The UAE's Ulterior Motives in Yemen

Nov 28, 2017 | 18:40 GMT

A map of the Middle East

On the surface, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates appear to have the same goals in Yemen.



  • The United Arab Emirates will continue to target al-Islah, Yemen's Muslim Brotherhood branch, as part of a wider campaign against the umbrella organization and its ideology.
  • But the campaign will undermine the government of embattled Yemeni President Abd Rabboh Mansour Hadi, complicate any peace settlement and increase the risk of blowback against the United Arab Emirates and its coalition allies.
  • Moreover, the Emirati effort could ultimately empower the members of al-Islah — as well as al Qaeda or the Islamic State — rather than weaken them.

Since wading into Yemen's civil war more than two years ago, Saudi Arabia and its allies have struggled to restore beleaguered President Abd Rabboh Mansour Hadi to power. Not only have Yemen's Houthi rebels proved to be determined adversaries, but the United Arab Emirates -- Saudi Arabia's most active partner in the military coalition -- has also steadily revealed strategic priorities in Yemen that often differ from Riyadh's own. Chief among them is Abu Dhabi's deepening crackdown on al-Islah, the Yemeni branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. And as the United Arab Emirates steps up its effort to take down the organization, it risks undermining any peace settlement its coalition allies support while empowering militant groups in the war-torn country....

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