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Civil war rivals vie for Yemen's strategic Socotra island

Despite stepping back from its military role in Yemen, UAE influence remains strong in the country's south, especially on Socotra island.

Yemen’s Socotra island has become the center of a power struggle between the Yemeni government and the secessionist Southern Transitional Council (STC). Tensions have been running high, especially since two government battalions defected last month and joined the STC. The defections clearly indicate that Socotra is contested and polarization will continue, despite Saudi-led peace efforts in Yemen’s south.

Moreover, more US Marines arrived on the island March 7, raising new speculation that the United States wants to establish a military base there. Some Marines also had deployed in December to the island southeast of Yemen's coast.

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