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US plans to build three military bases, 1,000 housing units in Yemen - "Sources"
BBC Monitoring Middle East
January 09, 2013


Report by Yahya al-Sadmi: "Al-Bid Wing Refuses Holding any Dialogue on the South Issue in Neighbouring Countries; Washington Plans To Build Three Military Bases and 1,000 Housing Units in Yemen"

Yemeni sources said yesterday that the United States plans to build about 1,000 housing units to accommodate its troops in three military bases in southern Yemen.

The Yemeni Al-Shari [the street] newspaper cited a Yemeni source as saying that the US Government is planning to build three bases in addition to about 1,000 housing units for the US troops in Yemen in Al-Anad Airbase and the two islands of Socotra and Miyun in southern Yemen.

The newspaper pointed out that "the US Embassy in Sanaa announced a secret tender to build these units and invited a limited number of large construction companies in Yemen to tender and handed them the documents and the terms of the tender offer."

The newspaper added that "about three months ago, amounts of weaponry and military equipment were transported by US military cargo planes to Al-Anad Airbase where scores of [US] troops have already been positioned for four months."

In another context, the wing of former Southern President Ali Salim al-Bid, which is calling for secession, has announced that they are mobilizing to hold the reconciliation and forgiveness festival scheduled for 13 January in Khawr Maksar, Aden Governorate in southern Yemen, in the presence of about 1 million southern persons.

Hasan Zayd Bin-Yahya, a key figure in the wing, said that a statement would be issued in the festival, emphasizing the need for liberation and independence and the restoration of the [Southern] state. He pointed out that the sole legitimate representative entrusted with the restoration of the state is President Ali Salim al-Bid. The key figure refused any dialogue to be held in any neighbouring country, saying that dialogues should be held in the arenas of struggle at home.

He ruled out the possibility of the Southern Mobility Movement [SMM] resorting to armed struggle to disengage the south from the north of Yemen owing to the non-balance of power.

Bin-Yahya also attacked [prominent businessman] Sheikh Ahmad Bin-Farid al-Sarimah, head of the National Conference for the People of the South, saying that "he was one of the mercenaries who conspired against the national state that was emerging in the south in 30 November 1967, and he was responsible for committing subversive terrorist acts, with the help of mercenaries, against the southern people in the seventies."

He added that "Al-Suraymah spent about 170 million rials to buy the marginalized people and the thugs in order to foil the reconciliation and forgiveness festival with the help of militias belonging to Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar and the takfiri [holding other Muslims to be infidels] Al-Islah Party."

He affirmed that after they restore the south state, the northern people residing in the south will not constitute a problem for the southerners, adding that "there are 2 million northerners in the south and that they have been there since before 1990, and will remain there after the restoration of the south state because they are our brothers."

This stance of the Al-Bid wing comes following news circulated in Sanaa that the UAE will host a number of key SMM figures at home and abroad to launch a south-south dialogue and that many key southern figures from the SMM, the sultans, and representatives of Hadramawt Governorate - including Union Party Head Abd-al-Rahman al-Jafri and Abu-Bakr al-Attas - have arrived in Abu Dhabi for that purpose.

In another context, 30 Al-Qa`idah-affiliated suspects appeared before the Court of Appeal specialized in state security cases in Sanaa. These suspects belong to three cells, the first of which includes 12 defendants, the second 12 defendants, and the third six defendants. Three separate sessions were held to prosecute them. The prosecution charged the three cells with participation in an armed organized gang between 2008 and 2012 to carry out criminal acts, and the court adjourned the case until 15 January.

Source: Al-Siyasah website, Kuwait, in Arabic 9 Jan 13

© 2013 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

US trying to turn Yemen`s key island into `military base` - Iran paper
Keyhan Online
Thursday, January 28, 2010

A view of the Qalensia beach of Socotra island March 27, 2008. Socotra is located in the Arabian Sea, 380 km (238 miles) south of mainland Yemen and 80 km west of the Horn of Africa. The Socotra islands, which harbour many unique species of birds and plants, may gain UNESCO recognition in July as a world natural heritage site. Picture taken on March 27, 2008. To match feature YEMEN-SOCOTRA REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah/Files (YEMEN)

Text of editorial headlined “Alarm bell in Socotra” published by Iranian newspaper Keyhan on 9 January

Several days ago, David Petraeus, the US military commander in the Middle East, carried a message from US President (Barack) Obama for Yemen`s president Ali Abdallah Salih. No further details about the message were available. However, a glance on the American actions in Yemen and recent events in this regard can primarily reveal its contents.

With regard to the message carried by the US military commander it can certainly be said that it is a security-related and special letter. To understand what the message comprised of, we should pay attention to the news about it.

1 - In a TV interview, Ali al-Ahmad, a US citizen of Saudi origin, said America is going to establish a military base in the Socotra strategic island that belongs to Yemen. The Island is located in the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb and is located at a distance of 380 km from Yemen`s southern (coastal) borders. Its area is equal to the total area of several small states along the Persian Gulf coastline. The island is close to the African horn, and is the first strategic strait of the world, Red Sea and Indian Ocean.

2 - The US, EU and Arab countries of the peninsula are going to meet on 8 Bahman (28 January) in a conference in the London. British PM Gordon Brown`s Office on 11 Dey (1 January) issued an official statement in which it said: Brown has invited all key international partners to discuss the best way to counter radicalisation (in Yemen).

It is noteworthy that the British and American people refer to pro-Islamic inclination (eslam gera`i) as extremism in the media and at diplomatic levels.

3 - Two days ago the Die Welt periodical of Germany has written: America is going to start military operation in Yemen in answer to the terrorist attack to the Delta passenger plane that was flying to Detroit.

Americans are claiming that Al-Qaeda was going to bomb a plane on 11 Dey (1 January). There was no news about Al-Qaeda in Yemen for a long time. However, after the heavy defeat of Yemen and Saudi armies and American air strikes in the war with the combatants of Sa`dah (insurgent region in north-west Yemen) the issue of new Al-Qaeda was invented.

4 - Three days ago, Saudi TV channel Al-Arabiya, which known as Al-Abriya in the region, informed about the security measures taken with regard to Western embassies in the (Yemeni capital city) Sanaa. The US and several Western countries closed their embassies in the country and the US secretary of state said: Instability in Yemen threatens the region and world.

5 - Speaking to reporters regarding calling a global conference on Yemen, Spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, Martin Nasirky said: Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said that the presence of the Yemen`s president in the (London) meeting should be confirmed.

This statement indicates serious discussions among Western countries that planned the London conference on the 8 Bahman (28 January) around Yemen`s future.

6 - Referring to American plans on Yemen, its deputy Prime Minister Rashad al-Alimi said: America`s direct interference in Yemeni issues would amplify the Al-Qaeda. However, he confirmed his country`s obligation to go along the American plan.

7 - On 23 Azar (14 December), the Daily Telegraph revealed the mission of American special forces in Yemen. Citing an American security representative, the paper has written: The aim of sending American Special Forces to Yemen is to prevent its transformation into a base for extremists.

Three days later American forces attacked a village called al-Majeleh and claimed that Al-Qaeda`s training centre was based there. Meanwhile, American operation in the Maran highlands attacked from the 220 borderline (as published) and tens of people were killed in it. American air attacks against the habitants of al-Majeleh were accompanied by Yemen`s armoured units attack on the region.

8 - Governments of the Egypt and Jordan have indirectly expressed their concern about the American military attacks. Together with supporting Saudi operation against al-Houthi (Shi`a sect in Sa`dah of Yemen), Egypt and Jordan prime ministers said they are opposed to any foreign interference in the affairs of an Arab country. This issue indicates concerns on replacement of countries like Egypt and Jordan in the Arab world.

9 - The day after Petraeus`s visit, Americans sent Obama`s election rival, Senator John McCain, as head of a delegation to the Yemen. Immediately after entering the Sanaa, McCain said: America backs government of Ali Abdallah Salih against Sa`dah militants. However, it seemed he was pursuing some other mission.

10 - Two days ago, the Financial Times published an item that the Central News Unit translated yesterday. Item states: Western experts on Yemen`s affairs have forecasted that the incumbent government will fall till the next year and it is being said in the circumstances when anti-West moods are extremely strong in the country.

From what has been said and based on other events, one can certainly arrive on following conclusions:

1 - America, Europe and pro-American countries in the region are going to bring a basic change in the security situation of the region that includes the (Arabian) peninsula, Horn of Africa and the Red Sea. The above-mentioned pro-American countries have been facing several serious difficulties in the region. Dead end towards reaching a compromise due to the pivotal nature of the resistance; ambiguous situation in Saudi Arabia and serious possibility of its internal collapse and coming of the Islamists to the power in a country that is like the heart in the Body of Islamic world; downfall of Ali Abdallah Salih`s pro-West government and strength of the fighting Shi`as in another Arab country; collapse of Zionist regime due to intensification of Palestinian-Islamic resistance; serious defeat of American military plans in the region and the possibility that the West might face a situation to make a exit from the region`s political and military scene when it has no other option.

2 - The US continues to put emphasis on military element as its most important advantage in comparison with others. Now its attention is concentrated on finding a permanent base with necessary capabilities. Americans believe that the strategic island of Socotra with spanning 3600 sq km and its domination on the (Arabian) peninsula, Horn of African and the Red Sea is a proper location (for the purpose). Therefore, one can say that Americans are not after building a military base in Socotra, rather the military base on the island was under their control from 1373 (1994-1995) when two parts of Yemen united. During the leftist government, the base was under Soviet control. Thus, it is obvious that the Americans are trying to turn the large island into a military base that could be their most important outpost in the region.

3 - The 8 Bahman conference in London and cooperation of the three sides, US, Europe and Arab countries, is directed towards tackling the pro-Islamic inclinations. Islamism is the common concern of these three sides and the fourth side, Zionists. No doubt, the fourth side exists but it has been hidden behind other facades. Of course, seemingly they are speaking about other issues like fighting terrorism, controlling the wave of violence in the region and confronting the Al-Qaeda. However, who in the region does not know that terrorism in the region including the Al-Qaeda is a Western product and is fed by the governments of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others. In addition, everybody knows that terrorism in the region is not enjoying national support and the only necessary thing for removal of the small and dependent groups is removal of Western support.

4 - Defeat of the united West-Arab front by the oppressed Shi`as of the Sa`dah and increase in the number of sympathizers of al-Houthi in Yemen has seriously terrified the quadruple of America, Europe, Zionism and dependent Arab countries. The ill-fated quadruple is trying to hide its defeat by reviving a dependent quasi-religious stream - Al-Qaeda - and thus draw away the attention in other directions.

5 - Meanwhile, taking the resistance to the margins is an important issue here. The ill-fated quadruple with speaking about the new Al-Qaeda is trying to lessen the sensitivity of the axis of resistance and advance its extremely dangerous plan for changing the structure of security in the region and destruction of regional security structures. Therefore, the resistance axis should seriously pursue the actions of the Western axis to prevent implementation of the West`s dangerous and unrealistic plans.

6 - Islamic countries of the resistance axis and their sympathizers should understand that the mentioned quadruple is apparently preparing a major security plan; in reality they are building a security belt to secure the regional shaky and dependent regimes. Therefore, the largest antidote for their satanic plans would be continuation of the onslaught of Islamist wave towards the worn sides of this geometry. The first step in this onslaught would be disclosing the acts in the media sphere. Everybody knows that the nations have huge capabilities to fight America. The Islamic front can rely on the rising hatred of Muslims against American axis; send big forces to the field so that no rampart or post remains for the West in the region.

(Description of Source: Tehran Keyhan Online in Persian -- conservative Tehran evening daily. Published by the Keyhan Institute and edited by Hoseyn Shari`atmadari, Leader Khamene`i`s representative at the institute; URL:

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Russian Navy Aspirations in the Arabian Sea Described
Friday, October 24, 2008

Article by Sergey Balmasov: “Russia Will Crowd the United States Out of the Indian Ocean

Russia will place its military bases on the oil-transportation routes that lead out of the Persian Gulf. Here we are talking about our old partner -- Yemen, where warships and radio-intercept centers were located during Soviet times. One of the explanations for the possible return of our sailors to the land of Yemen is the fight against Somali pirates. However, the true reason for our military presence in Yemen is completely different. A well-known expert on Arab countries, Sergey Demidenko, comments to Pravda.Ru on the situation.

Russia is ready to return to the shores of Yemen after an almost 20-year break. The chairman of the Russian Federation Council, Sergey Mironov, expressed this possibility during his official visit to this country, where he arrived as the head of a delegation of diplomats invited by his Yemen colleague, Abdel Aziz Abdel Hani (name transliterated from the Russian).

According to Sergey Mironov`s statement, Russia is ready to work on “developments in the energy, technical, irrigation, and military-technical spheres” with Yemen. He dwelled in detail especially on the latter. In his opinion, Russia could restore its military presence in this country. In particular, we are talking about naval bases in Aden and on Socotra Island in the Gulf of Aden.

He expressed the opinion that the question of renewing our military presence in Yemen will be raised during the expected visit of Yemen President Ali Abdallah Salih to Russia.

In his commentary to Pravda.Ru, a well-known expert on Arab countries, Sergey Demidenko, said that “it will hardly be possible to talk seriously about the return of the Russian Navy to Socotra. We recall how much was said about our stationing our Black Sea Fleet in Syria again. And what was the result? It is possible that we will show some kind of activity in Yemen, but it will hardly be large-scale. In regard to the fight against pirates, then our ships very rarely go into the direct vicinity of the Somali coast.

“Such measures are taken within the framework of Russia`s military-political assertion, but we will get no serious dividends in the political or any other sphere. Everyone who comes to Moscow now says what Moscow wants to hear. Some come for money, and some for weapons. Many are trying to use Russia for their own self-assertion such as Asad, who wants to increase his chances in his dispute with Israel at Russia`s expense.

“In regard to Yemen itself, then it is a country in which it is difficult to find a sphere in which it would be possible to invest money. And all the talk about our possible return to this country is aimed at expanding our influence in a region in which we invested much at one time.”

Indeed, the argument about the necessity for a Russian naval presence in Yemen to fight against piracy is not persuasive. It is impossible to fight against pirates by military measures alone without stabilizing the situation in Somalia and improving the lives of ordinary Somalis. In fact, despite the noticeable presence of the most powerful navy in the world in the region, the American Navy, the amount of Somali piracy has increased geometrically over the last 15 years.

The presence of our Navy in the world ocean in Soviet times was supported by a branched network of material-technical-support posts. They were found at various times in Egypt (Alexandria and Marsa-Matruh), Syria(Latakia and Tartus), Ethiopia (Dakhlakh), Yemen (Socotra and Aden), Angola(Luanda), Guinea (Conakry), Libya (Tripoli and Tobruk), Tunis (Bizerta and Sfaks), Yugoslavia (Split and Tivat), Vietnam (Cam-Rahn), Somalia (Berber), and also Indonesia and Cuba.

At the present time, the Russian Navy only has Syrian port sat its disposal. We note that the idea of turning them into permanent bases for our Black Sea Fleet arose back in 2006, when passions were constantly heating up in Ukraine on the necessity of withdrawing the fleet from Sevastopol.

Should this occur and should we add the ports in Yemen, particularly on Socotra, Russia would actually forge a chain of naval bases in a region of strategically-important oil-transportation routes from the Persian Gulf.

What exactly is it (Sokotra)? In speaking about it, one often means the Sokotra Archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The island itself is rather large in size with an area of 3,625 square kilometers and with a very favorable location for us. In fact, it is in the way of sea routes crossing from Europe to Asia and Africa, 380 km from the coast of the Yemen mainland and80 km from the shores of Somalia.

From a military point of view, Socotra Island is a juicy morsel for us. If we are able to obtain the port of Aden, we will take into our claws the communications routes along which tankers with oil go to Europe, and if relations with the West should worsen, we will be able to give an adequate response right up to arranging an energy collapse by blocking the straits.

Socotra is famous for its nature, fauna, and flora, which is almost untouched by man and no longer exists anywhere else. Therefore, the archipelago of Socotra is monitored by UNESCO. There are many places on the island that attract tourists who worship the exotic. Thus, archeologists recently discovered a 7-km cave, the deepest in the Near East. An enormous number of birds nest in the archipelago, and the waters boil with valuable species of commercially-useful fish.

Mountains up to 1,570 m high are found in the eastern and central part of the island. However, most of it is suitable territory for stationing large troop groupings.

The Soviet military presence on Socotra lasted several dozen years. Our military appeared there at the end of the 1960s, when this country won its independence and the English departed from it. There was a well-equipped airport and a port there. Our military formed good relations with the local Arabs; the indigenous people exchanged gifts from the sea for diesel fuel or canned stew.

The operations of the 8th Indian Ocean Operational Squadron of the USSR Navy, consisting of a group of surface ships and submarines which existed in 1968, was connected with Socotra. In 1971 during the heat of the Indian-Pakistani conflict, it was sent to the Arabian Sea in order to demonstrate our presence in the Persian Gulf zone and to put pressure on the enemies of India, which was friendly to us. Socotra became one of its bases.

There is another fact concerning the presence of the Soviet military in the land of Yemen. Coral colonies suffered greatly during their stay there. According to the reminiscences of a sailor, “the coral was taken away, probably by the center”. The Americans behaved the most “unrestrainedly”. In general, there are places on our planet that must be restricted from any large-scale impact by man. Socotra is one of them.

We note that the Soviet presence on Socotra was not limited to military demonstrations. A USSR Academy of Sciences` expedition worked thereat the same time, and it did much to research the island. In May 1980, a large-scale Soviet-South Yemeni naval exercise with a naval-infantry landing was held on the island.

South Yemen itself has always denied the Soviet military presence on Socotra. True, Belgian researchers on the island discovered there a large facility for storing weapons and munitions and missile launch pads.

Meanwhile, the appearance of “Russian lads” on Socotra would be a “hit below the belt” to the Americans. Washington admits that the American military presence in Yemen has special significance. The funny thing is that if Russian sailors show up there, they will be the neighbors of those same Americans.

The matter is that back in 1993 the United States concluded an agreement with Yemen on the long-term leasing of an airport and a seaport built by our specialists on Socotra and several piers in the port of Aden, which permitted their controlling the strategic Bab-el-Mandeb Straits. The Americans made the deal with what was pennies for them -- some $80 million. And this October they used Yemen territory for the first time for an operation in Somalia. In addition, relying on their base in Yemen, they are trying to fight against a large, local al-Qaida cell there, which has more than once successfully attacked American warships.

Over the course of the 15 years of their presence on Socotra, the Americans have improved the Soviet bases. Thus, now the island can receive simultaneously 10,000 Marines and a large naval formation, including aircraft carriers. True, in such a case, it is not known where our sailors will have to go. It is possible that if we offer the Yemenis a larger sum of money for rent than the Americans, then the owner of the facilities will replace them with Russians. However, this is clearly not in the plans of the United States.

(Description of Source: Moscow Pravda in Russian -- Leftist daily newspaper funded by the Communist Party)

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


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