More than five years of Saudi-led coalition’s war against Yemen, the Countries of the Horn of Africa were not far from their events affected and influenced, but even directly participated in the manufacture of those events, in a region that rippled with the military bases of all the locusts of the world and the gulf bats of the region, and historically known as what the French scholar Roland Marshall calls the tyranny of mercenary, this time for the benefit of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and behind Israel.
Since the first day of the Saudi-Emirati war against Yemen, 26 March 2015, each of the countries of the Horn of Africa has sought to negotiate with various actors, participants, supporters and opponents of the coalition of the Storm Alliance, and to define its own strategy in accordance with its geographical situation and internal policy and the role it plays on the international scene, as the French writer “Alexander Laurie”, thus becoming the Saudi-Emirati war on Yemen as a lifeline and a gateway to salvation for some of those countries, and magical to overcome their internal and regional problems, and to get out of isolation and lift the international sanctions imposed on them. It is the case of Eritrea, and the search for a regional role in the Red Sea region and Bab al-Mandab under the umbrella of Israeli interests, with its strategic relations with most of the countries of the region and the veto states.
Eritrea is unique from the rest of the Horn of Africa by its supervision of the Bab al-Mandab Strait, its vast maritime borders with Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and its close proximity to Yemeni ports on the Red Sea, which has made it a list of interests of the countries of the Saudi-led coalition of the storm alliance on Yemen since 2015, Before that, it did not receive any Arab attention, specifically from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and suddenly became one of the most important military bases for launching air strikes on Yemen and collecting, qualifying and training mercenaries by reuniting them before transferring them to Yemen, the command center for logistics operations of the Storm Alliance, and the planning unit Central to the occupation of Yemeni islands and coastal cities.
The storm alliance would not have made such a sudden shift towards Asmara if there had been no direction from Washington, a green light and a prelude from Tel Aviv, especially after the transfer of the compass of Arab and Gulf hostility specifically from Israel to Iran, in parallel with growing U.S.-Zionist concerns about the growing Iranian influence in Eritrea, the Horn of Africa and Africa in general, despite Asmara’s denial of any Iranian presence in its territory, and its continued assertion that what they have is merely normal routine relations, but these assertions have not convinced Tel Aviv and Washington. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are quickly containing Asmara and pressing them to sever its relationship with Tehran, Djibouti, in exchange for a package of temptations and promises that we will talk about in the next topic.
The storm alliance would not have made such a sudden shift towards Asmara if there had been no direction from Washington, a green light and a prelude from Tel Aviv, especially after the transfer of the compass of Arab and Gulf hostility specifically from Israel to Iran, in parallel with growing U.S.-Zionist concerns about the growing Iranian influence in Eritrea, the Horn of Africa and Africa in general, despite Asmara’s denial of any Iranian presence in its territory, and its continued assertion that what they have is merely normal routine relations, but these assertions have not convinced Tel Aviv and Washington. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are quickly containing Asmara and pressing them to sever its relationship with Tehran, as was Djibouti, in exchange for a package of temptations and promises that we will talk about in the next topic.
After the occupation of Aden by the Saudi-Emirati coalition in August 2015, banners thanking the countries participating in the war against Yemen, including a banner entitled “Thank you Eritrea” with a picture of The Eritrean President ” Isaias Afwerki “, and when an official in the pro-aggression hotel government was asked why he thanked Eritrea, he replied that this was in gratitude to the efforts of its president with the coalition countries.
Two months after the fall of Aden to the occupying forces, a UN report on October 21, 2015, reported that Eritrea allowed the coalition to use its territory, airspace and territorial waters, as well as the participation of 400 Eritrean soldiers in the occupation of Aden, under an agreement signed between the two parties, in exchange for financial grants, fuel, privileges and other commitments.
The sudden shift in Saudi Arabia’s interest in East African countries in general and Eritrea in particular, after decades of Arab absence and hate, was not in order to activate the Arab presence in this region, despite its great importance in maintaining Arab national security, the security of the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab, but in order to counter Iran’s expansion, which helped the Zionist entity to speed up the expansion and fill the Arab vacuum there, turning it into a deadly thorn in Arab national security, with the blessing and shameful Participation of the Arab Gulf.
What is strange here is that the Saudi-Emirati rush towards the Horn of Africa was not by self-sovereign decisions, and it was not in order to protect Arab national security from the Zionist threat, but we are facing a rush from the Black House to fight the Iranian presence in the Countries of the Horn of Africa, and to drag these countries to participate in the unjust war on Yemen, and with the blessing of Israel is no longer hidden to anyone, at a time when Iran and resistance movements represented in the consciousness of the new Arab Zionist sins the threat and the first strategic threat to Arab national security and not Israel.
In this next topic and the next research we will try to provide a simplified reading of the Saudi-Emirati rush towards Asmara and vice versa, and the relation to that unjust war on Yemen, and Israel’s position of this rapprochement and its struggles and objectives and agenda of the parties to this surprising convergence and astonishment in the time of the flatness and dwarves.
Djibouti first Destination: Saudi and Emirati interest in the Horn of Africa countries began as coalition battles approached the city and port of Aden, in order to secure this strategic city after its occupation, Djibouti was initially chosen as a rear base for the management of coalition operations in Yemen, because it is located close to the Gulf of Aden, but things did not go as planned, there was a dispute between Djibouti and the UAE due to the landing of an Emirati aircraft at Djibouti airport without a license 4 May 2015, which led to an altercation between the commander of the Air Force Djibouti, UAE officials and UAE vice consul Ali al-Shehhi punched him in the face, along with an earlier legal dispute over other economic deals, which led Djibouti to decide to expel Saudi and EMIRATI forces from its territory, and to sever diplomatic relations with the UAE.
In October 2015, Riyadh succeeded in containing the dispute with Djibouti, and recaptured Camp Lemonier airport — a U.S. military base it had leased in early April 2015 to support its operations in Yemen — in exchange for Djibouti’s access to patrol boats, helicopters, weapons and ambulances.
In March 2016, talks between Riyadh and Djibouti were held in which a comprehensive bilateral security agreement was signed, including the re-establishment of a long-term Saudi military base in Djibouti.
From the UAE side, although relations with Djibouti were officially resumed later, the waters between them have not returned to normal, which has led the UAE to replace Djibouti with Eritrea.
In general, Djibouti, in addition to using its territory and islands to launch aircraft to launch strikes on Yemen, is home to store UN aid for Yemen, inspect Yemeni merchant ships before entering Yemeni ports and detaining them under coalition orders, monitoring Yemeni beaches and coasts, and managing the naval blockade on Yemen.
Eritrea strategic alternative:
Eritrea is characterized by its strategic location on the west coast of the Red Sea, located in an open maritime area that allows it to control the southern entrance to the Red Sea “Bab al-Mandab”, and the importance of its location increased after the opening of the Suez Canal, due to the extension of its coast at the entrance of the Red Sea in the face of Yemen and Saudi Arabia, it has an area of 124,000 square kilometers and a population of approximately 375,000, of whom about 1 million live outside their country.
Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in May 1993, and it did not have any components of the state at the moment, because of the limited size of natural and human resources, the fragility of its security situation and the instability of its political relations with its neighbors, and its conflicting a series of wars after its independence with Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen, and entering into several conflicts with Somalia and Sudan, which made the neighboring countries impose isolation on them, because they have become a concern and unrest in the security and stability of their countries, not to mention increasing accusations of embracing the forces of the neighboring countries, Behind the maritime piracy operations, supporting forces accused of links to al-Qaeda, including Somali youth movement.
These things combined made them suffer from regional isolation and U.S. and international sanctions, and between them went to adopt a policy of playing on the contradictions in their foreign relations, taking advantage of its privileged position on the Red Sea in order to survive, and began to weave its relations with various countries that are clashing and differing interests in the Levant including Israel, Iran, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China. Overnight, it became a popular market for the sale of military bases and the opening of its territory to the armies of east and west, in a region where all major powers and regional states are racing to balance the military presence.
One of the most important ports of Eritrea, the city and port of Assab and has military bases for several countries, the most important of which is the Zionist entity, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and increased its importance after the Saudi-Emirati war on Yemen, Ethiopia used Assab port to export a third of its trade to the world, and since the independence of Eritrea the port lost most of its importance, but the war on Yemen brought it back to the forefront, to become one of the most important points of launching air strikes on Yemen, and one of the most important areas of the presence of foreign bases in the Horn of Africa, and the first gate of Israel towards East and Central Africa and the Arab Peninsula and Bab The scar.
Many geopolitical factors have made the Storm Alliance strengthen its presence in Eritrea and take it as an alternative base for Djibouti, an advanced front to build its influence in East and Central Africa and a military base to settle its regional accounts starting with In Ismael, including:
Eritrea enjoys a long coast on the Red Sea extending for more than 1200 kilometers and is located on the opposite side of Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and the ports and islands of Eritrea constitute an important local logistics point in terms of location and near the distance from Yemen, where it allows the presence of large ships and easier movement of small ships dedicated to landing between Aden and the ports nearby, without the need to pass each time through the Arabian Gulf or through the depth of the Red Sea, so it represents militarily a major security factor for the transfers of coalition forces and Saudi-Israeli equipment.
The ports of Assab and Maswa al-Erteria are close to Yemeni ports, where the first is only about 60 kilometers away from the Yemeni coast, 20 nautical miles from Bab al-Mandab and 40 nautical miles from the port of Mocha, while the second is 350 km away from the port of Al-Salif, Yemen, and 380 km from the port of Hodeidah.
Eritrea’s terrain is similar to Yemen, so the allied countries decided that the African country should be used for any landing, either as a springboard, or to secure the troops that will take down, or to train in Eritrean territory on the nature of Yemeni territory before the start of the landing or ground intervention.
Politically, at the beginning of the war against Yemen, Asmara was quick to recognize the legitimacy of the mercenary government led by outgoing President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, March 31, 2015, and the deployment of 400 Eritrean mercenaries in The City of Aden in October 2015, according to a UN report, but They were soon replaced by mercenaries from Uganda, Chad and Sudan, after which Eritrea became an open logistics base for the launch of raids on Yemen, a transit station for the collection, training and rehabilitation of African and Yemeni mercenaries before being transferred to Yemen, an operations room to plan the occupation of Yemeni coastal islands and cities, and a secret detention facility. Emirati to its opponents in the occupied areas of Yemen, and a safe haven for ministers of the Government of the Mercenaries of Yemen when they are endangered in the city of Aden.
It is ironic here that Eritrea’s recognition of the legitimacy of outgoing Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi at the same time as the accusation of Hadi’s military attaché in Cairo to Eritrea for supporting Ansar Allah in coordination with Iran, but the acceleration of events revealed the falsity of these allegations, and confirmed the existence of full coordination between the alliance and Asmara months before the start of the war against Yemen.