Hojatollah Joudaki, insisting that if the UAE feels its national interests would be compromised for any reason, would withdraw from its role in the coalition against the Yemeni Houthis. “So far, there is big division in the UAE alliance with Saudi Arabia in Yemen. The UAE once fought against the Houthis, but now only supports the separatists in southern Yemen, a policy the Saudis do not endorse. Saudi Arabia wants Yemen to be under its control as a united country in every way possible; because the three southern provinces are essentially Zaidi followers and had long been part of Yemen and were later annexed to Saudi Arabia. This issue has always been a source of concern and suspicion for Saudi Arabia.”
He added: “Since 60 years ago the Saudis have considered Yemen their backyard, where they have tried to take control of the Yemeni community by bribing tribal leaders, senior army generals and religious rulers. The Yemenis also gave in to this state of affairs because of their poverty. If we examine the issue we will find out that the second and third wives of many Saudi nationals are Yemenis; Saudi men were married during their journeys to Yemen and stayed there for a while, then abandoned them and returned to their homeland. Yemen was really a backyard for the Saudis.”
“Upon recognizing these problems, anti-imperialist outlooks were shaped in Yemen little by little and opposition voices were heard and today they want to come out of the Saudi yoke,” Joudaki said. Noting that the Saudi invasion of Yemen was a mistake because it thought it could wipe out “a bunch of barefoot Yemenis who have nothing” within a few days but this did not happen and in the current situation Yemen has become a tall order for Saudi Arabia.
“The UAE is a long way from Yemen, and the Yemenis cannot easily attack the UAE unless they plan their actions through missiles and drones,” the Middle East analyst added. The Emiratis are afraid of living in glass towers. Imagine if something happened to the Khalifa Tower or any part of the country tourism and other attractions would be badly hurt and their economy will be severely affected. The UAE rulers have realized this and that is why they are looking for a shortcut to seceding from Saudi politics.
Joudaki said, on the other hand, the UAE supports the separatists in southern Yemen to keep them clashing with the north and show that it can continue to pressure the Yemenis so that they will not be able to harm the UAE.
He said it was possible for the Houthis to carry out their threats against the UAE and said the Houthis had nothing to lose. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have destroyed Yemen’s infrastructures over the past few years, and the Yemenis have incurred huge losses. Under such circumstances, if the Yemenis who are under so much pressure could cross the border with Saudi Arabia and capture even one Saudi soldier, the first thing they will get is his boot, military gear, weapons and equipment. The value of the advanced equipment of a Saudi soldier fighting in Yemen is estimated at $100,000 which is a valuable trophy.
“They have realized this, and they are stepping up this type of actions. In addition to missile and drone strikes they go to the borders take Saudi prisoners of war. This situation has provided special conditions for the Yemenis to use as a backing for their ideals. Therefore, the UAE must take the warning by the Houthis seriously.
“This war, despite all its problems, has made the Houthis feel superior,” he said. They can respond under conditions of varying pressures, and with the actions they take they can at least defend their rights or cause a lot of harassment to their enemies. In any case, it is a victory for them.
“They have come to the conclusion that they could take similar action against the UAE,” Joudaki added. That the UAE is shaken up in the Yemeni war is to defect or minimize its losses and create a front in Yemen where they would engage in clashes with each other and could not think about their long-term interests.
“If the United Arab Emirates finds that the costs will be too heavy for them, they will leave south of Yemen and Saudi Arabia will be left alone,” he said of the UAE’s possible revision of its positions in southern Yemen in the face of Ansarollah’s threats.