UAE mercenaries seize Aden airport from Saudi-backed militants: Report

June 2, 2017 11:51 am

A plane is seen parked at the tarmac of the Aden international airport, Yemen, on December 3, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Militants backed by and the , two allies engaged in a deadly war on Yemen, have engaged in infighting in the port city of Aden, with -backed militia seizing an airport there.
Yemeni sources said the UAE-backed operation killed a member of the security guard at the airport, which was controlled by militias loyal to Saudi-allied former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Aden is under the control of Yemen’s former government, which the Saudi regime and its allies have been seeking to reinstall through a bloody military campaign.
The campaign was launched in March 2015 to return power to Hadi, who had resigned and fled the country earlier that year after refusing to negotiate power with Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.
After returning to the country, Hadi headed for Aden, but his plane was once barred from landing by pro-UAE airport security warden Saleh al-Emeiry.
Hadi has been increasingly suspicious of Abu Dhabi’s role in Yemen and has sacked two of his pro-Emirati officials.
The men, Hadi’s governor for Yemen’s port city of Aden, Maj. Gen. Aidarous al-Zubaidi, and his state minister Hani bin Breik, reacted by breaking ranks with Hadi and forming an autonomous regional body in southern Yemen.
Saudi Arabia then “invited” the separatists to the kingdom, in what was seen as an effort at seeking explanation from them for parting ways with Riyadh-allied Hadi.

Yemeni supporters of the southern separatist movement wave the movement’s flag during a rally calling for independence of the south, in the country’s second city of Aden, on May 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Reports and indications on the ground point to emerging disagreements between Saudi Arabia and the UAE over the war on Yemen, where Abu Dhabi lost more servicemen than other members of the Riyadh-led coalition.
Observers say Abu Dhabi’s support for the troops and secessionists is a tacit way of its opposing Riyadh, which has dragged it into the war on Yemen.
The airport’s capture, which took place after several unsuccessful attempts by pro-UAE forces to seize the facility, is expected to further fuel tensions between the Emirates and Saudi-backed Hadi.
In a recent interview with Eye online portal, Hadi accused the UAE of acting “like an occupation power in Yemen rather than a force of liberation.”
According to a report by the Associated Press, the UAE is quietly expanding its military presence into Africa and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Yemeni sources have revealed that the United Arab Emirates is trying to establish control over the strategic island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea, which Hadi had rented out to the kingdom for nearly a century.
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