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JUNE 2021

UAE Deploys Forces on Yemeni Socotra Island

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UAE Deploys Forces on Yemeni Socotra Island

Written by Peter Korzun; Originally appeared on strategic-culture.org

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has landed its forces on the Yemeni island of Socotra, situated some 240 km. (150 mi.) from the Horn of Africa and roughly 350 kilometres (220 mi) off the Arabian Peninsula.

The surprise operation was launched on May 2. The troops are accompanied by armored vehicles. This military presence is growing. The soldiers have taken control of key elements of the island’s infrastructure, including the sea and airports.

The landing was conducted without the approval of either the Yemeni government or the local authorities. The move is clearly an affront to Yemeni President Abed Hadi, who is officially a UAE ally in the ongoing war against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Abu Dhabi is a key partner in the Saudi Arabia-led coalition that has been fighting Houthi rebels since 2015. Hadi’s government, which officially controls Socotra, views the landing as an act of aggression. The deployment could mark the end of Yemen’s alliance with the Arab Emirates.

The UAE has established a zone of influence in southern Yemen, which includes the port of Aden, known as the southern gate of the Red Sea. There have been reports that Abu Dhabi is  building a military airstrip on Yemen’s Mayun (Perim) island, which is also located near the strait. It controls Aden’s airport as well. The UAE is forming militias that will operate under its control on Yemeni territory.

Uncorroborated reports have surfaced claiming that Abu Dhabi plans to force Socotra to secede from Yemen and join the UAE. Recently the federation has been investing heavily in southern Yemen in order to garner popular support.

No Houthi military units have ever been sighted on the island that would justify this deployment by the Emirates. One must surmise that expansion is the real goal of the operation. Once it has annexed Socotra and southern Yemen, the UAE will become much bigger and more important, thus boosting its regional and global clout. Yemen is rich in oil and gas reserves and the reason for Abu Dhabi’s interest is obvious. Previously the federation had made attempts to gain control of oil and gas fields in the provinces of Shabwah, Ma’rib, and Hadhramaut.

This military presence in Socotra will make it possible to establish control over the shipping lanes that connect the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. It brings to mind the famous phrase of Alfred Thayer Mahan “Whoever attains maritime supremacy in the Indian Ocean would be a prominent player on the international scene.” Socotra is crucial for controlling the shipping to and from Iran, the sworn enemy of Washington and Abu Dhabi. And war appears to be on the horizon.

A year ago, Washington and Abu Dhabi signed a landmark defense cooperation agreement to expand their military partnership. The deal includes provisions for moving US forces to Emirati territory and patrolling vital sea lanes in the Arabian Gulf and along the African coast. The UAE is the second-largest buyer of American weapons in the world and lately has been getting more frequent green lights to purchase the most sophisticated systems the US has to offer.

Both nations have a long history of participating in joint military operations. It will be no surprise if one day the news of a US military presence on Socotra were to hit the media’s headlines. In March 2017, the commander of the UAE navy visited the US to discuss a range of issues, including the creation of the Emirati shipbuilding industry. It’s hard to imagine that the impending landing operation on Socotra was not an issue on that agenda.

Evidently the deployment is part of a broader plan to force the rollback of Iran and reshape the region. And that’s not limited to Yemen. A military base is being constructed in Berbera, Somaliland by the UAE, to the chagrin of Somalia’s government in Mogadishu. Somaliland is a self-proclaimed state that has separated from Somalia. It is not recognized internationally, but the UAE provides training for its military. The federation has also been increasing its naval presence in Eritrea.

The Socotra operation coincides with other signs of a wider looming conflict. For instance, the USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group commenced combat operations in Syria on May 3. Fighting the Islamic State? Not at all. It doesn’t take an aircraft carrier to get rid of the jihadists’ token presence that still remains in Syria. The military operations are being combined with diplomatic efforts to diminish Russia’s influence in Syria and the Middle East.

Hadi’s government in Yemen is recognized internationally. This deployment of military forces took place without Yemen’s approval, which means that the UAE has flagrantly violated international law. And the US will be flouting it too, if it sends troops. Yemen is going to complain to the United Nations about the occupation of Socotra. Washington has slammed Crimea’s unification with Russia despite the fact that a referendum was held there in which the people were allowed to express their own will. Will it likewise strongly condemn the UAE for occupying Yemeni territory and attempting to annex it to the Emirates without any legal grounds to do so? Hopefully it won’t be long before this issue makes it onto the agenda of the UN Security Council.

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>>Washington has slammed Crimea’s unification with Russia despite the fact
that a referendum was held there in which the people were allowed to
express their own will. Will it likewise strongly condemn the UAE for
occupying Yemeni territory and attempting to annex it to the Emirates
without any legal grounds to do so? Hopefully it won’t be long before
this issue makes it onto the agenda of the UN Security Council.<<

Well, Washington is already doing in East-Syria what it blames Russia for in the Ukraine. With an official military presence no less. So adding sanctioning an illegal annexation to that with an official military presence there too doesn't seem that far out of character.

Do as I say! Not as I do!!!

Toto Pinoccio

Putin is a weak leader.. cannot even protect its allies in Syria.. useless…lol


your nose is growing


The author of the article is using the false term for the “Persian Gulf”. This false term is used by the Arab nations in the region and the US as part of their cultural attack on Iran. The body of water has been called “The Persian Gulf” for thousands of years” and is still recognized officially by that term in all major relevant international organizations.

You can call me Al

Please explain what you are talking about.


In the 8th paragraph the author incorrectly uses the fake term “Arabian Gulf” to refer to the official and historical term of “Persian Gulf”. This fake made up term was invented only a few decades ago as part of a general anti-Iran cultural attack by the West and their lap dogs in the region. Since they have the ultimate goal of Iran’s total destruction they are attempting to attack and erase from memory any historical and cultural heritage that is related to Iran. The military threats against Iran is only one aspect of the Zionist Wests’ anti-Iran policies, for decades they have been attempting to hurt Iran in so many others ways that you are not aware of, this being one of them.

You can call me Al

OH, I am sorry, I missed that. Well spotted.

I tried to trace the author….So we have ……

Strategic-culture.org – ? Vladimir Maximenko -> https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Strategic%20Culture%20Foundation

A mistake …..??? I don’t know.


It’s a typo on the 3rd line.. should be “Arabian gulf”.. hehehe


And is Persian Gulf on all major historical maps of region.

Toto Pinoccio

Yemen is up for grabs.. anyone wanting territory can take it


Yemen’s Socotra Island is a long way from UAE – the latter have no logical territorial claim to it, given both Saudi Arabia and Oman lay between Yemen and UAE!


Why isn’t this article labeled “opinion?” Where did the author get the idea that the UAE = US? America has a cynical quid pro quo relationship with the Saudis, and you think that we’re behind the expansion of an Arab state? And South Front wonders why many people view it as a Russian propaganda outlet?

The UAE’s ulterior motives are obvious and Socotra will most likely end up with the same status as the Dombas. But this article is clearly manipulating the facts.


Fucking towelheads!


Socotra is National park. They are conducting criminal act and will be erased from the island and pay soooo much money for destroying endangered species !

Arab nazi scum !

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