The war the Saudi-UAE-US coalition launched on March 26, 2015, against Yemen has not achieved its goals. In addition to the casualties of its forces and its mercenaries, the war costs the UAE about $ 1.3 billion per month or $16 billion a year. This war has increased its impact on the UAE, its economy and its manpower more than ever.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) even extended this month compulsory military service for Emirati nationals from 12 to 16 months.
Meanwhile, the escalation in the conflict has meant a large and growing number of civilian Saudi and UAE casualties, and global opinion is turning against the coalition. The recent UAE’assault on the Yemen port city of Hudaydah has achieved nothing, and the Emiratis have been forced to reduce their operations.
The UAE’s armed forces in Yemen
The UAE has three types of forces in Yemen: first, the UAE troops, and then Yemeni mercenaries who are commanded by Emirati forces and finally mercenaries from other countries that the UAE has hired to fight. The UAE has not announced the number of their troops in Yemen but reports indicate that about 1,500 troops and soldiers from the UAE Special Forces are directly involved in the war and training allied mercenaries. Hundreds of UAE soldiers forces have been killed in Yemen since 2015, according to reports. The emirates have also deployed and trained more than 35,000 Yemenis. They are recruited through tribal sheikhs. The Emiratis just in Aden employed 14,000 people while 2,000 were hired in Abyan, 3000 in al-Mahriya, and 2000 in Socotra to go to war with the military and popular committees in Yemen.
Mercenaries from Latin America, Australia, South Africa, El Salvador, Chile and Panama and Colombia have been deployed by the UAE. They are engaged in torture and field executions, in addition to fighting against the army and popular committees in Yemen. These mercenaries might receive $530 a month in their own countries, but the Emiratis give them more than $2,800 per month.
According to Yemen Net, African mercenaries fight alongside Brigadier General Tareq Saleh, the nephew of slain President Ali Abdullah Saleh, on the western coast of Yemen. They include forces from Sudan, Somali, Senegal, Uganda, Chad, Kenya and Eritrea. These mercenaries have been trained in the Hadramaut desert and are based in a camp between Zobab and the port of Al-Muqa in western Yemen.
Mercenaries from the countries of East Asia, including Filipinos, Bangladeshis, Afghans, Chechens and Pakistanis, have been hired by the UAE and Saudi Arabia. In addition to military missions, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Filipino mercenaries are used in Yemen’s logistical and other services, many are working in hospitals and kitchens of the Saudi-led coalition.
Emiratis use former prisoners, bandits and gangs in the war against the army and Yemeni popular committees and spy agencies. Takfiri and Salafi mercenaries also serve Emiratis.
Latin American mercenaries may receive a monthly salary of $2,000 to $3,000 dollars while in their own countries they do not receive a salary of more than $400 a month.
The cost of it all for the UAE is enormous, an estimated $16 billion annually. This is apart from the cost of 30 Emirati fighter jets and the UAE military vessels in the Red sea contributing to the Yemen war.
The UAE and its allies in southern Yemen have secret prisons, maybe 18 in all, according to Arabic 21. Americans have been involved in interrogation at these prisons, too. They are run by the UAE or by Yemeni forces created and trained by the Persian Gulf nation. Human Rights Watch has uncovered the detention of scores of men and even some children.
The secret prisons are located on military bases, basements of villas and even inside a nightclub. Some detainees have been transferred to the Emirates. Two thousand detainees have been registered in secret prisons in the UAE. More than 400 prisoners have disappeared after being detained in al-Muqla in southern Yemen. In Aden, more than 1,500 people have been detained and many of them have disappeared
Yemenis, meanwhile, are concerned about the UAE’s dominance over Bab al-Mandab, oil-rich regions and also by the spread of al-Qaeda and Takfiris.
The war since 2015 has been a burden on the UAE’s economy. The Yemeni war has turned into a financial black hole that has forced tax increases and duties on UAE citizens and residents. Emirate’s authorities have moved to the Reserve Fund. Budget deficits have mounted. Life in the UAE, especially in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, has become increasingly expensive, and these two cities may be the most expensive places in the world to live. The war has also hit the UAE’s investments, and increased inflation.
The Yemeni war daily imposes more on Emiratis and the Saudis. Yemen has become an obvious impediment to UAE and Saudi prospects. The two countries have placed themselves in a quagmire.