Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I Suppose You Wonder Why I've Gathered You All Here Today

Arab countries don't seem to be assuming that Iran will become a responsible (non-nuclear) regional power any time soon.

The United Arab Emirates is setting up shop in Eritrea on the Red Sea:

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) appears to be constructing a new port next to Assab International Airport in Eritrea, which could become its first permanent military base in a foreign country.

Satellite imagery shows rapid progress has been made since work began sometime after September 2015.

It's getting crowded in the Horn of Africa.

Gulf Arab states have an incentive to bolster defenses in the Red Sea, which is an alternate oil export route should Iran shut down the Strait of Hormuz.

And, of course, it could be a useful staging area should Saudi Arabia's Plan E force (which also holds the northern end of the Red Sea) be needed in the Horn of Africa region or points east.

UPDATE: Related:

Yemeni and Emirati soldiers seized Yemen's seaport of Mukalla from al Qaeda fighters on Sunday, depriving the group of the seaport that enabled it to amass a fortune amid the country's civil war.

Around 2,000 Yemeni and Emirati troops advanced into Mukalla, local officials and residents said, taking control of its maritime port and airport and setting up checkpoints throughout the southern coastal city.

Intervention by Gulf Arab states in Yemen, which sits at the southern end of the Red Sea, to block Iranian influence or hostile jihadi control makes much more sense seen through the lens of oil exports, eh?