A Yemeni minister has accused the UAE of establishing “regional and tribal armies and gangs that are working on dividing the country.” Transport Minister Saleh Al-Jubwani called for relations between his legitimate government and the UAE to be reconsidered.
Al-Jubwani told a press conference that when the Arab Coalition led by Saudi Arabia came to support the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, “It was intended to topple the [Houthi] coup in Sana’a and restoring the Yemeni state, rather than establishing regional and tribal armies that are working on dividing the country.” There is, he added, a very critical situation in all liberated provinces, especially those in the south of Yemen. “There are tribal armies established by the UAEs and gangs… Even Al-Qaeda has become more widespread than it was in the past.” The minister noted that the provinces liberated from the Houthis have become “contaminated” by terrorism and random violence.
On Sunday, the UAE-backed Al-Nukhba prevented a high-ranking government delegation from passing through one of its security barriers in Habban District, in the southeast of Shabwah Governorate. Al-Jubwani himself, along with provincial Governor Ali Ben Rashed Al-Harthi, as well as a number of security officials were stopped from travelling to Qena, on the Yemeni coast, where they were to lay the foundation stone for a new port.
“We were surprised that Al-Nukhba, affiliated to the UAE, cut the road using tanks, armoured vehicles and military staff,” Al-Jubwani told journalists. “We also were surprised because we were there to lay the foundation stone of a development project which would serve the governorate and we did not come for war.”
The minister explained that the military officers accompanying him went to negotiate with Al-Nukhba and were informed that there are “orders from the UAE leadership to prevent him from entering.” It was then decided to turn back, he said, so as to avoid bloodshed at a time dedicated to development and the spreading of peace instead of war. He was scathing about the incident, describing the militia troops as “the fools who are being manipulated by the UAE.”
Holding the Emirates responsible for the incident, Al-Jubwani pointed out that the UAE army chief of staff was in the port where the foundation stone ceremony was to be held. “It is more likely that the orders were issued directly from him.” This is the first time that a senior UAE official has been accused of such an act, as the Emirates are a major player in the Arab Coalition which is supposed to support the government of which the Transport Minister is a part.
However, it is not the first time that Al-Jubwani has attacked the UAE. He is known for his anti-Coalition position and his continuous criticism of the Emirates.