The Saudi Army has been deployed to Socotra Island to “train and support” Yemen’s troops, Al Jazeera reported today.
“Saudi forces have arrived on the island of Socotra… to train and support Yemeni forces,” the coalition announced through Saudi’s state-owned Al-Ekhbariya channel. The deployment was coordinated with the Yemen government, led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
The news comes off the back of the UAE’s military expansion into Socotra Island, amid growing tensions with Hadi. Locals in Socotra have accused the UAE of stealing Socotra’s natural resources, including plants and seeds to take back to the Emirates, according to the Independent.
#Yemen press says #Saudi troops have arrived on #Socotra, citing Saudi's al-Hadath channel. Socotra is under controversy currently as some suspect #UAE of imperialist intentions (others praise UAE presence/support). Haven't seen this reported by official Saudi Press Agency (yet) pic.twitter.com/wRVDcpiqqc
— Elisabeth Kendall (@Dr_E_Kendall) May 13, 2018
The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition which has been carrying out air strikes against the Houthi armed group in Yemen since March 2015. The Houthis control large swathes of territory from northern Yemen, Saada governorate to the capital Sana’a.
The United States, another foreign country with geopolitical interests in Yemen, called for “de-escalation and dialogue” after the Yemen government called on the UAE to leave Socotra last week. Saudi Arabia has since attempted to calm tensions between the UAE and Yemen.
Early this year, Yemen’s Ministry of Tourism called on the UAE to stop destroying Socotra and spoiling the natural resources on the Island. The General Council of Mahra and Socotra rejected a call last year to merge or form a UAE-backed military force in the southern governorates.