By Zainab Fattah
The United Arab Emirates has withdrawn some troops from Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah and its military presence in the rest of the war-ravaged country will “ebb and flow” depending on the situation, a senior Emirati official said.
“I want to be clear that the redeployment is strategic in Hodeidah and around the ports,” the official, who asked not to be named, told reporters on Monday. “In other parts of Yemen it will be tactical and it will ebb and flow based on our commitments in the country.”
The redeployment, first reported by Reuters last week, comes amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran since the Trump administration tightened sanctions on Iranian oil exports in early May. It has also raised questions about how closely the U.A.E’s policy is aligned with Saudi Arabia, its closest ally and the leader of a coalition fighting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The Emirati official said that while the draw-down was planned and carried out in coordination with Saudi Arabia, “we can’t be blind to other strategic and geopolitical concerns.”
The redeployment isn’t the first sign that the two allies don’t necessarily see eye to eye on everything.
While both countries welcomed increased American pressure on Iran under President Donald Trump, Emirati officials have struck an increasingly cautious tone and called for deescalation as fears of a slide into a new Middle East war have grown.
The U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia got involved in Yemen’s civil war in 2015, to support the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi against the Houthis, who’d seized control of the capital Sana’a and other cities.
You can read the full analysis at Bloomberg here.