UAE Lobbying Europe to Ease Arms Restrictions on Gulf
The United Arab Emirates is reportedly lobbying European nations to ease restrictions on weapons sales to Sunni Gulf nations imposed over concerns of human rights violations in Yemen. Gulf countries argue that they need to stockpile arms amid growing tensions with Shi’ite Iran, which was blamed for numerous attacks this summer on oil tankers transiting vital Middle East waterways. A major coordinated drone and missile attack on Saudi oil infrastructure, which temporarily cut the kingdom’s output by half, was also blamed on Tehran. A Saudi Arabia-led coalition in 2015 intervened militarily in Yemen after Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels captured the capital Sanaa and forced members of the internationally recognized government into exile. Both sides have been accused of perpetrating crimes against humanity during the ensuing war, which has killed an estimated 100,000 people and pushed millions to the brink of starvation. Over the past year, Abu Dhabi has withdrawn most of its troops from Yemen, while Riyadh has launched a peace initiative that so far has translated into marginal results on the ground.