Yemeni president vows to fight Iranian influence

Updated March 22, 2015

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Ibb (yemen): Anti-Huthi protesters demonstrate to show support for Yemen’s President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Saturday.—Reuters
Ibb (yemen): Anti-Huthi protesters demonstrate to show support for Yemen’s President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Saturday.—Reuters

ADEN: Yemen’s embattled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi pledged on Saturday to fight Iran’s influence in his violence-wracked country, accusing the Shia Huthi militia of importing Tehran’s ideology.

Mr Hadi lashed out at the Iran-backed militia a day after multiple suicide bombings at Huthi mosques claimed by the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group killed 142 and wounded 351 others.

The country is on the brink of a civil war with a deepening political impasse and an increasingly explicit territorial division along sectarian lines, amid rising violence pitting Shia militia against Sunni tribes and Al Qaeda militants.

By claiming its first attack in Yemen, the IS group is seeking to exploit the chaos gripping the country where its rival Al Qaeda traditionally has been the dominant militant organisation.

The Huthis, who seized Sanaa in September, vowed to take further “revolutionary steps” following Friday’s blasts.

In his first televised speech since he fled to Aden from house arrest in militia-held Sanaa, Mr Hadi said he would ensure that “the Yemeni republic flag will fly on the Marran mountain in (the northern Huthi stronghold) Saada, instead of the Iranian flag”. “The Iranian Twelver pattern that has been agreed upon between the Huthis and those who support them will not be accepted by Yemenis.

Published in Dawn March 22nd , 2015

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