Until yesterday, they used to claim that a coalition of 10 states led by Saudi Arabia is bombing Yemen in order to roll back “Iran proxy forces”, Houthis (Ansarullah). Now in a U-turn, several media outlets in the West say “Houthis are not Iranian puppets”!
The Saudis, however, were not the only ones to label the Houthis puppets of Iran. Opportunistic politicians in the West, in particular, also frequently described them as Iranian proxies. The mainstream media say that’s a lie: Iran does not control a fourth Arab capital in Sana’a, its influence in Yemen is marginal, and it is simply inaccurate to claim that the Houthis are Iranian proxies.
Instead, they say the war is driven by local grievances and competition for power among Yemeni actors. They say former president Saleh wants to return to power, having lost the presidency in the wake of popular protests, while the Houthis want a greater say in national affairs.
This new line of narrative, although not accurate that much, is not surprising at all. Mainstream media are no longer pointing the finger at Iran because they still cannot find an audience for this fictitious message in the West. Besides, even if Iran considers Yemen as an opportunity to expand its influence, it views ending the conflict there is more important to regional security than fueling it.
Into the argument, given the regional threats to Iran’s national security, the fight against terrorism in Iraq and Syria has been made a priority in the country’s foreign policy. Iran will never wage a proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen because it will confirm the fictitious line touted by Riyadh, aid its anti-Iran campaign, and divert global attention away from the Saudi war crimes there. There are many other reasons too, mainly:
1- Since the war broke out in Yemen, Riyadh has frequently been accused of war crimes with hospitals, schools, markets, aid warehouses, charity offices, and refugee camps all targeted by coalition airstrikes.
2- One report by Amnesty International has documented the use of internationally-banned cluster bombs against the civilian population. Human Rights Watch is one of several organizations that has documented war crimes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition as well. The Campaign Against Arms Trade is also considering legal action against the British government unless it stops allowing arms being sent to Saudi Arabia amid concerns of war crimes in Yemen. Many human rights groups in the West are also following suit.
3- While the number of civilians killed by air strikes is alarming, the larger threat to the Yemenis is the US-backed blockade, restricting food from entering the country. Oxfam is currently estimating that 14.4 million Yemenis do not have enough food to eat and over 19 million do not have access to clean water. It’s a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law.
4- The World Health Organization is reporting that 15 million Yemenis do not have access to health care services. While some relief groups are being allowed into Yemen, the Saudis have hit two Doctors Without Borders hospitals with air strikes, making it very dangerous for these groups to operate in the country.
Now what Tehran expects from all this mess is bringing the war criminals to justice, not escalating the unnecessary conflict. After all, as maintained by the mainstream media, the Saudi-led war on Yemen is based on lies, Riyadh is fooling the United Nations and the West by diverting the attention towards Iran, the war was started under false pretenses, and it is time for the West to reevaluate their deadly business with Riyadh in this illegal conflict.