It is perhaps the strangest alliance of convenience in a war defined by unusual bedfellows – the UAE, a fierce opponent of what it considers the “terrorist” Muslim Brotherhood, and the Islah party, the movement’s Yemen branch.
For years they and their proxies have fought to secure the presidency of Abd Rabbuh Hadi against the rebel Houthis, and have together defended the temporary seat of the Hadi government, Aden, as the Houthis marched through the rest of the country.
But in a country where history is littered with shifting alliances, double-dealing and splits, reality is never black and white. The forces loyal to the UAE, known as the “Security Belt,” support the breakaway Southern Transitional Council, while the Islahi support Hadi’s push for a united Yemen.
Added to this is the current diplomatic war being fought by the UAE and its allies against Qatar, which they accuse of supporting “terrorism” through the Brotherhood.