UAE think tank warns of Yemen's "annexation" by Iran

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A United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based think tank warned of Yemen's "annexation" by Iran, and listed reasons in a report why defeating Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen by the Saudi-led Arab coalition is a must-win battle, UAE state news agency WAM reported on Friday.

The report, conducted by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) in collaboration with UAE's Ministry of Education, warned that Yemen could turn into a "subservient state of Iran through its Houthi proxies," thus restoring legitimacy as well as security, order and stability in the country is another must-do.

In order to make people aware of priorities for Yemen, the ECSSR in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, has lined up a number of lectures to be delivered to students of government schools. The lectures are expected to give them an opportunity to take part in national dialogue and understand the real reasons behind the coalition, WAM reported.

The think tank went on to say that preserving Yemen's Arab identity is of utmost importance. "If the country is ruled by Houthis, it will be annexed by Iran, which already harbors plans to obliterate the identity of the whole Arab region."

A Houthi control of Yemen will be "a repeat of Lebanon's Hezbollah experience," and turn it into a permanent threat to the Gulf Arab countries, the ECSSR said.

The Shiite Houthi group has controlled half of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa, since September 2014.

The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition comprising nine Arab states to support Yemen's "legitimate" government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The coalition has been airstriking on a daily basis the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi group across Yemen since March 26, when Yemeni President Hadi fled to the Saudi capital Riyadh to take refuge. The coalition said its intervention aims to restore Hadi's authority in the country.

Pro-government forces, backed by troops and armored vehicles from the coalition, have recaptured five southern provinces including the southern city port of Aden since July.

Saudi Arabia has long accused Iran of arming and financing Shiite Houthi fighters, an accusation strongly rejected by Tehran. Endi

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