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Saudi Arabia and UAE vow to back Yemen war effort amid cracks

Saudi Arabia and UAE vow to back Yemen war effort amid cracks

Dubai: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledged Monday to keep their floundering coalition war against Yemen's Houthi rebels together after an Emirati troop pullout and the rise of the southern separatists they supported.

The joint communique came as the Houthis launched at least six ballistic missiles and two drone attacks into Saudi Arabia, keeping up its pressure on the kingdom as online infighting between the Emirati and Saudi intelligentsia exposed growing cracks between the usually lockstep oil-rich nations.

The statement, carried by both the Emirati and Saudi state news agencies, said both nations' "political, military, relief and development efforts" would continue.

It also said the countries both rejected and condemned the "accusations and defamation campaigns targeting the UAE" since its decision in June to begin withdrawing troops.

The UAE, an autocratic federation of seven sheikhdoms home to Dubai, has not publicly acknowledged how many troops it withdrew from Yemen. Yemeni officials have suggested Emirati troop strength has dropped by as much as 75% out of around 10,000 troops.

The Emirati withdrawal followed rising tensions between Iran and the U.S. over Tehran's collapsing nuclear deal with world powers, suggesting Abu Dhabi worried about having forces at home in case an armed conflict broke out.

While Emirati troops often weren't directly involved in front-line combat, they organized local forces and handled intelligence operations in Yemen's south.

Those forces included separatists seeking their own nation who have swept into areas to seize control from Yemen's internationally recognized government, leading to clashes between the supposed allies.

The withdrawal of Emirati forces drew derision from Saudi-allied intellectuals online.

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