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Self-proclaimed Yemeni government sold oil field to UAE: Reports

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Yemeni oil worker looks out at the Aden refinery after it was reactivated in 2016. (File photo by AFP)

The self-proclaimed Yemeni government, backed by Saudi Arabia, has sold an oil field in the country’s southeast province of Shabwah to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a key participant in the Saudi-led war against Yemen, reports say.

Al-Khabar al-Yemeni website reported on Sunday that the oil ministry of the self-proclaimed government of Moein Abdel-Malik has confirmed that an important “oil sector” in Shabwah had been sold.

In a statement, the ministry said that “Sector 5” has been handed over to a local company affiliated with the ministry. However, it did not name the company.

This comes while earlier reports said the ministry had sold an important oil field to “a fictitious company based at the port of Jebel Ali” in Dubai, UAE, exposing how the UAE is profiting from its involvement in the Yemen war.

Al-Khabar al-Yemeni noted that the ministry’s statement also came a day after the UAE-backed Giants Brigade assumed the responsibility of securing the oil field that produces tens of thousands of barrels of oil daily.

The Yemeni media outlet added that activists saw the ministry’s statement as an attempt to “stave off the scandal of selling the facility and to camouflage the deal” under which the self-proclaimed oil minister and Moein received huge sums of money.

Nearly two years ago, separatists backed by the UAE took control of the strategic Yemeni island of Socotra.

The so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC) took control of Socotra in June 2020, in a move described by the administration of former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, as “a full-fledged coup.”

Home to some 60,000 people, Socotra overlooks the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a main shipping route that connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. 

Socotra has been a source of tension between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which have been vying for control of the resource-rich island.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, but the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Under another plot attributed to Riyadh, Hadi announced last month that he had delegated his self-proclaimed powers to the “presidential leadership” council and dismissed vice president Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar.

The Wall Street Journal later reported that the former Yemeni president had been forced by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to step down.

Confirming the report, Rai al-Youm, an Arabic language digital news and opinion website, later added that Hadi’s private meeting with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, which took place during the latter’s recent visit to Riyadh without the attendance of any Saudi official, was behind MBS’s decision.

Hadi had once resigned from the presidency in early 2015 and fled to Riyadh following a popular uprising led by the Ansarullah movement. He later rescinded his resignation after arriving in Saudi Arabia.

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