A 79-page undisclosed UN report accuses Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of undermining the Yemen government, the Washington Post reported yesterday.
The publication claims that both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have supported armed forces to fragment the authority of the Yemeni government led by the internationally recognised President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi which has bolstered the fragmentation of the country.
Hadi invited the Saudi-led coalition to neutralise territorial threats by the Houthi group and support the legitimate government in unifying Yemen. The United Arab Emirates has since supported the Southern Transitional Council (STC) based in Aden, south Yemen, which holds political goals to secede from northern Yemen. Late last year, the STC inaugurated its national assembly.
Saudi Arabia has not publically commented on the UAE’s political and military shift.
In an interview with MEMO late last year, STC spokesperson Salem Thabet Al-Awlaki said the “STC is part of the solution not a part of the problem, and therefore there has been no negative attitude announced by the Saudi leadership, which was timely in its intervention. With support from Saudi Arabia and the coalition, we were able to liberate Aden, Hadramout, and other southern areas from the grips of the coup forces and its allies.”
Saudi Arabia was also criticised by UN experts in the report on its use of air strikes in Yemen. The UN claimed that majority of the air strikes targeted more than 5,000 civilians.
The UN report provides new evidence to support accusations by the US and the Saudi-led coalition that Iran is arming the Houthi group. It claimed there are “strong indications of the supply of arms-related material manufactured in, or emanating from, the Islamic Republic of Iran”.
Shortly after former president Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed after severing his alliance with the Houthis, a new Yemeni alliance to fight the Houthis led by Hadi’s national army was formed. The alliance included UAE backed forces and the Tihama tribe located on the west coast. The new alliance already recaptured the district of Khokha in December and continues to march towards Hudaydah governorate.
The United Arab Emirates has focused its political and military efforts in south Yemen. Saudi Arabia has stepped-up its military presence in Mahrah governorate which borders Oman.