Lebanon News

Rifi, Geagea offer backing to Saudi intervention in Yemen

Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, hold up their weapons to protest against Saudi-led airstrikes, during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, March 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

BEIRUT: The Saudi-led intervention against Houthi rebels in Yemen was necessary to put an end to Iran’s arrogance, Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said Friday.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea also lauded Saudi military action Friday, saying the airstrikes came at the right moment.

“What happened in Yemen gives us great hope of putting an end to the phase of humiliation and disgrace,” Rifi said in remarks to local daily An-Nahar. “It also puts an end to the Iranian arrogance.”

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia began launching airstrikes Thursday against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, saying it was "defending the legitimate government."

Rifi said the Saudi intervention came after Iran “went too far in supporting militant groups," prompting Riyadh to take this "bold decision.”

“At the domestic level, I consider this to be a historic moment and every one of us must reassess his interests to protect the homeland from the flames of the region,” he added.

He called on Hezbollah to take a “courageous stance by withdrawing from Syria and all other Arab arenas and return to Lebanese [territory] and allow the Lebanese Army alone to protect the border, and if need be, call in UNIFIL forces according to U.N. resolution 1701.”

Geagea, who belongs to the same U.S. and Saudi-backed March 14 political coalition as Rifi, said intervention came right on time.

“The Saudi intervention in Yemen was not motivated by special intents or ambitions. It rather came in the right place and the right time,” Geagea told Al-Mustaqbal newspaper in comments published Friday. “[It is] a rescue measure that serves the interest of the Yemeni people and all other Arab and Gulf peoples.”

The Christian figure said that if not for the military action, the Houthis would have “persisted in their expansion,” and the situation would have become much more complicated.

On Thursday, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Progressive Socialist Party leader had offered their support to military action against the Houthi rebels, while Hezbollah strongly condemned the intervention as an aggression.

 

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