Who is Behind the Mysterious Air Base on This Yemeni Island?

Perim Island, also known as Mayyun in Arabic, is located just 3.5 kilometres from Yemen’s mainland and is widely recognised for its crucial strategic position. The island was lost to Houthi militants during the 2015 takeover but later retaken by Gulf Arab forces backing the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Construction of a mysterious air base, spotted on Yemen’s volcanic Perim Island, is being linked to the United Arab Emirates, according to anonymous officials cited by AP.

Satellite images from Planet Labs Inc. revealed in late February 2021 that a 1.8-kilometre runway was being constructed on the island, which sits in the middle of Bab Al Mandeb Strait, a vital maritime route used for commercial and energy shipments. New images obtained by the AP show that by 18 May the work appears to be completed, with three hangers constructed just south of the runaway.

An earlier effort to build a modern airbase at Perim dates back to 2016, shortly after it was recaptured from the Houthi rebels. But the project was halted in 2017 over difficulties associated with the island’s volcanic nature. The previous efforts were generally linked to the UAE over the shipping data, AP says, with unnamed Yemeni officials from the Hadi government claiming that Abu Dhabi is now behind the construction of the new runaway at a separate site.

In 2019, the UAE, which alongside Saudi Arabia is backing the Hadi government, announced that it has ended its military involvement in Yemen and was…

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