On Tuesday morning, terrorists in Aden struck at Al Qasr Hotel and Shaikh Bin Farid Palace in an attempt to assassinate Yemen’s Prime Minister Khalid Bahah. He escaped unhurt, but four brave Emirati soldiers were martyred, along with other military personnel fighting with the international coalition to restore the legitimate government of Yemen.
Yes, Tuesday’s loss of life is tragic. The UAE, in recent weeks, however, has shown that its men and women who wear the uniform of this nation are proud to serve, fight and pay the ultimate sacrifice in supporting the people of Yemen. The evening before Tuesday’s cowardly attack, hundreds of Yemenis proudly gathered outside the UAE embassy in London to thank this nation for its efforts in liberating Yemen from the scourge of Al Houthi. These rebels, with military support and advice from Tehran, have usurped the authority of the government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi in a misguided but politically calculated attempt to impose their sectarian beliefs on all Yemenis.
Make no mistake, the UAE and its allies in the international coalition, who are turning back these rebels and usurpers, will not be deterred from their mission: Freeing Yemen and restoring the legitimate government. And make no mistake either — this is a cause that has the backing of a United Nations Security Council resolution and is endorsed by all the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Yemen and its people are a strategic partner in guaranteeing the security and political independence of the Arabian peninsula, free from outside influence, unbeholden to Iran.
The territorial integrity of Yemen must be respected and its geographical importance protected, ensuring the free movement of shipping through the Bab Al Mandab strait, from the Red Sea into the Arabian Sea. Any attempt by Iran or its proxies to control that key point has to be opposed both strategically and economically. And with the efforts of the UAE and its allies, that objective has been secured.
The UAE and its coalition partners have scored victories on the ground, where most of Yemen now has been cleared of Al Houthi forces and the focus is shifting towards regaining the capital, Sana’a. Yes, terrorists and extremists will always look for targets of opportunity to strike when they can, but the reality is that security and stability are being restored across Yemen by the international coalition and its partners on the ground.
And the allies are gaining ground and defeating Al Houthi and rebel forces on the battlefield. Yesterday, the party of Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, said that it was willing to accept the terms of a peace plan brokered by the UN in talks in Oman.
The General People’s Congress, to whom many of the army units fighting alongside Al Houthis are loyal, now realises that they cannot turn back the coalition tide and the cause of justice, and want peace. Al Houthis, reports yesterday afternoon suggested, were coming to this same realisation. If the leadership of the rebels accept that the only way forward is to recognise the legitimacy of the Yemeni government, agree to surrender their weaponry and accept the terms of a peace agreement, they too can be partners in building a better Yemen for all, free of outside influence.
But make no mistake either: Failing to agree means that the UAE and its allies will eradicate every trace of opposition to ensure that Yemen rises free again. The blood of those UAE martyrs these past weeks has only strengthened that resolve.