'A Yemeni warlord who has also been a fundraiser for Al-Qaeda and at one point is believed to have belonged to Daesh is being armed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) the Washington Post has discovered. In a startling interview, Abu Al-Abbas revealed that he has received millions of dollars in weapons and financial support for his fighters from the UAE, which is one of Washington’s closest Middle East allies, despite the fact that he was once a member of militant groups on the US terrorist list.
“The coalition is still supporting me,” he claimed, but he denied that he is a terrorist. “If I really was a terrorist, they would have taken me in for questioning.”
The Post points out that Al-Abbas’s case underscores the awkward alliances and odd bedfellows that are found on all sides in Yemen’s four-year war. It also raises questions about the UAE’s conduct in the conflict, highlighting its objectionable alliance as well as its part in the humanitarian disaster unfolding in the southern Arabia Peninsula.
Along with its more powerful Gulf neighbour Saudi Arabia, the UAE has been involved in a vicious military campaign in Yemen since 2015. The war is seen widely as a disaster which has created one of the worst humanitarian crises since the Second World War, with an estimated 85,000 Yemeni children having died and a further 20 million facing starvation. The Gulf coalition is seeking to defeat the northern Yemeni rebels known as Houthis and restore the country’s government-in-exile. The deadly conflict has been supported by the US, which assists it Gulf allies with intelligence-gathering, logistical support and the sale of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons and equipment.
Officials cited by the Post spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive matters freely. They said that the UAE “preferred to work with” some Islamic fundamentalists who serve as a “counterweight” to its enemies in the south. Under such circumstances, the official acknowledged, “It’s very easy for Al-Qaeda to insinuate itself into the mix.”'
Read more: Report claims UAE arms Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Yemen
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15 January 2019
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