Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

UAE’s Security Bubble Is Punctured by Its Role in Yemen War

By The Intercept

Missile attacks on the UAE are the result of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed turning the Emirates into an active belligerent in Yemen.

The United Arab Emirates has built an economic and political system reliant on its status as a safe harbor in an unstable region. The glittering prosperity and safety of cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi has enticed people from around the world to live, work, and invest in the small Gulf Arab country ­— just 150 kilometers from the coast of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The success of the Emirates has often felt like a bit of a miracle: a bubble of exorbitant wealth that has grown in the desert over a few short decades, thanks in large part to the contributions of expatriate workers and professionals. The fragility of this bubble however was highlighted this week, when the war in poverty-stricken Yemen, in which the UAE has taken a prominent role, finally arrived at its doorstep.

Two separate attacks claimed by Yemeni Houthi rebels this month struck the UAE, shattering the image of calm upon which the country’s economic model depends. The first attack, a drone strike on January 17 which hit the airport and a fuel depot in Abu Dhabi, set off explosions that killed three expatriate workers. That attack enraged Emirati leaders, who struck back by bombing a prison in the northern Yemeni city of Saada in an attack that killed dozens. The Houthis seemed undeterred by this retaliation, however, striking the Emirates again this week with a ballistic missile attack aimed at a military base outside Abu Dhabi which is home to thousands of U.S. service personnel.


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