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UAE, Saudi Arabia let Israel send intelligence agents into Yemen: reports

A report claimed an Emirati-Israeli delegation arrived to the island. [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 September, 2020

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The UAE and Saudi Arabia are establishing bases in Yemen's Socotra island and allowing Israeli delegations to enter, the leader of a Yemeni tribe reportedly said.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are letting Israel intelligence agents into Yemen, a tribal leader from the country said on Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reported.

Issa Salem bin Yaqut, a chief of tribes in Socotra, warned the countries against violating Yemen's sovereignty on the island, the Turkish state-run agency reported.

It comes after the UAE effectively took over the island archipelago in a move that angered locals, the Yemeni government, and ally Saudi Arabia.

Bin Yaqut also accused the UAE of "destroying the charming and rare environmental landmarks on Socotra Island" and called for their explusion.

According to a seperate report, the alleged move aims at establishing an Israeli-Emirati intelligence-gathering base on the island to "monitor Iran, China and Pakistan".

"This Israeli-Emirati spy base aims at monitoring the Iranian activities in the Gulf of Aden and curbing Tehran's relationship with Houthi rebels," Ibrahim Fraihat, a professor of international conflict resolution at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, was quoted by Anadolu Agency as saying.

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

"The creation of this base is an additional indicator that the Emirati-Israeli deal was meant for forging a solid alliance between the two countries, not just normalising relations," Fraihat said.

Unlawful war

Yemen has been locked in conflict since the Houthis took control of the capital Sanaa in 2014 and went on to seize much of the north. 

The crisis escalated when a Saudi-led coalition intervened the following year to support Yemen's internationally-recognised government.

Since the start of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, the UAE and an armed southern separatist movement have established control over most of Socotra Island. 

Read also: Saudi-led coalition destroyed 200 Yemen factories: report

The UAE has allegedly been seeking to annex the island due to its strategic location. 

Following the UAE-Israel normalisation deal earlier in the month, US website SouthFront, which specialises in military and strategic research, reported the arrival of an Emirati-Israeli delegation to the island.

The report said the aim of the visit was to establish strategic cooperation in the Yemeni island.

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