By Ramin Hossein Abadian

Al Hudaydah: the last piece of UAE expansion aims in Yemen

July 1, 2018 - 11:56

TEHRAN - Despite differences with Saudi Arabia over the past years regarding Yemen, the United Arab Emirates has still been cooperative with the Saudis in the war against the poorest Arab state.

Despite the rifts between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, the destruction of the army and popular committee forces in Yemen, the country’s infrastructure and the occupation of its strategic areas, these goals are shared. Thus, it is clear that the UAE keeps playing its role in the Saudi-led coalition for a share of war spoils in the future.

 The current objective is the seizure of Al Hudaydah since the occupation of Socatra Island has been accomplished.

“There can be no conditions in any offers to withdraw,” the United Arab Emirates’ Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, told a press conference in Dubai. Gargash said the Saudi and UAE-led offensive aimed “to help the UN envoy in his last chance to convince the Houthis to withdraw unconditionally from the city and avoid any confrontation.” Gargash said on June 18 that his country and its allies aimed to “avoid civilian casualties”, adding that the operation was “going very well”.
This UAE official’s remarks indicate that Abu Dhabi is responsible for Al Hudaydah and its fate. Abu Dhabi officials plan to complete their expansionist games in Yemen through control of Al Hudaydah.

The Emirati's expansionist aims in Yemen began two years ago, when Abu Dhabi decided to turn the city of Aden into some sort of “backyard”, but the UAE has the Saudis as an obstacle to achieve this goal. The Emiratis played a key role in recapturing the port city of Aden by deploying troops and mercenaries. They were almost successful in Aden, and unlike the Saudis, they were able to wrest control of some areas in the city. They set up secret and dreadful prisons created in Aden, too.

Secret detention centers in southern of Yemen have also been established. According to WHR’s report “Khor Maksar”, “Ishreen”, “Al-Hizam al-Amni” “Bir Ahmad” and Al-Enshaat are among the names of some of these detention centers located in the province of Aden. Horrible prisons are not confined to Aden only and have existed in other regions and provinces of Yemen. There are, for example, prisons located in the city of “Makla” in Hadramawt province. The most important  is “Al-Rayan” prison.

An independent human rights organization, “Sam”, which was founded by Yemeni youth in Geneva, has emphasized in a report: “Prisoners in secret and dreaded prisons are subject to the most severe forms of physical and mental torture. Detainees have lost all their rights.”

The AP documented at least 18 clandestine lockups across southern Yemen run by the United Arab Emirates or by their forces.

The secret prisons are inside military bases, ports, an airport, private villas and even a nightclub. The Emiratis have employed various and brutal practices in these prisons to torture prisoners. They have been blindfolded and beaten for weeks on end. Also, “fused iron” is placed on the naked bodies of detainees and abductees. This is only a small part of the UAE’s tortures in their secret prisons in Yemen.

The strategic Socotra Island was the next target of the Emiratis after Aden. They have completely occupied the island. Socotra is part of an archipelago in the Indian Ocean located at the mouth of the Aden Strait and between the two continents of Asia and Africa. It has a population of almost 50,000 people.

The UAE occupied the Socotra when it was under the control of the ruthless Yemeni government headed by Mansour Hadi. The UAE, as one of members in the Saudi-led coalition, apparently supported this government previously. Nonetheless, the occupation of Socotra by Abu Dhabi, without prior notice, represents the disagreements between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. It also shows the expansion and economic aims of the UAE to this strategic destination that once served tourists.

Abu Dhabi authorities now aim to complete their expansion in Yemen by seizing al-Hudaydah city. This does not please the Saudis. Yemen has become a victim to some extent of the power struggle between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

However, the resistance of the Yemeni army and popular committees against the Emirati aggressors has so far prevented the invaders from completing the conquest  of Al Hudaydah.

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