Iran Rationalizes Russia’s Pro-Arab Position on Disputed Islands

Iranian graphic depicting the strategic location and Iranian control over Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tonb Islands.

“Russia seems to take for granted its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Despite official warmth, Iran has reason to be suspicious of Russia, given Russia’s historic willingness to interfere in Iranian politics and/or infringe on Iranian sovereignty.[i] The excerpted opinion piece from Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-affiliated news outlet, highlights that one of the most sensitive sovereignty issues for Iran today revolves around three islands—Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tonb Islands—occupied by Iranian forces in 1971 to prevent the UK from transferring their control to the UAE. While international law sides with the UAE, Iran has been unwilling to return the islands due to their strategic importance overseeing the shipping lanes on the Persian Gulf side of the Strait of Hormuz. Indeed, Abu Musa has become home to a major IRGC base.[ii] The excerpted article seeks to rationalize Russia’s decision to side with the UAE over Iran on questions about the islands’ sovereignty. It argues the UAE is an important outlet for the Russian economy in an era of isolation and sanctions. Russian officials may also believe Tehran has become so dependent on Moscow that Iran has little choice but to accept Russia’s pro-UAE position on the matter. Regardless, short of civil war distracting Iran during any transition following Khamenei’s death, there is little possibility that the UAE could liberate its occupied territories or that Russia could compel Iran to abandon the three islands. Still, Iranians have long memories and are unlikely to forgive the Kremlin for what they see as a betrayal. Iran may tilt more toward China in the future or simply bide its time and lick it wounds. But, when Iranians feel the moment is right, they will use the Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tonbs episode to justify a future betrayal of Russia.


“Cherayi Mawzehgiri Russiyeh dar Khasus Jazair She Ganeh” (What Explains Russia’s Position with Regard to the Three Islands?),” (nominally independent web portal close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), 31 December 2023.

Russia is a country that does not make treaty of friendship with anyone but rather pursues only its own interests. To put it simply, from the Russian perspective, there are no strategic enemies or strategic friends. Russians… do not see everything as zero sum game. For example, Russia is now at odds with the West, but it has also maintained cooperation on some issues, openly or covertly.

With this brief preamble, we return to recent Russian behavior with regard to the three islands. First, we need to look at things globally. Everyone knows well that America’s power in the world, if not weak is waning. On the other hand, China, with its strong economic backing and lack of arrogance in the style of the West – now has a positive image in the world. By mediating between Iran and Saudi Arabia, China somehow announced its presence in the region, though it had been in place for many years as an emerging power in the world that is transforming from bipolar to multipolar….Perhaps one of the main reasons for Russia’s recent stance is the oil dollars of Arab countries, which have caught the eye of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and Russia under sanctions. Moscow is under severe pressure due to Western sanctions, so it seems that with full cooperation with Arabs on the issue of the three Persian Gulf islands, it intends on one hand to influence the circle of America’s Arab allies and on the other hand, take a realistic view of its national and financial interests…. Russia seems to take for granted its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Since the West has no place in the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kremlin officials have sided with Arab countries without worrying about Iranian reactions.


[i] For an earlier discussion of Iran’s the history and development of Iran-Russia relations, see: Michael Rubin, “Iranian Influence Extends to the Mediterranean,” OE Watch, September 2018.

[ii] For background on the island dispute, see: Michael Rubin, “Revolutionary Guard Chief Exacerbates UAE-Iran Island Dispute,” OE Watch, June 2012,

Image Information:

Image: Iranian graphic depicting the strategic location and Iranian control over Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tonb Islands.

UAE Seeking Greater Cooperation With Egyptian Defense Sector

H.E. Mr. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt emplanes for Egypt (State Visit of President of Egypt to India (January 24-26, 2023)

H.E. Mr. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt emplanes for Egypt (State Visit of President of Egypt to India (January 24-26, 2023).

…The United Arab Emirates has expressed great interest in investing in Egypt’s defense industry…”

In April 2023, UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed made a state visit to Egypt. Although the visit took place in the shadow of conflict in Sudan, where Egypt and the UAE support opposing factions, it was primarily focused on expanding economic cooperation in various sectors, according to the first accompanying excerpt from the Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat. One sector where deeper cooperation would be highly consequential is military production. On paper, the Egyptian and Emirati defense industries are complementary. Egypt has a relatively strong industrial base and a history of military production but lacks funding and investment in new technologies.[i] The UAE, meanwhile, has invested heavily in new military technologies but lacks a large national industrial base or history of military production. According to the second accompanying article, from the Arabic-language Defense Arabia website, “the United Arab Emirates has expressed great interest in investing in Egypt’s defense.” The article highlights a Memorandum of Understanding on defense cooperation signed at the IDEX defense expo in February 2023 between Egypt’s Defense Ministry and the UAE’s Tawazun Council, a key Emirati defense industry government entity. In 2020, the Egyptian government launched an initiative to bolster weapons export production, with a view to making inroads in the African market and helping its moribund economy rebound.[ii] The initiative remains stalled in part due to financial constraints, but it could receive an important boost from Gulf countries seeking regional influence via economic investments.[iii] While Emirati entities have shown interest in investing in Egypt’s state-owned enterprises, they have also grown increasingly frustrated by the Egyptian government’s lack of transparency and market reforms. Thus, potential Emirati investment in Egypt’s defense sector remains a theoretical win-win scenario that is unlikely to move forward unless the Egyptian government is willing to accept at least some of its creditors’ conditions.


“هل تعزز زيارة محمد بن زايد القاهرة الاستثمارات الإماراتية في مصر؟

Will Mohamed bin Zayed’s visit to Cairo strengthen Emirati investments in Egypt?” al-Sharq al-Awsat (influential Saudi daily), 13 April 2023.

Egyptian economist Dr. Rashad Abdo told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the Emirati president’s visit to Cairo and his talks with the Egyptian president are economic talks par excellence. Whatever the political files for discussion, the context in which the visit comes confirms that economic issues will prevail.” According to Abdo, “the talks contribute to strengthening and increasing Emirati investments in Egypt in various sectors, and it is likely that the meeting focused on consolidating economic cooperation mechanisms and discussing specific Egyptian proposals for investment opportunities.”

“الإمارات تستثمر في الصناعات العسكرية المصرية.. ماذا وراء تعزيز التعاون الدفاعي بين البلدين؟

The UAE is investing in Egyptian military industries.. What is behind the strengthening of defense cooperation between the two countries?” Defense Arabia (military news website), 29 April 2023.

The United Arab Emirates has expressed great interest in investing in Egypt’s defense industry, seeking to take advantage of the country’s strategic location and its growing defense sector…In an important step towards enhancing defense cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, in February 2023 at IDEX the Tawazun Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Egyptian Ministry of Defense. The memorandum aims to enhance cooperation in the defense and security industries and to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries.


[i] “Mapping the Formal Military Economy Part 1: A ‘Citadel’ of Egyptian Industry,” Carnegie Middle East Center, 18 November 2019.

[ii] “Egypt boosts local weapons production,” al-Monitor, 2 March 2020.

[iii] Since 2013, Gulf countries—primarily Saudi Arabia and the UAE—have provided the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi with as much as $100 billion in assistance, often with no strings attached; it is believed, however, that they are no longer willing to do so without getting guaranteed returns on their capital. See: “Gulf Investment in Egypt: A Balance of Mutual Need,” Carnegie Middle East Center, 8 May 2023.

Image Information:

Image:  H.E. Mr. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt emplanes for Egypt (State Visit of President of Egypt to India (January 24-26, 2023)
Source: India Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Flickr,  
Attribution: CC 2.0

Key Arab Countries Join Chinese-Led Regional Body as Dialogue Partners

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Secretariat (2022).

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Secretariat (2022).

“… The group’s expansion, however, should not be interpreted as meant to pose a challenge to the West, but rather as a means to provide an alternative…”

A growing number of Arab countries are joining the Chinese-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as “dialogue partners.” The SCO was established in the early 2000s as a mechanism for deepening political, economic, and security cooperation between countries of Central and South Asia. It has eight member nations (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) and over a dozen “observer” and “dialogue partner” nations, which may send delegates to SCO meetings and negotiate with the bloc on particular issues but do not have voting rights or official sway within the organization.

In the past year, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have all been officially granted “dialogue partner” status, with Bahrain expected to follow suit. With this, roughly two-thirds of countries in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility have joined the SCO in some capacity.[i] While these developments bear watching, SCO partnership is—at least for now—not necessarily at odds with existing security commitments and arrangements.[ii] Instead, engagement with the SCO is seen as part of a strategic diversification approach being pursued by Arab countries in response to emerging multipolarity. Arabic-language media largely sees these moves through an economic lens and as part of what the first accompanying excerpt, published in the Qatari-aligned daily al-Araby al-Jadeed, considers China’s “efforts to consolidate a new multipolar world economic order.” Arab countries’ interest in the SCO, however, should not be dismissed as a purely economic phenomenon bereft of potential strategic implications. According to a former Egyptian diplomat cited in the second accompanying article, published last September in the prominent Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat, Russia will seek to use the SCO “as an additional point in its confrontations with the West.” Russian attempts to use the SCO for strategic leverage against NATO would likely cause friction within the organization, clashing not only with China’s more regional and economic focus but also with the strategic interests of other SCO members. Nonetheless, growing Russo-Chinese geostrategic alignment may eventually enable the SCO’s orientation to gradually shift toward global geopolitics, particularly if its membership begins extending beyond Central and South Asia. Especially noteworthy in this regard is Iran’s interest in full SCO membership (it is currently an observer country). This interest, combined with the recent China-mediated Saudi-Iranian détente, makes the SCO a potential venue through which Iran may seek to compete with the United States. Last April, Iran was for the first time invited to participate in the SCO defense ministers’ meeting in New Delhi. As reported in the third accompanying excerpt, from the pro-Iranian Lebanese media outlet al-Mayadeen, Iran’s Defense Minister called for the establishing of a “Shanghai Maritime Security Belt” and more broadly using the SCO to promote a “balance of power.” Iranian ambitions notwithstanding, the SCO remains an “alternative” rather than a “challenge” to the West, as articulated by an Indian journalist cited in the fourth accompanying excerpt, from the Saudi English-language daily Arab News. Still, in a competitive world, today’s alternatives may become tomorrow’s challenges. Present Arab involvement in the SCO remains limited and largely economic in nature, but the potential for this involvement to morph in a way that that erodes U.S.-Arab security partnerships, while not imminent, is worthy of consideration.


“منظمة شنغهاي.. ترسيخ الصين لاقتصاد التعددية القطبية يتمدّد عربياً

(Shanghai Organization.. China’s consolidation of the multipolar economy is expanding in the Arab world),” al-Araby al-Jadeed (Qatari-aligned daily), 16 April 2023.

China is seeking to attract a larger number of economically active countries to membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as part of its efforts to consolidate a new multipolar world economic order.

“ماذا يعني انضمام 5 دول عربية إلى منظمة «شنغهاي»؟

(What does the accession of 5 Arab countries to the ‘Shanghai Organization’ mean?).” al-Sharq al-Awsat (influential Saudi daily), 17 September 2022.

Ambassador Raouf Saad, the former Egyptian assistant foreign minister and former Egyptian ambassador to Moscow, acknowledged that Russia will work to exploit the matter as an additional point in its confrontations with the West. However, he stressed the constants of Egyptian foreign policy, which refuses to “enter into alliances directed at the expense of its interests.”

“وزير الدفاع الإيراني: يجب تفعيل حزام الأمن البحري لمنظمة “شنغهاي

(Iranian Defense Minister: The ‘Shanghai Organization’ maritime security belt must be activated,)” al-Mayadeen (pro-Iran Lebanese media outlet), 29 April 2023.

Today, Saturday, the Iranian Minister of Defense, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, proposed adopting the “Shanghai Maritime Security Belt” mechanism with the aim of maintaining the security of communication lines and collectively guaranteeing global trade with the participation of the armed forces of member states…

During his remarks at the meeting of defense ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states in New Delhi, India, Ashtiani said that the achievements of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization “should promote global multilateralism and balance of power.”

“Middle Eastern participation grows in China-led security bloc as new countries join,” Arab News (English-language Saudi daily), 5 May 2023.
“It is a question of moving the weight or the center of gravity from the Western world — the US and EU combined — to the Eastern world, the place where the population of the world actually now exists overwhelmingly, the place where the fastest-growing economies are also present,” Suhashini Haidar, diplomatic editor at the English-language daily the Hindu, told Arab News. The group’s expansion, however, should not be interpreted as meant to pose a challenge to the West, but rather as a means to provide an alternative, she said.


[i] Of the 21 countries in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility, only eight (Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Syria, Turkmenistan, and Yemen) do not have any status in the SCO. However, Iraq, Israel, and Syria have all applied for dialogue partner status, while Turkmenistan has attended SCO summits as a guest attendee. That leaves Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, and Yemen as the only countries with no relationship to the SCO.

[ii] SCO partnership alone means little in terms of defense commitments: Turkey, a NATO member, is an SCO dialogue partner.  Full membership in the SCO should also not be equated to membership in a defense alliance, such as NATO, given that both India and Pakistan are full members. Armenia and Azerbaijan, which have an adversarial relationship with one another, are both dialogue partners.

Image Information:

Image: Shanghai Cooperation Organization Secretariat (2022).
Source: N509FZ,
Attribution: CC 4.0

Iran Warns UAE Against Allowing Israel in the Persian Gulf

Admiral Tangsiri reviews Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces during a June 2022 visit to Greater Tonb Island.

Admiral Tangsiri reviews Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces during a June 2022 visit to Greater Tonb Island.

“Khomeini was satisfied, which is the best medal of honor for us.”

The excerpted article from Iran’s official diplomatic news website, IranDiplomacy, suggests that Iranian officials worry about the implication of Israeli ties to Gulf Cooperation Council states, which lay less than 200 miles across the Persian Gulf from Iran’s coast.  As Israel develops diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, Iranian officials grow increasingly concerned that these states could provide Israel with a military foothold less than a half hour flying time from Iran’s southern border.

It is within this context that the visit of the chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Navy (IRGC-N), Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, to Greater Tonb Island is important.  In 1970, two years after the British government announced its impending withdrawal from areas east of the Suez Canal, the Iranian Navy launched an assault on Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tonb Islands, each of which are internationally recognized as belonging to the UAE.  The islands are strategically important because they dominate the waters as ships move from the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf.  The IRGC has long fortified these islands.  During his visit, Tangsiri condemned rapprochement with Israel, essentially threatening Abu Dhabi that any cooperation with Jerusalem will risk Emirati security.  Bahrain hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet and will also understand the implied threat given previous Iranian efforts to incite Bahrain’s majority Shi’ite population against the Sunni monarchy.  The discussion of the IRGC-N and fortifications on Greater Tonb Islands more broadly can pose a threat to international shipping.  Indeed, Tangsiri speaks effusively about the IRGC-N’s seizure of Greek tankers in the Persian Gulf on 27 May. 


“Sardar Tangsiri dar Bazdid az Jazireh-e Tonb-e Bozorg: Emruz Amniyat-e Motalubi ba Hamkari Keshvarha-ye Hamsayeh dar Hawzeh-e Khaliji Fars Vujud Darad (Admiral Tangsiri visiting Greater Tonb Island: Today there is good security with the cooperation of neighboring Persian Gulf countries),” (Iran’s official diplomatic news website), 11 June 2022.

Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps- Navy [IRGC-N], visited units stationed on Greater Tonb Island to check the condition of fortifications and engineering structures, passive defense and to assess combat readiness…

Admiral Tangsiri, referring to the recent order of the Supreme Leader and his appreciation and satisfaction for the performance of the Marines, which raised national pride and fulfilled Iranian zeal, said: By seizing the offending Greek tankers, the deputy of the Mahdi, Grand Ayatollah Imam Khomeini was satisfied, which is the best medal of honor for us.

The commander of IRCG-Navy said, “Today, there is good security with the cooperation and synergy of neighboring countries in the geographical area of the Persian Gulf. If anyone opens the door to this region of the miserable regime, the child-killing regime and the number one enemy, that is Zionism, for any reason, he will cause insecurity, disorder and instability to the region.”

Image Information:

Image: Admiral Tangsiri reviews Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces during a June 2022 visit to Greater Tonb Island
Source: Sharvand Onlineتنگسیری.jpg

Iran-Backed Iraqi Group Attacks Abu Dhabi with UAVs in Support of Yemen’s Houthis

Map of the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula.

Map of the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula.

“… the UAE has become vulnerable to attacks from more than one direction…”

A little-known group calling itself the “True Promise Brigades” claimed a 2 February attack on Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), involving multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).  The group’s only other known prior activity was an early 2021 UAV strike on the Yamama Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  The Abu Dhabi attack caused no known material damage.  It came on the heels of a two-week span that saw Yemen’s Houthi-controlled military forces launch three separate missile and UAV attacks targeting Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the two main cities in the UAE.  The timing of the True Promises Brigades’ attack implied a potential link between them and the Houthis, reinforced by supportive tweets from the Houthi-led forces’ influential military spokesman, such as the first accompanying tweet, in which the spokesman thanked the group.  On social media, the True Promise Brigades eschew national identification and call themselves “sons of the Arabian Peninsula.”  The second and third accompanying passages from pro-Iran outlets hint that the group operates from the Iraqi desert, is associated with Iran-backed Iraqi militias, and is under the command of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ international wing, the Quds Force.  The article from the pro-Iran Lebanese influential daily al-Akhbar argues that the Abu Dhabi attack is directly tied to Iraqi politics.  Specifically, the article’s author sees it as a response to perceived Emirati meddling in Iraqi politics and its support for factions opposed to Iranian influence in Iraq.  The article from the pro-Iran Lebanese media channel al-Mayadeen, meanwhile, places the attack in the context of Yemen and sees it as a response to coalition escalation in Yemen.  The attack’s key message, according to the article, is that Iranian allies are capable of linking the Yemeni and Iraqi arenas and conducting semi-coordinated actions targeting Saudi Arabia and the UAE from both directions.


Yahya Sare’e (Houthi-controlled military spokesman), Twitter, 3 February 2022.

We send our congratulations on the jihadist operation carried out by the True Promise Brigades-Sons of the Arabian Peninsula against the Emirati enemy yesterday, Wednesday. We thank them for this honorable, responsible and solidary stance with our dear people against the client Emirati enemy.


“المأزق الإماراتيّ يتعمّق: جبهة جديدة… من العراق

(The Emirati Impasse Deepens: A New Front… from Iraq),” al-Akhbar (pro-Iran influential Lebanese daily), 4 February 2022.

Whatever the group’s identity, the event itself confirms that the UAE has become vulnerable to attacks from more than one direction. This creates greater risks for Emirati security, against the background of its aggression in Yemen and its blatant interference in the internal affairs of Iraq. Washington seems to have handed over the file of the new ruling arrangement to the UAE following the October 10 elections, in which Muqtada al-Sadr, Massoud Barzani and Muhammad al-Halbousi achieved the largest victory, all of whom are allies or friends of Abu Dhabi. The latter has also moved closer to Turkey, allowing for arrangements to be made resulting in the unification of the al-Halbousi and Khamis al-Khanjar blocs, and the re-election of al-Halbousi, who is considered the UAE’s man in Iraq, as Speaker of the House of Representatives. This in turn opened the way for the installation of a “majority coalition” that excluded Iran’s allies, which is a great risk for Iraqi security and for which the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, bears responsibility…


“دخول “ألوية الوعد الحق” العراقيّة على خطِّ حرب اليمن.. اشتباك أو تشبيك؟

(Iraq’s ‘True Promises Brigades’’ Entry into the Yemen War… Clashes or Linking),” al-Mayadeen (pro-Iran Lebanese media channel), 8 February 2022.

This Iraqi group is very interested in the Yemen war, and it is almost specialized in it. In addition, it seems that it is interested in standing up to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in particular… It is very likely that the strike on Abu Dhabi carried a political message: “Don’t forget that the arenas can be linked when the time comes.” Let us note that the strike came after a crazy escalation carried out by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and after American supplies to Abu Dhabi, including warplanes, and the dispatch of the American destroyer “USS Cole” to the Gulf to support the UAE navy, and talk of a possible ground attack from the Yemeni coast… These intensive messages, whether military or political, come in the context of a clear linking of the arenas, especially since leaders in Ansar Allah wrote on their Twitter accounts that the confrontation would not be with Sanaa alone in the event of any major US invasion of Yemen.

Image Information:

Image:  Map of the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula.
Source: Abuk Sabuk via Wikimedia Commons
Attribution: Public Domain

Ethiopia Acquiring Emirati and Chinese Drones

Wing Loong Baiweiflight.

Wing Loong Baiweiflight.

“The Ethiopian government has increased a large-scale recruitment drive in the army in the hopes that a string of purchases of an arsenal of drones and other weapons will be productive.”

On 25 November, the largely neutral Arab-language news service featured an article focused on the role of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in supplying unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to Ethiopia.  According to the article, Ethiopia’s interest in UAS from the UAE accelerated after the war began in November 2020 and the Ethiopian army faced greater resistance from the Tigrayan rebels than expected.  The article suggests that supplying the Ethiopian army has become more difficult for the UAE since the Tigrayan rebels captured two bases in Aksum and Samara in the northern Tigray region, leaving the military base in Harar, south of Addis Ababa, as another option to supply the Ethiopian army.

However, the article emphasizes that several other countries are providing UAS to Ethiopia in addition to the UAE.  For example, the article reports that China’s Wing Loong UAS was seen at the Harar military base.  Additionally, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation on 8 October featured an Amharic-language interview of Ethiopian General Yilma Merdassa, who was seated near a model of the Wing Loong.  General Merdassa acknowledged that Ethiopia had received the UAS from China. The article also reports that Turkish drones are among the UAE’s purchases,UAS are a key part of the Ethiopian government’s last ditch efforts to ward off the Tigrayan rebels before they rebels approach the country’s capital, Addis Ababa.


“الجسر الجوي الإماراتي يقدم دعما عسكريا للحكومة الإثيوبية (The UAE air bridge provides military support to the Ethiopian government),” (Arabic-language news outlet focusing on current military and technology affairs from a neutral perspective), 25 November 2021.

Satellite images show that the UAE is providing significant support to the Ethiopian army in the fight against the Tigrayan forces.The UAE opened an air bridge to provide military support to the Ethiopian government in its war against forces in the northern Tigray region.Between September and November, there were more than 90 flights between the UAE and Ethiopia, many of which deliberately concealed where they took off and where they landed.

Flight maps and satellite images show aircraft recently arriving from the Sweihan base in Abu Dhabi, UAE, to the Harar Meda base, south of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. The footage shows a Chinese-made Wing Loong drone, the first such aircraft ever to be documented at Ethiopian military bases.

The images also reveal that bases in Samara and Aksum were run over following clashes with Tigray forces, who said this week that they are about 200 kilometers from Addis Ababa. In recent weeks, the Ethiopian government has increased a large-scale recruitment drive in the army in the hopes that a string of purchases of an arsenal of drones and other weapons will be productive. The Ethiopian government signed a military cooperation agreement with Turkey in August, amid reports that it wanted to deploy drones to the war.

Source:  “የመሻገሪያ ዘመን -ሜ/ጀነራል ይልማ መርዳሳ የኢፌዲሪ አየር ኃይል ዋና አዛዥ(Maj. Gen. Yilma Merdasa, Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force ),” Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (an Ethiopian government-owned public service broadcaster), 8 September 2021.

Image Information:

Image: Wing Loong Baiweiflight.
Attribution: CC x 3.0