Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yemeni Official Accuses I.R. Iran & Al-Qaeda for Rebel Support

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The Earth Times Online Newspaper

The speaker of Yemen's parliament accused Iran and al-Qaeda of supporting Shiite rebels fighting Yemeni forces along the country's northern border, in an interview published Tuesday. "We used to avoid accusing the Iranian government of directly financing the Houthis," Yehia Ali al-Rai said in an interview with the Saudi daily Okaz. "Then we realised that the Iranian government had a role, as if it wants to spread its wings over the Arab world," he charged. Al-Rai said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's January 13 speech blasting Saudi Arabia for its role in the conflict had convinced him that the Iranian government directly supported Houthi rebels fighting along the Saudi-Yemeni border. Al-Rai said that al-Qaeda militants had moved into Yemen from Saudi Arabia and Iraq while Yemeni security forces were busy battling the Houthi rebels, and that al-Qaeda and the rebels were now acting in concert. There are confirmed contacts between al-Qaeda and the Houthis," al-Rai asserted, saying the two groups coordinate their actions, and that al-Qaeda finances and trains the Houthis. "Those who finance al-Qaeda in Yemen are the same who finance it in Afghanistan and Iraq, and used to finance it in (Saudi Arabia) before they were defeated," the speaker of the Yemeni parliament said. Al-Rai denied rumours that al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden had found refuge in Yemen. "He will never make Yemen a home," al-Rai said. On the domestically sensitive question of US involvement in Yemen's battle against al-Qaeda militants, al-Rai said that any US military intervention in the country would take place only with Yemen's consent.