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Saudi Commentators Publicly Criticize UAE’s Role in Yemen

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DUBAI – Pro-government commentators in Saudi Arabia are publicly criticizing the UAE’s role in Yemen, a rare move that reflects the political and economic tensions between the two Gulf allies that also led to an open showdown over oil policy.

Saudi Arabia is trying to contain a power struggle in southern Yemen between the recognized Riyadh-backed government and the main UAE-backed separatist group, risking escalating a war that Saudi Arabia is fighting. to go out.

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“If Abu Dhabi does not help implement the Riyadh accord regarding the southern Yemen crisis, and continues to obstruct it, I believe that ties between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will continue to be tested,” political writer Suleiman told the -Oqeliy, who often reflects the official positions of Saudi Arabia. he said in a Twitter post on Saturday.

“The Kingdom, the government and the people will not allow anyone to disrupt the security of Yemen and harm it. Their patience may be great, but it has limits, ”tweeted Abdullah al-Hatayla, deputy editor of Saudi Arabia’s semi-official Okaz newspaper.

Social media is closely monitored by authorities in the Arab Gulf region and pro-government commentators in Saudi Arabia generally refrain from criticizing the kingdom’s allies.

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The Saudi and UAE authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

The UAE is a member of the Riyadh-led military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 against the Iran-aligned Houthis who toppled the government in the capital, Sanaa.

Abu Dhabi ended its military presence in 2019, charging Riyadh with a costly and unpopular war, but it continues to dominate the Yemeni fighters it armed and trained.

Among them are the Southern Transitional Council forces, also members of the coalition, who have twice seized the southern port of Aden, the provisional seat of the Saudi-backed government, prompting Riyadh to negotiate a deal. distribution of power that has not yet materialized. fully implemented.

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The commentators’ criticism comes after a public dispute between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi that disrupted policymaking by OPEC +, a group that includes OPEC and its allies. OPEC + secured a deal to increase oil supplies when it met again on Sunday after the two Gulf producers reached an understanding.

However, analysts say growing economic competition is exposing the differences between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as the kingdom moves to challenge its neighbor’s dominance as the region’s business, trade and tourism hub. .

The regional alliance that saw Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates join forces to project power in the Middle East and beyond and combat Islamist groups, coordinating the use of financial influence and in Yemen, military force, has been relaxed. as national interests come to the fore. (Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi and Marwa Rashad Edited by Frances Kerry)

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