UAE with Saudi Backing Grabs Large Chunk of S. Yemen as Satellite

The Red Sea land of Yemen has ended its life as an independent republic, sliced up into separate entities amid an implacable civil war that has sputtered on for 12 years.
While intense fighting continues to rage in northern and central Yemen, the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels – a Zaidi group from the north waging a low-level insurgency since 2004 – and the ousted former president Ali Abdullah Saleh last month formed a council to govern the capital Sana’a and most of the north.
This effectively partitioned the country between the Shiite-dominated north and east and the Sunni-dominated south and west. (See attached map.)
The often restive south was not left long up for grabs. The United Arab Emirates with tacit Saudi and American endorsement moved in fast to secretly establish an independent Sunni state as its satellite called The Arab State of Hadhramout. It covers a large and highly valuable chunk of real estate that gobbles up the Gulf of Aden coast from the port of Aden to the Yemen-Oman border.
In consequence –
1. The UAE has secured complete control of the strategic Gulf of Aden.
2. Its territory has expanded to take in a formidable area of southeastern Yemen along with the island of Socotra and a small archipelago of four islets in the Indian Ocean opposite the Gulf of Aden.
Seven months ago, the Emirates formally obtained a 99-year lease on Socotra from Yemen's President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
On Aug. 8, Saudi-backed Yemeni fighters trained in the United Arab Emirates landed in the southern part of Socotra and took charge. The UAE now plans to build there naval and air bases from which to rule the sea routes from the Gulf of Aden to the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. A new defensive system will guard the State of Hadhramout from naval attacks by sea.
3. DEBKA Weekly’s military sources report that the Yemeni units which landed on Socotra are members of a special operations contingent of the big new Yemeni army, which hundreds of Emirate army and intelligence officers are in the process of building in Mukalla, capital of Hadhramaut and its main sea port.
The army is projected to number from 10,000 to 15,000 troops.
4. Their principal task will be to eradicate within the new state boundaries the presence of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS.
5. The Emirates propose to gain strategic depth for their new state by the annexation of two more provinces. One is Shabwah whose main town is Ataq, 458km southeast of Sana'a and which lies midway between Al Mukalla and Aden. It is through this province, DEBKA Weekly’s sources report that Saudi Arabia plans to run an oil pipe from its eastern oil fields to the Gulf of Aden.
This pipeline will give the Saudis the option of shipping its oil to export destinations without having to send tankers through the Straits of Hormuz under the guns of Iran.
7. The second province to be tagged onto UAE-ruled Hadhramaut is Al Mahrah with its capital Al Ghaydah, which touches the full length of the Yemeni-Omani border. This “acquisition” is designed to be a buffer between Hadhramaut and Oman, thereby securing the support of its close neighbor for the new state.

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