Classified Report: ‘UAE-Saudi relations in danger’ due to war in Yemen

According to the report, the UAE's announcement to withdraw its forces from Yemen at the end of last year "left various local parties hopeful."

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  • Saudi and Emirati foreign policies have been at odds with each other in Yemen.
  • Saudi Arabia supports the Yemeni government forces while the UAE supports the southern separatists.
  • As both their proxies fight each other in Yemen, the consequences can be felt in the two countries’ bilateral relationship.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MbZ) [LEFT], and Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) [RIGHT]. (Al Jazeera)
A classified Emirati report has disclosed that the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) future partnership with Saudi Arabia in Yemen is at stake.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned that: “A conflict of interests might build a hostile environment for the two parties.”

An Emirati tank in Hudaydah, Yemen. (Najeeb Almahboobi/EPA, via Shutterstock)

According to the report released by the Yemeni Studies Unit at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sustaining the current situation in Yemen means creating a hostile environment for Saudi Arabia and the UAE alike.

The estimations made in the report were established on an assessment of the local parties to the Yemeni conflict regarding relations between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. The report indicated that all of the parties, except the Houthis, have no other alternative but to stick to their sponsor.

Yemeni pro-government forces are backed by Saudi Arabia. (EPA)

Nevertheless, the report did not provide a concrete analysis of the future of bilateral relations between the components of the Arab coalition.

According to the report, the UAE’s announcement to withdraw its forces from Yemen at the end of last year “left various local parties hopeful.”

(File photo by Ahmed Shihab al-Qadi)

The Yemeni Studies Unit at the Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that the Emirati cooperation with Saudi Arabia in Yemen had three stages.

The first was “the stage of satisfaction and gratitude,” which reflected a state (from the Yemeni parties’ perspective) of harmony between the two Gulf states to achieve a unified goal: to eliminate the Houthi coup.

Houthis. (Reuters)

The next stage was characterized by a state of confusion and division.

According to the report, “uncertainty and indecisiveness began to afflict the conflict scene. New forces started to emerge, and the two countries’ policies and their positions, in general, became unclear and demonstrated contradiction in various instances.”

Backed by the UAE, Yemen’s southern separatists fight against the Saudi-backed government forces. (File: Nabil Hasan/AFP)

The third stage, which the report classified as the “stage of revision and doubt,” was notably marked by the belief that the coordination and agreement between the Emirates and Saudi Arabia started to fall apart but did not reach the point of total collapse.

The Yemeni parties to the crisis began to see a split between the two forces, especially: “Taking note of some developments, the last of which was the UAE’s announcement to decrease its military presence in Yemen.”

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