Yemen’s Nobel laureate Tawakkol Karman said that “The area that the United Arab Emirates occupies in Yemen is more than several times the size of the UAE, exceeding significantly the strategic weight of the Gulf country.”
Tawakkol Karman said on its Twitter account that “The UAE, under Saudi silence, occupies the port and airport of Aden, the port and airport of Mukalla, the island of Socotra, the island of Myon in Bab al-Mandab, and the port of Al-Mukha,” Karman tweeted, adding that the UAE runs these areas with no reference to the Yemeni Authority.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate is one of the strongest opponents of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Karman also strongly opposes the military coup in Egypt that took place in July 2103, backed by the UAE.
The UAE’s moves on Yemeni islands and coasts have become widely contested, amid warnings that the UAE’s participation in the Saudi-led Arab coalition against Houthis and the forces of former President Ali Abdullah Salih forces could be exploited to seize these islands and coasts forever.
US: UAE set up secret military base in Yemen
The UAE has been setting up a military base in the Yemeni island Myon without the knowledge of the internationally recognized Yemeni government, images taken by the US appear to show.
Recently, the U.S. has provided President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi’s government with images of the new base which is located in the strategic Bab Al-Mandab Strait, according to Arabi21.
Yemeni sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “The United States informed the Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi about the [UAE’s] activity in this island which covers an area of 13 square kilometres.”
According to the source, the images show the construction of a military base in the island taken by satellites. The source did not give details about what the Yemeni government is planning to do in response.
As part of the UAE project, the source added, a 3200-meter airport runway is being built on the island. A member of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen, the UAE has recently been increasing its involvement in Yemen and supporting the Southern Transitional Council in efforts to overthrow President Hadi who is supposedly backed by Saudi Arabia.
According to observers, the ambitions of the UAE do not stop at the island of Myon, but include a number of strategic sites on the Yemeni coast, most notably the the island of Socotra, the ports of Aden (south) Mukalla (east) and Al-Mukha on the Red Sea.
UAE seeks to control Bab Al-Mandab Strait
The UAE is well aware of its objectives in Yemen, according to observers; it wants to ensure a stable and sustainable existence of its influence on the Bab al-Mandab Strait; and strengthening the UAE presence on the islands of Socotra and Myon helps the Emirates to achieve this goal.
To move ahead with this scheme, the UAE seeks to ensure that any future authority in the south will be loyal to it; therefore, it is depriving the Yemeni Al-Islah Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, of any influential future role in Yemen.
The move to control the Bab al-Mandab strait requires work on its other side in the Horn of Africa. In this regard, the UAE plan is proceeding firmly – and in full coordination with Egypt and the United States – through its logistic and military bases in Eritrea and Somalia.