UAE Sends 3,000 Troops and Armored Vehicles to Yemen, Report says

Fighters against Houthi rebels
Fighters against Houthi rebels / AP

The United Arab Emirates reportedly sent 3,000 troops as well as armored vehicles and tanks to Yemen over the last week to aid fighters thwarting Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, in the country.

Conflict News reported that ships adorned with UAE flags arrived in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden, transporting hundreds of vehicles like main battle tanks, APCs, AFVs and self propelled artillery in addition to 3,000 troops to aid in the fight against Iranian-backed Houthi forces.

Senior Yemeni and U.S. military officials confirmed to the New York Times Monday that UAE did indeed send a military brigade to Yemen in an effort to help pro-government forces there, though the number of troops delivered was not specified.

Since March, the UAE and other Sunni Arab states, led by Iran’s major regional rival Saudi Arabia, have been involved in a bombing campaign against the Houthi rebels.

Though the Houthis control multiple parts of Yemen, including the country’s capital Sana, the rebels have endured setbacks as of late because of the involvement of the coalition of Sunni Arab states.

For instance, the Saudi-led coalition last month helped fighters reclaim Aden from the Houthis, a development that rebel leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi has since dismissed as a "limited" achievement.

Government officials also said Tuesday that the pro-goverment fighters, backed by airstrikes from the coalition spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, took back Yemen’s largest airbase–al-Anad airbase, which is just north of the port at which UAE forces arrived–from Houthi rebels.

Yemen, which the Obama administration has championed as an example of successful counterterrorism strategy, has been embroiled in chaos since the collapse of the Yemeni government in January of this year.