A BBC investigation has uncovered disturbing allegations that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has funded and orchestrated politically motivated killings in Yemen. This explosive revelation adds a dark layer to the already devastating conflict that has ravaged the country for over a decade.
Key findings of the investigation:
- US mercenaries training UAE troops in Yemen allegedly conducted clandestine training for local residents, leading to a surge in politically motivated assassinations.
- While claiming to target al-Qaeda and ISIS in southern Yemen, the UAE reportedly recruited former jihadists into its Yemeni security forces, further complicating the conflict.
- The UAE government vehemently denies the BBC’s accusations, calling them “untrue and baseless.”
- Over 100 politically motivated killings in three years highlight the brutality of the internal conflict in Yemen, fueled by international powers.
- This instability hinders the return of the internationally recognized Yemeni government and indirectly strengthens the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
The context of the conflict:
- 2014: Houthi rebel group seizes Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.
- 2015: Saudi-led coalition, including the UAE as a key partner, launches airstrikes against the Houthis.
- UAE takes responsibility for security in southern Yemen and becomes the US’s main counter-terrorism ally in the region.
- Internal clashes erupt within the coalition, including fighting between Saudi-backed government forces and separatists in 2019.
- Al-Qaeda and ISIS exploit the chaos, while Houthis extend their influence and attack international shipping in the Red Sea in 2023.
Personal account of the investigation:
The BBC journalist details witnessing a series of mysterious killings in government-controlled southern Yemen, targeting individuals from the Islah party (Yemeni branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) with no ties to terrorism.
Leaked drone footage and interviews with former US mercenaries point towards the UAE’s alleged involvement in these extrajudicial killings.
The global implications:
These accusations against the UAE, a key US ally, cast a shadow over international efforts to stabilize Yemen. The findings raise concerns about human rights abuses, the effectiveness of counter-terrorism strategies, and the complex geopolitical dynamics in the region.
- The US has announced plans to re-designate the Houthis as “global terrorists.”
- International pressure on the UAE and Saudi Arabia to end their involvement in the Yemen conflict is likely to intensify.