UAE’s new stance on Yemeni war


The announcement of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that it has changed its “military first” posture in the war-torn Yemen to a “peace first” stance has yet to be fully amplified clearly on the ground.

The UAE, however, has given the initial signal as to the implication of its new stance on the war in Yemen by ordering the redeployment of its troops in the country and starting the reduction of their number. No complete withdrawal of Emirati soldiers, however, has been issued.

This change of position on the war in Yemen came, in part, in the wake of the fact that the military conflict in Yemen has become an open-ended war, which began when the Saudi-led coalition forces launched military operations against the Iranian-supported Houthis, who started the conflict by attempting to overthrow the internationally recognised government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in 2015.

The four-year war remains at a standoff stage, with no winners or losers in the fighting. The casualty rate among civilians is mounting all the time and surpassed 10,000 fatalities, most of whom women and children, while the conflict triggered a massive internal displacement of people in the country.

Amnesty International and UN sources have described the fighting in the country as bordering on war crimes, and called for a ceasefire, at least. All attempts to end the conflict by negotiations have thus far failed, with the Iran-supported Houthis bent on achieving a military victory at all cost. The Houthis have, in fact, expanded the scope of the war in Yemen to reach civilian targets within Saudi Arabia,

including its civilian airports in the middle of the country.

There are growing fears that the long military arm of the Houthis in Yemen may also strike at civilian targets in the UAE as well, and this may explain the signs of restraint by the UAE in the warring situation in Yemen. The UAE cannot afford any disruption of its normal life, as its entire economy is based on peace and stability.

With a peaceful resolution of the Yemeni conflict remaining elusive, there are ominous signs that the war in Yemen can expand to reach other countries involved in the fighting. The UAE may have decided to preempt further deterioration in the war by scaling down its role and participation in it.


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