UAE to Focus on ‘War by Other Means’ While Cutting Troops From Yemen

Emirati strategy will now focus on militias inside Yemen

Elaborating on recent reports that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were removing some of their troops from Yemen, officials now confirm that the decision was made as part of a strategic shift, and after a consultation with Saudi Arabia.

Some officials are presenting this as a “peace-first” approach, though it is more correctly being sold as “war by other means” by other officials, who say that the priority is to reduce the amount of Emirati troops in favor of UAE-backed militias in the war.

Officials say they have “tactical reasons” for redeploying the troops. Previous reports indicate that the UAE wanted more troops at home because of ongoing US-Iran tension in the Persian Gulf.

The UAE has long been amassing a huge militia army across Yemen, however, and has clearly been trying to position them either in direct positions of regional power, or in places where they could contest control of parts of Yemen. The UAE has also shown intense interest in the island of Socotra, where the Yemen War hasn’t really taken place, but which is strategically valuable to UAE ambitions in the region and which they’d very much like to come out of the war with de facto control over.

Still, this transition apparently came with a consultation with the Saudis, and therefore at least an implied Saudi blessing. That is surprising, as while the two nations are allies, the Saudis and UAE are backing very different Yemeni forces who are almost certain to clash if the ongoing war ever ends.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.