SANA’A – In yet another breakdown of relations between several factions in the pro-Saudi invasion camp, a prominent commander of the Salafist Islah Party has threatened excessive force will be used against troops of the United Arab Emirates if they were to continue with their plans to bring Taiz under its control.
In a statement, Islah Party commander Adnan Al Hammadi accused the Emiratis of targeting the Salafist movement’s Brigade 35, as well as of downplaying the role the Islah Party and its militias have played in the war so far.
The Islah Party initially sided with the Saudi-led coalition during the March 2015 invasion of Yemen, and has supported the invading forces in fighting the Yemeni Armed Forces and Popular Committees for years. However, recent developments have driven a wedge between the Salafists and the foreign invaders, especially in the area of Taiz. The city has been witness to increased tension between Islah supporters, Emirati soldiers and Southern seperatists, who all stake a claim in the strategically located area of Taiz.
The intensification of the conflict comes as the latest in a long line of clashes between the so-called “Security Belt” units, loyal to the UAE, and militias opposing it. The escalation started on Friday, following massive protests by Islah Party supporters against Security Belt deployment in Taiz and the appointment of pro-Emirati commander Tariq Afash in the city.