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Yemen war victims file complaint against Saudi-UAE coalition

December 4, 2021 at 3:10 pm

Yemeni security forces inspect the site of an Al-Qaeda suicide bombing in the southern port city of Aden, on November 5, 2017 [STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images]

Victims of Yemen’s war on Friday submitted a complaint in France against the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for allegations relating to the “financing of terrorism”. The victims’ attorney disclosed that the victims also accused the two countries of establishing an alliance with Al-Qaeda.

Attorney Josef Briham, who submitted the complaint with his assistant Julie Baleno, said: “Our best allies and arms customers in the region are allied with our worst enemies, who orchestrated the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January 2015.”

The complaint was submitted by the Yemeni non-governmental organisation, the Legal Centre for Rights and Development, which is aligned with Houthi rebels and based in Sanaa.

Saudi Arabia, the US ally, has intervened in Yemen since 2015, leading a military alliance to support the government against Houthi rebels politically backed by Iran. The UAE withdrew its troops from Yemen in 2019, but is still a member of the alliance.

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The US considers the Al-Qaeda branch in the Arabian Peninsula, established in 2009, to be the toughest branch of Al-Qaeda’s network, exploiting the chaos resulting from the war to launch attacks against Houthi and government forces.

The complaint stated: “Many observers emphasised the de facto alliance with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula against Ansar Allah forces, particularly through financial and equipment support, as well as logistic cooperation.”

According to the plaintiffs: “The coalition may have paid, especially through the First Abu Dhabi Bank, money to the terrorist Al-Qaeda organisation, in exchange for its withdrawal from the cities it controlled.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight victims of torture or bombing carried out by the Saudi coalition. Briham also accuses the Saudi crown prince, the Abu Dhabi crown prince and the chiefs of staff of the two armies of “crimes of torture”, “forced disappearance”, “war crimes” and “forming a terrorist criminal gang”.

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