Yemen warns Lebanon over Hezbollah’s 'hostile behaviour'

Hezbollah, a Shia militia that shares the Houthi rebels’ allegiance to Iran, has displayed a growing presence in Yemen’s conflict.
Thursday 12/07/2018
Shia rebels, known as Houthis, hold a poster of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah during a rally in support of Hezbollah, in Sana'a, Yemen. (AP)
Shia rebels, known as Houthis, hold a poster of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah during a rally in support of Hezbollah, in Sana'a, Yemen. (AP)

BEIRUT - Yemen’s internationally recognised government filed a complaint on Wednesday against Hezbollah’s “hostile behavior” in support of the Houthi rebels, requesting that Lebanon take measures to reel them in.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Yemeni relayed to his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil that he was disappointed that Hezbollah had abandoned “the strong relations between both countries (Yemen and Lebanon) by providing training, planning, encouragement, and support to the Houthi militia,” Yemen’s official SABA news agency reported.

He added that the Houthis had “usurped the legitimate authority, (taken) over state institutions, conquered the provinces, and used military force to impose its control in order to implement Iran’s expansionist project.”

“The Republic of Yemen reserves its right to take the issue to the Arab League Council, the Organisation of Islamic Countries, and the UN Security Council, all of which call for respecting the sovereignty of all countries and for non-interference in their internal affairs or infringement upon their interests and their internationally recognized rights,” he said in the message.

Hezbollah, a Shia militia that shares the Houthi rebels’ allegiance to Iran, has displayed a growing presence in Yemen’s conflict as the Houthis come under increasing fire from the Saudi-led Arab Coalition Forces. That coalition, along with allied Yemeni forces, recently reported the death of numerous Hezbollah operatives, as well as the destruction of Houthi military and communications equipment operated by Hezbollah agents. 

Hezbollah’s involvement in Yemen further frustrates a Lebanese government already reeling from the group’s intervention in Syria. It also threatens Lebanon’s relationship with regional and Western allies that it depends on for crucial economic and political support. 

Minister Yemini, in his message to Bassil, pointed to Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah’s May 29 speech as clear evidence of the group’s official support for the Houthi militia. 

"He (Nasrallah) clearly encouraged them to combat the Yemeni government forces and expressed his own wish and that of his party’s militia to fight next to the Houthi militia and support it against the internationally recognised legitimate government,” Yemeni said.