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while both Saudi Arabia and the UAE are committed to the war in Yemen, they are backing different local actors.The Emiratis are advising the Saudis to go back to the former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, believing his growing disputes with the Houthis, his tactical allies, can be encouraged to become a permanent breach.However, the Saudis fear, given their own reticence to put boots on the ground and the UAE's proven military, political and financial influence in the south, that strategic northern Yemeni territory could also come under de facto Emirati authority.The Emiratis believe that their military involvement in Yemen has deterred Iran and other potential aggressors by emphasizing that not only does the UAE buy military kit, but it can use it effectively. For their part, the Emiratis are incredulous that Saudi ground forces are only prepared to cross the Yemeni border in limited numbers and solely in defense of Saudi territory, not to aid the supposedly joint fight against the Iranian-backed Houthis. By keeping close to the Saudis in Yemen, Nahyan believes he can encourage Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to make changes to the Saudis' Islamic compact.The UAE also accepts that ultimately only the Saudis can initiate any strategic change of political alliances.
What does ‘reform’ mean in Saudi Arabia?
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