Saudi Arabia Moves Into Yemen Red Sea Ports After UAE Drawdown

Saudis looking to secure more territory as UAE reduces direct presence

While the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) decision to withdraw some of its troops from the country was seen as part of a plan for them to put their UAE-backed militias into important positions of power.

In the immediate-term, this seems to be backfiring. Saudi Arabia has taken the UAE drawdown as an opportunity to send their own troops into a pair of valuable Red Sea ports, at al-Mokha and al-Kholkha.

Though the UAE and Saudi Arabia are nominally on the same side in the Yemen War, both have been vying for more influence in the post-war nation, trying to shore up control over important territory if and when the war ever ends, drawing the battle lines for the next war.

The Saudis have strong control over the existing “Yemeni government” which is being propped up by the war, while the UAE is backing paramilitary groups and other factions that they believe will be able to have substantial influence after the war. The UAE has keen interest in growing into a regional power, and that involves getting powerful allies into positions across the region.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of