Replacing the Aircraft Carriers with Bases in Somaliland: The U.S.-UAE’s Alternative Strategy

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Two Arab diplomatic sources revealed that the United Arab Emirates suggested to the United States to use Somaliland to confront the Ansar Allah (Houthi) campaign in the Red Sea in lieu of the American aircraft carriers which require huge budgets and a considerable number of personnel.

The sources told Sheba Intelligence that Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, the National Security Advisor and the head of the UAE Foreign Intelligence Service, met with Jake Sullivan, the US National Security Advisor and other American officials in early June when bin Zayed visited Washington.

According to the two sources who are familiar with the details of bin Zayed’s visit, the two sides discussed many regional files, including the Houthi operations in the Red Sea, the air and missile defense affairs, and maritime security affairs in the Arabian Gulf region.

 The Emirati proposal regarding the possible American use of Somaliland came during a talk about the continued refusal of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to allow the American and Western military bases in the Gulf territories to launch attacks on the Houthis.

 The Houthi group in Yemen has been launching attacks on shipping lanes in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, showing their solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza where Israel has killed over 37000 people since October last year.

The sources added that American officials opened a channel of communication with officials in Somaliland under the supervision of Abu Dhabi. The Emiratis aim to strengthen thier influence in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea and join the United States to defend the Red Sea against the Houthi attacks and Somali piracy.

Such moves would anger the central government in Mogadishu, and other countries in the region, including the Yemeni government, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed also discussed files related to the Emirati conditions for participating in a security force following the war on the Gaza Strip, in addition to discussing continued American concerns about relationship between Group 42 Holding Ltd and Chinese technology.