The Yemen War - Who is ultimate winner?
By Noor Al Hassan, via Al Jazeera English. - This file comes from the Al Jazeera Creative Commons Re...

The Yemen war has entered in its fourth year. However, peace seems to be at large. The Yemen war has resulted in a humanitarian crisis. This article covers the different future perspectives of the Yemen war. The occupation of Aden by Southern separatists opened a new debate in Yemen. Separatists success have weakened all the efforts of restoring the government of President Mansour Hadi. Meanwhile, territorial unity of Yemen is also under threat.

UAE has withdrawn the majority of its troops from Yemen. Separatists started advancements after UAE withdrawal. Experts believe that UAE withdrawal and separatists advancements are plans of UAE’s greater game. UAE wants to take control of Southern Yemen and seaport of Aden.

UAE does not have any direct threat from Yemen unrest. Geographically UAE does not share a border with Yemen. But Houthi’s success in Yemen was a factor that was seen as a threat by UAE. The civil war in Yemen was started in 2015. The unrest was the result of the collapse of multi-party negotiations under the Gulf initiative. Emirati authorities believe that instability in Yemen can endanger the peace of Arabian peninsula. Furthermore Aden port is a part of UAE’s greater plan to become a major naval player in the region. As part of UAE’s greater plan, the Emirati authorities have signed many deals at the start of the 21st century. UAE’s greater plan involves establishing military bases at commercially important ports. The UAE has a military presence in Somaliland and Eritrea. UAE and allies started operation in Yemen in March 2015. However, this operation was aimed at stopping the advancements of Houthi rebels. UAE was never keen on restoring the legitimacy of Mansour Hadi’s government. Yemeni President is also well aware of the UAE’s intentions. In papers, UAE was part of the coalition to restore the government of President Hadi. But practically UAE was paving way for southern separatists. After capturing Aden from Houthis, the UAE forces started to progress towards Hodeida and Mokha. Both these ports have strategic importance for trade. UAE captured these strategically important ports and deprived Houthi rebels of importing weapons.

In 2018, UAE and Yemeni forces started operation against Houthi rebels around Hodeida. After that operation, the Stockholm ceasefire agreement was signed and it is still valid. After withdrawing forces from Yemen, the UAE allowed secessionist Southern Transition Council (STC) to stage a coup against the Yemeni government.

Experts believe that the battle of Aden is just the beginning of a long war. UAE will continue to support the southern secessionists until the removal of Hadi’s control.

Now we will have a look at the Saudi plan. Saudi Arabia did not show any response on the advancements of secessionists. Hadi’s supporters think that Saudi silence is creating doubts. Close Saudi-UAE relations are a reality. However, MBS cannot claim any success in Yemen while UAE gained strategic goals in Yemen. The Houthis still have strongholds in Sanaa. They consistently target Saudi Arabia with drones and rockets. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is largely blamed on Saudi Arabia and creates hurdles for Kingdom at international forums.

While Saudi Arabia adopted a hawkish approach towards Iran, but UAE wants to de-escalate tensions with Iran. Experts believe that UAE is the ultimate winner of the Yemen war. Saudi Arabia wasted money and power in Yemen and yet Hadi’s government could not be restored.

Now with the advancements of separatists, Yemen is facing a threat of disintegration. Saudi Arabia announced that it will neutralize tensions between Hadi and opponents. But experts believe that the extensive role of UAE has deprived Saudi Arabia of playing any significant role in Yemen.

Now we will discuss the possible future perspectives of the Yemen war. In the first scenario, separatists of STC will be allowed to maintain their occupation of Aden. After the negotiations between the Hadi government and STC, the control of Mokha and Hodeida will be given to STC. This will allow UAE to take control of strategic coastline of Yemen.

In the 2nd scenario, Hadi’s forces can take control of Dhale, Lahj, and Taiz. This will create two power centers in Southern Yemen. But in that case, other warlords may announce fighting with the government. This scenario will eventually result in further disintegration of Yemen. In a third scenario, Houthi rebels will strongholds in Northern Yemen. This scenario will create two power spheres in Yemen. Northern Yemen will be controlled by Houthis and Southern Yemen will be controlled by UAE-backed STC. This scenario will be a big blow for KSA. In this case, Mansour Hadi will be nowhere in the power centers of Yemen.

Conclusively we can say that Saudi Arabia did not get anything from Yemen war. UAE played a double game with Saudi Arabia. UAE managed to acquire the strategic ports of Southern Yemen, while Saudi backed Yemeni forces are losing grounds in the south. We can just be hopeful that the Yemen war will end in a positive node.

Related: The Yemen Crisis: A criminal Negligence of World