Washington DC – Wednesday– (08-14-2019) – New York Institute for foreign Policy Affairs (NYCFPA): The United Arab Emirates is putting in place its plan to remove a significant number of troops in Yemen. This move was first announced June 28th as part of a tactical and strategic redeployment plan. On July 4th, The UAE completely withdrew from Marib in northeastern Yemen and handed over Zuqar island on the west coast to loyal Yemeni forces. It also reduced its forces in the port of Aden.
The UAE placed its loyal Yemeni forces, approximately 90,000 troops, under unified command. In the south, the UAE placed security Belt soldiers and military elites under the command of the Southern Transitional Council. On the western coastal front, the UAE placed forces under the unified command of Republican Guard commander Tariq Saleh, the son of late President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s brother.
The UAE intervened in Yemen as part of the Saudi-led coalition to restore the legitimate Yemeni government and end the Houthi coup. However, it has worked on the ground level to place undeclared goals, most notably undermining the legitimate government by supporting the STC, among other military entities that look after UAE interests in Yemen. Simultaneously, the UAE is pursuing its own economic interests, the most important of which is disrupting Yemeni ports in order to revive its own ports.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Saudi Arabia put its support behind Yemen’s exiled president, as United Arab Emirates-backed southern separatists controlling the port of Aden. A Saudi-led military coalition has pledged further attacks to dislodge the southern fighters from government military bases, after hitting a separatist area on Sunday as Saudi leaders met with Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Mecca.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE rulers met in Mecca on Monday, in an apparent effort to stop further damage to their alliance that would boost their common enemy, the Houthis, and their regional rival Shi’ite Muslim Iran.
Abu Dhabi Crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan stated continued solidarity with Saudi Arabia in Yemen. “The UAE and Saudi Arabia call on conflicting Yemeni parties to prioritize dialog and reason for the interest of Yemen,” state news agency WAM quoted him as saying after meeting Saudi King Salman bin Abdelaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Residents said on Monday that the fighting in Aden has ceased. “It is quiet now but people are still worried. We don’t know where matters are heading,” Aden resident Adel Mohammed told Reuters. He said power and water supplies have been returned, but has the chance of being disrupted again.
Here at NYCFPA we condemn UAE support of military intervention in the legitimate government in Aden. We will continue to report on the situation as it progresses.