The Houthis will definitely react forcefully to any potential GCC military intervention.
Yemen’s embattled president has asked the UN Security Council to authorise a military intervention in support of his government to oust Houthi rebels who control much of the country’s north and are advancing south.
The Yemeni people have never faced such heinous aggression
President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said on Tuesday in a letter to the Council that he had also asked members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League to intervene militarily to protect Yemen and its people from “Houthi aggression”.
He said that the resolution should invite willing countries to immediately support Yemen’s legitimate government “by all means and measures, to protect Yemen and deter the Houthi aggression expected to occur at any hour from now against the city of Aden”, where he is trying to hold on to power.
“The Yemeni people have never faced such heinous aggression.”
Hadi, the country’s internationally recognised leader and a key US ally, asked the Security Council to approve a resolution that can be militarily enforced under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, the AP news agency reported.
Houthi push continues
Meanwhile, Houthi Shia forces, backed by troops allied to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, have clashed with forces loyal to Hadi in at least two southern provinces as they continued their push towards Aden.
In another southern city, Taez, the Houthi forces shot dead five demonstrators as protests intensified against their presence, in what Amnesty International denounced as a “shocking disregard for human life”.
The group has seized large parts of Yemen and, in recent days, have been moving towards Aden, where Hadi fled after escaping house arrest in the capital Sanaa last month.
Tuesday’s clashes came after the Houthis seized the airport and a nearby military base on Sunday in Taez, 180km north of Aden and seen as a strategic entry point to Hadi’s southern refuge.
Clashes were also erupted in the province of Lahj, just north of Aden, where forces loyal to Hadi had deployed in anticipation of an attack, the AFP news agency reported.
The Houthis are members of the Shia Zaidi community, which makes up around a third of Yemen’s population and is concentrated in the north. Their opponents view them as a proxy of Shia Iran, charges the Houthis deny.
The embattled Yemeni president said that “the threats posed by the Houthis are not targeting the security of Yemen but the regional and international peace and security”.
The appeal comes a day after country’s acting Foreign Minister Riyadh Yaseen asked for military intervention from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the imposition of a no-fly zone by the UN.
GCC member-state Saudi Arabia was quick to offer support.
“We are keen on protecting Yemen’s sovereignty, the legitimacy of Yemen represented by President Hadi,” Prince Saud Al Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, said.
On Monday, UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar announced that talks between the Yemeni parties would take place in the Qatari capital, Doha.