Yemenis Protest UAE Normalization With Israel on Socotra Island

Rumors of Israeli presence on the island adds to distrust

A lot of suspicion surrounding the UAE-Israel normalization pact is coupling with the fog of war in Yemen to fuel mounting mistrust and over the weekend, a substantial protest on Socotra Island.

Part of Yemen, the Socotra Island is under de facto UAE control, and while a lot of the goings on are based on unconfirmed rumors, the UAE is seen as planning a permanent presence there to give them more reach into the Gulf of Aden and the surrounding waters.

The protesters on Socotra emphasized their solidarity with the Palestinians, but another aspect of the problem is reports that the UAE has invited Israel to send intelligence officials to Socotra to participate in intelligence gathering operations.

Officials have yet to confirm or deny the claims of an Israeli presence on Socotra, and it seems unlikely at this point, given how quickly this report emerged on the heels of the normalization deal. There’s just not good information on what’s going on in the region, however, and that lends itself to assuming the worst-case scenario, something many people are more than willing to do.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of