The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, has said that the military operation in Yemen will continue until victory against Houthi militias is achieved.
In an interview with CNN conducted on Tuesday, Al-Jubeir claimed that his country is prepared to destroy the Houthis if they refuse to resume dialogue, but stressed that the war in Yemen is not between Shiites and Sunnis. He also accused Iran of supplying the Houthis with arms and money.
Al-Jubeir did not rule out the possibility of a ground operation if the current airstrikes did not fulfil achieve their goal.
“It [the military operation] is making a huge difference,” he said, “We have degraded [Houthi] aircraft capabilities, their ballistic missiles, their heavy weapons, their air defences, their command and control centres.”
He stressed that the operation is moving according to plan and being “very, very effective”. He stressed that there are ten countries operating in coalition with Saudi Arabia and reiterated that the current operation has support from the United States.
“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 do not come to reason and go to the negotiation table and work this out,” he declared.
“We do not look at this [war] as Sunni versus Shia. We look at this as an armed militia group that is radical, that operates a military outside the legitimate government; that is now 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. This is something we cannot tolerate.”
On Iran, he said: “We know that Iran has operatives who are working with the Houthis. They have provided them with financial assistance. They have provided them with weapons.”
“Sometime not too long ago, a ship was interdicted that was carrying weapons from the Iranians to the Houthis, including shoulder-launched surface to air missiles,” he added.
Regarding a possible ground operation, Al-Jubeir commented that it was a possible “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.