Expert Voices

With U.A.E. withdrawal from Yemen, Saudi Crown Prince could lose an ally

Silhouette of an Emirati soldier looking out of a military plane at the strait of Bab al-Mandab.
An Emirati soldier looking out of a military plane at the strait of Bab al-Mandab. Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images.

The United Arab Emirates is reportedly withdrawing most of its forces from Yemen to defend its home front in the event of an Iran conflict — a move that could also improve its standing with U.S. lawmakers critical of the war in Yemen.

The big picture: The U.A.E.'s withdrawal of troops could lead to de-escalation in Yemen, but for Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman (MBS), a key Arab friend of the Trump administration, it is the latest indicator that he is rapidly running out of allies.

Senate votes to block Saudi arm sales despite veto threat

Trump with MBS
President Trump meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 53-45 on Thursday to pass 22 resolutions seeking to block the Trump administration's sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, despite the White House threatening to veto the package moments before the vote.

Why it matters: This marks yet another bipartisan rebuke of the administration's close relationship with Saudi Arabia, which has come under increasing scrutiny in the months since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of the Saudi government. In March, the Senate voted to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, a resolution that forced Trump to issue the second veto of his presidency.