Analysis of the UAE Military Base in Assab – Eritrea

The United Arab Emirates Joins an Exclusive Club

The United Arab Emirates cement its naval and airbase position in Eritrea, for a longer-term strategy.

By Stratfor,

Over the past 15 months, the United Arab Emirates has been building up its military infrastructure in Eritrea. As a member of the Saudi-led coalition engaged in the Yemeni conflict, the United Arab Emirates has conducted operations from the Eritrean port of Assab.

The Emirati military is currently working to complete a military facility northwest of the city, the size of which is clearly evident in satellite photos Stratfor has obtained from AllSource Analysis. Beyond supporting ongoing activities in Yemen, the establishment of bases outside Emirati borders reveals the ambitions of Abu Dhabi and its Gulf allies to step up their military presence in the region.


As construction on the base progresses, UAE vessels such as the HSV-2 Swift, which was damaged in an Oct. 1 attack off Yemen’s coast, have continued to use the Assab port. Since the base’s development started around September 2015, extensive work has been done on the site.


The new facility, centered on the runway of a disused Eritrean airport, now features aircraft shelters and housing for personnel. A naval docking facility is also being built next to the runway on the coastline, where dredging ships are cutting a new channel. The scale of the undertaking suggests that the UAE military is in Eritrea for more than just a short-term logistical mission supporting operations across the Red Sea.


Instead, the base is part of Abu Dhabi’s longer-term strategy, which also includes military assets stationed at a base in eastern Libya, near Egypt. The bases not only enable the United Arab Emirates to operate effectively on the other side of the Arabian Peninsula and in East Africa, but they also play a role in the Gulf Cooperation Council’s effort to forge diplomatic alliances.

Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have approached Djibouti, Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea over the past few years, offering them financial perks in the hope of drawing on their resources within the context of a military alliance. Sudanese troops, for example, have taken part in Riyadh’s Yemeni operations. Gaining permission to establish bases in those countries, such as the Saudi base in Djibouti, shows the immediate benefit of those relationships. The bases themselves then bolster longer-term connections with the nations hosting them while allowing Gulf powers to support those states’ military capabilities.




In addition to the air assets the United Arab Emirates has stationed at the Assab base, there is also a large ground contingent that includes what seems to be at least a battalion-sized armored element equipped with French-built Leclerc main battle tanks. The air assets are the most rapidly deployable, however, and the French-built Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft at the base give Abu Dhabi the ability not only to conduct operations over Yemen with ease but also to project power elsewhere around the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden.


The United Arab Emirates will probably continue to strengthen its military ties to countries throughout the region, but its own capacity to project power will grow along with them. The base near Assab marks a significant shift in the United Arab Emirates’ military policy as it becomes part of the small group of countries that maintain bases abroad.

61 thoughts on “Analysis of the UAE Military Base in Assab – Eritrea

      1. The UAE base is located some 16 Km (?) from the port of Assab. As you can see it from the above satellite photos, UAE have already created a port (naval base) for its own use but still use the port of Assab and its international airport for logistical purposes.

        1. FYI, UAE has also built a separate and wider road around the their base. This means there are now two different routes to reach the other base of Eritrea built right next to Djibouti.

    1. You used to be so proud of not letting your county be someone’s bitch. How many articles did you publish on Djibouti for letting their country have a base for USA, France and China? It is called pure hypocrisy TN,

      1. Djibouti is a sovereign country, same as Eritrea, and it has every right to employ its strategic importance to its own advantage. I never accused Djibouti for doing that in any of the articles I shared on this site, except on those occasions when it tries to be TPLF’s bitch and working against Eritrea. Go figure.

        1. It is sad that the Woyanes are Saudis bitch now and Eritrea Egypts/UAE bitch. What a shame to be a bitch or Arabs after all these years of war for independence. This happens when the general public in both countries have no say in the future of their country.

        1. malelit lom qine uuuuuuuuuuuuyyyyyyyyyyyyyy kibla’ eba haqen’yen. Hizima haliqu eno Iol my favorite one is:
          “The United Arab Emirates will probably continue to strengthen its military ties to countries throughout the region, but its own capacity to project power will grow along with them. The base near Assab marks a significant shift in the United Arab Emirates’ military policy as it becomes part of the small group of countries that maintain bases abroad.

    2. TN; Djibouti with all the bases it has currently, thanks to Ethiopia of course, accounts only 30% of its GDP from those benefits but 70% of its GDP comes directly from your old mama Ethiopia. If Ethiopia doesn’t use Assab, mind you it’s hasn’t even been updated, who the hell will? For us at this point, it’s a matter of picking and choosing but for you it’s survival. Make your peace very soon, for the young ones at least.

      1. You are the enemy of peace. If you want peace you can get it now provided you behave in a civilized manner ( a.o abandon warmongering and thievishness ).

      2. Unlike your woyane godfathers, Eritrea is still open for post-woyane Ethiopia to economically export/import at no charge. Shabia’s mind is like a parachute. It only works when it’s open. Weather it partnership natural resources investment and agriculture practice. Why wouldn’t they be open to logistics. You know if Ethiopia and Eritrea teamed up in transshipping industry near or at Assab. Meles decided to take the business elsewhere now look… a wealthy little arab country 1,735 km away is fully utilizing our strategic Assab real estate and protecting our airspace and territorial integrity at no cost to Gov. of Eritrea. That’s what you call Shabia strategic thinking.

      3. Ugumesh, I have to agree with you in your numbers, that 70% of its GDP comes from Mama Ethiopia, except that most of that money is as a result of port fee for Western Food Stamp that arrives every time Woyane made hungry Ethiopians are in dire conditions, which is 24/7.
        — Kudos to your IQ63 analysis 🙂

      4. It is about the Dough brah! and it is coming whether you use it or not amd eventually Tigrai population will be on your throat then you will make peace….economics matter politics can only las for so long…but empty stomach won’t even last two days…its coming andnit is gaining momentum.

    3. Is there any potential trade between Eritrea and UAE? One economic possibility is that to attract the rich Arabs to build a safari type tourism. Eritrea as many different climates, geography, wild animals, and the red sea. The transportation system has to be modernized. My point is that the rich Arabs have a ripe opportunity to invest in the development of the tourism industry in Eritrea.

      1. Safari in Eritrea?? Our land is useless for that compared to Kenya!.. We have mountains and deserts.. and even UAE deserts are better than ours. However our mountains are beautiful.

          1. TN:
            Can u give him the documentary about our mazing and rich coastal natural beauty,please?
            There was a documentary but forgot how to retrieve it.
            Simple googling for Green Islands will blow up his mind…

    4. Thanks ,
      I like this videos & all videos you have posted keep doing the Good Work & I wish soon we All stop talking about Woyanes No need to west any time on them both of us has gone on our way a long time ago and will Never meet again so let them go anywhere they like .
      Welcome UAE
      Woyane Evils Bye Bye

    5. EGYPT AND UAE reached an all round security Agreement

      UAE after its successful deal to establish marine/ airforce bases in the Redsea state of Eritrea which is situated in the most strategic chokehold in the Redsea marine route,it is becoming a regional power to be reckoned with.

      Egypt wouldn’t want to miss the apportunity of reaching an all inclusive security pact with UAE to capitalize on the Assab Air/Marine base to protect its national interest in the Horn of Africa and Redsea regions.

      Egyptian president made the trip to UAE a couple weeks ago to finalize the deal after receiving a blessing from Eritrean president Isaiase Afewrki who is rapidly becoming major player in the Horn and Redsea regions geopolitics.

      The deal would allow Egypt to have access to all military and intelligence infrastructures run by UAE armed forces.

      Saudi Arabia , despite the current hiccup in its relationship with Egypt, it gave a green light to UAE to sign a security deal with Egypt which controls the strategic Suize Canal and LNG stations . This agreement would give Egypt a firm control on events on both the north and south strategic chokholds of the Redsea and also keep an active surveillance on Ethiopia’s activities on Nile river.

      The Redsea state of Eritrea is poised to reap major financial and military advantage of this unprecedented deal with both Egypt and UAE. Already Eritrean airforce is reinvigorated by trainings offered by UAE.

      Eritrean president skillfully circumvented the UN sanction and now has access to state of the art military technology in the hands of Egypt and Gulf states. It is believed Eritrea, in addition of military assistance, it will also receive between half to one billion dollars per annum.

        1. Ethiopia will not dare enter Assab. It’s suicide X 2. A physical and a spiritual one. Instead, vacate Eritrean territory and make peace and maybe just maybe if you behave well, Assab can be managed by Ethiopian business professional with the close watch of Eritrean seniors port employees and in the process, it will bring khat eatin Djibouti mafia fees down. A win/win.

          1. i just unless Egypt/not Eritrea uses assab against Ethiopia,Ethiopia will be on Eritrea. Ethiopia respects the Territory of any foreign nation including Eritrea …as far as that nation comes against its sovereignty !

  1. Wayanes political lack of skill-set on its so called ” long term” strategic planning to becoming Africas mighty military and economic power house has been nothing more than a fairy tale . It believed becoming mercenary and right hand man to the West might guarantee them to the rights of licensed to kill and be the all mighty disciplinarian power in the region.
    Well for their surprise, it is only short lived and to learn that the country they believed That it was going to collapse in less than six month, has emerged to be threatening power more than they predicted.
    Underestimating your enemies may serve you right “may kill you” and this is what is happening in the case of Eritrea/weyane case.
    Weyane’s were roaring loud , like the sound of a lion with no teeth to bite, Eritrea was doing it dirty dids surely but quietly to make sure the wishful weyane thinking is shattered. Assab ain’t Camel water drinking depot, it is all mighty military power hub.
    Hey!!! Assab your looking good !!!!.
    Weyane could be smart selling their souls to the west but not smart enough politically.

  2. Well, the fact that UAE signed a 30-year lease shows that it is going to be in Assab long-term. Otherwise, why would it spend biillions of dollars trying to construct this kind of base overseas?

  3. ኣሌክ - Alec you · Edit

    Assab is bringing money and at the same time.. it’s getting developed. Our government is killing two birds with one stone. ????????????????????????????????????????

    1. It’s like if you own land or a house, then you can make money by renting it out. Otherwise, it does you no good if it is not generating cash. YOu are still going to be the owner of your land. The tenant gets to use it and pays rent and eventually leaves because either his rent expires or he gets kicked out. Either way, you are still the owner of your land at the end of the day

  4. Wow; this analysis is almost like the budget the lion of nakifa released last week, full of hot air. He almost gave us a model number based on the images he received while watching Jason Bourne. I know the world is getting blurry with fact/fiction mix ups but allow me to explain. Our PM just got back from UAE Saudi with assurances there is no agreement or base to be built around us without a consent from your beloved ge’ez people. Most importantly, the UAE budget for military is 15billion which is equivalent to what the entire horn, Egypt and Nigeria spends on its military. Why does it surprise you if they duck few non working ships or F16’s on Asab till the Yemen situation is under control? They are simply using it as a luching pad, please relax. I was wondering however, after you joined the Arab league claiming to be one of them, why would Saudi build base in Djibouti not in Asmera? Aren’t you equal memeber or they didn’t like the color of your eyes? Just sad

    1. ኣታዮ እዚ ኩሉ ሸራእራእ እማ እንታይ ኣድለየ ? ኩላትና ለላይ ዓርስና እንተ ገበርና ዶ ለይሓይሽን ? ልስኻትኩም ብምድሪ ምድሪ ኻው ጅቡቲ ላብ መቐለ ላይ ሓዲድ ዋዉር መስመር ትተኽሉ ንሕና ድማ ብባሕርን መሬትን ኣብ ሃገርና ልደለናዮ ንገብር ። ለይዓይንካ ምጥማት ነውሪ እዩ ።

    2. Why do you lie all the time? You know lying is not going to get you anywhere in this information age. Eritrea is not part of the Arab league. However, whatever happend to the Habeshan league? Did you forget? Woyane is the one that pooped on the Habeshan league and chose to be a bitch to highest bidder. Did you forget who handed you the seat in Adisababa? How sad greed has blinded you.

  5. What a difference between Oil Men and Quenty Men, Woyane practically had Asseb from 1991 until 1998. What did Woyane plant to Asseb in 7 years? Nothing.

  6. TPLF’S dead meat ex-prime minister’s frozen political landscape assumption got busted. He completely assumed a static Asab port scenario. .. little did they realize the ground was shifting underneath to a point of losing their bet in the scale. The camel watering hole is rented to the highest bidder. So much for a short sighted vision. C u in the next deal making event Woyanistan !

  7. I hope Eritrea is taken advantage of this opportunity to learn about the latest military weapons, how to use, develop and fix them.

      1. Weyane was panicking about a Long Range Heavy Artillery shot sent to them from the Aseb Front when they tried to sneak into our Sea through Djibouti with full knowledge of (a silent ok)of the USA last Summer, which the weyenti thought was a Surface-to-Surface Missile.

  8. Well booth Ethiopia &Djibouti are dying out of Jealous you know Djiboutians doesn’t want other port in thier area like (zaleaa, Berbera, Bosaso and Mugadishu) To compete with it as Ethiopians said Eritrea isn’t that important to us so its the same also if compared to Rich Gulf Countries like UAE the best one in the Gulf ( Djiboutiasn are crying blood that Assab our 2nd Red Sea Port is selected but Gulf Of Aden Djibouti isn’t ) that’s why now they are talking to Saudis about that as for The Ethiopians even if The Evil Woyane Tigray left No one like to deal with them enough is enough they stopped themselves so let them go anywhere they like

  9. this seems assab is sold UAE…..and this nation is the alay of usa,uk, the west,even the east except iran and can take assab on permanent base. shaebya has no card to play with to kick this nation….he looses the whole guys are hanging your self…don’t be short minded brats…ain’t you mercenaries….BANDAS!

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