Saudi Arabia and the UAE: coalition under Stress


The UAE and Saudi Arabia to fight in the Yemen, a common enemy. Now, however, Interests to do opposites. The worry for some is irritation. But in the end, the similarities are likely to outweigh.

Embattled capital Sana’a (in December)

The regular government of Yemen is under pressure. In the past week, their troops were with the militias of the so-called “Southern transitional Council” to each other. In the clashes one person died and at least four others were injured. After a quiet weekend, the fighting flared up on Tuesday again. This Time, a small child was killed.

In response to these struggles Hani bin Braik, Vice-Chairman of the “Southern transitional Council, called on” to storm the presidential Palace in the port city of Aden and to overthrow the government of Yemen. He accused the government of promoting the Muslim brotherhood, to the neglect of the interests of the country, however. A government spokesman accused the “Southern Transitional Council” in turn, to a rebellion fomenting.

Ambitions of the “Southern transitional Council”

The “Southern Transitional Council” is a merger of the five provinces in the South. Out of this emerged from the in 2007 founded the “movement of the South”, the entry for a separation from the North, from those part of the country, which is largely dominated by Shiite Houthi rebels. To this end, the members of the “Southern transitional Council,” apparently even willing, to leverage the current government out of office.

Crater after a car bomb attack outside a police station in Aden (in August)

The conflict between the government and the “Southern Transitional Council” also has foreign-policy consequences. Because of the Transitional Council is linked to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while the Yemeni government’s close ties to Saudi Arabia. The two mighty States of the Gulf for more than four years together an international coalition, which is trying to keep the Houthis in check, what with the Iran related.

Conversely, the Huthis are trying to overthrow the regular government under Prime Maeen Abdul Malek. Thus, the government is facing two separatist movements. Against the pressure of trying to maintain the unity of the country. A taste of what Yemen would look like without a government, there was at the beginning of August, as alleged by jihadists in front of a police station and detonated the car bomb in Aden, as well as a rocket of the Houthis cracks attack a total of about 50 people in the death.

Decay phenomena in the International coalition?

Now it seems that the international coalition will show the first signs of Decay. The UAE has reduced its presence in Yemen is already a few weeks ago massively. In the province of Marib, they are not at all present, in the province of Hudaida with only one-fifth of their original thickness. In their place are now in control of specially trained Yemeni troops to the field. The control of the Region they had left previously-trained Yemeni forces. Also from the port city of Aden, the United Arab Emirates have been drawn to large Parts, as well as from the operational base at Assab in Eritrea.

The UAE had justified their withdrawal, especially with the tensions in the Gulf, triggered by the power struggle between Iran and the United States. The policy in the Middle East involved in the Internet magazine “Al-Monitor,” reports also, the military presence in the UAE in Yemen was exposed to increasing hostility, provoked mainly by the fact that the Emirates has sent repeated human troops had rights violations.

Sanaa after a air attack to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition (in January)

As Yemeni citizens demonstrated already in January, the UAE sent troops. This would have civilians kidnapped, in order to let you, then disappear, so the accusation. In March, Yemenis were received in response to the murder of Raafat Danbaa on the road. This had previously testified to the rape of a little boy by the UAE forces were observed. Since the Emirates have not responded to these and other complaints, from the point of view of the protesters is appropriate, forming of the resistance further. Soon the word of the “occupation” made of Parts of the Yemen, the UAE, the round.

Common and conflicting interests

In spite of the withdrawal, the UAE want to have a say in the Yemen. “Because of South Yemen for the claims to power of the UAE plays in the Red sea and the Horn of Africa a major role, aims to ensure the leadership in Abu Dhabi, the Yemenis in the South to ally with the opponents of the UAE forces,” – said in Al-Monitor. “Instead, you want the Southern Transitional Council retains control over Aden.”

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Survival in Yemen

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Fight for Survival in Yemen

This interest, however, is offset that of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom relies on the unity of the southern forces, because the only way to from his point of view as a counterbalance against the Houthis and against Iran to win. For this reason, it is also compared to the autonomy efforts of the “Southern transitional Council”.

With United forces – probably in the future

The UAE tried for a long time, from the Yemen to withdraw, says Elizabeth Dickinson, an expert on the Arab Gulf Peninsula at the International Crisis Group. This was a major concern. “You try to maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia,” says Dickinson.

Currently, it seems that the UAE and Saudi Arabia accounted for her good relationship with all the other questions. The Yemeni said interior Minister Ahmed bin Ahmed Maisari, his government had received from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the assurance to the separatist aspirations of non-support. A United South, so apparently the calculus, is the only meaningful condition to stand the growing pressure from the Huthis and so of the Iran resistance.

From the point of view of the Arabs are now in the Strait of Hormuz, the combined forces necessary, and in a might direct military confrontation with Iran. Therefore, there is much evidence that the close cooperation between the UAE and Saudi Arabia continues under perhaps slightly different sign to continue.