A Yemeni official says US and UAE operations purportedly against terrorist groups in Shabwah are indeed meant to gain control over oil and gas fields in Yemen's southern province.
According to Shabwah Deputy Governor Mohammed Ahmed Abou Harba, the so-called Shabwah elite forces, who have occupied large swaths of the province, serve American and Emirati schemes and interests.
"The goal of the US and the UAE is to loot oil and gas in the province," Yemen News Agency (SABA) quoted him as saying on Sunday.
A military source in the province also confirmed that American and Emirati troops have captured a number of oil and gas fields in Shabwah.
Abou Harba said the US and the UAE are seeking to ignite a civil war in the province, and urged Yemenis to unite and confront the "American Emirati aggression."
Another official said the elite forces in the province are under the Emirati command. The forces, he said, have not taken any action to restore security to the province and are only supporting Daesh and al-Qaeda terrorists with the aim of instigating violence in order to justify their occupation.
The UAE is taking part in a Saudi war on Yemen to restore a former government to power, which has killed about 12,000 people so far.
Yemeni sources have revealed that the UAE has been trying to establish control over the strategic island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea, which Yemen’s resigned president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi had rented out to the Persian Gulf kingdom for nearly a century.
According to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, the UAE is building an airstrip on Perim or Mayun Island, a volcanic island in Yemen that sits in a waterway between Eritrea and Djibouti in the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait.
Back in May, the Associated Press reported that the United Arab Emirates was quietly expanding its military presence into Africa and elsewhere in the Middle East.
According to the American news agency, the UAE has new overseas bases on the African Continent and has been deploying expeditionary forces to Yemen and Afghanistan.
The US has been providing arms and military training as well as bombing coordinates to the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen since March 2015.
Al-Qaeda has exploited the US-backed Saudi war on Yemen to enhance its terror activities in the impoverished country.