Skip to main content

tv   News  Al Jazeera  March 26, 2015 1:00am-1:31am EDT

1:00 am
country, yemen is week and divided." it is divided along tribal alliances. he didn't inherit a proper country. >> omar al saleh, great talking to you, our correspondent there, omar al saleh, speaking to us about the event that are happening in live in doha if you have just joined us we have rolling coverage on the yemen crisis, a saudi led g.c.c. coalition has begun a military operation in yemen with air strikes targeting houthi fighters. and according to the saudi news agency, there is more support coming from the 10-nation coalition, egypt jordan, sudan ma rack oh, and pakistan have expressed their willingness to join the fight. in several key places including the presidential palace and police head quarters have been
1:01 am
hit in the air strikes houthi tv in yemen says at least 10 people are dead and already reports of a dozen of casualties. it was the saudi ambassadors in washington who announced the air strikes and he wouldn't specify the extent of u.s. cooperation the u.s. reveals it is providing the saudis with military support. the saudi air strikes come at that time a crucial time for the u.s. as it continues their negotiation with his iran. >> reporter: the saudi venue was chosen to a ups no the offensive by the am bam doss did not reveal what his country was trying achieve. >> we will abide by the process and become legitimate players but they certainly will not ab loud to take over the country. >> so you will come until they agree to take part in the process? >> we will do whatever it takes in order to protect the legitimate government from
1:02 am
falling. >> reporter: several hours not bombing the u.s. revealed its roll in the attack. >> reporter: this despite washington signing a u.n. security council statement on sunday calling on member states to refrain from taking any actions that might undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of yemen. in addition the saudi action occurred just as u.s. secretary the state john kerry was getting ready for the latest rounds of talks with his counter parts in switzerland. talks presented as going well. the iranians support the houthis who are being bombed by the saudis. the administration's lengths on how the strategy is working is upbeat, particularly on yemen. >> i have explained that it's a success and it has been a success for many years because of our effort to his push back and counter al qaeda in yemen that's something that we have didn't doing for sometime now.
1:03 am
>> reporter: it help he help help lead. >> the one thao*epbg the u.n. can do is stop dealing with yemen as. and only look at a model title al qaeda. >> reporter: it's fair the administration spokes people will need to be asking searching questions on thursday when they face the president, al jazerra washington. now, the saudi state news agency has leased a joint stadium saudi arabia, qatar you ae. bahrain. it reads the operations will continue in order to achieve its objectives. well, the crisis in yemen has been many months in the making. shia houthi fighters took over parts of the capital in september after protests against president hadi amid worsening economic conditions. now, the situation dee tour year dee
1:04 am
tear year 80ed. they forced president hadi to resign in a coup. he escaped to aden and denounces the houthis and maintained he was the legitimate president of yep edge remember a few days ago president hadi called on yemen to become an intervention to stop houthi fighters. let's get more on the situation from omar who joins us on set. now, omar, how did we get to this situation? what we had earlier on last year was a small group from the north of yemen, then becoming larger and overrunning the capital and now they have basically taken over the country. how did we get to this situation? >> absolutely. they took everyone by surprise. and i think they started with a plan that didn't happen all of a sudden. i think there was a secret plan between them and the group's
1:05 am
main ally the president saleh. initially they portrayed the whole thing as a revolution for the people. as anti-government protests, protests against the economic conditions, but i think they had in mind what to do next. when they launched the -- they started going down from sadder, i think that was around in august they went downwards so when they came to sanaa they stage ahead few days of frosts and clashes and overran the entire capital. they control the key government buildings, they took military bases and they went onto take other provinces. in total they controlled at least nine provinces they did meet resistence in tweet south of sanaa because they didn't have the traditional is support. they those areas were not in
1:06 am
those areas so therefore they didn't have that support. >> so they had that support so they have been successful. how much has the failure of president hadi's leadership fed to their success? >> to acquire a large extend -- to quite a large extent, because president hadi's critics say he's a very weak, president indecisive. supporters of hadi hit back saying he didn't inherit a proper country and he didn't have a strong military. the military, the yemeni military and army was divide ahead long tribal allegiances and the president when ran yemen for 33 years got his family members and allies in key positions including security positions. when the protest against sanaa happened and forced him to leave power he did manage to get an
1:07 am
immunity for him and his followers in key positions and those remained in the key government and military positions. hadi another order anybody and he tried to ordered to attack houthis and nobody responded that's why we saw the capital fall for the houthis and other provinces in yemen. >> president saleh the former preis still very influential in the country. but he has an uneasy alliance with the houthis as well. they were enemies for a long time. >> they were enemies he led six wars during the houthis during his time as president. but i think they came together forming an alliance to settle scores with their olden my. saleh never had forgiven those leaders who backed the popular
1:08 am
up rising against him. and the houthis wanted to take revenge against those who led the wars against the houthis and fought under saleh. the end game is to create kay chaos, to have the houthis involving and grow their military and political power. saleh's aim was to create havocker chaos in order to have the government toppled and then perhaps holding elections in which he thinks his son who used to head the republican guards probably would win. so i think that's the end game for saleh and the houthis. however, we saw some differences between them. because when they surrounded the presidential palace in january saleh wanted to have the resignation of the president hadi to go through parliament. because the parliament was under his grip. the houthis wanted to establish a presidential council to rule yemen. so this is the differences that
1:09 am
happen between the two. and everybody was thinking when the clash between saleh and the houthis would stop. >> all right. now, we have been talking about the i internal strive in yemen and we have seen the houthis reject peace negotiations. saying that this is a yemen problem that has to be solved by yemeni
1:10 am
1:11 am
i said he fierce the shia crescent would start from lebanon, goes all the way to syria, then iran, then to the east of saudi arabia, where they have a minority shia population. so they were -- the arab leaders are clearly worried the rise of iran's power in the region and its influence. and when you look at statements made by senior iran i didn't know officials say that iran controls four arab capitals, baghdad, beirut, duh mass cass and sanaa that made arab
1:12 am
countries and leaders very nervous. >> now we are starting to see a sunni arab backlash from that. omar, thank you very much for that. omar al saleh speaking to us about the immaterial implications of the air strikes in yemen. now, we, i believe, we are being -- we are going to bring you some pictures that are coming from houthi tv. i am being told it's from regional tv. i am not quite sure what we are looking at. but i am presuming we are looking at casualties of the air strikes that have occurred over night. these are the air strikes that have occurred in yemen air strikes that were led by saudi arabia. and its coalition. let's now go to another story that is still focused on the
1:13 am
yemen air strikes, i am being told we can talk now about the saudisaudi arabian ambassador to the u.s. that said the operation is not limited to any specific part of yemen. so far air strikes have targeted both sanaa and aden. in sanaa the presidential palace, police and special forces headquarters have been bombed. attacks were also launch odd sanaa's airport and a near air bay in aden. it was tagger he had. the current crisis in yemen can also be viewed in terms the competing regional interest. iran has been. teheran has also said to have supplied weapons weapons and logistical support to the group. this has irked saudi arabia, the saudis have supported different groups, including the former leader sal lee and now hadi. observers say it's a battle for regional see sue prem identity
1:14 am
see between saudi arabia and iran that is now playing out in yemen. the white house press secretary spoke about the situation in yemen before this aways announced. >> the united states believe that his president hadi is the legitimate leader of yemen. and we have seen violentest on parts of the houthis and other acting in concert with president saleh to ferment instability inside that country. there are elements of the yemeni government that we are in touch with that continue to further our effort to his a spry pleasure to extremist that his operate in that country. we have the capability because of the relationships we have in the region we have the capability to take out extremist fist they are posing a threat to the united states. let's now go to alan fischer who joins us live now from washington, d.c. and alan, as we can see there the u.s. coming to the aid of
1:15 am
their arab ally i saudi arabia. >> yeah, i think when josh was speaking and that's several hours ago now. that he wasn't aware of what the saudi rib cranes were planning. although people in the american government would have been. it would be what is called a close hold. where a few people would know exactly what was being required of the united states. there is no doubt that the saudi arabians would have reached out to the americans and said, look, this is what we are planning, well like your help and what can you give us and the americans replied with intelligence and logistical support which they say they have provided and will continue to provide. there may be a feeling among the united states that somehow by just providing the very basic of what was requested from them they can almost distance themselves from the military operation about, you in many parts of the world this will be viewed as the americans yet again getting involved in the middle east even though there are those in the united states who believe that they should be distancing themselves while
1:16 am
others believe there is something that they should never have done disengage from the middle east completely. certain when jen sack psaki the states department spokeswomen was talking a few hours ago the question was raised about whether or not saudi arabia was considering military action. let's take a listen to what she said. >> we are talking about a hypothetical at this points in time. obviously as i mentioned we believing that the sawed sa*ud is saudis have a legitimate concern in yemen and their security given their proximity. i don'ti don't have any predictions for you on what they may or may not do. i would point to you their government for that. >> alan, talk us through the sort of appetite that the american public may have in terms of the u.s. involvement in yemen. >> well, to paraphrase a well known phrase it's a long way away from the united states, so many americans will be surprise
1:17 am
today hear that the united states is involved and probably doesn't want to know very much more about it. remember, the white house has set out its policy as far as the middle east and various other parts of the world is concerned in that they will strengthen their local allies and carry out training and provide intelligent and logistic the support but they don't want boots on the ground or in instance planes in the air over yemen. that foreign policy, excuse me. has been criticized by john mccain and lindsey graham in the last few hours among others, by saying this is the united states leading from behind. it doesn't work. it shows what happens when the united states disengages from the area that we get this sort of thing. also it leads to the situation which is a bit bizarre where at the start of wednesday the united states joined with iranian proxies in attacking what is perceived to be a threat in iraq. and end the day by joining up with saudi arabia to attack iranian proxies in yemen. and so people believe that
1:18 am
perhaps there is a confused foreign policy from the united states. although i am sure the white house will say they are acting always in what is america's strategically best interests. in the next few hours when we start to see people standing in front of the podium at the white house, at the state department and perhaps even at the pentagon we'll get a better idea of what exactly what the united states has done to help saudi arabia and its gulf allies and this operation in yemen and just how much and how far the intelligent and logistical support goes, i don't think it will go much further than that. i don't believe america wants to get dragged too far in. but they are invested in that this. they are invested in this because they are allies of is yawed rape i can't qatar kuwait among others and they are very much involved in the operation. it has consequences, diplomatically and politically. the conflict may be confined geographically but it goes much wider than that. and, of course, let's add something else to the mix. in the next couple of hours john
1:19 am
kerry will be involved in talks in switzerland with iran. the nation that many people consider to be part of the threat to yemen at the moment. now, the white house, john kerry, have always said this is not a grand deal. this is not about getting iran on the nuclear weapons and everything else, this is about just coming to ideal about iran's nuclear program. we know that benjamin netanyahu was here just over two weeks ago and spoke about the threat that he saw iran spreading around the world, not just with its nuclear program and there were many on capitol hill who bought in to what he had to say many believe he is talking the truth and therefore iran has to be regarded very warily if not regarded as an enemy. there will be voices of criticism, to those who stands up in the podium in the next few hours and say this is why america did what it did. there will be others saying it hasn't done enough and should do a lot her. >> alan thank you very much for speaking to us. alan fisher there speaking to us from washington, d.c. now, egypt's foreign
1:20 am
ministry has also released a statement supporting the air strikes in yemen. it reads: founder and ceo of the institute for northeast gulf military analysis joins us live from dubai. thank you very much. sir, for being with us. now, we have this air strike that has occurred overnight on yemen, its an air strike led by saudi arabia, was this inevitably. was there no other way out apart from an air strike on the houthi rebels? >> i don't think the used utah houthis left any other room or calls
1:21 am
for -- all calls for dialogue, for reaching a solution for this conflict were all not heeded by the out is. on the contemporary, we have seen the houthis interpret or miss -- i mean, misinterpreted all of the signals for coming from outside and from the g.c.c. as analysis of weakness to anything so they went about you know, capturing more and more territory. and eventually their intentions became clear with their big push on the south which is to have full control of the country. that would have posed a great danger to the gulf corporation council, especially saudi arabia
1:22 am
with. [ inaudible ] and known to be the proxy for the iranians establishing control over this that sting i can country that controls two strategic pathways here we have the reaction that we see today. >> the question really too, is that how long will this last? given that the rudy rebels are in control of yemen's military equipment and many of the security forces in yemen have aligned themselves with the houthi rebels as well. but they are up against saudi arabia, a huge military might and saudi arabia has behind them at least 10 nations that are supported them as well. how long due see this last something. >> they have a considerable military power. if you combine just saudi with egyptian and pakistani you are
1:23 am
talking about about three regional powers against yemen. what we saw today is just a start of a combined operation that involves naval and lands components. i expect to see in the next few days the start of a land invasion that will capture strategic areas. just to put the houthis in a point of submission. at the same time, we will have a full blockade, air and sea. to prevent any, you know, supply of arms to the out houthis from their supporters, especially iran. and when we have the west, u.s. and europe supporting this move, that will provide the -- this
1:24 am
coalition with international legitimate cover especially from the beyond the security council. >> but at the same time, we did see the united -- well, the u.n. earlier saying or urging no foreign intervention in yemen. now we don't see that happening. do you think this air strike will receive the support of the u.n.? >> foreign intervention has been taking place for a long time in yemen. and it came in the form of the west arm surprise coming from the iranians to the houthis. the struggle in yemen has turned in to a war by proxy. and therefore, you know, this, you know, cause of action that we have seen yemen move in to is a result of a foreign
1:25 am
intervention. and therefore now we have the countries that are bordering yemen that feel that it's becoming a real imminent threat that compelled them to move in and prevent yemen from falling in the hands of iran. this is how they see it. and this is, you know, seems to have a determined action to prevent from happening the u.n. has called on the houthis many times to intervene the u.n. security council a few days ago passed a resolution condemning the houthis blaming them for the dee teardeterioration of the situation in yemen and still the houthis have divide the community the u.n. and everybody else, ask continued with their scheme to have full control of yemen. >> being the case, sir what do you see this -- or what sort of impact do you see this having on
1:26 am
the region? >> well, for now i think the people will see that the arab giant has finally awakened. for a long time people were wondering why iran is having an easy time spreading its influence and expanding throughout arab territory. now the. [ inaudible ] they have moved an interesting thing that they have pakistan on their side as well. we are going wait and see whether this sort of action could be repeated in other places, for example syria in the future. but for now i think the focus will be on yemen. we have to wait and see whether this arab-led action will
1:27 am
lead -- will reach a final clear ending with decisive conclusion. and not slide in to a chaotic situation. so if we have a clear -- we are hoping to see a clear-cut plan with firm strategy that will bring the yemen conflict to a quick resolution. if that happens i think we could see a boulder arab action towards unfolding events in syria and iraq where we see a stronger iranian intervention in these two -- in these two arenas. >> sir, thank you very much for your insight: founder and ceo of the institute of near east and gulf military analysis. now, earlier we spoke with the former director of national security studies at the council on foreign relations lawrence
1:28 am
corbin, he said the air strikes were inevitable. >> if the bombing doesn't achieve their objectives, what next? more coming? how long will you continues? will you do it like libya where the bombing lasted for seven months before they actually, you know remember able to get qaddafi out? what will they do if the houthis should sent insurgents in to saudi arabia? will they be willing to put ground forces in? hopefully -- it's very easy to start a war much more difficult to stop. and you should think about these things before you start. what they are hoping this will have such a shock that the houthis will be willing to negotiate with the happened i government come to some sort of power-sharing arrangement. >> do you think that will happen? how long can the houthis keep fight something. >> again, that will be an interesting question. i think this is the last thing they thought about.
1:29 am
they have a sort of primitive air force but nothing like the saudis have. the saudis have the american equipment. they buy from us the most sophisticated equipment in the world. so i don't think they ever thought that the saudis would come in. i think they thought they would chase out the government. they would take control. and begin to run the place. >> do you think they are going to limit this operation to just air strikes for now? >> well, i think so right now. because you put ground forces in then you can suffer a lot of casualties and it's a much different thing, you know, the united states found out when they went in to -- in to iraq, if you compare that say to the first gulf war we just got in through the iraq -- threw the iraqis out and got out and mainly bombed for 37 days before we sent the ground forces in back in the first gulf war. so no, it's much more difficult when you take the next step.
1:30 am
>> larry, i am going to did you to speculate here, we are hearing that over 10 nations are involved in this military operation. any idea what countries involved and what their roles might be. >> it might be the people bombing in syria the united united arab emirates could provide aircraft. i think the others may be providing bombs they may have some intelligence, i don't know if they have people on the ground there. but as i look at it so far it seems like mainly moral support that they are providing because in firms of the military operation. they don't need many more air forces. how long do you see the air strikes going on for. how long will