There are some disturbed people who seek to undermine the continuing role of the United Arab Emirates in saving Yemen from the chaos of the Houthi coup and supporting the legitimate Yemeni leadership. However, every time these people lose, and their tendentious campaigns end, as the number of Emirati sacrifices that have been made is well known, as well as its relief efforts that led to the defeat of the Houthis and the restoration the largest Yemeni provinces in the South and east of Yemen. And now, Operation Golden Spear is ongoing, to secure the strategic Strait of Bab al-Mandab and prevent any potential hostile Iranian intrusion from using the Yemeni coastline.
The UAE’s role does not beg appreciation, as the reality on the ground and the UAE’s humanitarian presence speaks clearly of the fulfilment of the sons of Zayed and the sincerity in their efforts to help their Yemeni brothers end the coup and return to normal life, so good can reach to all Yemenis, and the legitimate authority can re-impose its power and presence.
Those who do not wish wellbeing upon the Yemeni people and want to control their future to keep it under the tyranny of myths, extremism, and defunct ideologies are the same people who are sceptical about the role of the UAE, and it is they who promote illusions and ignore facts and logical thinking. There is no doubt as well that those who exploit religious slogans have a hand in Yemen’s disasters. What is strange is that the Houthis align with the Muslim Brotherhood in rejecting rational thinking and in resisting the building of a new Yemen, as they consider that the adoption of an open policy which could lead Yemen to peace and development will undermine their chances of duping Yemenis with catechisms which do not treat sick patients, do not fill hungry mouths, do not open new classrooms, nor light a lamp in the darkness that Yemen has inherited from al-Houthi and Saleh.
When the Emirates hurried faithfully to save Yemen, it did not do so in order to receive dictates or for its efforts to be met with ingratitude and follies. Moreover, the UAE does not want anything but for its efforts of supporting legitimacy in Yemen to be concluded in such a way that the Yemeni officials become keen to serve the interests of their country and its future, and to prevent Yemen from taking gambles on dead ideologies; the period when the region was divided between the Utopia of Arab nationalism and its counterpart of Islamism has passed, and ultimately national dreams did not succeed in achieving a minimum of Arab integration, and the Salafi radical axis did not produce anything but more extremism and stagnation of civilization. It could be argued that the nationalist axis and the axis of Salafism had received numerous chances and the result was a failure for both axes. In order for Yemen to step into a brighter future after its long crisis, officials there must deal with the new developments rationally and openly, taking into account the principle of mutual interests.
Emirati and the Gulf’s interests in general must support stability in Yemen as part of the geopolitical security of the Arabian Peninsula. In addition to that, there is an essential strategic Emirati interest that requires facing the Iranian encroachment and depriving it of opportunities to control the Horn of Africa and the west coast of the Red Sea. Yemen’s interests additionally require the elimination of Iranian-Houthi encroachment and restoring stability to- and extending the influence of- a powerful Yemeni state. It is in the interests of Yemen as well to rehabilitate its ports and make them operational. Thus, the golden nugget of advice for the legitimate Yemeni leadership is to think logically toward the future, away from the emotions and projections of the past, as the logic of managing the state in the modern era boils down to the famous phrase by Churchill: ‘There are no lasting friends, no lasting enemies, only lasting interests’.
Since it is interests which are lasting, and not friendships or enmities, those who are in charge in Yemen must compare, in terms of interests, between what the Emirates has to offer Yemen and what Iran has. Iran certainly will not grant Yemen anything but catchy slogans and statements, and anything that would turn Yemen into news material to be consumed by the Iranian media. Iran is not the one which built Marib Dam, it is the Emirates, and Iran has not and will not provide for Yemen even 1% of the humanitarian aid provided by the UAE.
Al Mezmaah Studies & Research Centre
06 March 2017