Yemeni Civil War

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.

American defense firm authorized to build bomb parts in Saudi Arabia

In this image, the Saudi crown prince shakes hands with President Trump in the Oval Office.
President Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on March 20, 2018. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

An emergency authorization in May from the Trump administration allowed the American defense firm Raytheon Company to work with Saudi Arabia to "build high-tech bomb parts" in the country, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Human rights groups have reported the use of these precision-guided bombs in airstrikes on civilians. Raytheon is now prepared to ship at least 120,000 precision-guided bombs to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, as part of a larger arms package — and "some in Congress fear the surplus would let the countries continue fighting in Yemen long into the future," per the NYT.