrying weapons to the Houthis including shoulder-fired surface to air missiles.
Asked if Saudi Arabia’s saw Yemen as a proxy war with Iran, Ambassador A-Jubeir replied, “We see this as a war of necessity in which we are trying to protect the Yemeni people and their legitimate government. We see a negative involvement by Iran in trying to promote disunity and division in Yemen.”
Asked if any Saudi Arabian ground forces were engaged in the operation, Ambassador Al-Jubeir said so far that is not the case, but it remains an option. “We are ready to do whatever it takes to protect the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we will do so, but at this stage we are dealing with the air campaign,” he said. Saudi Arabia, he added has massed troops along the border with Yemen to defend Saudi Arabian territory from any Houthi military incursion.
Coalition members are providing substantial and broad support for the military effort, he said, and the US is providing intelligence and logistical assistance. The Ambassador said the Kingdom is working closely with Washington, saying, “We are coordinating with the US on a minute by minute basis practically.”
Asked if Saudi Arabia would assist American citizens attempting to get out of Yemen, Ambassador Al-Jubeir said, “We are attempting to help any non-Yemeni citizen to be evacuated from Yemen. We are working closely with a number of other countries that have sent ships in or have sent aircraft in in order to evacuate citizens of other countries. I don’t know the exact number of nationalities that have been evacuated from Yemen but I know it is an ongoing process and we’re working with them as we are working with international humanitarian organizations in order to facilitate and expedite the distribution of humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people.”