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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 February 2019

Yemen war remains challenging

The loss of a UAE jet in Yemen underlines why the mission needs to continue
Smoke billows after a mortar shell hit a building in the Beer Basha area in Teaz on March 12, 2016. Ahmad Al Basha / AFP
Smoke billows after a mortar shell hit a building in the Beer Basha area in Teaz on March 12, 2016. Ahmad Al Basha / AFP

The deaths of two Emirati pilots in a fighter-jer crash in Yemen yesterday underscores why the Saudi-led coalition’s efforts are critical for the safety of the country and the region. As we mourn this tragic loss, it shouldn’t change our determination to free Yemen from the grip of terrorism.

At challenging times like these, it is important to remind ourselves of the importance of the mission in Yemen. The country and its people are an integral part of the Arabian Peninsula. The region can’t risk Yemen becoming a failed state and a breeding ground for terrorism.

The war has gone on for longer than predicted – in part because of the stubbornness of the Houthi rebels and in part the meddling hand of their benefactors in Iran – but the GCC can’t lose sight of Yemen’s importance to the health and security of the region. A secure Yemen is part of the fabric of a secure GCC.

The only way to stop the suffering that the Houthis have brought to Yemeni civilians is to restore the internationally recognised government. The coalition is making gains to this end. Food and military reinforcements began to flood into government-held areas of Taez last Saturday, after forces loyal to the government of Abdrabu Mansur Hadi broke the Houthi siege on the city.

As positive developments on the ground continue, the internal cohesion of the Houthi rebels is breaking apart. In a stunning rebuke of Iran, senior Houthi official Yousef Al Feshi said that “Iran must be silent and leave aside the exploitation of the Yemen file”. This admission demonstrates the nefarious role that Iran has played in Yemen and is further proof of the need for the coalition to rid the country of harmful foreign influence.

The last year has demonstrated that the spectre of terrorism continues to threaten the international community. For the GCC and the Middle East as a whole, the terroristgroups attempting to make Yemen into a launching pad for attacks on the region is a clear and present danger. As such, the GCC has chosen action over silence. We have organised ourselves and proven our determination to protect the Arabian Peninsula from the growing threat of terror.

Updated: March 14, 2016 04:00 AM

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