Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

UAE’s Campaign for Yemen Port City A Test of ‘Little Sparta’

UAE’s Campaign for Yemen  Port City A Test of ‘Little Sparta’

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates is a country better known for oil riches and skyscraper skylines, but right now it is prosecuting what could be a crucial offensive in the 3-year-old conflict in Yemen.
While the overall war in the Arab world’s poorest country has been led by Saudi Arabia, the ongoing battle for the Red Sea port city of Hodeida has fallen squarely on the shoulders of the UAE, a U.S.-allied federation of seven sheikhdoms.
Emirati troops, along with irregular and loyalist forces in Yemen, have been fighting against Shiite rebels known as Houthis for Hodeida since Wednesday. But fighting has been fierce and Emirati troops have been killed, with Houthi propaganda videos showing their armored vehicles disabled and set ablaze.
A top Emirati official acknowledged how the campaign for Hodeida goes will determine the likelihood of an end to Yemen’s war. But it also will prove how serious the UAE’s military is after billions of dollars of weapons purchases and previous stints as peacekeepers abroad. “From our perspective, three years of war is enough. It is time for the political process,” Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told journalists at a news conference Monday. “If the Houthis don’t want to start the political process, we will force them to start the political process.”
The UAE, previously called “Little Sparta” by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, has a Western-armed military of 63,000 troops. Its expeditionary forces already have served in Afghanistan and as peacekeepers in Kosovo.
Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has taken on a muscular neoconservative posture with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the war in Yemen. The Saudi-led force entered Yemen’s war in March 2015 to support the country’s ousted government against the Iranian-aided Houthis. (AP)