UAE Stealthily Quickens Work on Runway on Yemen's Abd al Kuri Island (Video)
This comes in light of the increased maritime security tensions in the region, with the United States deploying new forces to confront Iranian activities affecting international navigation.
Local sources told Sheba Intelligence that workers arrived in August via helicopters and small ships to " Abd al Kuri " to speed up work on the airport runway. The distance between the port where fishermen’s boats dock and the airport is roughly 25 kilometers.
The UAE began working on the runway in 2021. According to the sources, the work moved slowly but steadily between the middle and end of 2022. However, the Emirates resumed construction activities on the runway in July, and construction is ongoing until September 2023, according to Satellite images taken by Sheba Intelligence.
Satellite images show that the UAE has created unpaved roads in the island's northern part over the past months and is linked to labor camps and the runway location.
The new runway was built next to a dirt runway, but the new runway is about 2.5 kilometers long. It will accommodate larger fighter jets and military cargo planes.
Since the beginning of the year, the UAE has built warehouses and buildings near the airport runway.
While the UAE is building infrastructure north of Abd al Kuri, the local population occupies the south. The island is 133 km2, and most people, whose number is less than 600, depend on fishing. In February this year, news began circulating that the UAE was displacing the local population. However, that news has not been independently verified.
In 2020, a year before the start of the runway, researchers on American and French websites reported that "the UAE is working on a plan to establish espionage bases on the Yemeni island of Socotra" to monitor international navigation in the Indian Ocean, including Iranian movements.