Split Between Saudi, UAE Forces in Yemen Threatens to Start a New War

Hadi govt accuses UAE of fooling them by sneaking arms into Aden

Some halting attempts at reconciliation talks aside, the split between Saudi-backed and UAE-backed forces in South Yemen seems to be as complete as ever, with both sides continuing to talk as though they view one another irreconcilably as enemies.

This week that hasn’t meant much, as the two sides seem to be stalemated after a previous fight over Aden, which ended with a victory by UAE-backed separatists aided by UAE airstrikes. But what comes next could easily start another war in South Yemen.

The UAE has called the Saudi-backed government “terrorists” following the fighting, while the government claims the UAE is behind a “coup” plot, and had fooled them by sneaking arms into Aden ahead of the fighting.

Reports had made the arms an issue as far back as June, though the UAE assured others that the weapons were just shipped to Aden temporarily, and were bound for militias fighting the Houthis in North Yemen. Instead, they appear to have been used to arm up separatists who are now in control of Aden.

Such a fight was likely inevitable. The post-war vision of the Saudis was just the defeat of the Houthis in the north, while the UAE always sought to have key allies in power around the country’s southern coast. It may have been possible to balance these two goals at one point, but now it seems both believe they can achieve their goal militarily.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.