The Arabian Peninsula has been hollowed by military interventions led by the United Arab Emirates. The Persian Gulf nation has been fighting proxy wars in some of the most politically destabilized Arab regions, in coalitions. In this process, not only did the UAE hire private military contractors, but also engaged with terrorist organizations inhabited in the region. The leading power became the subject of the international community’s backlash while, the UAE gained grip in the region, quietly behind the scenes. Here is a look back at how Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia were 10 years ago, and are after the UAE has ravaged them through years of gruesome wars.
World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis
Infamous as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, Yemen became a battlefield for warring nations in the 2015 intervention led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Despite the death of hundreds and displacement of thousands, the Emirati forces and pro-Yemeni forces loyal to them, refused to end their assault on the poor Arab nation. In its regional fight against arch rival Iran, which backs the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the UAE continued to kill civilians in the Arab nation with military and logistical support coming from powerful allies in the West, like the US.
In this fight, the UAE has reportedly killed many civilians and tortured them to death in their secretly run prisons. According to an investigative report released by the Associated Press, the UAE (United Arab Emirates) forces even aligned with al-Qaeda fighters, provided them weapons and cash, in the exchange of support against Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia, which leads the intervention in Yemen and is a close ally to the UAE, is also home to al-Qaeda. In addition, the UAE hired mercenaries comprising of the ex-US marines and military men, hired at the direction of Mohammed bin Zayed via Mohammed Dahlan.
Meanwhile, the hunger for hegemony and victory over arch rival Iran also contributed to the humanitarian crisis paralysing Yemen.
Dahlan, Daesh and Syria
In Syria, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and military head of the UAE, Mohammed bin Zayed, operated indirectly. On the frontlines, Mohammed Dahlan, the right hand of MbZ equipped the PKK/PYD (backed by the United States) with 3,000 more terrorist fighters from Daesh to prolong the war endlessly beyond repair and attack Syria’s Idlib.
Dahlan has been part of Mohammed bin Zayed’s other targeted assassination missions like the one in Yemen. Dahlan was the one to hire US mercenaries Abraham Golan and Isaac Gilmore along with other US military veterans, to lead targeted assassinations against political opponents in Yemen.
In Syria, Dahlan, at the order of the UAE (United Arab Emirates) government, conspired the terrorization of the region to disrupt the little conciliation achieved in past. Dahlan’s association with terrorist group was certainly the reason UAE denied channelling any of its promised Syrian aid money through UN, instead chose to do so via Emirati channels.
On the other hand, Russia and Iran have caused an all together different havoc in Syria, engulfing civilian lives and displacing them while backing the Assad government. Russia leads the air raids while Iran sponsores militia groups like the Hezbollah. Emirati ally, Saudi Arabia, has also received international media backlash for supporting Syrian rebel groups like the al-Nura front, associated with al-Qaeda terror group for regional interests. The kingdom even played part in the illegal channelization of Serbian weapons manufactured by the state-owned Zastava Arms plant in Kragujevac. The weapons, which were originally manufactured for Saudi, were found being used in Syria via a possible Turkish-shipment channel. The trade was first identified by the reporters of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
Crisis Spills Over Somalia
Arab crisis spill over Somalia, especially when it took a neutral stance in the ‘gulf crisis’ led by Saudi Arabia, instead of siding with its ally, the United Arab Emirates. The UAE (United Arab Emirates) military had been training Somalian forces to combat against militias in the region. However, rifts emerged when the Somali airport security forces stopped an Emirati aircraft carrying 47 Emirati Armed Forces personnel’s along with more than $9 million in cash, at the Mogadishu airport. Allegedly, the Somali forces complained of their soldiers taking orders from the Emirati forces instead of them. The seizure of cash raised concerns to which the Somalia announced the end of funding for its armed forces from the UAE.
Reportedly, the Somali forces were being used by Emirati military in order to give shape to their agendas in the region. Like other politically inclined interventions in the varied politically destabilized Arab regions, this eastern African republic received unilateral raids. These raids were conducted by the Somali forces trained by the UAE, at the orders of the UAE, targeting political opponents in the regions and others, which included civilian casualties.
Breach of UN Arms Embargo in Libya
In Libya, UAE fulfilled its interests through lobbying of senior UN envoys and even the military strongman, Khalifa Haftar. The Emirati government has been accused of violating UN arms embargo on Libya by equipping forces loyal to Haftar with armored vehicles to attack aircrafts, including helicopters.
According to the panel, the UAE delivered a total of 93 armored personnel carriers along with 549 armored and non-armored vehicles to the Libyan National Army, also known as, the LNA. The deliveries were made in the eastern city of Tobruk during April 2016 via ship from Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, the panel described the personnel carriers as likely being of the models Panther T6 and Tygra, which are both manufactured by companies based in the UAE.
In addition, humanitarian groups too have accused the UAE (United Arab Emirates) of conducting war crimes in Libya by supporting Khalifa Haftar and carrying out direct air strikes on the civilians of Libya in 2014.
From military to technological interventions, the Saudi-UAE coalition has left no means to rage chaos in the Middle East for their political interests. Meanwhile, years of wars have only left the region barren, hollow, and devastated. But, without the US’ backing, would the Saudi-UAE bloc be as dominant in the Arabian Peninsula as it is today?
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