Thursday, 22 August, 2019

UAE draws down troops in Yemen in ‘strategic redeployment’

The presentation of new weapons purpotedly created by the Houthi forces Yemeni Houthis Reveal New Cruise Missiles Surveillance Drones
Patty Aguilar | 10 July, 2019, 06:48

The UAE official emphasised his country's continued support for Saudi Arabia, saying discussions on troops' movements had been coordinated for more than a year.

People stand amidst the ruins of a Yemen building destroyed during past Saudi-led coalition air strikes.

The UAE withdrew part of its heavy artillery from Khokha but was - along with the Saudi-led coalition and the government - still overseeing the military situation in Yemen's western coast, he said on Monday.

The official confirmed that UAE troop levels are down, describing it as a "strategic redeployment".

Yemen's latest conflict broke out in late 2014 when the Houthis, allied with forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, seized much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. "We are part of the coalition", the official said, adding that the drawdown was discussed extensively with the Saudis.

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Gamal Gasim, a political science professor at Grand Valley State University in MI, told Al Jazeera the UAE's redeployment was contrary to Saudi Arabia's strategy of crushing the Iran-aligned rebels. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and the war has generated the world's worst humanitarian crisis, drawing sharp bipartisan criticism in Congress.

It also comes a week after a US Democratic senator warned Washington could cut off arms sales to the Emirates over a report the US ally shipped US missiles to Libyan rebels. The UAE, which supports US sanctions on Iran, has also called for a de-escalation.

In May a year ago, two men were sentenced by the same court for "providing information to a foreign state and co-operating with aggressor state Saudi Arabia between 2015 and 2016".

Saudi Arabia says it has intercepted a drone launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels targeting "civilian infrastructure" in the kingdom. The Houthis also claimed an attack on a Saudi oil pipeline.

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