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World Powers Divided over Saudi Military Offensive in Yemen

UK joins Turkey, Egypt, France in supporting Saudi strikes; Russia, Iran, Syria, Iraq condemn campaign as "aggression."

UK joins Turkey, Egypt, France in supporting Saudi strikes; Russia, Iran, Syria, Iraq condemn campaign as "aggression."

Karim Adel El-Sayed

In an echo of Cold War faultlines, world powers took sharply contrasting views on Thursday over Saudi Arabian military operations against Houthi positions in Yemen.

The U.K. joined Turkey, Egypt and France on Thursday in publicly declaring its support for Saudi Arabia's anti-Houthi military operations and airstrikes in Yemen that started late Wednesday. Russia, Iran, Syria and Iraq, meanwhile, have labeled them as “aggression.”

International Division

Support for the military operations has been far from universal, however. Russia, Iran, Syria and Iraq have all come out against the airstrikes.

Russia expressed “deep concern” over the worsening situation in Yemen.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the Yemen crisis could be solved only through national dialogue.

The ministry called on all parties in Yemen to stop military activity.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif urged for an "immediate stop" to the operations in Yemen, calling them a violation of the country's sovereignty.

“We will spare no effort to contain the crisis in Yemen,” Zarif told Iran's official news network Al-Alam.

Separately, the Syrian Arab News Agency described the Saudi-led airstrikes on Houthis as a “blatant aggression."

Iraq's foreign minister said his government rejects the offensive.

Saudi operation launched late Wednesday

According to Saudi media, warplanes from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan are participating in the anti-Houthi offensive.

Arab states, including Sudan and Libya's Tobruk government, have expressed support for the Saudi-led offensive, which is also backed by the United States.

Pakistan also said they were ready to participate in a ground offensive against the Houthis, the media said.

The United States said that it was ready to provide logistical and intelligence support for the anti-Houthi campaign.

At least 25 people were killed and 40 others injured in the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemeni capital Sana'a, a Yemeni Health Ministry official said Thursday.


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