The invisible hand of UAE in Yemen

TEHRAN, Jan. 04 (MNA) – In the latest major development in the Yemen war, the Yemeni Armed Forces announced on Monday that they had seized an Emirati-operated cargo ship for committing “hostile acts” in the territorial waters of Yemen.

Brigadier General Yahya Saree, the spokesperson for Yemen’s Armed Forces, issued a brief statement saying that the ship, named RWABEE, was under Yemeni control.

“With God’s help, an Emirati military cargo ship, which was carrying military equipment, was seized,” he said, adding, “The Emirati ship entered Yemeni waters without any license.”

The spokesperson underlined that the ship was detained after engaging in hostile acts targeting the security and stability of the Yemeni people. Saree did not give much information about the seizure but said further details would be presented later on the day. 

Mohammed Abdulsalam, the spokesman for the Ansarullah movement, said the images expected to be broadcast will muzzle the aggression and its “fake media.”

“The qualitative and unprecedented operation of the Yemeni naval forces plunged the countries of aggression into a state of confusion by issuing successive and contradictory statements. The images that will be broadcast later on the military ship will restrain the countries of aggression and silence its fake media,” Abdulsalam said. 

He also confirmed that the seizure was a successful and unprecedented operation. “The successful and unprecedented operation comes as part of confronting the aggression and the siege,” he pointed out.

It is the first time that a transgressive ship has been seized while carrying out hostile acts in Yemeni waters since the beginning of the US-Saudi aggression, according to Al-Masirah, a Yemeni news television. 

The news channel said the Yemeni navy had previously destroyed several ships and frigates operated by the US-Saudi aggression while carrying out hostile acts against the Yemeni people.

The Saudi-led coalition confirmed the seizure by demanding that Yemeni forces release the Emirati-flagged ship. In a statement on Monday, the coalition described the seizure as a “criminal act of piracy,” ignoring the fact that Yemen is at war and that it has every right to defend itself and protect its sovereignty. 

Coalition spokesperson Brigadier General Turki Al-Maliki said the Yemeni forces “must promptly release the ship, or the Coalition Forces will undertake all necessary measures and procedures to handle this violation, including the use of force if necessary.”

On the other hand, the Armed Forces of Yemen warned Saudi Arabia against targeting the seized ship as it would put the lives of the crew in danger. 

The seizure came against a backdrop of renewed Saudi push to escalate its aerial bombardment of Yemen. Since December, Saudi Arabia, together with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has ratcheted up its attacks against Yemen in a strategy shift as represented by the replacement of the governor of Shabwa and the deployment of UAE-allied forces of the western coast of Yemen to the governorate of Shabwa. 

In a bid to reverse the gains of the Yemeni forces on the ground, Saudi Arabia forced the Mansur Hadi government to fire the governor of Shabwa who was seen as close to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group detested by the UAE. The Saudi-backed government of Hadi acquiesced to the Saudi pressure and replaced the former governor, Muhammad Salih bin Udayo, with a prominent tribal figure close to the UAE. 

In addition, Saudi Arabia deployed a UAE-backed militia called the Giants Brigades from Yemen’s western coast to the Shabwa governorate. The militia started an offensive against the Yemeni forces in the governorate as soon as it set foot in Shabwa. They now plan to further advance in the governorate with direct aerial support from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

The UAE, although pretending to be out of the Yemen war, keeps playing a pivotal role in support of Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen. The recent developments in Shabwa were the latest indicator of the Emirati involvement. In that context, the Yemeni forces’ seizure of the transgressive Emirati ship may correlate with the UAE’s renewed interest in Shabwa. 

The Minister of Information in the Sana'a government, Dhaif Allah Al-Shami, hinted at this, noting that “the UAE has started a new strategy against the Yemeni people.”

He said, “The seized Emirati ship was carrying armored vehicles and transport vehicles for soldiers.”

“After the visit of the Israeli Prime Minister to the UAE, a new strategy began against the Yemeni people, which was manifested in the air, land and sea escalation,” the Yemeni minister said on Twitter. 

He added, “But the balance of power, thanks to God and his support, will change the course of the battle, and the detention of the Emirati military ship RWABEE is only a prelude to something greater.”

First published in Tehran Times

News Code 182540

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