Advertisement

The UAE’s Role in the Yemen Crisis

Chapter

Abstract

This chapter analyzes the UAE’s aims in Yemen in the light of its relationships with major allies, drawing on conversations with British, US, Saudi, and UAE contacts. The UAE was an active participant in the transition following the 2011 uprising and brought its military skills, experience, and ability to improvise to the Saudi-led coalition to prevent Yemen coming under Houthi control and Iranian influence and to stop al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) from acquiring a safe haven. Its main focus was on the south, where it developed local security forces to provide security but lacked confidence in President Hadi and refused to work with Islah party leaders. In 2018, it took a leading role in plans to attack the Red Sea port of al-Hodeida, but in 2019 withdrew from the war in the north. Throughout, the UAE has worked closely with Saudi Arabia and its Western allies, whose objectives were not always identical, causing the UAE to make difficult choices. Despite the UAE’s military and security successes against AQAP, the Houthis have not been defeated and Iranian and Islah influences have grown. Southern separatists are now well organized and control powerful militias, which will complicate any post-war settlement.

References

  1. Abdul-Ahad, G. (2018, December 21). Yemen on the Brink: How the UAE Is Profiting from the Chaos of Civil War. The Guardian. Retrieved https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/dec/21/yemen-uae-united-arab-emirates-profiting-from-chaos-of-civil-war
  2. Anonymous British Government Official. (2019, July). Interview by Author.Google Scholar
  3. Barany, Z. (2018, January 17). Why Have Three Gulf States Introduced the Draft? Bucking the Trend on Conscription in Arabia. RUSI Journal, 162(6), 16–26.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03071847.2017.1414434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chandrasekaran, R. (2014, November 9). In the UAE, the United States Has a Quiet, Potent ally Nicknamed ‘Little Sparta’. The Washington Post. Retrieved https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-the-uae-the-united-states-has-a-quiet-potent-ally-nicknamed-little-sparta/2014/11/08/3fc6a50c-643a-11e4-836c-83bc4f26eb67
  5. Donaghy, R. (2015, December 23). Revealed: The Mercenaries Commanding UAE Forces in Yemen. Middle East Eye. Retrieved https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/revealed-mercenaries-commanding-uae-forces-yemen.
  6. Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington. (2019). UAE-US Relations. Retrieved https://www.uae-embassy.org/uae-us-relations/key-areas-bilateral-cooperation
  7. Gargash, A. (2018, December 13). Our Sincere Appreciation to the 5000 Emirati Soldiers Along with Yemeni Forces Who Were Ready to Liberate the Port. Twitter @AnwarGargash.Google Scholar
  8. Gargash, A. (2019a, July 22). We’re Proud of the UAE’s Military Role in Yemen. But It’s Time to Seek a Political Solution. The Washington Post. Retrieved https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/07/22/were-proud-uaes-military-role-yemen-its-time-seek-political-solution/?utm_term=.be191555f2ad
  9. Gargash, A. (2019b, August 2). Redeployment in Hodeidah is the Outcome of an Expanded Dialogue in the Coalition. We Agreed with Our Sister Saudi Arabia on the Strategy of the Next Phase in Yemen. Twitter @AnwarGargash.Google Scholar
  10. Gargash, A. (2019c, August 24). The Saudi-Emirati Alliance is a Strategic Necessity in Light of the Surrounding Challenges: Yemen is a Clear Example. Twitter @AnwarGargash.Google Scholar
  11. Grim, R. (2018, October 23). The UAE’s Powerful Ambassador Is Still Hobnobbing in Washington After Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder. The Intercept. Retrieved: https://theintercept.com/2018/10/23/yousef-al-otaiba-khashoggi-washington/
  12. Ibish, H. (2017, April 6). The UAE’s Evolving National Security Strategy. Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. Retrieved https://agsiw.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/UAE-Security_ONLINE.pdf
  13. Knights, M. (2019, August 18). Lessons From the UAE War in Yemen. Lawfare Institute in Cooperation with Brookings. Retrieved https://www.lawfareblog.com/lessons-uae-war-yemen.
  14. Knights, M., & Mello, A. (2015, August 10). The Saudi-UAE War Effort in Yemen (Part 1): Operation Golden Arrow in Aden. The Washington Institute. Retrieved https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/the-saudi-uae-war-effort-in-yemen-part-1-operation-golden-arrow-in-aden
  15. Mazzetti, M., & Hager, E. (2011, May 14). Secret Desert Force Set Up by Blackwater’s Founder. The New York Times. Retrieved https://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/world/middleeast/15prince.html?hp=&pagewanted=allnytimes.com
  16. Mazzetti, M., & Hager, E. (2015, November 25). Emirates Secretly Sends Colombian Mercenaries to Yemen Fight. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/26/world/middleeast/emirates-secretly-sends-colombian-mercenaries-to-fight-in-yemen.html?_r=0
  17. Mello, A., & Knights, M. (2016, September 2). West of Suez for the United Arab Emirates: War on the Rocks. Texas National Security Review. Retrieved https://warontherocks.com/2016/09/west-of-suez-for-the-united-arab-emirates/
  18. Mello, A., & Knights, M. (2019, September 3). Yemen’s Fragile Military Balance. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Retrieved https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/the-saudi-uae-war-effort-in-yemen-part-1-operation-golden-arrow-in-aden
  19. MOFIC. (2019, July 11). UAE Leading Donor Country for Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan. UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Retrieved https://www.mofaic.gov.ae/MediaHub/News/2019/7/11/11-07-2019-UAE-Yemen
  20. al-Qassemi, S. S. (2015, September 22). What Intervention in Yemen Means for UAE’s National Identity. Time. https://time.com/4040220/uae-intervention-in-yemen/
  21. al-Sewari, Y. (2019, July). Yemen’s al-Mahra: From Isolation to the Eye of a Geopolitical Storm. Sanaa: Sanaa Centre for Strategic Studies. Retrieved https://sanaacenter.org/publications/analysis/7606
  22. Staff Reporter. (2015, September 5). UAE Salutes 45 Soldiers Martyred in Yemen. Khaleej Times. Retrieved https://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/uae-salutes-45-martyrs
  23. al-Yaakoubi, A. (2019, July 8). UAE Troop Drawdown in Yemen Was Agreed with Saudi Arabia: Official. Reuters. Retrieved https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-emirates/uae-troop-drawdown-in-yemen-was-agreed-with-saudi-arabia-official-idUSKCN1U31WZ

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Menas AssociatesLondonUK

Personalised recommendations