Yemen PM tells Dubai summit military intervention was ‘necessary’

Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen was necessary to help the country and the entire Arab region, according to Yemen’s vice president and prime minister.

DUBAI // Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen was necessary to help the country and the entire Arab region, according to Yemen’s vice president and prime minister.

Khaled Bahah said at the World Government Summit on Tuesday that the intervention was vital and that any hesitation would have led to dire consequences for the country.

“If you go back to 2011, when change started in Yemen, we sought help from our friends in the GCC for them to prepare an initiative to help us find a solution to our crisis,” he said. “Our friends from the GCC helped us prepare a new draft for our constitution and amend it.

“Our brothers in the GCC stood by us since then and our partners in the coalition provide us with all the assistance we need to bring Yemen back to its previous state.”

Although Aden was liberated in four months, Taez is still under humanitarian blockade.

“If you know Yemen, you would know that Aden is a flat city that has a long shoreline,” said Mr Bahah. “It was easier for us to liberate it because of its topography, geography and demography. Taez is smaller in size but it is populated by more people and its geography is very different and difficult so it is also about the timing.”

He said the decision to liberate Taez has already been taken.

“We need to proceed with that liberation process now and to lift the blockade,” he said.

“We waited a long time. We turned to the United Nations more than once and it seems the militias we are dealing with are not very ethical nor cooperative. It is our responsibility as citizens of Yemen to ensure Taez is liberated and we will use all means to ensure it happens.”

Yemen’s ministers avoid meeting in one location due to potential terrorist attacks on the government.

“The conditions in Yemen are very difficult,” he said. “We are now working in this post-liberation period, we have implemented a new strategy and stayed as a government in Sanaa. We came under attack when a hotel was bombarded and we were in a lot of danger but now, our strategy is to ensure our presence throughout Yemen.”

Mr Bahah said that strategy aimed at putting an end to all terrorist attacks and ensuring Aden was liberated with no remaining militia, such as Ansar Al Sharia.

“We have learnt from history that when there is conflict, we involve tribes, but now, this is a different case. The Iranian intervention is very clear. It is making decisions on behalf of other parties and the game being played by Iran is unfortunate.”

Those loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have weakened the army.

“[Some] military men are not working the way they should be,” he said. “Twenty thousand men were unable to take on 6,000 from Daesh and they were probably followers of Saleh.

“Yemenis are fighters by nature and they do not need to be in a legitimate army for that.”

They are given 45 days of training before entering the army.

“We know it is not enough,” Mr Bahah added. “But the time will come when soldiers will be trained in academies.”

Yemen has a vision to reconstruct after the war. “It will not be easy,” he said. “The West had a marshal plan and we hope to have our own Gulf plan to develop Yemen. We have had many wars but our country is alive and we will be able to create prosperity.”