Israeli forces in Yemen’s Socotra

Socotra in Risk of Losing Yemeni Identity, citizens warn

A Yemeni tribal leader has accused the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia of letting Israel onto its island of Socotra.

The sheikh of tribes in Socotra Island, Issa bin Yaqoot, warned of losing the island after Israeli forces had entered it during the past few days.

He warned that “Saudi Arabia and UAE have allowed the “Zionist entity” to enter Socotra, as part of the occupation process to separate it from Yemen.”

Bin Yaqoot also accused Riyadh and Abu Dhabi of “destroying the charming and rare environmental landmarks on Socotra Island and establishing camps amid terrible international silence.”

Sheikh confirmed that the occupation made demographic changes to Socotra through bringing settlers to the island. It also destroyed environmental landmarks and established camps in important and strategic areas. He explained that it is dying and saying goodbye to Yemen, amidst the people’s silence, because of violations and repressive practices of the occupation.

Yaqoot stated that its residents are subjected to starvation, humiliation, persecution, and suffocating siege to force them to accept the occupation and enslavement. He pointed out that the occupation seeks to change the historical, cultural and social identity of its people, and spoil the youth by distributing drugs free.

According to Sheikh, the occupation’s forces forced those kidnapped and opposed to its presence to take drugs, bargaining with them to get out of prisons. Yaqoot called on all Yemeni people to support their brothers there, and to stand with them, before being too late, to expel the occupiers. He stressed that struggle, resistance and steadfastness will be their choice.

South Front, an American website specializing in military and strategic research, reported on the arrival of an Emirati-Israeli delegation to the island, located in the Indian Ocean.

The website said that the UAE and Israel intend to establish military and intelligence facilities there.

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In June, forces affiliated with the secessionist Southern Transitional Council (STC) took control over the Socotra province in a move described by the Yemeni government at the time as a “coup against legitimacy.”

The internationally recognized government accuses the UAE – Saudi Arabia’s second major partner in the coalition – of supporting the STC to serve its own interests in Yemen, accusations which Abu Dhabi denies.

The creation of an Israeli-Emirati intelligence-gathering base on Socotra aims to monitor Iran, China and Pakistan, according to political and strategic experts

JForum, the official site of the French-speaking Jewish community in Paris, revealed earlier that the UAE and Israel are working to establish a spy base there.

“This Israeli-Emirati spy base aims at monitoring the Iranian activities in the Gulf of Aden and curbing Tehran’s relationship with Houthi,” Ibrahim Fraihat, a professor of international conflict resolution at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies said.

Socotra overlooks the strategic Bab al Mandab Strait, a main shipping route that connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.

The UAE has deployed hundreds of troops on the strategic island since May 2018, leading to a rift with the Yemeni government, which rejects the deployment.