BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah group unleashed a tirade against Saudi Arabia on Friday over its intervention in Yemen, calling it "surprising and painful," and suggesting Riyadh would suffer a "humiliating defeat" if it didn't resolve the conflict through negotiations.
Hassan Nasrallah rejected Riyadh's claim that it had assembled a coalition to conduct airstrikes against Shiite Houthi rebels in order to save Yemen, an operation named "Decisive Storm."
He said that since Israel was created in 1948 "there has been no decisive storm or even a decisive breeze" to help the Palestinians.
Hezbollah, like Yemen's Houthi rebels, is supported by Iran, which Saudi Arabia views as its main regional rival. Iran has openly armed and assisted Hezbollah since its creation, but both Iran and the Houthis deny it has sent arms to the Yemeni rebels.
"The real reason (for the war) is that Saudi Arabia lost its control and dominance in Yemen and the aim of war is to restore control and hegemony over Yemen. Period," Nasrallah said.
He condemned what he called a "Saudi-American aggression on Yemen, its people, army, installations, present and future." The Hezbollah leader called for a political solution in Yemen, warning Saudi Arabia that it will not win the war.
"Throughout history, invaders were defeated and the invaders were humiliated," Nasrallah said. "The rulers in Saudi Arabia still have an opportunity in order not to face a humiliating defeat."
Nasrallah said the countries taking part in the military campaign should review their policies. "Should the region go to war because of Saudi money?" he asked.
In some of his harshest comments to date, Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of sending suicide attackers to Iraq and of creating the Islamic State group. Addressing Saudi Arabia, he said Iran had expanded its influence in the region because "you are lazy, losers, and you don't take responsibility."