UAE action puts Al Qaeda on back foot: Paper
Dubai, July 4: The UAE has made a significant commitment to supporting stability and law in Yemen by extending military support to the Saudi-led coalition against the Al Houthi insurgency and in fighting Al Qaeda, said a Dubai-based daily.
UAE forces are taking their skills learnt from action in Afghanistan and Somalia to lead the way in training thousands of Yemeni troops, the Gulf News paper said in its editorial on Monday.
"But during the year-long fight against Al Houthi militants, Al Qaeda took the opportunity of the chaos of war to grab control of large swathes of territory in the east of Yemen," the Gulf News said.
"It seized Mukalla, Yemen's third port, and took control over territory that it had never held before. It then used these assets to raise a steady income of tens of millions of dollars to support their dangerous terror plans."
This is why the UAE had to act, and it has worked with the Yemenis and the Americans in the background to successfully evict Al Qaeda from Mukalla, the daily said.
This was a significant blow to Al Qaeda because not only was Mukalla one of their major assets in Yemen, but the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda is seen as one of the most effective in the network. Its defeat is a significant loss to Al Qaeda's morale and reputation.
The daily said the UAE was also working to rebuild Yemen and has made a substantial contribution to restoring Aden to good working order, often in a very practical way such as helping sort out its battered hospitals, police force and even its air traffic control.
"It is to be hoped that the latest round of talks in Kuwait go well under the leadership of the UN, so that a Yemeni unity government can be formed, which will include the Al Houthis and others. If there is peace in the north, then the UAE and others in the coalition to support Yemen can focus on the next tasks of eliminating Al Qaeda and rebuilding a prosperous Yemen," the paper said.