Portraits of UAE royals at military camp in Yemen spark angry reactions

A photograph showing the portraits of UAE rulers at a military camp in Yemen’s southern city of Mokha, Taiz province has caused angry reactions in the country.

A photograph showing the portraits of the rulers of the UAE hung on the walls of a military camp in Yemen’s southern city of Mokha, Taiz province has caused angry reactions among Yemenis on social media.

The picture was taken during a visit of the Aden-based Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr to the city, where he met with the commanders of the UAE forces which control the area.

The portraits – which appeared behind the Yemeni prime minister – show the founder of the UAE Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, next to his sons Khalifa and Mohammed – now in charge, in addition to the vice president and ruler of Dubai Mohammed bin Rashed.

Yemenis on social media were insulted by the portraits, which they said were a sign of the UAE’s “de-facto occupation” of that part of Yemen.

“The image is a disgrace for Yemen and its people. On his first visit to the city of Mokha, controlled by the UAE, the prime minister appears with the emirs of a mini-state hanging over his head,” wrote Hisham al-Ziyadi on Twitter.

“In the city of Mokha, the prime minister is a guest hosted by the Emiratis,” wrote another Yemeni.

UAE forces fighting with pro-government Yemeni troops seized Mokha in February following months-long battles and intense airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition intervening against Houthi rebels.

Many Yemenis perceive Emirati forces, which operate as part of the Arab coalition, as pursuing a different agenda to seize strategic regions and ports in Yemen, especially since the division of tasks has placed Abu Dhabi in charge of operations in southern and eastern provinces.

In June, accusations emerged that the UAE has ‘colonised’ the Yemeni island of Socotra.

Reports claimed that Yemen’s government leased Socotra and nearby Abd al-Kuri island to the UAE for 99 years.

The UAE has also been extending its influence in south Yemen, reportedly backing the leaders of a recent secession attempt, amid accusations it is running torture and detention facilities in the country.

The war in Yemen has killed more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, and wounded 44,500 since the Saudi-led coalition intervened against the Houthi rebels it says are supported by regional arch-rival Iran.