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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Arab Coalition Represents an Equalising Force in Yemen: EU Report

Politics

7Dnews London

Mon, 09 Sep 2019 11:09 GMT

Since the beginning of the crisis in Yemen, the presence of the Saudi-led Arab coalition forces has been aimed at restoring a legitimate government in Yemen, helping the Yemini people and saving their country from becoming a failed state, which is at odds to the aims of the terrorist groups and the countries behind these groups.

Following the Iranian-backed Houthi militia takeover in 2014 of Sana'a, Yemen's capital, the coalition worked to help the legitimate government restore order and tear the country away from the militias and terrorist organisations.

Recently, many western reports have talked about a withdrawal of Arab forces from the country, but this raises a great deal of concern. Experts believe that any military withdrawal could well encourage and strengthen the terrorist groups not only in Yemen but in the entire region.

The latest developments in the south of Yemen are likely to "create a security void in the southern region as competition between Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Isis rises", European Eye on Radicalization (EER) said. 

On August 3rd, Over two consecutive days, AQAP and Houthi militias separately killed more than 70 people in Aden and Abyan province. According to AFP, AQAP raided on Al-Mahfad base in Abyan just as the fighting in Aden was taking place, killed nineteen soldiers.

Attacks by the Houthis hit security forces in Yemen's city of Aden, killing at least 49 people, many of them newly trained police cadets, officials announced on August 2nd. 

The United States has waged a long-running drone war against AQAP leaders. Although Al-Qaeda has announced a new strategy to refrain from foreign terrorist operations, integrating more closely into local conflicts, the fall of Isis has encouraged AQAP to capitalize on the collapse of the group's so-called caliphate, EER confirmed. 

The former president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was formally removed from office in 2012 but remained in the country, and by 2014 was looking for a way back to power. Saleh was suspected of assisting AQAP operatives to break out of jail. Yemeni prison and interior ministry authorities had information as early as two months beforehand that Al-Qaeda militants were planning a prison break in the capital's main prison, documents seen by Reuters showed in 2014.

The US, which used to consider the Yemeni government as a partner in the past years but now is suspicious of AQAP infiltration, shifted away towards coordination with Arab Coalition and the UAE, which specifically has spearheaded the military efforts against AQAP, EER said.

"The Saudi-UAE intervention was a response", EER pointed out. "Unfortunately, the media's distorted picture of the conflict has been presented to Western publics, who have in turn applied pressure on Western governments to apply pressure against the Coalition."

"UAE's actions had weakened terrorist organizations — Iranian proxies and Sunni jihadists alike — that threaten peoples well beyond Yemen, and held out the hope of creating a balance on the ground that would allow a peace settlement to take hold," the report said. 

The UAE provided as much as $5.59 billion in foreign assistance to Yemen between April 2015 and June 2019, which was used to help rebuild various sectors in the country, including vital infrastructure and to restore health and social service.

The Arab Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen also managed to thwart a terrorist attempt by the Houthi militia targeting a commercial ship in the Red Sea early on July 8th, in a move that shows the proxy militia is following steps of its sponsor Iran, which launched several naval attacks against Arab and British vessels lately. 

Middle East