On 31 March, Yemen’s Fisheries Ministry of the Sana’a-based National Salvation Government (NSG) strongly condemned the conversion of Abdul Kuri Island in the Socotra archipelago into a UAE military base.
Ministry of Industry and Information Technology officials revealed masilla TV says ‘new UAE troops arrive at Hadi Bo airport [in the main island of Socotra]in preparation for their transfer to Abdul Kuri Island,” where satellite images showed new military installations being built.
“this [Saudi-led coalition] NSG officials added that they have occupied some islands and beaches in Yemen, damaged the environment and displaced our people. Our people have been harmed by aggression against allied nations. “
Yemen’s Socotra archipelago has garnered regional and international attention in recent years for its proximity to the Suez Canal, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. About 21,000 ships pass through Socotra each year, including 9 percent of the world’s annual oil supply.
The Yemeni archipelago is also in the shipping lanes of Pakistan’s Gwadar port – a stepping stone of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which gives Beijing access to the Arabian Sea – and borders Djibouti and East Africa.
According to an in-depth investigation go through cradle Columnist Karim Shami notes that on April 30, 2018, without any prior coordination with coalition partners, the UAE deployed several Hundreds of soldiers with artillery and armored vehicles.
Two years later, Yemeni separatists from the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) forcibly seized control of Socotra and drove out Saudi-backed forces. The UAE flag was hoisted across the country and Etisalat Telecom replaced Yemen Telecom.
In the months since the UAE took over the island of Socotra, the UAE has IsraelShortly thereafter, reports and pictures of Israeli “tourists” visiting Socotra began to emerge.according to a Mayadin Report, However, the visiting Israelis were not tourists but military experts.
In February 2023, Ansarallah published a statement Condemned the UAE for deporting residents of Abdul Kuri Island, the second largest island in the archipelago. Yemeni resistance groups have accused Abu Dhabi of carrying out a long-planned operation to turn the island of Socotra into an Israeli-UAE military and intelligence hub.
According to Shami, the UAE’s takeover of Socotra can be attributed to the strategic vision of UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed (MbZ) and “his no secret desire to build an Emirati maritime empire — from From the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea – control the major waterways in the region.”
Most importantly, Israel’s military presence in the archipelago is likely to counter Iran’s expanding naval presence in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea.
Yemeni Defense Minister Major General Mohammad Atife recently warned that maritime security in Yemen’s territorial waters will be a priority in the next phase of the fight against the Saudi-led coalition, specifically mentioning the Mandeb strait, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and Territorial extension of Socotra Islands. “
“We have many options, and no one can blame us if we resort to them, because we have provided every means to a positive end [to the conflict]but the enemy refused,” the defense minister said.
“The hostilities, plots and acts of sabotage and sieges that we are witnessing today really prove that the aggressors do not want to establish any kind of peace, nor do they have any real willingness to think positively about stability and peace in the region and respect for the Yemeni people,” he added, according to Al – Masirah TV reports.