Context and message of Yemen Ansarullah’s fresh attacks on the UAE
Context and message of Yemen Ansarullah’s fresh attacks on the UAE
Yemen’s interim government, which was formed after former President Ali Abdullah Saleh ceded power, was duty-bound to hold new elections for a new parliament. Abdul Rabb Mansour al-Hadi was the president of this interim government, but he did not fulfill his responsibilities; as a result, a widespread reaction surfaced against him and even the President House was besieged.
Finally, Mansoor Hadi had to resign and bid adieu to the government. Then a government consisting of different groups of people was formed. In the new set-up, those Yemeni groups that do not accept the US hegemony in the region and do not consider Israel a legitimate state became more influential and assertive.
The development was unacceptable to the United States and its regional allies. It sounded to them as if they were hearing the echo of the 1978 revolution of Iran in this very important region of the Arabian Peninsula called Yemen. The same slogans and the same ideologies that the world first heard from the skies of revolutionary Iran had started emerging from Sana’a. The slogans like Allahu Akbar, Death to the US and Death to Israel. The new government was led by Ansarullah leader Abdul-Malik Houthi, a spiritual leader of the Houthi tribe and against whose family the previous governments of Yemen had waged wars. Abdul Malik al-Houthi’s brother Syed Hussein Badruddin al-Houthi has already attained martyrdom. Northern Yemen is hotbed of the Houthi tribes and Saada is its most important city.
The United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their regional allies decided to form a government in exile under the leadership of Abdul Rabb Mansour al-Hadi, and created a new military alliance comprising many Muslim states. The command of this military alliance is in the hands of General Raheel Sharif, former Army Chief of Pakistan, the country that claims to be “neutral” and “mediator”. Troops were called in from different countries. Various terrorist groups of the region with al-Qaeda and ISIS at the top of the list, were made a part of the alliance. Besides, recruitments from Yemen and other countries were made and the recruits were trained. So much so, the invasion was launched from southern Yemen in March 2015.
Yemen has sea on its two sides, on one side it is bordered by the Sultanate of Oman. Yemen’s entire northern border is shared with Saudi Arabia. The most important sea routes are off the coast of Yemen. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were at the forefront in the aggression against Yemen. They had stockpiled weapons in bulk from the United States and other Western countries.
Although the UAE shares no border with Yemen, it has significant interests with Saudi Arabia in the region. The UAE has never been threatened by Yemen. Similarly, the Yemenis have never attacked Saudi Arabia, but Riyadh has been attacking the Houthi tribes living in the Yemen’s mountainous regions. In the past, Yemen and Saudi Arabia have been enjoying good relations. However, in the changed scenario, the sheikhs-led states and kingdoms of the region felt threatened by the changes unfolding in Yemen. They have been feeling the threat since the successful 1979 revolution in Iran, and they set up the Gulf Cooperation Council to counter the threat.
Economically, Yemen is the weakest country in the region. Due to the dictatorship, Yemen has not been able to develop socially and economically; instead, it remained much backward.
The aggressors and their patrons have declared Mansour Hadi government as the legitimate government of Yemen and described the government led by Ansarullah as the Houthi rebels. The Houthis are sons of the soil and have been living in Yemen for centuries. Yemen belongs to them. They have been leading the resistance against the seven-year aggression on Sanaa. Earlier, they offered matchless sacrifices to get rid of the dictatorship. Calling them bad names is meant to create hatred against them across the world and to give credence to the brutalism of the aggressors as if the defenders of their motherland are rebels and the aggressors are saviors.
The UAE has deployed 3,500 of its 20,000 troops in Yemen. 3,000 personnel of its air force including officers are also involved in the aggression. It is believed that the UAE has trained around 90,000 non-state fighters to join war against the Yemeni government. The interests of Saudi Arabia and the UAE are in conflict, leading to mutual fighting in the territories under their control in Yemen. Mansour Hadi’s group is totally loyal to Saudi Arabia and it operates under its command.
The UAE has set up the STC (Southern Transitional Council) to counter Mansour Hadi. The two groups have been battling for influence in their territories. Eventually, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have developed an understanding on some issues. The UAE believes that it cannot maintain a formal hold on any part of Yemen, so it has sought permanent control of some of Yemen’s key islands. Yemeni forces led by Ansarullah carried out several attacks on Saudi Arabia. In 2018, they also launched a missile attack on the UAE, warning that if the country continued its operations against Yemen, Sanaa would take further action against Abdu Dhabi. Thereafter, the United Arab Emirates announced that it was withdrawing its troops from Yemen. After the announcement, some of the UAE troops withdrew from some places, but it retained control of some important islands. However, after June 2019, it again became active in the southern provinces of Yemen, including Shabwa.
Recently, Saudi Arabia and the UAE along with al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists have gained some military ground against Ansarullah in Shabwa. This prompted the Yemeni government to take necessary steps to get the UAE out of this front, once again.
It is an established fact that after oil, the UAE is most dependent on foreign investment and if investors consider themselves insecure they will definitely leave the UAE. Yemen’s Ansarullah’s leadership had mainly focused on Saudi Arabia, believing that the UAE would reduce its military role in the war. However, in the past weeks, the UAE got reactivated in the war prompting Sanaa to initiate a move against them to force the country to leave the Yemeni battlefield, once again. Ansarullah’s January 17 attacks with ballistic and cruise missiles and drones on Abu Dhabi had the same context.
Sanaa’s military spokesman General Yahya Saree in a statement said that 10 ballistic missiles were fired at Al-Musafi area of Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi International Airport. Besides, cruise missiles and drones were also fired. Al Musafi’s oil refineries and several oil tankers were targeted, while videos of large-scale fire were seen making rounds globally. Abu Dhabi Airport was also closed temporarily. The operation was named “Yemen Storm”.
Mohammad al-Bakhit, a spokesman for Ansarullah’s political affairs office, in a statement said that the Yemeni forces had responded to a new wave of aggression launched by the UAE against the Yemenis. “The UAE does not have the capability to withstand our attacks,” he said and added that they would respond to every attack.
Information Minister of Yemeni government, Zaifullah Shami, in his Twitter message wrote that the UAE and its rulers have been conveyed the message. Now the sheikhs of the Persian Gulf and their agents, as well as the United Nations, he said, will raise a hue and cry against them but “we do not pay attention to the “caw” of crows and the buzzing of the flies.”
It is worth mentioning here that Musafi is a major and important industrial city of the UAE with a population, both local and non-local, about 1.5 million. The head of Yemeni forces has warned that if the enemy continues with its aggression and occupation of their land, the UAE economy and investment will remain at risk. In response to the attack, the citizens of Sanaa were brutally bombed; however, the morale of Ansarullah and its volunteers is high.
On the other hand, anti-colonial and anti-Zionist groups and people in different parts of the world have expressed satisfaction over the growing power of Ansarullah. They described increase in its military strength on different accounts after withstanding seven years of aggression as a guarantee to peace.
It is noteworthy that Yemeni missiles successfully hit their targets after covering a distance of 1300 kilometer Saudi airspace. An Ansarullah spokesman said that the glass-made tower [Burj Khalifa] and the international airports are at their target. They warned foreigners in the UAE that they consider the country as an enemy and can hit it any time. Therefore, the UAE territory should be considered unsafe and it is better for foreigners to leave it.