Free «Policy Brief on Yemen Crisis and Its Effects on UAE and Other GCC Members» Essay Sample

Issue

The main issue is the threat of Houthis rebellion for Yemen, UAE, and the entire GCC region, as well as the accomplishments made by Operation Decisive Storm as a guarantee of peace and stability in the region.

Background

Origin and Objective

The Houthis insurgency originated in Sadah Governorate of Yemen close to the Saudi Arabian border. The rebellion began under the command of Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi from whom it derives its name. The core objective was to overthrow Yemeni government. After its launch in 2004, the leader and founder was said to have been murdered by the government’s army forces (Shaheen & Dehghan, 2015). The leadership of the group was then taken over by Abdul-Malik al-Houthis, who led a successful coup d’état against the Yemeni government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2014. Currently, the group operates in Yemen with a real threat of the war across the neighboring areas of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There are reports that the group could be getting support from other Shiites groups in the region, particularly the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Thus, the core objective of this policy document is to help the UAE government address the threats posed by the Houthis to both Yemen and the Gulf States. The policy will focus on the need for UAE government to design responses intended to stop the Yemenis. This approach will help avert the humanitarian crisis that has emerged as a result of the crisis (Wam, 2015).

Moreover, there is a need to push for the restoration of a constitutionally mandated government. Ensuring governmental reestablishment will be beneficial to the Yemeni people and the whole Gulf region. The government will be able to stabilize as well as harmonize all the efforts to fight terror organizations such as al-Qaeda (Shaheen & Dehghan, 2015). Furthermore, UAE’s participation in peace building in Yemen will guarantee enough strength in dealing with terror threats. Lastly, this action offers a chance to mitigate potential terror attacks on both the UAE soil and parties in the Gulf region.

Demographics

Houthis are mainly Zaidis who belong to the Shiites group of Muslims. Currently, the group has grown to over 100,000 fighters (Kabalan, 2015). Originally, the group’s objective was to seize power in Yemen, but with the involvement of other regional players the goal could change. Although not officially confirmed by the accused states, there are high chances the insurgency is receiving massive support from Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah (Remeithi, 2015).

Responses

In 2015, Gulf Cooperation Council member states together with other allied forces launched attacks against the Houthis rebels under the codenamed Operation Decisive Storm. Saudi Arabia remains at the helm of the coalition with the support of nine other regional countries, including the United States (Shabaneh, 2015). The coalition’s mandate was to use air campaign to attack Houthis with an aim of incapacitating them and reducing their influence. Furthermore, the measures are intended to bring back the era of constitutionality in Yemen, reduce humanitarian catastrophe of the crisis as well as mitigate its spread to other member countries (Wam, 2015).

Analysis

Actions by the UEA Government

The UAE government has continued to offer its support to the regional initiative under the Operation Decisive Storm. Under the military campaign, the government provides aircraft support to the coalition in bombing Houthis’ hideouts. Since the deployment of the jets, successful bombardment of enemy positions has been noted, which has in effect incapacitated the rebels (Finn, 2011). The shelling is also meant to offer support to the legitimate government of Yemen to prevent the collapse of the state. The coalition involves ten states with the other players including Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Sudan, Oman, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Pakistan (Almasmari, 2015).

 

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However, the level of participation of these members varies depending on the nature of their contribution. Besides the ten GCC members, the US has as well offered support to the coalition. UAE has so far contributed about 30 warplanes that place the country as the second largest contributor of aircrafts within the coalition for the purpose of defeating the Houthis (Habtoor, 2015). The UAE’s role is thus considered vital and necessary by allies for the restoration of a constitutional framework in Yemen.

Achievements of Operation Decisive Storm So Far

Since the beginning of Operation Decisive Storm, several goals set by the coalition have been met. First, the coalition has limited the expansion of Houthis’ activities from spreading across the country. This approach ensures the enemies’ ability to strike GCC interest, and Yemeni targets have dwindled. Further, with the weakening of Houthis, it is expected that the Iranian control over Yemen will crumble. For the Arab Gulf states, this is a big win, considering that the Houthis are mainly Shiites, just like the Iranians (Kabalan, 2015). Most of the Arabian Peninsula is under Sunni Muslims with small groups of Shiites. Limiting the growth of Shiites’ influence is thus vital for the GCC members.

Furthermore, the operation has pushed the Houthis to the negotiation table with a genuine intention. Moreover, the spread of terror gangs such as al-Qaeda in the country has been curtailed. This situation has motivated neighboring GCC countries to monitor their borders to ensure that there is no closing of their territories by the illegal elements (SUSRIS, 2015). Again, the operation has helped achieve some level of stability both regionally as well as in Yemen. Other achievements include well-organized humanitarian work, more liberated areas supporting Hadi government and an already shaping political process (Preston, 2015).

Advantages of Participating in Operation Decisive Storm

The operation has reinforced GCC cooperation in response to threats. Through the military process, the Gulf States have developed mutual trust among themselves. What is more, they are ready to take up the responsibility of securing the region. Thus, that illegal groups and militias will receive coordinated attack should they threaten any of the regional countries, hence offering a sense of security to the GCC states. Moreover, reenergized trust among member states guarantees that no single nation will protect the elements that threaten a member state.

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Secondly, the coalition has proved that the Gulf States are ready and willing to handle security of the region. Therefore, UAE participation increases the country’s profile as a peace guarantor. As a result, the country gets consulted on every regional issue to protect its interests at all times. Above all, the utmost reason for the air campaign was to dismantle Houthis’ structure and neutralize the threat to the region.

Disadvantages of Participating in Operation Decisive Storm

Despite the above advantages, there is a number of disadvantages, too. First, there is a risk of a prolonged war. In most nations affected by similar divisions, as in the case of Yemen, fighting has been found to take tribal as well as religious dimensions. It particularly happens when each of the opposing parties gets external assistance from the powerful outside forces. Iranian and Syrian support of Houthis makes the crisis a proxy and hence creates a possibility of an open-ended conflict.

Secondly, the cost of war will be high. Despite the successes of the coalition, occupation would be a tall order creating the need for political solution. Nevertheless, the collapse of Hadi government presents a complex situation when trying to reinstate it. Therefore, the Yemeni administration has limited resources for self-protecting and depends on regional allies for survival. Failure to create a stable government may lead to the emergence of terror cells that could eventually destabilize the region. The cost of averting terror activities is high, while doing nothing about it will negatively impact the Gulf trade (Shaheen & Dehghan, 2015).

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Thirdly, the war in Yemen will raise a humanitarian predicament, hence requiring the coalition to incur the cost of providing relief. Again, there will be losses of lives, which could tarnish the country’s image. The reason is the operation’s commencement before it being sanctioned by the UN. Finally, UAE is positioning itself as a tourist destination. Involvement in war may divert the attention of potential visitors due to the fears of insecurity. Moreover, for the period of the crisis, media attention around UAE will be focused on war in Yemen, and not on the country as a tourist destination (Kabalan, 2015).

Recommendations

For the process to gain support, it is necessary that the coalition gets sanctioned by the UN for its operation in Yemen. It will not only ensure good public image around the world, but will as well work to deter open support of the Houthi rebels by UN member states. With that, GCC coalition will demonstrate its activities as following due process as well as an international approach to Yemeni crisis. Furthermore, it is vital that all Yemenis get involved in a political solution. Thus, there will be a chance for all the opposing sides to air their grievances.

In addition, it is necessary to neutralize the partisan approach that Operation Decisive Storm has been associated with. The main aim will be to avert escalation as well as open-ended conflict. Moreover, UAE’s support for the campaign is a necessary way of reassuring allies of support as well as establishing regional peace. Failure of regional members to act would see the conflict move across boarders disturbing economic growth (Remeithi, 2015). However, UAE ought to avoid sending ground troops. It may appear as a Sunni attack on the Shiites. Again, due to the lack of proper operational government in Yemen, the stay of the troops may be prolonged.