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UAE after controlling Yemeni ports, international transit routes via military presence: Expert

Emirati soldiers participate in a training exercise with US Marines in the United Arab Emirates on March 15, 2020. (File photo by US Marines)

A Yemeni political expert believes dominance over Yemen’s ports as well as international waterways and transit routes has been the main objective of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since it began its military presence in Yemen.

In an interview with Press TV, Brigadier General Abed al-Thawr said the UAE is working to influence the policies of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar by establishing a transitional council in Aden and sponsoring local mercenaries to ensure its presence in the city and in other southern areas as well as on Socotra Island.

He said the UAE, while claiming that the people of southern Yemen have the right to self-determination, is attempting to free itself of the dangers caused by its move to form militant groups in different Yemeni provinces.

These forces are not affiliated with former Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, but rather are directed by a UAE military representative, he remarked.

Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the UAE, launched a deadly military campaign against Yemen in March 2015 to return Hadi to power. The war – which they thought would last only a few weeks but is still ongoing – has led to the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians including women and children.

Al-Thawr said Abu Dhabi formed the so-called Yemeni Republican Guard under the command of Tareq Saleh, the nephew of the late Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and gave them al-Makha and al-Khawkhah coasts in order to tighten its grip over all western coasts and the Socotra and Mayyun islands.

The Emiratis, by displacing people of Mayyun and giving it to the Israelis, are trying to receive backup for their forces in Yemen and reinforce Israeli power in the entire region, he said.

"That is why the UAE was the first government to quickly normalize relations with Israel to prove its allegiance to the regime,” the Yemeni analyst said, adding that the regime in Tel Aviv believes that it cannot achieve stability and security if it does not take control of some parts of Yemen via the help of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the US and Britain.

‘UAE announced withdrawal due to fear’

Elsewhere in his remarks, Al-Thawr told Press TV that the UAE announced in 2019 that it would withdraw its forces from Yemen due to fears of being targeted by Yemen’s ballistic missiles and drones.

Nevertheless, the political commentator continued, Abu Dhabi has carried on with its destructive activities in Yemen but the Yemenis are not oblivious to this fact and have warned the UAE of the consequences of their actions.

He argued that the Emiratis play the role of a traffic police officer who waits for the green light of other powers such as the US and Israel.

Asked why the UAE has attempted to buy anti-drone weapons from Israel and whether it wants to use it in the Yemen war, al-Thawr said the Arab country knows that it cannot fight against Yemen’s advanced weapons and is aware that it is being closely monitored by Yemeni forces.

Last month, Israel's major aerospace and aviation manufacturer, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), announced plans to jointly develop an advanced anti-drone missile system with the UAE’s state-owned weapons maker EDGE.

IAI said in a statement on March 11 that the companies will work together to build the system in order “to detect, identify, classify, and intercept a broad range of threats.”

The statement added that the Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS) will include soft kill solutions such as electronic jamming and cyber takeovers, and hard kill capabilities such as guns, missiles, electromagnetics and lasers, as well as advanced command and control.

“The UAE’s power is not even 20 percent of the power and capabilities of the Saudi military, which is moaning over the targeting of its airports and big military bases and oil companies by the Yemenis,” the Yemeni analyst said.

He added that the UAE needs weapons more advanced than those of the Saudis in order to defend itself.

This is a very weak country, al-Thawr said of the UAE, adding that it will suffer greatly if the Yemeni forces target its commercial, oil, governmental and sensitive facilities.

He also said the UAE has been looting Yemen’s oil resources, criticizing the United Nations for keeping silent over such actions that have impoverished the war-torn country.

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