Egypt's Sisi affirms no ground troops in Yemen
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Friday implied that Egypt has not sent ground troops to fight in an ongoing Saudi-led military offensive against Yemen's Houthi militant group.
"Egypt is only participating in Operation Decisive Storm with air and naval forces," Sisi said in a speech at a military academy in the eastern Kafr al-Sheikh city.
"An announcement will be made if any other forces are deployed in the operation," he asserted.
Sisi's visit to the military academy comes two days after two cadets were killed and three others were injured when a bomb was detonated near a bus boarding a group of cadets.
Since 25 March, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have been pounding Houthi positions across Yemen with airstrikes.
The coalition has said it was ready to consider the deployment of ground troops in Yemen if the situation in the country required boots on the ground.
Riyadh says the anti-Houthi campaign comes in response to appeals by embattled President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi for military intervention against the Houthis.
While the Houthis, on their part, have denounced the offensive as an unwarranted "Saudi-American onslaught" on Yemen.
While signs of tension between Saudi Arabia and Egypt over their policies in the Middle East – and specifically in Yemen - have surfaced lately with an apparent squabble taking place during the Arab League summit in March, fingers have pointed towards a possible rapprochement between Egypt and Iran.
Egyptian TV anchor Yousef al-Husseiny said during a talk show on the satellite TV channel ONTV in March: “If one day you wake up to find Egypt extending bridges of cooperation with Iran don’t be shocked."
Some observers see Egypt's media figures as doing Sisi's bidding by spreading his views without attributing them to the Egyptian president, as previous leaks have suggested, while other analysts argue that such stances genuinely represent the thought of Egypt's left.
Furthermore, deputy head of the Iranian Republican Guards, Hussein Islami, said during a television interview that Sisi is a man of great experience and would not risk jeopardising Egypt’s victories and history, by taking part in the Saudi-led operation in Yemen, reported Arabi21.
Some Gulf States have accused Iran of supporting Yemen's Houthi insurgency, while Iran vehemently denies those claims.
He also claimed that the justifications used by Saudi Arabia to justify the airstrikes over yemen – namely the Houthis were a security threat to the Strait of Mandab – were inaccurate.
Egypt’s strategic experience would not allow it to fall into the huge mistake that Saudi Arabia has, added Islami.