Complex Made Simple

UAE refutes Houthi missile claims, reassures confidence among citizens

There are many books written on war. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, depicting the 1812 French invasion of Russia, and the Art of War by Sun Tzu, devoted to warfare strategy and tactics, are but two of the famous ones, but recent times have shown that in a war, everyone loses.

The UAE National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority on Sunday denied Al Houthis’ allegations of launching a missile towards the UAE.

Even though Houthis’ missile launch claims may just be that, an escalation into a full-fledged UAE-Yemeni conflict will not be without dire economic costs to the Emirates.

The Saudi-led military coalition, with the UAE a participant as part of 9 African and Middle East countries alliance, has since March 2015 been fighting the Houthis in a war code named ‘Operation Decisive Storm’.

Outside the human toll,  the economic costs of this war are substantial.

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Missile happy Houthis

On November 4, 2017, Yemen’s Houthis launched a missile on Riyadh’s international airport, but air defences destroyed it before it caused any damage.

It is believed that the Houthi camp has already launched dozens missiles across the border so far, but all minor ones and none as serious as the last strike on Saudi.

In a statement issued to the official news agency WAM on Sunday, the authority said the UAE’s air defence system is capable of dealing with threat of any kind.

“The Barakah nuclear power plant is immune to all possibilities and is equipped with all the security and nuclear safety systems required for such giant national projects,” it said.

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Cost of war

We have the Saudi led Yemeni war to compare notes with.

According to Bloomberg, the Yemeni conflict has caused serious financial pressures at a time when oil prices are low and have led to a $200bn decline in Saudi net foreign assets over the last two years.

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According to Foreign Policy News, a self-financed forum for political views on US foreign policy, Saudi Arabia is leading the operation and other Gulf states notably UAE provide large mass of heavy weapons including tanks, armoured vehicles, missiles, fighter jets and ammunitions.

It estimated that the war in Yemen costs $5.3bn alone in Saudi defence budget in 2015.

“An estimate developed by Reuters said that Saudi Arabia is spending $175 million per month for bombings in Yemen and additional $500 million for ground incursions. These unexpected expenditures forced Riyadh to sell off $1.2 billion of its $9.2 billion holdings in European equities,” said the report.

Saudi allocated SR213 billion ($56.8bn) only for military and security spending which comprise more than 25% share of total 2017 budget.

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Arms deal with the US

According to a recent Time article, an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth $110 billion for this year alone, to grow to $380bn over 10 years, and which includes the sale of tanks, artillery, radar systems, armored personnel carriers, and missile defense systems, among others, will like be in support of the war in Yemen.

CNBC said at the time that the hidden cost of Trump’s $110 billion Saudi arms deal was to support the endless sticky situation in Yemen, and quoting Bruce Riedel, director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution, who wrote that the Saudi intervention has created an “expensive and endless quagmire” in Yemen.