Lebanon Says Backs Any Arab Action that 'Reassures Everyone' after Yemen Strikes

Lebanon on Thursday took an ambiguous stance that is in the vein of its famous “dissociation policy” towards regional conflicts, voicing support for any joint Arab action that “reassures everyone,” after Saudi warplanes bombed Shiite rebels in Yemen and sparked Iranian warnings.

“Any joint Arab action is lauded if it is based on standards that guarantee (the interests of) everyone, reassure everyone and involve everyone,” Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil said, addressing a meeting for Arab FMs in Sharm el-Sheikh.

The meeting aims to prepare for the 26th ordinary Arab Summit and had been scheduled prior to the Saudi-led strike.

Riyadh has said it assembled a coalition of more than 10 Arab and Muslim countries for the operation it dubbed "Firmness Storm."

The military move against the Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen triggered fury from Riyadh's regional rival Iran, with officials warning that the military action threatened to spill over into other countries.

The bombing of the Huthi rebels, who are said to be backed by Iran, came days after Yemen seemed headed toward all-out civil war as the militia advanced southwards towards the southern city of Aden.

Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been strained for years, notably over the civil war in Syria, but the crisis in Yemen has put them sharply at odds again.

The Saudi strikes appeared designed to halt a Huthi surge that had seemed destined to allow the Shiite minority to seize control of the whole of Yemen, Saudi Arabia's Sunni-majority neighbor.

Riyadh said it was acting to restore the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who has been holed up in Aden since fleeing the rebel-controlled capital Sanaa last month.

Iran has denied playing any part in the rebel power grab in Yemen, but government officials have criticized Hadi for revoking an offer to resign and accused him of stoking the crisis by fleeing Sanaa.


Source: Naharnet

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