The flag of the United Arab Emirates has been raised over public buildings in Yemen's Socotra, an island near Somalia's northeastern coast that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Some locals see it as a power grab at the expense of their internationally recognised government led by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Hadi government says the UAE action is an act of hostility.

Formally, they are allies in the Saudi-led war against the Houthi rebels in the capital Sanaa. But the UAE has promoted separatists in the south and now calls the shots in large parts of that region and Socotra.

And it is not just in southern Yemen: the Gulf country has been expanding its military influence across the Red Sea and Horn of Africa regions.

So, why is the UAE deploying troops in Socotra and elsewhere?

Presenter: Jane Dutton

Guests: 

Mohammed Jumeh - columnist for Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper

Samuel Ramani - researcher at Oxford University and specialist on the conflict in Yemen  

Bethan McKernan - Middle East reporter for The Independent and author of the first witness report on UAE troops in Socotra

Source: Al Jazeera News