Strong support for UAE intervention in Yemen

ABU DHABI // Intervention in Yemen could not wait on “superpowers” any longer, Emirati analysts have said.

Scores of Emiratis have voiced their support for the UAE’s participation in the coalition to fight the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Ahmed Al Mansoori, a political analyst and Federal National Council member in Dubai, said “superpowers” including America, the UK, and Russia, had proven they were no longer in control.

He said it was time for the UAE to provide leadership.

“Superpowers have proven that their priorities are the nuclear deal with Iran and saving Europe from bad economy,” he said. “I think the UAE is taking the right policy in not waiting for other countries. Now there is a shift of policy and a shift of power.”

He said it was crucial for the UAE to ensure terrorism was stopped in its tracks.

“Terrorists have become much more sophisticated today, reaching the point of even labelling themselves as a state,” Mr Al Mansoori said.

He added that the late closure of the UK, US and Russian embassies in Yemen was another sign of how those countries perceived the threat to peace and stability.

Lack of action by these countries allowed armed groups to flourish, he said, and those groups preyed on weak and corrupt governments.

“It is time for the UAE to defend its security, and to cooperate with other GCC states to do this in the proper way,” he said.

Hamad Al Rahoomi, an FNC member from Dubai, said the UAE needed to act quickly to protect its borders.

“No one likes military action, but we have no choice,” he said. “The decision came after no other solution could be reached.”

He said Emiratis have sent messages of solidarity to Gulf forces.

“We consider Yemen is a part of us,” he said. “We have been forced into this [action].”

Dr Ebtisam Al Kitbi, a political scientist and chairwoman of the Emirates Policy Centre, said intervention could not have been put off any longer as the Houthis represented the spread of Iranian theocracy.

While the intervention’s first goal was to return stability to Yemen, she said it was also a signal to Iran to understand that the UAE was more than capable of retaliation if necessary.

While aware the war could mean a possible backlash, she said the UAE and the GCC had enough military power to defend themselves.

“Any action will have a reaction,” she said. “But the issue here is capabilities and risk assessment. The Gulf has a [strong force].”

She said Saudi alone was sending 150,000 troops and 100 warplanes, while the UAE was thought to be sending up to 30 aircraft. Dozens more are being sent by other 10-state coalition allies.

“Houthis are similar to Iran. They are commanding a psychological war,” she said. “They are trying to show that they have power. Gulf power cannot be compared to Houthi power.”

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