Hassanein Heikal: Arab States Making Historic Mistake by Attacking Yemen
Egypt’s veteran journalist and politician Muhammad Hassanein Heikal reiterated that the recent Saudi-led aggression against Yemen has been a strategic mistake by Arab countries.
“Waging a religious war is a historical mistake; no one can prevent its spread,” Heikal said.
He underlined that the Yemeni crisis cannot be resolved through military means, and said, “Engaging in war with Shiites will result in wide divisions in the Arab world.”
Heikal called on the Arab states to reach a common understanding with Iran on the regional issues, and said, “Iran is an influential and powerful country in the region.”
Alluding to a few Saudi-led states, he expressed surprise how some Arab states can develop an understanding with the Israeli regime, but allege that they cannot have any kind of rapprochement with Iran.
In relevant remarks late last month, Heikal condemned the Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen, and stressed that Riyadh’s invasion is not supported by the Arab world.
“I condemn the aggression underway by a coalition of 10 Arab countries, including Egypt, on Yemen,” Heikal said in a statement released on his Facebook page.
“The US air force has very overtly taken part in the aggression which shows that this is not an Arab decision,” he added.
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 17 days now to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed over 1004 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.
Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by Ansarullah revolutionaries of the Houthi movement.
Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
Five Persian Gulf States — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait — and Egypt that are also assisted by Israel and backed by the US declared war on Yemen in a joint statement issued on March 26.
US President Barack Obama authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to the military operations, National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said late on March 25.
She added that while US forces were not taking direct military action in Yemen, Washington was establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate US military and intelligence support.