Brotherhood pushing fake news in Socotra to fuel terror
Al-Qaeda in Yemen has threatened to carry out attacks on Arab coalition forces and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces, reacting to news circulated in recent days by Qatari and Muslim Brotherhood media claiming that the United Arab Emirates intends to establish a joint military base with Israel on the island of Socotra.
A statement attributed to al-Qaeda threatened to launch suicide and “immersion” operations on the island and outside it. “Let the Jews and their Emirati agents know that if they set foot on Socotra, they’ll be the target of our firepower and will be nowhere safe from our martyrdom (suicide) and immersion operations,” the statement said.
The discourse used in al-Qaeda’s statement was disturbingly similar to the inflammatory and propaganda discourse adopted by Qatari, Muslim Brotherhood and Houthi media sites to try to discredit the UAE in particular, which has increased in frequency and intensity in the wake of the peace agreement between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv.
A Yemeni woman politician said that the use of the Emirati-Israeli relations in the context of the systematic intimidation campaign in Yemen conducted by Doha and the international organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood has become a new strategy to target the Arab coalition in Yemen. They are now brandishing the threat of terror operations through direct incitement and media preparation for actions by terrorist groups, many of which function as military arms of the Muslim Brotherhood's agenda.
The sources added, in a statement to The Arab Weekly, that the use of Socotra as a card in the conflict between Qatar and Turkey on the one hand and the Arab coalition on the other has gone through several stages, beginning with the spread of fake news about coalition forces destroying and looting the island's natural heritage, followed by leaking news about the coalition attempting to change the islanders' political identity and establish military bases on the island, and now by talking about a joint UAE-Israeli military and intelligence base there. The goal of this kind of propaganda is to provoke the ire of Yemeni public opinion and prepare the ground for direct operations against the Arab coalition forces and the STC by armed proxies of the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar.
The sources revealed that Doha had leaked, in coordination with forces loyal to it in the Yemeni government, misleading information about the UAE establishing military bases on the Yemeni archipelago of Socotra from an early date, even though none of the UAE forces were present on the island. Now with the news of normalising relations between the Emirates and Israel, that same propaganda was revived with an added spin, making the imaginary bases a joint Emirati-Israeli military and intelligence endeavour.
Qatar had aims to enable Ankara to reach the Socotra archipelago and build a base there. That project, however, was undermined by the STC forces gaining control of the main island and removing the Yemeni government forces accused of being in cahoots with the Muslim Brotherhood. Having failed on that front, Doha tried to sell the the allegation that the Socotra archipelago belonged to Somalia instead of Yemen.
Yemeni political researcher Mushir al-Mashrai said that Qatari and Brotherhood media picked up the news from French website Jforum (the Jewish Forum), which said it picked up the news from a Syrian media source which in turn got it from a Yemeni source, according to the report.
Mashrai added in a statement to The Arab Weekly that Qatari media’s failure to mention the source of the aforementioned website constitutes a deliberate attempt to mislead public opinion in order to give credibility to the news.
By tracking down the Yemeni source of the news, it turned out that the disinformation was primarily cooked up by forces hostile to the Arab coalition in Yemen, especially the Houthis, whose political and media discourse is based on the far-fetched claim that they are fighting Israeli ambitions in Yemen.
Regarding the possible impact of this misleading bit of fake news on provoking an escalation of actions by terrorist groups, Mashari pointed out that al-Qaeda and ISIS have already been targeting Arab coalition forces since the beginning of the war. However, the latest development is al-Qaeda’s call on those it referred to as “the people of the Sunna” to start targeting coalition forces and STC forces, in an attempt to exploit the fake news disseminated by the Qatari and Brotherhood media, and to take the conflict to a more violent level.
Yemeni political sources warned that a close examination of the recent Qatari-sponsored activity in Yemen confirms Doha’s intent to employ all available tools to take the battle to a more dangerous level through the use of terrorist groups, financing the establishment of camps for the so-called “Popular Mobilisation” and direct involvement in backing the Houthi militias with money, weapons and drones to target the coalition countries.
Western media sources quoted a former intelligence officer as saying that Doha was involved in supporting the Houthis in order to target the Saudi Arabia, according to the Austrian Die Press newspaper.
A former intelligence officer, named as Jason G., confirmed to the German-language paper that Qatar has been providing direct support to the Houthis over the past few years.