Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been competing to impose sovereignty over the Yemeni island of Socotra by carrying out humanitarian relief activities, Arabi21 reported yesterday.
The UAE is the second largest contributor to the Saudi-led coalition which has been carrying out attacks in Yemen for four years.
“Despite the quiet dispute between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both have been racing to dominate the humanitarian relief activities,” a source from the island told Arabi21, noting that the UAE “is jealous of the Saudi activities being carried out in the island.”
Giving an example, the sources said: “Saudis are rebuilding a number of educational facilities and the UAE took on the same project in another part of the island.”
The sources added: “Unlike the UAE, Saudi Arabia is reasonable and its projects in Al-Muhra Governorate in the far east of the island are a good example as it did not have any military facilities and it is cooperating with the local authorities regarding carrying out its programmes.”
However, the UAE, the sources said, “is still carrying out actions which provoke the people … It is renewing its effort to set up forces loyal to it like what happened in the southern and eastern governorate in the country.”
Last week, Arabi21 reported that the Governor of Socotra Ramzi Mahrous had warned of the establishment of a “dangerous UAE military force parallel to the government force in the country”.