Yemeni minister accuses UAE of trying to fragment his country
A Yemeni minister accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of trying to fragment his country by creating separate regional and tribal armies in the south.
Yemen has been engulfed in a civil war since 2015 with a Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE fighting Shiite rebels known as Houthis to restore the internationally recognized government to power. However the government, now based in the southern port city of Aden, is at odds with the UAE forces based there, their official allies against the Houthis.
Yemeni Transportation Minister Saleh al-Gabwani says UAE-backed troops cut off his convoy on Sunday while he was on route to inaugurate a new port. He said the troops were part of the so-called Shabwa Elite Force, one of several units that only answer to the UAE, as reported by The Associated Press (AP).
The UAE launched Operation Decisive Sword yesterday targeting al-Qaida operatives in Yemen. "The operation is being carried out by Shabwan Elite Forces backed by the UAE, under the leadership of the Saudi-led Arab Coalition. The organization recently suffered significant losses in Wadi Al Masini in the province of Hadramaut," according to a statement released by Emirates news agency WAM, reported by Al-Arabiya.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia lead a military coalition that has fought alongside Hadi's forces since 2015 in a war against the Houthis from north Yemen that has left more than 9,200 people dead. Yemen plays a significant role for Saudi Arabia against Iran's influence over the violence-stricken Middle East region. The advance of the Iranian-allied Shiite Houthi group raises fears about the possible disintegration of the country. Shabwa Elite Force, one of several units that only answer to the UAE.