Addressing the participants in a rally against the Saudi-led war on and siege of Yemen in the capital, Sana’a, on Friday, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, stressed that the Yemeni people would continue to defend their “homeland and dignity.”
Referring to the battle of Ma’rib, he stressed that the people of the province were loyal to the Sana’a government.
Over the past few weeks, Ma’rib has been the scene of large-scale operations by Yemeni troops and allied Popular Committees fighters, who are pushing against Saudi-backed militants loyal to former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Yemeni Information Minister Dhaifallah al-Shami has said the liberation of Ma’rib would mark the end of the Saudi-led aggression.
“Saudi Arabia has to defend itself within its borders and not in Ma’rib,” al-Houthi said.
He stressed that the US and Britain must stop their military support for the Saudi-led coalition of aggressors for the sake of peace in Yemen.
“If [US President Joe] Biden wants peace, he should withdraw his experts who are leading the battle in Ma’rib, and the British should stop arming the planes that are targeting our children in Ma’rib and on various fronts,” al-Houthi said.
The Yemeni official said US Special Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking and Biden had no peace plan, stressing that Yemen wanted “either real peace, or war until victory is achieved.”
Al-Houthi held Saudi Arabia responsible for the famine that the United Nations (UN) has warned is imminent in Yemen.
Earlier this month, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock told the Security Council that Yemen was “speeding towards the worst famine the world has seen in decades.”
Al-Houthi’s remarks came as massive crowds took to the streets of Yemeni cities on Friday to protest against the Saudi-led war and blockade, which have made it impossible for food and medical supplies to reach the war-torn country.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), launched the brutal war against Yemen in March 2015.
The war was meant to eliminate Yemen’s Ansarullah movement and restore the former Riyadh-backed regime of Hadi to power.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives.
More than half of Yemen’s hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or closed during the war by the Saudi-led coalition, which is supported militarily by the UK, the US, and other Western countries.
The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.