January 27, 2021
Yemeni society will be completely changed by Iranian influence and Houthi ideology, the British ambassador to Yemen has warned.
Michael Aron told Asharq Al-Awsat that Iran’s grip on the north would become even tighter unless a solution to the war was found soon.
The Houthi militia, which sparked the war in Yemen when it seized the capital Sanaa in 2014, is armed and supported by Iran. It was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US earlier this month.
“Houthis are altering Yemeni society and curricula in schools,” said Aron, who has held his post since early 2018. “They control and change universities, deploy children to battlefronts, and send students to study in Qom, Iran. The more time passes without a solution to stopping the war and beginning the rebuilding of Yemeni society, the more Iranian influence in the north. After five years, Yemeni society will be completely changed by Iranian influence and Houthi ideology and traditions.”
Aron, who leaves his post in July, called for negotiations to resume for a political solution to the war.
Several attempts at UN-brokered talks have failed to bring the war to an end, however discussions between the two sides on a prisoner exchange started in Jordan on Sunday.
“Today there is a choice of continuing the war and this is very difficult, or sitting for negotiations. Even the Houthis, many of them want peace and an end to the war.”
He condemned the militia’s recent acts of aggression, including an attack on Aden airport last month as members of the newly formed internationally recognised government arrived in the city. The missile strikes killed 25 people.
“It was a failure and a crime, and we strongly condemned this attack,” he added.
Aron was previously an ambassador to Sudan, Libya, Iraq and Kuwait.