UAE extends military reach in Yemen and Somalia

Abu Dhabi: Military transport planes from the United Arab Emirates landed on the sleepy Yemeni island of Socotra last week, unloading tanks and troops as part of the Gulf Arab state’s drive to extend its influence over a strategic waterway flanked by war zones.
The UAE, with a population of less than 10 million but the Arab world’s second-largest economy thanks to oil, is deploying its soldiers and cash to create a web of bases and armed allies in Yemen and Somalia as a bulwark against Islamist extremists and Iranian influence, according to diplomats as well as Yemeni and Somali officials. But backing groups at loggerheads with their national governments threatens to bog down the UAE in the seemingly endless conflicts of two of the world’s poorest countries. Lying between the Arabian Peninsula and Horn of Africa, Socotra island.