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The attack on Houthi drones shows insecurity in the UAE, experts say | Stories

A Dangerous drone attacks by Yemeni Houthis in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has revealed the country’s vulnerability as it jeopardizes its reputation as a tourist and business destination and pushing for alliance with neighboring Tehran, researchers say.

An Iranian-backed Houthi militant group targeted an oil depot in Abu Dhabi, killing three people. The alleged drone attack also sparked a fire at Abu Dhabi International Airport, attracting criticism and promising repatriation to the UAE.

Praising the attack as a “military victory”, a spokesman for the Houthi military, Yahya Saree, warned that he could look into the UAE, which has become part of the Saudi-led war in Yemen that has killed thousands and pushed the army. a world headed for human disaster.

Tuesday, Saudi Arabia introduced airplane shooting in Yemen the capital of Sanaa, killing more than a dozen people. Houthis said 20 people had been killed in the blasts.

Although UAE presidential adviser Anwar Gargash has denied that the “bad” attack could endanger national peace and security, experts say the incident reveals a very different reality.

“This attack brings home to the UAE that they were playing the most powerful sport in the region,” said Andreas Krieg, a senior lecturer at the School of Defense Studies at King’s College London. It made them realize that “they are, after all, a minority with a lot of risks.”

“These [the incident] then it will seriously damage the UAE’s reputation because it always presents itself as a safe and secure country to do business, “he told Al Jazeera.

Marc-Owen Jones, assistant professor of Middle East Studies at Hamad bin Khalifa University, agreed.

“They [the attack] is tarnishing the UAE’s reputation as a viable destination for tourism, finance, and commerce, but it also casts doubt on their ability to build nuclear power plants, “Jones told Al Jazeera, referring to the UAE’s nuclear capabilities.

Smoke rising from the oil depot at Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. in the Mussafah area of ​​Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. [File: Planet Labs PBC/AP]

‘Back to haunt them’

Saudi Arabia has faced bombings and drone strikes from Yemen, with Houthis firing missiles at Saudi airports, oil and gas pipelines, and using bombed-out boats to destroy major shipping routes.

On the other hand, the UAE, which is farther away from Yemen, has significantly avoided the Houthi fire line. The last Houthi attack in the UAE was in 2018.

The UAE withdrew its troops in 2019 but continues to repatriate anti-Houthis forces.

“All of them [Emirati] The advent of foreign policy has brought home the threat of a catastrophic flood from various warring factions across the region, “Krieg said of the drone attack.

“Despite claims to have the highest air defense in the region, a drone from Yemen has reached a safe location in Abu Dhabi.

“This insecurity has been brought on them by their actions … as endless wars are now coming back to haunt them,” he added.

Warning, not arguing

The UAE-backed troops over the past few weeks have gained momentum against the Houthis, marking a turning point in the war. The Yemeni government-backed forces, with the support of the UAE-backed Giants Brigades, recaptured the entire southern Shabwa region from the Houthis earlier this month and made progress in nearby Marib and al-Bayda.

While this may have led to the recent rise of Houthi planes in the UAE, it is unlikely that, say experts, that they are the cause of these threats, or their extinction.

“The attack may have been due to the recent progress of the UAE-backed military force in Yemen, but that could not be the only – or perhaps a major cause,” said Michael Horowitz, a security analyst at Le. Beck International, a leading consultant in the Middle East.

“The Abu Dhabi attack was also a warning to Iran in the UAE,” Horowitz said, noting that the US has been pressuring the UAE to impose Iranian sanctions as the nuclear talks continue.

The world powers, including the US, are in talks with Iran to reinstate the nuclear deal that former US President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 and imposes new sanctions.

“According to the JCPOA process [Iran nuclear deal] Negotiations are ongoing and in the UAE system, many such threats can be made against the country, “added Horowitz.

With the Houthis declaring war in the UAE on Monday, just two weeks later seized a submarine with the UAE flag off the coast of Yemen, the rise could force the UAE to back off and avoid further conflicts, experts say.

“There will be the courage of the people, but it does [the attack] “It will force the UAE to reach an agreement with Iran,” Jones said.

Horowitz agreed. “The last time the UAE felt such pressure, it took action and reached out to Iran quietly, trying to resolve regional disputes,” he told Al Jazeera, referring to several conflicting threats. maritime vehicles from the UAE and against the two power stations in Saudi Arabia in 2018 and 2019.

“Care on the part of the UAE is much more likely than a return to conflict,” he said.

The alleged incident took place in Abu DhabiThe alleged incident took place in Abu Dhabi [Screen grab Al Jazeera](Prohibited Use)

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