WorldUAE says reducing troops in war-torn Yemen

18:25  08 july  2019
18:25  08 july  2019 Source:   msn.com

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UAE says reducing troops in war-torn Yemen© Saleh Al-OBEIDI UAE troops, seen in this January 2019 picture, are key players in a Saudi-led military coalition that has intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to back the government against Iran-aligned Huthi rebels

The United Arab Emirates said Monday it was redeploying and reducing troops across war-torn Yemen and moving from a "military-first" strategy to a "peace-first" plan.

The UAE is a key partner in a Saudi-led military coalition which intervened in Yemen in 2015 to back the internationally recognised government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against Iran-aligned Huthi rebels.

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The United Arab Emirates has declared an end to its military operation in Yemen . Emirati Foreign Minister Anwar Qarqash has said the war for the UAE The Arab country will likely keep part of its forces in war - torn Yemen . The UAE has been a key participant in the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen .

The United Arab Emirates , a key member of the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen , is scaling back its military presence there as worsening U.S.-Iran tensions threaten Aziz El Yaakoubi, Reuters | UAE troops secure an area while searching for landmines in Al-Mokha, Yemen on March 6, 2018.

"We do have troop levels that are down for reasons that are strategic in (the Red Sea city of) Hodeida and reasons that are tactical" in other parts of the country, a senior UAE official, who requested anonymity, told reporters.

"It is very much to do with moving from what I would call a military-first strategy to a peace-first strategy, and this is I think what we are doing."

The official however reiterated the UAE's commitment to the Yemeni government and the Saudi-led coalition, saying discussions on redeployment have been ongoing for more than a year.

"This is not really a last-minute decision. This is part of the process and naturally a process within the coalition that’s been discussed extensively with our partners, the Saudis," he said.

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The United Arab Emirates has said it is pulling its military troops out of Yemen after a 15-month intervention that claimed 80 of its soldiers' lives. The state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, announced that UAE troops would leave Yemen even though large areas of the country, including

The United Arab Emirates has said the "war is over" for its troops in Yemen after a nearly 15-month intervention as part of a Saudi-led coalition that cost the lives of around 80 Emirati soldiers. The announcement by a government minister, which the crown prince of the UAE 's richest emirate.

According to a Yemeni military government official, UAE troops fighting the Huthis have "totally vacated" the military base in Khokha, about 130 kilometres (80 miles) south of Hodeida.

The UAE withdrew part of its heavy artillery from Khokha but was -- along with the Saudi-led coalition and the government -- still overseeing the military situation in Yemen's western coast, he said on Monday.

- 'Subtle differences' -

Middle East expert James Dorsey has said a redeployment reflects "long-standing subtle differences" in the Saudi and UAE approaches towards Yemen.

The pullback "highlights the UAE's long-standing concern for its international standing amid mounting criticism of the civilian toll of the war", he has said.

Tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians, have been killed in Yemen since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015, relief agencies say.

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The United States has long been involved in Yemen ’s many wars and conflicts. Its most recent reprisal has been military support for the Saudi coalition that has And as the Senate voted to debate more on cutting military involvement in Yemen ’s war — in an angry response at being denied a CIA briefing on

Yemen , one of the Arab world's poorest countries, has been devastated by a civil war. The conflict has its roots in the failure of a political transition supposed to bring stability to Yemen following an Arab Spring uprising that forced its longtime authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to hand over power

The fighting has triggered what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with millions of people displaced and in need of aid.

UAE says reducing troops in war-torn Yemen© SALEH AL-OBEIDI A UAE army vehicle is seen in this November 2015 picture at an oil refinery in Yemen's port city of Aden

In March 2018, rights group Amnesty International accused Western countries of supplying arms to Riyadh and its allies, who could stand guilty of war crimes in Yemen.

And in August last year a UN expert mission concluded that all warring parties had potentially committed "war crimes".

According to Dorsey with the pullback "the UAE may allow differences with Saudi Arabia to become more visible but will not put its alliance with the kingdom at risk".

Furthermore, Emirati-trained local troops will "continue to do its (UAE) bidding" on the ground, he said.

The Yemeni official told AFP the UAE has trained tens of thousands of Yemenis to fight against jihadists from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State group in southern provinces -- mainly Aden, Mukalla and Shabwa.

The UAE announcement comes amid a standoff between the United States and Iran, which spikes in June when Iran shot down a US drone over strategic Gulf waters following a series of tanker attacks that Washington blamed on Iran, which denied involvement.

The UAE official said the Emirates' redeployment decision was not linked to the increase of regional tensions but it was not "blind to the overall geostrategic picture".

The official stressed the redeployment was in line with the agreement reached in Sweden in December between Yemen's warring parties.

US-ally Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying sophisticated weapons to Huthi rebels, a charge Tehran denies.

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