The vexed question of UAE drones in the Tigray war

Is the United Arab Emirates supplying drones to Eritrea which are being used in the war in Tigray?

It is a question to which there is no easy answer.

There are a good number of claims like this one.

Is it accurate?

This was assessed in a  report by Bellingcat – the independent group of citizen journalists who assess open source data on such claims.

Their report, on 19 November, came to this conclusion.


“Possible, but improbable

In sum, the claims made by the Tigray forces are not impossible, but so far they seem improbable.

Satellite imagery confirms the presence of Chinese-produced drones at the UAE’s military base in Assab, but that is all it confirms. There is currently no further evidence that these same drones have been involved in operations in support of the Ethiopian airforce, though there have been confirmed sightings of Ethiopian jet fighters in the conflict zone.”

Since then there have been other reports.

Another analyst came up with conclusion  after looking at the movement of aircraft between the UEA and Eritrea and Ethiopia.

There is one thing we know: the UAE’s use of its base in Assab was part of its war in Yemen, but that has been going badly in recent months and the UEA has gone some way to withdrawing from the conflict.
The UAE also used its expansion into the Red Sea and Somalia/Somaliland as a way of heading off rivals and flexing its muscles.
Does the UAE want to continue with that strategy? And does the UAE really want to get involved in another war, when it is already involved in the war in Libya.
Much to ponder. Few certainties.


  1. The satellite images could certainly serve as an intrinsic evidence of the ongoing UAE attack on civilians and Public infrastructure. .

    UAE and Eritrea has a strong ties as it is seen in the past in various sectors , agriculture, education etc

    THis might potentially affect the relation that UAE had with Egypt ??

    Capitalists will continue ti deny this horrible crime against poor nations , but they will be paid off soon or later for the outrageous act against humanity.No amount of guns and drones will protect thier people when the calamity and pandemic hits thier nation!!

  2. I don’t know why you want to make a mountain out of a molehill. The Ethiopian government has acknowledged time and again that it has equipped its air force with drones of various type. So what’s the argument here? That the Ethiopian air force can’t possibly man a drone all by itself?

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