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The UAE Begins Pulling out of Yemen



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After four years of fierce fighting and international outrage, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is quietly slipping out the back door. Over the past few weeks it has begun to withdraw men and materiel from Yemen, where it is part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting against the Houthis, an Iranian-backed Shia militia that controls large parts of the country. The uae has not commented on the drawdown. But foreign diplomats and eyewitnesses confirm it is happening.
The proximate cause is growing fear of conflict with Iran. Tensions have climbed steadily since America withdrew last year from the agreement struck in 2015 that imposed limits on Iran’s nuclear programme. In May four oil tankers were sabotaged near the uae port of Fujairah. America blamed Iran. The Emirati foreign minister, in a sign of his country’s nervousness, says it is too early to assign blame. “The uae are playing it very cool because they understand how vulnerable they are,” says a Western defence official.

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