RIYADH — The national army and the popular resistance have liberated more than 85 percent of the Yemeni territories from the grip of the Houthis and the forces of the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemeni President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi said in an exclusive interview.
He admitted that Yemen would have fallen in four days and would have been an Iranian state had it not been for the Operation Decisive Storm launched by the Arab military coalition under the leadership of Saudi Arabia.
The president expressed confidence that Sanaa, which was taken by the Houthis, would be freed after the liberation of Taiz and Hudaidah.
Hadi described his relationship with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman as sublime, close and strong and said Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, minister of defense, is gallantly providing them with all facilities and support.
He said there are a number of Iranians and elements of Hezbollah in Yemen providing military training to the Houthis.
He said the Iranians came to Yemen to build a factory for the manufacture of Grad missiles for the rebels.
“The factory’s components were shipped in a container among children’s toys. We discovered from the documents that it was on its way to Saadah, the stronghold of the Houthis,” he aid.
Hadi said the Houthis have set free all the Iranians who were under the captivity of the legitimate government after they took over Sanaa. “Two of the Iranians were recently killed,” he added.
Hadi accused his predecessor of amassing billions of dollars through money-laundering. “Saleh is also collecting money from businessmen,” he added.
The president also accused Saleh of harboring Al-Qaeda in Yemen and said he handed over the city of Abyan to the terrorist organization.
He also said that Daesh has made a foothold in Yemen through the help of the ousted president.
Asked about his first decision when he returns to Sanaa after liberation, Hadi said he would call of the National Committee of 85 members to discuss the Constitution and put it for plebiscite.
He said he would also organize general elections but would not run for the presidential elections.
Hadi denied any serious rifts with his deputy and prime minister Khaled Bahah and said there might be some differences in viewpoints. “The circumstances require that we remain together,” he said.
He also said he would build an army of about 3.7 million people and said there are now about six million Yemenis who are between 15-28 years of age and who can be the basis of this army.
Hadi said the UN envoy Ismael Ould Al-Shaikah has not done much yet and accused his predecessor Jamal Benomar of siding with the Houthis.
He revealed that he survived five attempts against his life and said he is not afraid for his life.