War is not nice but it has at times positive side effects . The increasing UAE implantation in Eritrea is bringing a slight vibration of light  prosperity in an otherwise dull economic landscape . To call it “development” would be an exageration but there are visible effects. Nobody knows how much Abu Dhabi is paying for its base in Assab but there are rumours of a $500m yearly bill , way more than either the French of the Americans are paying in Djibouti . The UAE presence has had an impact on the afar population on the Yemen shore , increasing smuggling and fishing . With at times dire consequences : the Emirati , not well-learned in local peculiarities , did not know that the Eritrean coastal waters are richer in fish than the Yemeni ones . Too many boats coming from the other side scared them (the coast they face is controlled by their Houthi enemies) and they bombed them , killing a lot of Yemen-originating Afar fishermen . Their fear , even if unjustified , was not ridiculous : the so-called “rebels” are in fact solidly entrenched on the Yemen side , not only Houthi but also former regular Yemeni troops who have remained loyal to their former President , ali Abdallah Saleh , who has sided with the Houthi whom he used to fight when he was in power . UAE aircraft based in Eritrea bomb them from Assab while Saudi aircraft bomb them from Saudi Arabia . The bombing is now well factored-in by the Yemeni civilians who have learned how to protect themselves from it and on the ground the GCC troops remain blocked , incapable of advancing . Issayas Afeworki does not care , he gets his money as well as a new access path to resources : small Chinese investors have come from Abu Dhabi and Dubaï and brought a modicum of prosperity  . Behind this slow motion war and its economic dimension , it is obvious that the UAE authorities worry about the future . Hence their increasing presence on the African shore (Berbera is another example) and a calculated way to double the Saudi presence in an independent way . The calculation is clear : there is an increasing agitation in the Shiite-populated provinces of Saudi Arabia and the vibrations can be felt all the way to Riyad . The Qatari were foolish to run too far ahead and insist on the importance of the Iranian factor . But they were wrong for being right too early (and too loudly) . Abu Dhabi shares their worry and quietly prepares a plan B for the case Saudi splinters and falls apart . The UAE have no desire to go down with them and Africa is part of their contingency planning . The military stalemate is a preocuppying non-development . Saudi Arabia litterally drips with US weapons and Trump’s jocular friendship is there to guarantee that there will be more . But this lethal American delivery is useless , the Saudi are incapable of using it (hence the increasing use of mercenary troops of all origins : the latest batch came from Columbia) . And this is unlikely to stop : by now most of the former PDRY , the former southern British Yemen colony , is in reality independent , with a theoretical overview of the legal Yemeni government and a reality on the ground that bears no relationship to this comforting picture : the South is a crisscross of alliances between al-Qaida fighters , independentists and tribal militias . Some accept to declare themselves subjects of President Abo Mansoor in order to benefit from Saudi largesse of money and weapons . But they do not feel constrained by their “loyalty” . More than ever , the Horn of Africa is being drawn into continued interaction with the Yemeni side

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