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Arabic press review: Yemen's Socotra island sparks fierce Saudi-UAE rivalry

Meanwhile, Morocco continues hunting down Israeli forgers of official documents and Algeria's president sees support from ruling party fading away
The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia both want to dominate the Yemeni island of Socotra (AFP)

Hidden duel over Yemeni island clouds Saudi Arabia-UAE ties

Saudi Arabia, which has been spearheading a military campaign in Yemen since 2015, and its biggest partner, the United Arab Emirates, are in fierce competition over who will dominate the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Indian ocean, Arabi21 quoted a Yemeni source on the island as saying.

The source, who asked to remain anonymous, stated that there is "a hidden rivalry and a heated race between the two Gulf states over the island, to dominate the humanitarian and relief fields".

"Despite the calmness that surrounds the relationship between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, both states are struggling to gain the upper hand in humanitarian projects inside Socotra," he added.

According to the same source, "the UAE is jealous of the projects implemented by the Saudis on the island, off the southern Yemeni coast".

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Five Israelis arrested in Morocco

Moroccan security forces have arrested five individuals carrying Israeli passports who are suspected of having links to a criminal network specialising in forging official papers, identity cards and Moroccan passports for Israeli clients, reported al-Quds al-Arabi.

This comes only weeks after Moroccan security forces arrested 10 people suspected of forging official documents for Israelis seeking to obtain Moroccan citizenship.

Moroccan activists opposed to the normalisation of ties with Israel said that one of the network's goals is to breach the security systems in Morocco and other Arab and African countries.

Morocco's General Directorate of National Security said that the network arrested on 5 March - which included three police officers, two government officials and a trade officer at a travel agency - is led by a Jewish Moroccan. 

The network also includes three other people suspected of facilitating criminal acts by forging birth certificates for non-Moroccan Israelis, it said.

Bouteflika losing party backing

The National Liberation Front (FLN) has begun to gradually give up its support for its leader, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, according to the Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.

Hussein Khaldoun, a member of the FLN's governing body, said the party saw no benefit in organising a national conference, in reference to the conference Bouteflika had proposed to hold in preparation for a new presidential election and a constitution for the country.

"We will review our position in regards to the issue of the National Consensus Conference and whether we will participate or not," Khaldoun said during a statement broadcast on TV. 

He said that "the conference will not solve the crisis the country is facing and it is no longer viable".

"If we want to gain time, then we will have to establish an independent body to organise elections, and amend some of the articles of election law in anticipation of the election of a new president chosen by the people so as to address him and talk on behalf of the popular movement," he added.

*Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.

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