The United Arab Emirates is reportedly withdrawing most of its forces from Yemen to defend its home front in the event of an Iran conflict — a move that could also improve its standing with U.S. lawmakers critical of the war in Yemen.

The big picture: The U.A.E.’s withdrawal of troops could lead to de-escalation in Yemen, but for Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman (MBS), a key Arab friend of the Trump administration, it is the latest indicator that he is rapidly running out of allies.

What’s happening: The Saudi crown prince is increasingly seen as toxic by members of U.S. Congress.

  • The war in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia has been fighting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels since 2015, has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and resulted in the world’s worst ongoing humanitarian disaster.
  • Additionally, a recent UN report found “credible evidence” that MBS ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • Accordingly, and in a rare bipartisan stand against the Trump administration, the U.S. Congress voted in June to block new arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
  • At the G20 summit in Osaka at the end of June, most world leaders gave MBS a wide berth, though President Trump notably praised him for doing “a spectacular job.”

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By Lawrence Pintak

Lawrence Pintak is an award-winning journalist and scholar. He is a former CBS News Middle East correspondent and was founding dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University (2009-2016). He was named a Fellow of the Society by the Society of Professional Journalists in 2017 for "outstanding service to the profession of journalism" around the world. Pintak is a contributor to ForeignPolicy.com, The Daily Beast, and other outlets. Read his articles at pintak.com. His books include Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens: America, Islam & The War of Ideas; Islam for Journalists (co-editor); The New Arab Journalist; and Seeds of Hate: How America’s Flawed Middle East Policy Ignited the Jihad. He holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Wales, Trinity St. David. Follow him on Twitter @LPintak.