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article imageOp-Ed: UAE bombs forces in Yemen loyal to the Saudi-supported government

By Ken Hanly     Aug 30, 2019 in Politics
Of the estimated 20,000 fighters involved in the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen to support the internationally-recognized government of Mansur Hadi about half of them backed by the United Arab Emirates have supported a southern separatist movement.
A ceasefire is appearing less likely
Fighters loyal to the Southern Transitional Council (STC) supported by the UAE took over Aden and some adjacent areas from the Saudi-led forces supporting the re-installation of the Hadi government. Both the STC and the Saudi led forces are trying to retake territory from the Houthi rebels who control much of the north of the country including the capital Sanaa. The Houthis are supported by Iran.
With the UAE forces becoming directly involved with the fighting and launching airstrikes against the Saudis the chance of a deal to stop the fighting seems more remote.
Yemen's Defense Ministry said that more than 300 people were killed and wounded by UAE air strikes on Aden and Abyan Province.
The UAE defends its actions
The UAE claims its actions are directed against a terrorist threat: "The recent aggravation in offensives against the Arab coalition forces and civilians poses a menacing threat to the security of the coalition. This in turn has necessitated air strikes against terrorist militias as per the international humanitarian law," said the statement released in response to a statement by the Yemeni foreign ministry.The military operation was based on "confirmed field intelligence" that the militias prepared to target the coalition forces, a development which required "preemptive operation to avert any military threat," the UAE foreign ministry statement added."
It is not clear who the terrorist militias are threatening the UAE. It could be that the UAE is equating forces loyal to the Hadi government as terrorist militia or at least those that are resisting a takeover by the STC. The reaction of Mansur Hadi president of the Saudi-supported government was anger.
President Hadi's response
A recent article reports: "Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour on Thursday requested the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to hold a session on the airstrikes launched by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) against his troops. The president said in a statement read on his behalf through the state television network that his government "formally requested the UNSC to hold a session on the blatant aerial bombardment by UAE against the Yemeni armed forces as they exercise constitutional right to confront rebel militias."" Hadi is not in Yemen but living in exile in Saudi Arabia.
Hadi asks for Saudi military intervention against the UAE
Hadi also called
on Saudi-led forces to directly intervene militarily against the UAE. Saudi officials have not addressed that issue as yet. Saudi Arabia has been allied with the UAE in an attempt to win more territory against the Houthis and with the STC joining in. To respond militarily would create another war in Yemen. The result could be gains for the Houthis as well as perhaps for Al Qaeda-linked groups who could take advantage of the chaos.
The present turmoil would probably have happened eventually in any event. The STC has its long-term goal the separation of southern Yemen into an independent country as it was previously, while the Saudis support a unified Yemen under president Hadi. Even if the coalition had eventually triumphed over the Houthis, the STC would no doubt make a move towards separation. However, the Houthis are far from being defeated.
If the Saudis try to put down the STC militarily they could end up with the Houthis eventually putting out feelers about striking a deal with the STC that would involve an agreement that the Houthis could rule the north whereas the STC could have the south to themselves. This could place the Saudis in position where they will be facing both the UAE and Houthis as enemies, an unenviable situation.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Saudi UAE relations, Yemen civil war, Mansur Hadi
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