UPDATE 21. June 2020: SOCOTRA IS NOW FREE of Saudi, U.S. and British occupiers - Taditional Council Takeover safeguards also the World Heritage site.

PROLOGUE: Socotra Island, located closer to Somalia than Yemen, is a unique place of many natural wonders and a World Heritage Site, but has become a playing ball in the sick, geopolitical games of USAmerican and Emirati interests. Where is the UN Security Council ? This illegal occupation is horrific and a blatant violation of International Law. Socotra must remain an island of peace and the warmongers must leave instantly.

US Marines Arrive on Yemen’s Socotra to Back UAE Troops: Reports

U.S. and UAE boots on the ground in Socotra is unwarranted and totally illegal.

A new batch of US Marines has arrived on Yemen's strategic Socotra Island, installing Patriot defense systems, according to local reports.

By Tasnim/VF - 10. March 2020 

Sanaa Post reported that the American soldiers were received by the occupying UAE forces at their headquarters on the island.

There is speculation that the US intends to establish its own military base amid reports that America had sent military experts to equip observation points to deploy radars and air defense points on the strategically located island overlooking the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, according to Middle East Monitor.

US forces had previously arrived on Socotra in December of last year and started installing a Patriot missile system in order to protect the Saudi and Emirati forces on the island at the time.

Socotra, home to some 60,000 people, sits at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden. Shipping traffic passes by the island on the way to the Bab al-Mandab Strait and Suez Canal.

The island has a unique ecosystem and has been listed by UNESCO as a world natural heritage site.

Residents of Socotra Island have repeatedly staged protests to vent their outrage at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for deploying military forces there.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are key members of a coalition that has been waging a deadly war on Yemen since March 2015 in support of the former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and against the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The Saudi-led military campaign has killed and injured over 600,000 civilians, according to the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights.

Several Western countries, the USA and the UK in particular, are accused of being complicit in the aggression as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment.

Despite a very clear ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) the USA is likewise still occupying illegally the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean with their military base on Diego Garcia, one of the islands in the Chagos Islands, the U.S. leased from the United Kingdom that occupied it illegally in the first place.

The leader of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been prosecuted in absentia at London High Court for his cruelty in a case brought against him by his former wife, who fled to London, and two daughters, whom he abducted and still holds in cruel confinement.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Sheikh Mohammed must be held both personally responsible for this abhorrent violation of International Law and the atrocities committed under their command.



Yemeni separatists seize island of Socotra from Saudi-backed government

Southern Transitional Council has taken control of remote archipelago in the Arabian Sea

By Reuters in Aden -

Hadiboh, Socotra’s capital city  

Hadiboh, Socotra’s capital city. The archipelago is a Unesco world heritage site. Photograph: Mohamed Al-Sayaghi/Reuters

Yemeni separatists have seized control of the island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea, deposing its governor and driving out the forces of the Saudi-backed government, which condemned the action as a coup.

The Southern Transitional Council (STC) declared self-rule in the south of the country in April, complicating UN efforts to forge a permanent ceasefire in a war that has separatists and the government fighting as nominal allies in a Saudi-led coalition against Houthi rebels, who control the north.

On Saturday, the STC announced it had seized government facilities and military bases on the main island of Socotra, a sparsely populated archipelago which sits at the mouth of the Gulf of Aden on one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

The government, which is led by President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, condemned the action as a “full-fledged” coup and accused STC forces of attacking government buildings in “gang-style behaviour”.

The Socotra governor, Ramzi Mahroos, accused coalition leaders Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of turning a blind eye. The UAE has previously backed STC forces with airstrikes in fighting against the government in the south.

The coalition’s Saudi spokesman and the UAE foreign ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Quick guide

The Yemen conflict explained

How long has the war been going on?

Yemen has been troubled by civil wars for decades, but the current conflict intensified in March 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition intervened on behalf of the internationally recognised government against Houthi rebels aligned with the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The war is widely regarded as having turned a poor country into a humanitarian catastrophe. Riyadh expected its air power, backed by regional coalition including the United Arab Emirates, could defeat the Houthi insurgency in a matter of months but instead it has triggered the world's worst humanitarian disaster, with 80% of the population - more than 24 million people - requiring assistance or protection and more than 90,000 dead.


What is the cause of the war?

Its roots lie in the Arab spring. Pro-democracy protesters took to the streets in a bid to force the president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to end his 33-year rule. He responded with economic concessions but refused to resign.

By March 2011, tensions on the streets of the capital city, Sana’a, resulted in protesters dying at the hands of the military.

Following an internationally brokered deal, there was a transfer of power in November to the vice-president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, paving the way for elections in February 2012 – in which he was the only candidate to lead a transitional government. Hadi’s attempts at constitutional and budget reforms were rejected by Houthi rebels from the north.

The Houthis captured the capital, forcing Hadi to flee eventually to Riyadh.

 Photograph: Mohamed Al-Sayaghi/X03689

Sources told Reuters last week that Saudi Arabia, which has tried to broker a deal between the STC and Hadi’s government, had presented a proposal to end the separatist standoff, but the STC subsequently denied receiving it.

Riyadh wants to prevent another front developing in Yemen’s multifaceted war, which has been locked in military stalemate for years.

The coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Iran-aligned Houthis ousted the Saudi-backed government for power in the capital, Sana’a, in late 2014. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system.

Socotra, a Unesco world heritage site due to its unique fauna and flora, is located in the shipping lane linking Asia to the Europe via the Red Sea and Suez canal.



The Air Force’s New Weapon Is…Shipping Containers?

The USAF could sprinkle potential battlefields and hotspots with shipping containers years in advance, each hiding a lethal drone.

By Kyle Mizokami - 08. March 2020

Container ship

Thierry Dosogne Getty Images

  • The U.S. Air Force is considering a pitch by a defense contractor to deploy armed drones in shipping containers.
  • The drones, XQ-58 Valkyries, are short takeoff drones with performance nearing that of a fighter jet.
  • In the event of war the Air Force could launch swarms of drones from the containers to overwhelm an enemy.

The U.S. Air Force wants the ability to deploy hundreds of drones across a future theater of war, storing them in shipping containers until the moment they are needed. Drone maker Kratos Defense is proposing inserting its new XQ-58A Valkyrie drone in a modified shipping container, which would then be shipped or flown to small islands in the Pacific. In the event of war, the drones could be quickly readied for action, flying long range missions deep into enemy territory while armed with precision guided bombs and air-to-air missiles.


WikipediaWikimedia Commons

The concept, proposed by Kratos Defense, calls for fitting a XQ-58A Valkyrie into a standard sized shipping container. The XQ-58A is considered “runway independent”, meaning it does not need long runways for takeoffs and landings. Kratos has long built target drones that are launched from a short, skyward-pointed rail, using rocket boosters to get airborne. Once in the air, the drone’s turbofan engine takes over and the drone goes on its way.

Kratos thinks the XQ-58A, rocket boosters, and launcher rail could all fit inside a shipping container. In the event of a crisis with China, the Air Force could deploy the shipping containers to small islands in the Pacific, either by ship or C-130J Super Hercules transport. A small number of Air Force personnel would also deploy with the containers.