Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have tightened their grip on the country’s strategic areas as the peace process between Shiite Zaydi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has stalled. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are unlikely to give up without significant international pressure.
The Saudis have turned their attention to the Eastern Province or Al-Mahra Province, Yemen, the second largest country bordering Oman. Al-Mahra from is far from the Houthi-controlled territory in northern Yemen and is populated by Sunni Muslims. Many of the inhabitants of Al-Mahra Mah are proficient in the language, which distinguishes them from the Arabs in the rest of Yemen. It may have a population of about 300,000, although the population estimate in Yemen is very speculative. Mahri has long been closely associated with Oman’s neighboring Dhofar province, which has a small Mehri-speaking population.
Since 2017, the Saudis Gradually he took control of Al-Mahra. They occupied the capital and the port and occupied the border posts with Oman. Saudi forces now control the province. human right superviser Reported The Saudis and local Allied tribes have used force, torture and arbitrary detention to suppress any opposition to their occupation. The Saudis now have 20 bases and checkpoints in the province.
Getting skilled gives Saudi Arabia direct access to the Indian Ocean. Riyadh plans to build an oil pipeline from its eastern province by sea. According to some reports. This reduces Saudi Arabia’s dependence on the Strait of Hormuz for oil exports and reduces the potential leverage of Iranians over Riyadh.
The Omani are closely monitoring the role of the Saudis in Al-Mahra. Al-Mahra was a communist base in southern Yemen supporting the Dhofar uprising in the 1970s, which was defeated by the Shah of Iran after troops were sent to help the Omani army. Oman is the only Persian Gulf monarchy that did not join the Saudi war coalition and remained neutral in Yemen, often hosting foreign talks with the Houthis in Muscat. In 2016, Sultan Qaboos decided that Saudi Arabia’s decision to intervene in Yemen was reckless and wrong. His successor is rightly concerned about the future of Yemen, especially the southeastern provinces of Al-Mahra and Hadramaut.
Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, is focusing on the strategic islands of Yemen. The UAE reduced its role in the war last year. The Emirati people have quietly decided to leave the Yemeni quagmire as much as possible and reduce their presence in Aden. They still have small force pockets in Mokha, Shabwa and several other places.
But they are very active on several important islands. Recently, satellite images have shown that the UAE is Create a remarkable air base It is located on the island of Mayon in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. As large as 5 square miles, the island is the key to control of Bab al-Mandeb or the “gate of tears”.
Mayon, also known as the Prime, has been the target of empires since ancient times. Portugal and the Ottoman Empire fought over it in the 1600s. The British took it from the Ottomans when the Suez Canal was built in 1857. The Democratic People’s Republic of Yemen (PDRY) took control in 1968 and, along with Egypt, besieged the Straits of Israel during the 1973 war. The Houthis took it in 2015, but lost it to the UAE in 2016.
Abu Dhabi also controls the island of Socotra in the Gulf of Aden. Much larger than Muon, Saqota has a population of 60,000 and is the largest island in the archipelago, also known as Socotra. Historically, before joining the PDRY, he was part of the Mahra dynasty. The UAE has a military base used to gather maritime traffic information in Bab al-Mandeb and the Gulf of Aden.
Recently, press reports from Israeli tourists visiting Socotra As part of the Ibrahim Agreement between Israel and the UAE. Thousands of Israelis have visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi, apparently using some weekly flights to the island. The government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has protested against tourism and called for the restoration of Yemeni sovereignty on the island, but long ago rejected Abu Dhabi Hadi as ineffective.
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are eager to take advantage of the swamps they fell into in 2015. Achieving strategic land may be the only possible benefit. This acquisition may be real and will never be accepted by any Yemeni government. The story of Yemen’s territorial integrity and sovereignty may cover the existing facts.
The United States should not be a party to the fragmentation of Yemen. It is not too early to quietly leave a mark that if a ceasefire is established in Yemen, the Saudis and the Emirati people will have to evacuate Al-Mahra, Mayonna and Saqqara and return control to the Yemenis.
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