Withdrawal of Emirati forces from Yemen isolates Riyadh

Published in GSN, 4 July 2019

The UAE has been scaling back its military commitment to Yemen, in an unannounced move which appears to have been at least partly prompted by the Hodeidah peace agreement between the Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed government of President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi signed in Stockholm in December.

Reports of the change to UAE strategy first emerged in a Reuters report on 28 June, which linked the decision to the need to redeploy troops to the Gulf in the light of growing tensions with Iran – a situation the UAE has tried to calm by refusing to directly blame Tehran for several recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

However, Washington Institute for Near East Policy research fellow Elena DeLozier linked the move to the reduction in fighting around Hodeidah and a sense of war fatigue in Abu Dhabi, in a 2 July article citing unnamed Emirati officials.

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