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The UAE and its leadership are a red line, yet…

The latest flare-up of KSA-UAE tensions regarding Yemen appears to have come to something of a close with Dubai police chief Dhahi Khalfan, a major instigator behind a series of international Twitter spats over the weekend, opting to take a 10-day Twitter sabbatical. While it remains to be seen whether Dhahi Khalfan keeps to his pledge, it was welcome news to several Saudi commentators:

Really the best thing you could do is stop for a long time and not just 10 days… You’ve fallen quite low… and laying blame on on the Saudi-led alliance is shameful… and contradicts with the positions of brotherly nation the UAE… Salman al-Dosary, writer for al-Sharq al-Aawsat

فعلاً أفضل ما تفعله أن تتوقف طويلاً وليس 10 أيام فقط… سقوطك مدو… ولمزك بالتحالف الذي تقوده السعودية مخز… ويتناقض مع مواقف الإمارات الشقيقة… للأسف مواقفك السابقة مع المملكة ثبت انها كانت تكتيكاً وليس مبدئاً تلتزم به… لسنا بحاجة المتقلبين يا أبا فارس… — سلمان الدوسري (@SalmanAldosary) August 27, 2019

Adhwan al-Ahmari likewise made it clear that his problem was not with the UAE at all, for

The leadership of the UAE and its people are a red line, but open tweeting against the unity of Yemen and the suggestions that the leadership of the coalition has no say in the matter, and that the independence of southern Yemen is the solution – all of this contradicts the goal of the Coalition to Support Legitimacy, and undermines the coalition’s efforts. The answer to this proposal is easy and will be. Adhwan al-Ahmari, editor of Independent Arabia

قيادة الإمارات وشعبها خط أحمر، أما التغريدات الاستعراضية ضد وحدة اليمن ومحاولة إيهام المغردين أن لا كلمة لقيادة التحالف، وأن استقلال الجنوب اليمني هو الحل فكل هذا يتعارض مع هدف تحالف دعم الشرعية، وتشتيت لجهود التحالف. والرد على هذا الطرح سهل وتم وسيتم. — عضوان الأحمري (@Adhwan) August 26, 2019

In what seems like a not-so-subtle discussion of Dhahi Khalfan, writer Khalid al-Suliman (known to occasionally offer a gingerly put “word of advice” to the powers that be in his columns) had this to say on Wednesday (KSA time):

It is true that everyone has the right to hold and express his own opinion. Yet statesmen, advisers, and policymakers, whether in positions of authority, retirement, or royal committees, have a special responsibility regarding the opinions they express openly, and to calculate the impact of these opinions! If we look at the positions put forth in official statements, it is impossible to ignore the contradictory messages from some of those close to centers of power and the confusion it causes. This is particularly the case in countries not known for individuals taking independent public positions, or for media freedoms! Khalid al-Suliman, Okaz, 8/27/2019

Elsewhere in the pages of Okaz, many of the paper’s top-line writers seem fed-up with the conflict and with Yemenis in general – the factionalist that has afflicted the anti-Houthi side is now portrayed more openly as a problem endemic to Yemen rather than a failing of the STC in particular.

The Kingdom has tried sincerely, honestly and impartially to unite the Yemeni political forces under the legitimate government to confront one opponent, the Houthis, who wanted to seize the whole of Yemen. But after more than five years, and after the recent events in Aden that spread to Shabwa and seem ready to spread elsewhere, we can that the story will probably go on and on even as it grows more complicated. It has became clear that the Yemenis do not want to rid their country of the catastrophe that has befallen it – the Yemenis here are not the utterly defeated people, but the Yemeni political system that leads the scene. Hamood Abu Talib, Okaz, 8/25/2019
The Saudi-UAE alliance will not be affected by any differences even if there may be some variation of opinion, because such an alliance is based on a stable relationship and a strategic necessity and bonds between the two brothers and allies… The problem of Yemen is not in the attitude of one side against another but in the expansion of internal conflicts and disputes, which may distract the coalition’s efforts and military action and impose complications that will only benefit Iran and its agents and the organization of the “Hamdain” [Hamad bin Jassem and “Father Emir” Hamad of Qatar] and its branches of the “Brotherhood.” Jamil al-Dhiyabi, editor of Okaz, 8/26/2019

–> interestingly, the official English-language translation of the above op-ed eliminates reference to the Brotherhood and Qatar.

We should remember that the Saudis did not wake up one morning to say, “We want to declare war in Yemen,” nor any other war. The Yemeni war between the legitimate government and the Houthis has been aflame since since at 2004 with six wars, and the differences and conflicts between the various parties in Yemen are part of a Yemeni culture filled with fighting at the expense of development and stability. The latest war was the seizure of power in Sana’a which necessitated a Security Council resolution authorizing Saudi Arabia and the coalition countries to liberate Yemen and restore the legitimate government. Muhammad al-Said, Okaz, 8/26/2019
Riyadh, which is leading the international coalition, has no economic interest in Yemen. Saudi Arabia could have taken the least costly option and simply secured its borders, leaving Yemenis to fight each other to annihilate themselves in a civil war that wasn’t prolonged by Iranian weapons. However, Saudi Arabia carried out its national and Islamic duty to save Yemen from sliding into a bottomless pit of ruin. It is the duty of every free Yemeni today to repay this kind act by contributing to the realization of the alliance’s supreme goal and ridding his country of “the mouse that would destroy the dam.” [reference to a Yemeni proverb about a mouse destroying an ancient dam in Yemen, meaning the Houthis] Only then can the Yemenis decide how to share their lot, in safe conditions not threatened by a flood. Hani Dhahri, Okaz, 8/25/2019
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