UAE-backed Yemeni soldiers check a boat in Mukalla port in southern Yemen April 22, 2017. REUTERS/Aziz El Yaakoubi
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Since a Yemeni force trained and funded by the United Arab Emirates recaptured the southern port of Mukalla from Al-Qaeda fighters a year ago, the Gulf state's efforts to consolidate progress risks being compromised by traditional rivalries. Divisions within Yemen's heavily tribal society as well as secessionist sentiment among troops and leaders in the once-independent south make building a truly national army an almost impossible task for the UAE right now.They could also suck the UAE deeper into the Yemen quagmire.The United Arab Emirates concentrated its efforts on building a Yemeni force since it reduced its own troops' front-line exposure following a Houthi missile attack that killed scores of UAE and other Gulf soldiers in eastern Marib province in September 2015 .Senior UAE military officers say their forces have trained and pay more than 11,000 Yemeni soldiers from Hadramawt and 14,000 from Aden and three provinces.
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