Sacrifice made by 45 Emirati martyrs in Yemen should not be in vain

The memory of the UAE’s deep loss exactly four years ago remains a beacon of national resolve

Several senior UAE Armed Forces officers congratulated officers and recruits of the UAE Armed Forces units operating in Yemen and Saudi Arabia on the occasion of Eid Al Adha, while in the presence of officers from the Saudi Armed Forces.
Officers congratulated the Emirati military personnel while visiting several army units stationed in Najran and Taif, Saudi Arabia, which are part of the Saudi-led Arab Coalition Forces operating in Mukalla and Khawkhah, Yemen. Wam
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Four years ago, 45 UAE Armed Forces servicemen died after a rocket attack in Yemen. It was a blow that fell heavily upon families in every corner of the Emirates. It struck, too, at the soul of the nation and served as a powerful reminder that the price of peace is often painfully high. Even now it is impossible to understate how dark that day felt. As Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, remarked at the time: "The UAE has lost a group of its purest men".

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said that the servicemen had made the ultimate sacrifice. “They’re true patriots,” he said, “who demonstrated utmost love and loyalty to their country and nation. Our martyrs of duty are true models in our history.”

Despite the suffering and sacrifice endured on that dark day, and on other such days since then, the UAE remains committed to the mission of restoring peace and security in Yemen.

In doing so, it honours a powerful principle that underpins the resolve of the nation: that while in war, sacrifices must inevitably be made, they must never be made in vain.

The most significant response to the attack, and the one to which the UAE has adhered unwaveringly to this day, was the firming of national resolve, conveyed in a simple, unequivocal message to Yemen: “We are with you until the mission is accomplished."

Today the prospect of peace and progress in Yemen, for which so many have fought and laid down their lives, faces continued challenges from the Houthis, the threat of terrorist groups and infighting in Aden. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are appealing to the factions in the port city to set aside their differences and return to the crucial business of ending the insurrection of the Houthi rebels – a business in which so many have invested so much. There are fears that if they do not, Yemen might see a re-emergence of the terror groups ISIS and Al Qaeda, which the Arab coalition has worked so hard to root out.

Despite the complications of conflict, the UAE’s resolve, however, will be unflinching just as the sense of loss that was felt on that September day remains undimmed.

When the Wahat Al Karama national memorial in Abu Dhabi was inaugurated in November 2016, bearing the names of all those who have given their lives in service of their country since 1971, it marked a solemn waypoint in the journey of the nation. Today it is a place for sombre reflection, a focus for grief and pride in duty done in service of the country.

But the great grey tablets reaching skywards, leaning on each other for support, also stand together as the physical manifestation of the will and purpose of a people forging a future defined by common values.

Those same values ensure that the UAE will not waver from its commitment to restoring peace and security to Yemen.