سقطرى

( Socotra )

Socotra (; Arabic: سُقُطْرَىٰ Suquṭrā) or Saqatri (Soqotri: ساقطري Saqaṭri) is an island of the Republic of Yemen in the Indian Ocean. Lying between the Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Sea and near major shipping routes, Socotra is the largest of the four islands in the Socotra archipelago. Since 2013, the archipelago has constituted the Socotra Governorate.

The island of Socotra represents around 95% of the landmass of the Socotra archipelago. It lies 380 kilometres (205 nautical miles) south of the Arabian Peninsula and 240 kilometres (130 nautical miles) east of Somalia; despite being controlled by Yemen, it is geographically part of Africa. The island is isolated and home to a high number of endemic species. Up to a third of its plant life is endemic. It has been described as "the most alien-looking pla...Read more

Socotra (; Arabic: سُقُطْرَىٰ Suquṭrā) or Saqatri (Soqotri: ساقطري Saqaṭri) is an island of the Republic of Yemen in the Indian Ocean. Lying between the Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Sea and near major shipping routes, Socotra is the largest of the four islands in the Socotra archipelago. Since 2013, the archipelago has constituted the Socotra Governorate.

The island of Socotra represents around 95% of the landmass of the Socotra archipelago. It lies 380 kilometres (205 nautical miles) south of the Arabian Peninsula and 240 kilometres (130 nautical miles) east of Somalia; despite being controlled by Yemen, it is geographically part of Africa. The island is isolated and home to a high number of endemic species. Up to a third of its plant life is endemic. It has been described as "the most alien-looking place on Earth." The island measures 132 kilometres (82 mi) in length and 42 kilometres (26 mi) in width. In 2008 Socotra was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Currently, the island is under the de facto control of the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council, a secessionist participant in Yemen's ongoing civil war.

There was initially an Oldowan lithic culture in Socotra. Oldowan stone tools were found in the area around Hadibo in 2008.[1] Socotra played an important role in the ancient international trade and appears as Dioskouridou (Διοσκουρίδου νῆσος), meaning "the island of the Dioscuri" in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a first-century CE Greek navigation aid.[2]

The Hoq Cave contains a large number of inscriptions, drawings and archaeological objects. Further investigation showed that these had been left by sailors who visited the island between the first century BCE and the sixth century CE. The texts are written in the Indian Brāhmī, South Arabian, Ethiopic, Greek, Palmyrene and Bactrian languages. This corpus of nearly 250 texts and drawings constitutes one of the main sources for the investigation of Indian Ocean trade networks in that time period.[3]

In 880, an Aksumite expeditionary force conquered the island, and an Oriental Orthodox bishop was consecrated. The Ethiopians were later dislodged by a large armada sent by Imam Al-Salt bin Malik of Oman.[4] According to the Persian geographer Ibn al-Mujawir, who testifies having arrived in Socotra from India in 1222, there were two groups of people on the island, the indigenous mountain dwellers and the foreign coastal dwellers.[5]

 Photo of local men from Socotra taken by Charles K. Moser, 1918[6]

In 1507, a Portuguese fleet commanded by Tristão da Cunha with Afonso de Albuquerque landed at Suq and captured the port after a stiff battle against the Mahra Sultanate. Their objective was to set a base in a strategic place on the route to India. The lack of a proper harbor and the infertility of the land led to famine and sickness in the garrison, and the Portuguese abandoned the island in 1511.[7] The Mahra sultans took back control of the island, and the inhabitants were converted to Islam.[8]

In 1834, the East India Company stationed a garrison on Socotra, in the expectation that the Mahra sultan of Qishn and Socotra would accept an offer to sell the island. The lack of good anchorages proved to be as much a problem for the British as the Portuguese. The sultan refused to sell, and the British left in 1835. After the capture of Aden by the British in 1839, they lost interest in acquiring Socotra. In 1886, the British government decided to conclude a protectorate treaty with the sultan in which he promised this time to "refrain from entering into any correspondence, agreement, or treaty with any foreign nation or power, except with the knowledge and sanction of the British Government".[9] In October 1967, in the wake of the departure of the British from Aden and southern Arabia, the Mahra Sultanate was abolished. On 30 November of the same year, Socotra became part of South Yemen.

Since Yemeni unification in 1990, Socotra has been a part of the Republic of Yemen, affiliated first to Aden Governorate. Then in 2004, it was moved to be a part of the Hadhramaut Governorate. Later in 2013, it became a governorate of its own.

Socotra was ravaged by the 26 December 2004 tsunami causing a child's death and the wreckage of 40 fishing boats although the island is 4,600 km (2,858 mi) away from tsunami epicentre off the west coast of Aceh, Indonesia.[10] In 2015, the cyclones Chapala and Megh struck the island, causing severe damage to its infrastructure.[11]

United Arab Emirates takeover

Beginning in 2015, the UAE began increasing its presence on Socotra, first with humanitarian aid in the wake of tropical cyclones Chapala and Megh, and eventually establishing a military presence on the island. On April 30, 2018, the UAE, as part of the ongoing Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen, landed troops on the island and took control of Socotra Airport and seaport.[12] On May 14, 2018, Saudi troops were also deployed on the island, and a deal was brokered between the UAE and Yemen for a joint military training exercise and the return of administrative control of the airport and seaport to Yemen.[13][14]

In May 2019, the Yemeni government accused the UAE of landing around 100 separatist troops in Socotra, which the UAE denied, deepening a rift between the two nominal allies in Yemen's civil war.[15] In February 2020, a regiment of the Yemeni army stationed in Socotra rebelled and pledged allegiance to the UAE-backed separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) in Socotra, renouncing the UN-backed government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.[16] The STC seized control of the island in June 2020.[17]

According to media reports in 2020 and 2022, the UAE are set to establish military and intelligence facilities on the Socotra Archipelago.[18][19] Initially, the UAE were part of the Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen launched in 2011. But this cooperation later showed cracks due to diverging geopolitical goals that led the UAE reducing its intervention forces in Yemen from 2019 onwards,[18] while increasing its support to the STC and taking over Socotra in pursuing their own geostrategic interests to retain influence across Yemen's southern coastal areas.[20] This take-over was declared illegitimate by Yemen President Hadi stating that the UAE was acting like an occupier.[21]

 Tropical Cyclone Chapala over Socotra in 2015
^ Zhukov, Valery A. (2014) The Results of Research of the Stone Age Sites in the Island of Socotra (Yemen) in 2008-2012. - Moscow: Triada Ltd. 2014, pps 114, ill. 134 (in Russian) ISBN 978-5-89282-591-7. ^ Great Britain. Naval Intelligence Division (2005). "Appendix: Socotra". Western Arabia and the Red Sea. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. p. 611. ISBN 9781136209956. ^ Bukharin, Mikhail D.; De Geest, Peter; Dridi, Hédi; Gorea, Maria; Jansen Van Rensburg, Julian; Robin, Christian Julien; Shelat, Bharati; Sims-Williams, Nicholas; Strauch, Ingo (2012). Strauch, Ingo (ed.). Foreign Sailors on Socotra. The inscriptions and drawings from the cave Hoq. Bremen: Dr. Ute Hempen Verlag. p. 592. ISBN 978-3-934106-91-8. ^ Martin, E. G. (1974). "Mahdism and holy wars in Ethiopia before 1600". Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies. 4: 114. JSTOR 41223140. ^ G. Rex Smith, Ibn al-Mujāwir on Dhofar and Socotra, in: Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, Vol. 15, 1985. ^ Photo from ‘The Isle of Frankincense’ by Charles K. Moser, formerly United States Consul-General to Aden, Arabia. Page 271 in The National Geographic Magazine, January to June 1918, Vol. XXXIII, 266–278. ^ Diffie, Bailey Wallys; Winius, George Davison (1977). Foundations of the Portuguese empire, 1415–1580. University of Minnesota Press. p. 233. ISBN 978-0-8166-0782-2. ^ Bowersock, Glen Warren; Brown, Peter; Grabar, Oleg (1999). Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World. Harvard University Press. p. 753. ISBN 978-0674511736. ^ A Collection of Treaties, Engagements and Sunnuds related to India and Neighbouring Countries, Calcutta, 1909, volume VIII, page 185. ^ Hermann M. Fritz; Emile A. Okal (2008). "Socotra Island, Yemen: field survey of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami". Natural Hazards. 46 (1): 107–117. Bibcode:2008NatHa..46..107F. doi:10.1007/s11069-007-9185-3. S2CID 14199971. ^ Yemen: Cyclones Chapala and Megh Flash Update 11 (PDF) (Report). United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 19 November 2015. ReliefWeb. Retrieved 3 February 2016. ^ "Yemen officials say Emiratis boost forces on Socotra island". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2 May 2018. ^ "Yemen PM: Crisis over UAE deployment to Socotra over". Al Jazeera. ^ "Yemen, UAE Agree on Deal Over Socotra". Albawaba News. ^ Aziz El Yaakoubi (9 May 2019). "Yemen government accuses UAE of landing separatists on remote island". Reuters. ^ "Second army regiment rebels against Yemen government in Socotra". Middle East Monitor. 28 February 2020. ^ Mukhashaf, Mohammed; El Yaakoubi, Aziz (21 June 2020). Kasolowsky, Raissa (ed.). "Yemen separatists seize remote Socotra island from Saudi-backed government". Reuters. On Saturday, the STC announced it had seized government facilities and military bases on the main island of Socotra, a sparsely populated archipelago which sits at the mouth of the Gulf of Aden on one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. ^ a b UAE withdrawal from Aden in 2019 Retrieved 4 March 2023. ^ UAE building military camps on Yemen's Socotra island Retrieved 4 March 2023. ^ UAE and Saudi Arabia soft-hard power games in Socotra on 2 May 2022. Retrieved 25 January 2023. ^ Yemen president says UAE acting like occupiers of 12 May 2017. Retrieved: 20 January 2023.
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