UAE Yemen
Emirati soldiers, taking part in the Saudi-led operations against Yemeni Al Houthi rebels, seen during rehabilitation and demining operations at the Al Anad airbase in the southern Lahj governorate, some 50 kilometres north of the Red Sea port of Aden on October 4, 2015. Image Credit: AFP

In 2015, the Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen at the request of the internationally recognised government of that country in order to restore the legitimacy of the government following the coup by the Iran-backed Al Houthi militia. And the coalition has done a commendable job in Yemen, in terms of both military efforts and humanitarian endeavours.

From the outset, the goals were clear: Restoring the legitimate government, restoring the authority of the Yemeni state and its institutions, and bringing about a political solution to the crisis. Had the coalition not intervened, Al Houthi militiamen would today be in control of all of Yemen. The coalition’s action put paid to the militia’s expansion inside Yemen, and most of Yemen’s territory was liberated from Al Houthi control. In many parts of Yemen, normality has been restored, thanks to the efforts of the Arab coalition.

Other than the Al Houthi militia, the UAE effort has also targeted dangerous international terror organisations such as Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Daesh. These groups had tried to take advantage of the security situation in Yemen for their own ends. But their nefarious designs were curtailed by the proactive stance taken by the UAE in Yemen. Besides, it’s no secret that Al Houthis have maintained strong links with AQAP and Daesh in Yemen.

Also, the coalition’s campaign in Yemen was the first direct challenge to Iran’s unceasing expansionism in the region.

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The UAE has repeatedly expressed its firm commitment to the Stockholm Agreement and to the ongoing peace efforts under the auspices of the United Nations. And in line with the Agreement, the UAE has redeployed part of its forces in the port city of Hodeida. The UAE approach is both strategic and tactical as the country has been moving its forces inside Yemen depending on the demands of the battlefield, and based on the decisions made by the Arab coalition.

On the humanitarian side, the UAE’s approach has been marked by extreme generosity. Between April 2015 and June 2019, the UAE has provided $5.59 billion (Dh20.51 billion) in foreign assistance to Yemen to help rebuild various sectors including vital infrastructure. Sixty six per cent of this amount went towards development ventures and 34 per cent to humanitarian relief.

The UAE’s approach to Yemen has been marked by consistency, and clearly identified goals. The country will continue to pursue its strategic aims in the war against the militia.