Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 01, 2015

Why Wage War On Yemen?

There is no sensible reason to wage war on Yemen.

Yemen is dirt poor. More than half of its 26 million people depend on food aid. Yemen has to import 90% of the wheat and 100% of the rice it consumes. That little water that is available for agriculture is used up for growing qat, a mild stimulant that everyone seems to be using. Growing qat is more profitable than growing wheat.

Yemen produced some oil and gas and this was the main income of the state. But with falling oil prices and increased conflicts the income was less than was already needed and has now come down to zero. Another important source of income are remittances by people working outside the country, often in Saudi Arabia.

Some 40% of the population, mostly the northern mountain tribes are Zaidi 5er Shia  who in their believes, rites and laws are nearer to some Sunni interpretations of Islam than to the 12er Shia's versions in Iran and Iraq.

The other 60% of Yemenis are Sunnis of various Sufi tendencies. There was and is no real history of sectarian strife within the Yemeni society. In the current conflict the Zaidi Houthi rebels are fighting next to some units of the Yemeni army with mostly Sunni soldiers. The Houthi are a Zaidi revival movement which pushes for the historic leading role of the Zaidis in the country.

Over the last decades Saudi Arabia sponsored Salafi schools and preachers in Yemen. These follow the Wahhabi stream prevalent in Saudi Arabia and see the Zaidi as nonbelievers and the Sufi stream as unislamic. One Salafi school with 8,000 followers was situated in Dammaj, right in the middle of the Zaidi province Saada, has been central to the current inner Yemeni conflict.

The Houthi have been fighting against the central government since 2004. After the former president Saleh was ousted in 2011 during the Arab Spring a sham election was held to put the former vice president Hadi into the top job and a process of creating a new constitution and a sham democracy was initiated. The task was left to the Gulf Clown Council under the leadership of Saudi Arabia and some UN bureaucrats who had no real knowledge of Yemen. The Houthi were excluded from the process which of course failed.

Eventually the Houthi, with the help of some army units, took over the capital Sana and pressured president Hadi to create an inclusive technocratic government to solve some of the country's most urgent problems. Over several month a hassle ensued and in the end Hadi fled to South Yemen and eventually to Saudi Arabia. The Houthi, allied with some military units under the command of the former president Saleh started to take over the country.

The Saudis and their U.S. minders want Yemen to depend on them and dislike any real Yemeni independence. They are, like the "west", a neo-colonial state while the Houthi are, like Iran or China, a post colonial entity:

This is not just a regional fight – it is a global one with ramifications that go well beyond the Middle East. The region is quite simply the theatre where it is coming to a head. And Yemen, Syria and Iraq are merely the tinderboxes that may or may not set off the conflagration.

"The battle, at its very essence, in its lowest common denominator, is a war between a colonial past and a post-colonial future."

For the sake of clarity, let’s call these two axes the Neo-Colonial Axis and the Post-Colonial Axis. The former seeks to maintain the status quo of the past century; the latter strives to shrug off old orders and carve out new, independent directions.

The Saudis, their paid mercenaries and the U.S. launched a war against Yemen. Despite other claims and delusions the Saudis are not acting alone. A common headquarter with the U.S. was set up and the U.S. is creating the intelligence for the bombing target lists. This is very much a U.S. war of aggression. The acclaimed aims of the war, "restoring democracy" where there was none and other nonsense, do not make any sense. Essentially they ask for the Houthi to dissolve, the Zaidi and everyone else to roll over and for the creation of a Wahhabi entity under Saudi control:

Despite Saudi or even US assertions to the contrary, Operation Decisive Storm has nothing to do with supporting the legitimacy of a political process in Yemen. Its goal is instead to maintain the continuity of authoritarian governance in the region by actively repressing the forces that threaten to undo the status quo. That this coalition has indiscriminately lumped together ISIS, Iran and the popular democratic movements of the Arab uprisings of 2011 should indicate both its broader strategic goals and, equally, the dangers to positive political and social change it represents.

The Saudis and their allies, including the U.S., are bombing the shit out of Yemen's already poor infrastructure. They are blocking the harbors and Saudi Arabia is also blocking all money transfers. Food will soon run out. The bombs have hit civilian refugee camps, food factories, a diary and electric, water and communication infrastructure. Yemeni towns on the border with Saudi Arabia are under artillery fire. Many civilians get killed and wounded. The weapons the Yemeni army will need to eventually fight al-Qaeda are being destroyed.

Haykal Bafana
As the Saudi war on #Yemen enters its 2nd week, communications is getting worse by the day : internet, international calls severely affected

Hussain Albukhaiti
Dairy factory,Sadda gas stations&water company,Sanaa power station,Lahj cement factory,ports&airports.. those r the Saudi/US"houthis"targets

It's by now almost undeniable that KSA's #YemenInvasion has as a primary goal to degrade #Yemen infrastructure/economy to ensure dependence.

Haykal Bafana
Despite a rich target environment, hundreds of Saudi airstrikes have not killed a single Al Qaeda militant in #Yemen. Well done, Salman.

The International Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders both say that the Saudis are preventing the arrival of any help.

This is essentially the same strategy Israel uses against Gaza, only on a ten times bigger scale.

Salman is the new king of Saudi Arabia. He has Alzheimer but is a fervent Wahhabi. Unlike the former King Abdullah King Salman is willing to use the Muslim Brotherhood, in Yemen under the name Islah, as a instrument against his enemies. This creates some unease, especially with Egypt, in his anti-Yemen coalition.

The king's son Muhammad is only some 30 years old and has no military or political experience. Despite that he was made Defense Minister and is leading the war. His plan seems to be to install some Saudi created new government in Yemen. A conference is to be held in Riyadh but neither the Houthi leader nor the former president Saleh, together the current and effectively ruling strongmen in Yemen, will be invited.

No war was ever won through air campaigns and the Saudis will not get what they want through bombing. Despite the bombing campaign the Houthis and their army allies are taking the southern port city of Aden. A ground campaign against them would be very bloody and likely end with a defeat for the invaders as even anti-Houthi Yemenis turn against the Saudi attackers.

Meanwhile the Yemeni state is falling further apart and the war will lead to more ungoverned space al-Qaeda and the Islamic State will be able to take over.

The inner conflict in Yemen is not sectarian. The Houthi are not Iranian puppies. Whoever rules in dirt poor Yemen can not endanger the ultra rich Saudi state. Why do the Saudis believe that this war makes sense for them? Why do the Obama administration and the hawks in congress think that this whole campaign is a good idea? Why do they support it?

Posted by b on April 1, 2015 at 16:35 UTC | Permalink


Why do they support it?

the Obama administration and the hawks in congress, which is pretty much all of them, support it because the only thing they prefer to killing Muslims is having Muslims killing each other. though, come to think of it, i might have that backwards. also, the creation of millions of refugees fleeing the carnage helps to keep turmoil the norm while simultaneously destroying tribal culture and diluting the general gene pool.

oh, and providing all sides with very expensive weaponry keeps their bankers happy, too.

Posted by: john | Apr 1 2015 17:16 utc | 1

ISIS is the US empire's very own regional shock troops. It's all embarrassingly Roman, and in drag, to boot.

I guess this will all roll on swimmingly until they turn on the Sauds themselves. Whereafter, the US empire claims its prize; the Saudi land itself.

I think they're planning on this all going down, again swimmingly, behind a smokescreen of war w Iran or Russia.


Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 1 2015 18:15 utc | 2

Congress and the like are terrified of invincible pilots being paraded through the streets as POWs. It might raise questions about defense spending and graft. The current state of Yemen and the rebellion reduces the risk of planes being shot down.

At the same time, the MIC needs to justify it's existence. The Saudi clan is in the same boat. Why does the Saudi military hierarchy and religious power need the Saud clan? The 30,000 princes cant guard and pump the oil themselves. Their only real value is existing international relationships, and the Saud clan is demonstrating their value to the whole power arrangement.

The simple answer is ease and war porn. The Pentagon turned on Syrian intervention because losing planes would result in popular outrage and job losses. No firm wants a losing general.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Apr 1 2015 18:29 utc | 3

thanks for this post b.. you highlight the insanity at work here.. unfortunately it is the same sad script that the exceptional warmonger nation is unable to veer from.. whether they see a bogeyman in some faraway land, or they are making them - the need to make and profit off war is of utmost priority..

what i don't get is the usa being so keen to jump in bed with wahhabism... i guess it has to do with the usa knowing that latching onto the most rabid fanatic group of zealots give them an easy sell of perpetual war/murder..that is pretty impressive for a so called 'christian' nation.. that is what the usa has come down to at this point - washing their hands on sunday for all the bullshit they do the rest of the week.. what an international embarrassment to the rest of the planet.

Posted by: james | Apr 1 2015 19:01 utc | 4

Freedom Rider: American Hell for Yemen

The U.S.-spawned whirlwind of carnage and destruction has wrecked the societies of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen, yet most Americans feel themselves blameless. They behave like zombified cogs in an imperial death machine.

While presidents go in and out of office, the people, the corporate media and the political system all accept that their government has the right to intervene in the affairs of other nations and that it is always right and moral in its claims. The numbers of Americans who question whether Barack Obama ought to be in the business of ousting the president of Syria or supporting the president of Ukraine are quite slim.

Yemen is now the epicenter of imperialism run amuck. The Saudis fear that the Shi’a Houthis will be supported by their rival Iran, which the United States now wants to come to terms with in nuclear energy negotiations. Saudi Arabia is therefore on the side of Israel in attempting to scuttle any agreement. There is still no honor among all the thieves.

Whatever policy decisions Washington chooses to make will result in unintended consequences and more violence. Every escalation brings greater danger and America still has no rival for bringing destruction to millions of people. Violence and chaos have become not just the means to certain ends, but ends in and of themselves. That is just how America rolls.

OK ...

It is my war, and yours too.
It is my president, and yours too.
It is my flag, and yours too.
It is my government, and yours too.

... any suggestions on how to turn - not hatred, this is all happening to our government's victims, not to us - revulsion into energy? From here it certainly does look as though we are zombified cogs in an imperial death machine. Shall I write my congressman?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 1 2015 19:03 utc | 5

Yemen Civilian Causalities Soaring, Says UN

Civilian casualties in Yemen are spiraling out of control amid a Saudi Arabian-led intervention, top United Nations officials warned Tuesday.

The troubled nation is “on the verge of collapse,” according to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein. “The situation in Yemen is extremely alarming, with dozens of civilians killed over the past four days.”

And in response ... ?

EU warns of Saudi attacks’ alarming impact on civilians

“The attacks on hospitals and medical facilities ... as well as the deliberate targeting and destruction of private homes, education facilities and basic infrastructure cannot be tolerated,” Mogherini and EU humanitarian aid commissioner, Christos Stylianides, said in a statement on Wednesday.

And in response ... sanctions on military supplies to the Saudis, sanctions on Saudi oil imports, freezing Saudi access to funds on deposit in the EU? Or none of the above ...

Posted by: jfl | Apr 1 2015 19:46 utc | 6

Unable to post with quotes or links. See the UN and EU for toothless criticism of Saudi aggression and civilian slaughter in Yemen.

Posted by: lfj | Apr 1 2015 20:14 utc | 7

The Saudis and their allies, including the U.S., are bombing the shit out of Yemen's already poor infrastructure

yeah, adobe and rammed-earth, testaments to time immemorial.

the motherfuckers want to first desecrate, and then obliterate heritage.

Posted by: john | Apr 1 2015 20:43 utc | 8

Not enough attention is being paid to the "geostrategic" importance of Yemen.
Remember, when Suez was closed those six or seven years, '67 till, um, some time after '73, how the Cape (of GH) suddenly became strategically an important point for watching over the shipping lanes. (One wonders, not entirely in jest, whether obstinate burning of fossil fuels in spite of everything we know, isn't partly aimed at opening and keeping open the northern passage.) I digress. Remember, in the days when "Britannia ruled the waves", how certain straits were especially important for dominating shipping routes: Gibraltar at the entrance to the Med... Aden at the entrance to the Red Sea... Singapore, between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Now the USA dominates both that part of Yemen that was formerly the Aden protectorate, and the US client state Djibouti, just across the water from Aden.

Posted by: Petra | Apr 1 2015 20:48 utc | 9

Why wage war on Yemen?

1. Yemen doesn't have powerful friends.
2. Bullies like to show how tough they are by picking on the weak.
3. Disaster capitalism
4. Because we are a bunch of sick horrible motherfuckers here in the USSA. Brainwashed somehow into believing that killing the poorest, the weakest, those that need a helping hand the most in the world, who have been abused and dominated, are only worthy of death.

Posted by: farflungstar | Apr 1 2015 21:00 utc | 10

A human catastrophe of epic proportions. 27 million mouths to feed. The warehouses will be gone in a week. With the water infrastructure dependent on electrical pumping, we could have 10 million dead by august. I guess the people doing this enjoy can one enjoy disgust, isn't that almost a definition of perversion? Orwell was wrong, we've got much worse than a boot stamping on a face forever to look forward to- civilisation my arse.

Posted by: bridger | Apr 1 2015 22:12 utc | 11

Why do they support it?

Proclaiming Yemen an Iranian puppet (despite the lack of evidence for this) and crushing it is intended to humiliate the Iranians and destabilise the Nuclear talks at a crucial moment. There's an element of "sunk cost" here as well: the Saudis have invested money and diplomatic capital in arranging Hadi's ascension, and are throwing more resources at restoring him, much like a drunk gambler at a casino keeps compounding his losses till he ends up walking home.

Posted by: Sigil | Apr 1 2015 22:48 utc | 12

I rather suspect that Petra is on to the main game here. Geopolitically, Yemen, however intrinsically worthless its speck of desert amd mud may be, is of vast strategic importance. To the Saudis it is of primary strategic importance; should Yemen fall, as it has, at least partially in the past, to unfriendlies, the cheapest shippng routes will be endangered. The West in general, and the US in particular, are very well aware of this, and of the worldwide monetary implications it might engender during an already rough period. It has surely not escaped the Russians and Chinese, either; the latter have made made massive inroads into Africa, and the former, of course, still consider Syria and Yemen part of their sphere of interest.
BTW, Djibouti is a former French Foreign Territory, much as Puerto Rico is to us currently, or the Philippines was formerly. The French retain a massive interest in it, just as they do in their other former African colonies, such as Senegal. It is Francophone and Arabic-speaking (with local dialects, e.g., Issa Somali), not Anglophone, but it does host a US base, and is generally very pro-Western currently.

Posted by: Nigel | Apr 1 2015 23:03 utc | 13

farflungstar @ #9,

Your #2 (and also #4) are encapsulated in the (Michael) Ledeen Doctrine:

"Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business."

Except, of course, that nowadays it seems to be being applied more frequently than the original doctrine's 10 year interval, and now also some of the wall throwing is out-sourced to a stable of unhinged barbarians, Wahhabis, NeoNazis, whomsoever constitutes the locally-available agents of mayhem suitable for effectuating Our Leaders' purposes.

No wonder we will never join the ICC.

Posted by: JerseyJeffersonian | Apr 1 2015 23:21 utc | 14

As Petra says in comment 8, Yemen's position at the southern end of the Red Sea opposite Djibouti (where the US already has a base at Camp Lemonnier) makes that country of great geostrategic importance. Whoever controls Yemen and Djibouti controls the entry from the Indian Ocean into the Red Sea and ultimately into the Mediterranean Sea. Oil tankers from the Persian Gulf would take the Red Sea route to avoid having to circumnavigate Africa.

This surely makes Iranian oil (and also oil from the Persian Gulf Sunni kingdoms and sheikhdoms) expensive compared to Saudi oil which could be run by pipeline from the Persian Gulf to Jeddah and then loaded onto tankers.

Another possibility is that by invading Yemen, the KSA and the US hope to draw Iran into an endless war in the way the US has tried provoking Russia into actively supporting the Donbass rebels. I doubt that the Iranians would be so stupid as to fall for this. Iran would more likely follow Russia's example and stick to calling for diplomatic solutions while trying to provide humanitarian aid to the Yemenis.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 1 2015 23:32 utc | 15

Likely to use as leverage in the negotiation climax of the Iran Talks.

Posted by: Stefan | Apr 2 2015 1:36 utc | 16

This is just another game by the Kings of Saudi Arabia who frankly have nothing better to do. They intend to fight "Iran" no matter where they find it (or don't). They're 5000 men living off of the greatest natural treasure the world has ever known. They spend it and squander it as they please, and as their bosses in the US and UK demand.

This is the purest feudalism leading its barbaric crusades from palaces containing every luxury good imaginable, enabled 100% by the Western powers without whom they wouldn't last a heartbeat.

This is what tyrants do when they are allowed to do so. Why support it? From their perspective: Why not.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 2 2015 1:40 utc | 17

To understand why the Saudis are attacking Yemen and why the US and others support this move you have to look back to October 2013 when the Saudis rebuked the UN and changed their foreign policy of depending on the West for intervention to assuming that role for themselves. This is when they first called for an Arab League Military Force to remove Assad from Syria, confront growing Iranian influence and respond to what was then called al Qaeda in the Levant, now known as the Islamic State and al Nusra.

Yemen is not an end but a means to further their larger goals and now they will get their Arab Army that no one really supported until the Yemen crisis, I think the GCC just approved its creation.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 2 2015 2:21 utc | 18

a letter to the piss laureate in wh

Posted by: denk | Apr 2 2015 2:54 utc | 19

Why wage war on Afghanistan, for that matter? To "deny them space in which to plan their attacks" as Obama claims? Why wage war on Somalia, which very few people seem to know we are doing? Or Syria, or Iraq, or Libya?

Posted by: Bill H | Apr 2 2015 5:35 utc | 20

Its about geopolitics. The US and Saudi Arabia are worried that Iran, through the Houthies will get control of Bab el-Mandab, a key maritime choke point, one of seven around the world.

The strategic significance of the region between Yemen and Somalia becomes the point of geopolitical interest. It is the site of Bab el-Mandab, one of what the US Government lists as seven strategic world oil shipping chokepoints. The US Government Energy Information Agency states that “closure of the Bab el-Mandab could keep tankers from the Persian Gulf from reaching the Suez Canal/Sumed pipeline complex, diverting them around the southern tip of Africa. The Strait of Bab el-Mandab is a chokepoint between the horn of Africa and the Middle East, and a strategic link between the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean.” [9]

Bab el-Mandab, between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Oil and other exports from the Persian Gulf must pass through Bab el-Mandab before entering the Suez Canal. In 2006, the Energy Department in Washington reported that an estimated 3.3 million barrels a day of oil flowed through this narrow waterway to Europe, the United States, and Asia. Most oil, or some 2.1 million barrels a day, goes north through the Bab el-Mandab to the Suez/Sumed complex into the Mediterranean.

Posted by: lacilir | Apr 2 2015 6:25 utc | 21

The Island of Socotra is also set to become a major military base:

This strategic waterway links the Mediterranean to South Asia and the Far East, through the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

It is a major transit route for oil tankers. A large share of China’s industrial exports to Western Europe transits through this strategic waterway. Maritime trade from East and Southern Africa to Western Europe also transits within proximity of Socotra (Suqutra), through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. (see map below). A military base in Socotra could be used to oversee the movement of vessels including war ships in an out of the Gulf of Aden.

Posted by: lacilir | Apr 2 2015 6:31 utc | 22

I saw a reference at the The Black Agenda Report to a book entitled The Half of it, by Edward E Baptist - actually I quickly found the book and still haven't read the review - but the book itself is very, very good, in my opinion. I've just finished Chapter 7 and I think that the parallels that Baptist draws between the 'one-eyed men' of the 1830's in Louisiana, and the then Southwest of the USA, with the one-eyed men of Washington/Wall Street of today are striking, and really point up the fact : that it's always been this way in the USofA.

Then the financial cdo scam was slaves ... they bundled together - people, black African-American slaves - and sold slave cdos to the Brits and Europeans and then used the funds received to double down : to buy more slaves and increase cotton production. It was a frenzy. No one thought for the future because - as the 'one-eyed men' always 'think' - trees grow to the sky. And if they don't, the taxpayers are on the hook on the downside. Just like today.

Now they've commodified everything ... the only thing left is 'Iran futures' and 'Russia futures' ... their payday now has overtly switched to the actual partition of treasures of the lands and they (have and hope to) devastate and destroy.

You and I know trees don't grow to the sky. Everyone else seems to be remembering that fact as well, finally ... the AIIB is the beginning of the reaction to that realization. The party's nearly over. There might be a tremendous wave of devastation - the neo-libs/neo-cons - might even start THE nuclear war. But one way or the other it's the endgame in play.

That's what I think anyway.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 2 2015 9:00 utc | 23


' The day the letter was released, there was another strike on Hadhramout, with its wadis, crops of wheat, millet, coffee, date palm and coconut groves and herds of sheep and goats.

' Further, as Rep. Ron Paul has just written: “Most Americans are probably unaware that over the past two weeks the US has launched at least eight drone attacks in Yemen, in which dozens have been killed. It is the largest US escalation of attacks on Yemen in more than a decade.” '

That letter is something. We Americans ARE zombified cogs in an imperial death machine. We need to read AND ACT on it.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 2 2015 9:27 utc | 24

Actually, Faisal bin Ali Jaber gives the Nihilist Nobel Peace Prize Laureate the benefit of the doubt : "you will defeat your own counter-terrorism aims."

This is not the case ... devastation and destruction are the NNPPL's aims. The whole 'counter-terrorism' spiel is for the rubes. And there are plenty of us rubes, or zombified cogs in his imperial death machine.

Barack the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Obama is a liar, a murderer and a war criminal. Just as were George W Bush and Bill Clinton before him, although the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate has certainly overshadowed both in cynicism and range if not Bush's absolute number of victims. Although with Syria and now the untold numbers in Western Ukraine, he is undoubtedly approaching Bush's numbers of people murdered outright.

And we zombified cogs in his imperial death machine allow this reign of terror to continue. We might as well be laughing and applauding, with drinks in our hands on couches on the lawn ... like the Israelis watching the slaughter at Gaza.

And that's the bald, sorry truth.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 2 2015 9:54 utc | 25

Pier Paolo Pasolini traces the birth of 'modernity'(in Italian) in Yemen from the late 50s when the Chinese built a road from the Red Sea to Sana'a allowing a very poor, but proud nation to import second and third quality stuff from an otherwise largely industrialized world. in the early 60s Pasolini had high hopes that Sana'a would be recognized as a World Heritage Site(which it was in 1986) and thus possibly stave off the increasingly agressive capitalist onslaught. but of course he knew well that capitalism is incompatible with the laws of nature.

so now, as Pier rolls in his grave, we have Arab minions flying American jet fighters bombing the shit out of other Arabs in Sana'a, inhabited continuously for 2,500 years and where one of the oldest Qur'anic manuscripts was found in 1972. it's bombs away in Aden, as well, which is by many accounts the original Garden of Eden.

see the pattern yet?

do the geometry.

Posted by: john | Apr 2 2015 10:32 utc | 26

jfl says:

Barack the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Obama is a liar, a murderer and a war criminal. Just as were George W Bush and Bill Clinton before him,...

yeah, i still have to remind myself every so often that every president in living memory has gotten away with treason.

Posted by: john | Apr 2 2015 10:37 utc | 27

Same reason as Syria: Yemenis are poor. Therefore they don't buy our great products. We need better Yemenis.
The script unfolding is exactly identical to Syria.
KSA and Egypt are emptying their jails sending ground troops (preferably to be killed), and al Qaeda, or call it whatever you like, the former djihadists in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechenia and elsewhere (many of them were Yemenis), is opening jails in Yemen to free the inmates.
More mess in the Middle East = more weapons to be sold.
Pretty good reasons for a war on Yemen, sure. They thought for a while "there will be a partition" but when even the former Saleh troops showed they wouldn't let that happen (no one in the south like the people on the north), they decided to go for the big thing.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 2 2015 10:45 utc | 28

#12 Nigel
Of course Petra is right. The straight of Aden is of the utmost importance. Where do you want the Saudi tankers to get in or out?
Yemen is not dry mud: half of the country enjoys 2 rain season per year and is pure green (check pictures of Sanaa surroundings, Ebb, Ta'izz). People ave been growing qat because they do have religious strife, based on the tribal divisions more than on any ideology, and it has managed to keep each sect in pure backwardness. The "Sufis" of Hadramaut think it's the duty of any Muslim to go wage djihad anywhere on the planet if they are called to do it, the Zaydis and Ismailis give a far better position and education to women, but in a tribal society, it still means no outer power, and the rest of the population is Hanbali, Hanafi or for the majority Shafi'ite. The Shafiites of Yemen are far more conservative than what we read in schoolbooks. They think the ankles and hands of a woman should also be considered as sexual parts and covered... Yemen DOES live in the Middle Ages, except for the south, where the Russians had managed in the time of the Southern Republic of Yemen to give a better education without gender segregation.
But Yemen has a lot of potential for tourism, except that the Saudis want to be the sole to get benefit of it. They could not afford to see the locals lose their religion and refuse to work as slaves in KSA (predestination...), so if ever there will be tourisme, it'll be far from the locals, and to the benefit of offshore accounts.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 2 2015 11:00 utc | 29

A first big success of the Saudi war against Yemen:

Al-Qaida frees 300 inmates from Yemeni jail

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Security officials say al-Qaida militants in Yemen have stormed the center of the coastal city of al-Mukalla and freed about 300 inmates, including scores of militants, and that Shiite rebels have fought their way into the heart of Aden to the west.

The officials say al-Qaida militants were deployed on Thursday across major roads leading into al-Mukalla in an apparent bid to thwart any attempt to retake the city.

The capture of al-Mukalla comes as a Saudi-led air campaign targeting Iranian-backed Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, enters its second week.

There are plans for an invasion of Yemen by Saudi, Egyptian and Pakistani forces.

1. A sea landing in Aden which by now the Houthis have almost completely taken
2. A ground attack from the Saudi border into the the Houthi mountainous heartland
3. A possible sea attack on Taiz to secure the oil tankers waterways.

Yemen ground operation carries major risks

Saudi Arabia and its allies plan an ambitious ground offensive on multiple fronts in Yemen. It may be inevitable if they want to defeat Iranian-backed Shiite rebels but it also carries enormous risks, from the inhospitable, mountainous terrain and a possible guerrilla war to al-Qaida militants waiting in the wings.

(AP repeating, with zero evidence, the "Iran backed" meme)

Sounds delusional to me. Big risk, little chance of success, likely endless quagmire with high casualties.

Posted by: b | Apr 2 2015 11:38 utc | 30

Frustrated and humiliated Saudis want only to show to the USA and the world that they are not 'half men' and that they can defend themselves... by bombing their weak neighbor that they kept under developed for decades.
The irony is that that 'weak' neighbor will give them a lesson they won't forget: Aden may fall under the Houthis control.

Posted by: Virgile | Apr 2 2015 11:52 utc | 31

Egypt and KSA need to continue empty their jails, now that the Turkey to Syria and Tunisia to Libya roads are unsafe.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 2 2015 11:53 utc | 32


Funny you say that since you are a Sisi supporter. Do you defend the egyptian attacks on Yemen?

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 2 2015 12:50 utc | 33

I am not so clear on the importance of the Strait of Aden.
While the Suez Canal is a shorter route to the Mediterranean and European markets, it is also significantly more expensive. Shipping to the East Coast of the US from Asia, for example, is much shorter via the Panama Canal than around South America, but the costs are such that it is cheaper to go the long way than pay exorbitant Panama Canal fees. It is even cheaper to ship to Long Beach and ship via train overland - to give an example, except for the very largest cargos.
The Suez Canal also has serious size limits on which tankers can pass through - the Suez being what the Strait of Aden feeds into.
This article:
notes that 1.8 million barrels per day passes through the Suez - this is certainly significant but hardly an existential threat. I'd also note that the problem of Somalian pirates was in the same area - and there seemed to be no serious economic issues from that.
All in all, I don't see the economic threat of a Strait of Aden blockade as anything but a thin pretext for Saudi Arabia to flex its muscles in Yemen - with whom Saudi Arabia has long has conflicts with.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | Apr 2 2015 13:15 utc | 34

No of course. I was a Sisi supporter until it became worse than most people who took to the streets to get rid of Morsi thought. But I was never naive on the necessity the Saudis have on cheap Egyptian workers and their capacity of nuisance.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 2 2015 13:38 utc | 35

You've missed one episode on the Suez canal: they are digging at the moment to make it twice bigger. A pharaonic work that helps giving petty jobs to the people around. But that copes for Sinai and the delta, not for Cairo and the South of Egypt, which are even more populous... Probably the Saudis read a history of Europe in the early 20th century and thought WW1 was actually a very nice way to get rid of too many peasants.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 2 2015 13:41 utc | 36

A minor good news, just as Tunisia is far too small to count

Posted by: Mina | Apr 2 2015 13:43 utc | 37

lacilir @ 22

Socotra has been my paradise lost for many years. there's a trickle of visitors one of which i hope to be someday. i think you can get a direct flight out of Dubai.

i don't think the US military ever got a real foothold there(yet), but i can't find hard info on the matter.

Posted by: john | Apr 2 2015 14:06 utc | 38

Yemen is very important because it is a "corridor" between Africa and Central Asia (and Iran, Russia and China need it)

Posted by: Umberto | Apr 2 2015 15:55 utc | 39

From Sic Semper Tyrannis:

The Saudi Intervention in Yemen – From "Decisive Storm" … to Looking into the Abyss

the Houthis have … been trying to get to the port of Mocha, located on the Red Sea. This is truly a development of strategic significance, as any success in claiming the port would enable the Houthis to take hold of the coastal area close to the Bab el Mandeb – the Mandeb Strait – which commands entry to the Red Sea. The Mandeb Straight is just as vital to navigation through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal as the Straight of Hormuz is to the Arabian/Persian Gulf. It is a crucial artery not just for Yemen and Saudi-Arabia, but also to countries such as Egypt, Sudan and others.

Seeing the Mandeb Straight fall into the hands of a force supposedly – and probably – helped by Iran was the "red flag" that called for the formation of the Saudi led coalition. For the Saudis in particular, entrenched as they are in their sectarian war against Iran and the "Shia Crescent", the Houthi take-over of Yemen and the Mandeb Straight would feel like one more piece in their encirclement by the Iranians. …

The Saudi move against Yemen must be seen as what it is: a desperate attempt to turn the tide, made by a regional power that is feeling more and more cornered.

lacilir made the same point at #21.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 2 2015 18:27 utc | 40

Houthies need to fire some scud missiles towards Saudi Arabia and show them who is boss! I thought they have some scud...

Posted by: Yobo | Apr 2 2015 18:31 utc | 41

Oh sh*t.. Iran reached a deal with the West.. Bibi must be shedding tears now.. His stupid stunt in the US congress has cost him dearly.. Obama's decided to punish him for his nonsense.. Next step is giving Palestinians their land back...

Posted by: Zico | Apr 2 2015 18:32 utc | 42

Houthis are reported in today's Washington Post as threatening to take the fight to Saudi territory. I assumed, when I read this, that they were talking about a ground invasion or mounting hit-and-run attacks inside Saudi, but I suppose missiles could also have been meant.

Posted by: lysias | Apr 2 2015 18:46 utc | 43

i am curious if anyone has any thoughts on the agreement with iran in regards to the relationship between saudi arabia and iran at this point.. it seems this relationship is especially strained at this point with the intent of saudi arabia to strain it further..

Posted by: james | Apr 2 2015 18:48 utc | 44

Some good news?Nigeria elects new president,and he is said to be incorruptible.Now that would be something!He's a Muslim.shhhh...
The Graun tells the world that all the Russian support on the web is from a building in St.Petersburg.Oy.Sayanim what?Shaun Walker lies again.
Yemen is our greatest success story in the region said Obomba last year?
Clueless,and yes,his actions show he hates Muslims,while wackos say he is one.
Someone(God included) help us!

Posted by: dahoit | Apr 2 2015 18:52 utc | 45

Re all the holocaust stuff lately.Will the Israeli,American,French etc. soldiers leaders or politicians be pursued 70 years from now with the same vigor?
sheesh.Modern politics reminds me of modern art.There's no there there,and it mostly sucks.

Posted by: dahoit | Apr 2 2015 18:56 utc | 46

Houthis are reported in today's Washington Post as threatening to take the fight to Saudi territory.

They're coming to Washington DC? Sounds like a plan. A Houthi And The Blowfish World Tour might be cool.

Posted by: Some Guy | Apr 2 2015 19:16 utc | 47

@Zico #42:

Iran reached a deal with the West.. Bibi must be shedding tears now.. His stupid stunt in the US congress has cost him dearly.

You could well be right. From PressTV

“You know, ironically, we should give some credit for this deal to Netanyahu, because without his clumsy arrogance it was quite possible that [US Secretary of State John] Kerry and Obama could not have got the political leverage at home to carry through a deal,” Williams said.
It looks like the P5+1 made a concession: the last stumbling block was that the P5+1 wanted to keep the sanction mechanisms in place, with the sanctions themselves lifted, until the IAEA certifies Iran to be in compliance, a process that could have taken over ten years. But now, the UNSC resolutions imposing the sanctions will be removed once Iran carries out the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

My guess is that the US wanting to have a rapprochement with Iran in order to help pursue its war on Russia also played a role.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 2 2015 19:55 utc | 48

Iran reached a deal with the West.. Bibi must be shedding tears now.. His stupid stunt in the US congress has cost him dearly.

I doubt it. Netanyahu got what he wanted. He won the Israeli election despite the polls.

Posted by: lysias | Apr 2 2015 19:59 utc | 49

So could somebody compare/contrast ISIL and the Houthis?

Posted by: aaaaaa | Apr 2 2015 21:13 utc | 50

@ 25: "And we zombified cogs in his imperial death machine allow this reign of terror to continue. We might as well be laughing and applauding, with drinks in our hands on couches on the lawn ... like the Israelis watching the slaughter at Gaza."

Yes, the torches and pitchforks aren't coming folks. The new BRICS world bank seems to be the last best hope, to blunt the drive towards Globalism.

Pass the popcorn please.

Posted by: ben | Apr 3 2015 0:55 utc | 51

Aside from congressional bribery, I wonder what Israel has up its sleeves in the way of sabotaging this Iranian agreement. Something military perhaps--a false flag operation, a roundup of "terrorists" confessing their links to Iran, even actual military action against Iran itself?

Posted by: sleepy | Apr 3 2015 1:17 utc | 52

@51 A lot will depend on the inspection and verification process. Many things can go wrong there.

Posted by: dh | Apr 3 2015 1:27 utc | 53

I concluded ... oh, ten years ago ... that there was no effective opposition to the neo-con wars and that they would only stop when the neo-cons actually destroyed the US economy and made it incapable of pursuing war further. Of course I always hoped I was wrong ... hope dies last. But it does die, eventually.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 3 2015 2:46 utc | 54

Joint statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides on the impact of fighting in Yemen

The impact on the civilian population, in particular on children, of the ongoing fighting between different militias, bombardments and disruption of essential services is reaching alarming proportions and exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation.

The airstrike on the Al-Marzaq camp in Hajjah, mostly hosting displaced persons, killed and wounded a high number of civilians.

The attacks on hospitals and medical facilities by warring factions as well as the deliberate targeting and destruction of private homes, education facilities and basic infrastructure cannot be tolerated.

So when will the EU slap sanctions on Saudi oil? impound Saudi funds in EU banks? and stop all arms shipments to Saudi Arabia? and ditto the seven dwarfs? When hell freezes over? Never.

That's what they did in the hocus-pocus of ignoring similar massacres by the Ukrainians in Donbass while blaming the death and devastation they themselves authored in Ukraine on the Russians and then waging economic warfare on Russia, isn't it? It is. There is nothing but pure bullshit coming out of the neo-liberal West at this point.

Pepe Escobar apparently went to Donbass ... the only Western 'journalist' of stature to do so. And he is ignored by the MSM and the zombified cogs in the wheel of imperial slaughter in any case.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 3 2015 3:03 utc | 55

Here is a post that moa has been censoring for the past day. I've tried to post it a dozen times or more, varying its form. I have no idea why this one in particular is found to be so sensitive. Initially I thought it was the link, but now it as innocuous as can be ... the eu itself.

Pretty amazing that this post in particular falls at the hands of the censor. Can anyone help me on why that might be?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 3 2015 3:34 utc | 56

@jfl #54, #53:

The only thing that occurred to me is that NAZI is mentioned in the same sentence as Ukraine. So let's see if this post goes through.

Otherwise, i have no idea.

I just watched Salvador by Oliver Stone. (Never saw it before.) The peace laureate is doing the same thing in Ukraine and Yemen that his idol Reagan did in El Salvador.

I concluded ... oh, ten years ago ... that there was no effective opposition to the neo-con wars and that they would only stop when the neo-cons actually destroyed the US economy

I was more naive than you. I thought the neocons would go away with Bush and Cheney.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 3 2015 3:49 utc | 57

@54 jfl.. i don't know that b censors anything, but perhaps he can actually speak directly to your question about this.. i have had problems posting in the past but they typically disappeared as quickly as i thought they were happening..

Posted by: james | Apr 3 2015 4:14 utc | 58

jfl at 54 -- I have a post on the "Kiev" thread that has some hot sociological and electoral analysis of Weimar voting that keeps dying. Zombie cog is colorful but a little inaccurate.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 3 2015 4:26 utc | 59

There will be no peace in the Middle East until someone stops the medieval corrupt fanatics from the house of saud and their regional friends, the neonazi netanyahoo regime. By the way, where is that young lady from Yemen, Karman, winner of the Nobel "peace price" several years ago?

Posted by: guy | Apr 3 2015 5:43 utc | 60

Well ... unconcious enablers of the killing machine? I'm talking functional description, not intent. None of us sets out to be a zomby cog on the wheel of the imperial killing machine ... we just 'somehow' end up that way. It's just like 'capitalism'. The phrase is Margaret Kimberley's American Hell for Yemen. They don't massage white, or black, sensibilities at Black Agenda Report.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 3 2015 6:11 utc | 61

I'll veer off a little, this is from TRNN, with a former director of IAEA, who analyzed the agreement line by line. Pretty good.

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 3 2015 6:26 utc | 62

Thanks okie farmer, here is the first part:

Posted by: Harry | Apr 3 2015 6:31 utc | 63

Saudi Leaders Bet on Strikes in Yemen to Bolster Image


King Salman of Saudi Arabia bet his prestige as a new leader on rallying his Arab allies for a campaign to save Yemen from an Iranian takeover.

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 3 2015 6:41 utc | 64

The "young lady" has been praising the Saudis for carpet bombing her city. Check the website of the "angry arab"

Posted by: Mina | Apr 3 2015 7:23 utc | 65

@jfl, various above, responding to my 108 in open thread 16:

As Club Orlov recently writes in License to Kill:

“As empires collapse, they turn inward, and subject their own populations to the same ill treatment to which they subjected others. Here, America is unexceptional: the number of Americans being murdered by their own police, with minimal repercussions for those doing the killing, is quite stunning. When Americans wonder who their enemy really is, they need look no further.

But that is only the beginning: the precedent has already been set for deploying US troops on US soil. As law and order break down in more and more places, we will see more and more US troops on the streets of cities in the US, spreading death and destruction just like they did in Iraq or in Afghanistan. The last license to kill to be revoked will be the license to kill ourselves.”

Our difference, if I recall from other posts, seems to be that you favor a nonviolent mass movement to dethrone the war criminals running the US, while repeatedly characterizing the US people who would make it up as “zombie cogs in the imperial death machine”, hard-wired with no hope of change. I don’t recall any instance in history of a revolutionary movement, most particularly a nonviolent one, being organized by those who think of their people as “zombie cogs.”

I on the other hand suspect some degree of organized militant resistance will be necessary, up to and including revolutionary violence, working to organize, raise consciousness and build this movement despite facing a propaganda and repressive apparatus before which Nazi Germany wouldn’t even rate as an opening act. Already there are growing signs of rising consciousness and resistance; I look ahead to a time when the Powers That Be will be hard pressed to hold things together even at home.

In your characterization of the US people you effectively resign the struggle here, and at best count on “liberation from outside,” while I remain the Grim Optimist, by any means necessary, on bringing down the Beast from within. Quite the nest of contradictions between two perspectives each opposed to the Empire. May each of our dialectics manifest their best potentials.

Posted by: Vintage Red | Apr 3 2015 15:45 utc | 66

PS to above:

It is not wrong to hate such conscious and willful war criminals and their system; nor is there a problem with such revolutionaries being “motivated by great feelings of love” as Che said. To make a revolution we will need all our healthy human passions along with all our other powers of mind and body. What we don’t need are the apathy, despair and cynicism that make people give up the struggle—when such failures of feeling and imagination reign, the enemy has already won.

As to identification with flags, wars and governments, the US is no more permanent than any other Empire. Whether its name or boundaries will survive such a revolution is not for any of us to say now, but I for one do not project on others that it be preserved. Just as the people of Novorossiya choose not to fight under the Blue-and-Yellow, I can well imagine that people here will in the course of this struggle turn our backs on the criminal symbols and structures of the Empire.

Posted by: Vintage Red | Apr 3 2015 15:48 utc | 67

As I've said before, it's all about Iran. There is no coincidence in that the blame for the Yemen crisis is being laid on Iran for allegedly supporting the Houthis and thus "threatening Saudi Arabia."

The entire goal of the Middle East situation today is to take out Iran as a functioning actor. That is why the Syria crisis exists, that is why ISIS exists, that is why the Yemen crisis exists.

People forget that the original Bush-Cheney plan was to take out Iraq, then Iran, then four or five other countries currently involved in chaos. People forget that Israel in early 2002 wanted the US to take out IRAN first, THEN Iraq and only came on board with the Iraq war when the neocons assured them that Iran would be next after the "cake walk" that Iraq was supposed to be. The neocons needed a base from which to launch ground troops on Iran - Iraq and Afghanistan would have been those bases. And that's why the US is going back into Iraq and delaying their departure from Afghanistan.

The goal beyond Iran, of course, is reduce the entire Middle East to chaos so the US and Israel can dominate it. But the US will never dominate the Middle East completely until the so-called "Shia crescent" is destroyed. Israel will never stop until the US destroys Iran and the US will never stop until Iran is removed as an effective actor in the Middle East.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 3 2015 18:42 utc | 68

A must-read...The Pentagon plan to ‘divide and rule’ the Muslim world


The US, in other words, despite being aware of the impending Iran-backed operation, did not pass on intelligence about this to its own asset in Yemen until after the Houthis’ success.

If true, this means in sum that US intelligence had advanced warning of the Houthi offensive and Saleh’s role in it; the UAE had reportedly provided funding to Saleh for the operation; and the Saudis had personally given the Houthis the green light in hope of triggering a fight to the death with Yemen’s Brotherhood.

Since 9/11, every country in the region touched by major US interference has collapsed into civil war as their social fabric has been irreversibly shattered: Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya.

The ensuing arc of sectarian warfare bears uncanny resemblance to scenarios explored in a little-known study by an influential Washington DC defence contractor.

According to Dr Christopher Davidson of Durham University, author of After the Sheikhs: the Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies, the current crisis in Yemen is being “egged on” by the US, and could be part of a wider covert strategy to “spur fragmentation in Iran allies and allow Israel to be surrounded by weak states”.

He suggests that the Yemen war serves US interests in three overlapping ways. It tests whether or not Iran will “ramp up support for Houthis”. If not, then Iran’s potential role “as a reliable, not expansionist regional policeman (much like the Shah) will seem confirmed to the US.”

The war could also weaken Saudi Arabia. Pushing the House of Saud into a “full-on hot war,” said Dr Davidson, would be “great for the arms industry, [and] gives the US much needed leverage over increasingly problematic Riyadh… If the regime in Saudi Arabia’s time is up, as many in the US seem to privately believe, in the post-$100 a barrel era, this seems a useful way of running an ally into the ground quite quickly”.

The Yemen conflict also “diverts global attention from IS [Islamic State] in Levant and the increasingly obvious uselessness or unwillingness of the US-led coalition to act against it”.

Davidson points out that there is precedent for this: “There have been repeated references in the Reagan era to the usefulness of sectarian conflict in the region to US interests.”

The 1996 paper, A Clean Break, by Douglas Feith, David Wurmser and Richard Perle – all of whom went on to join the Bush administration – advocated regime-change in Iraq as a precursor to forging an Israel-Jordan-Turkey axis that would “roll back” Syria, Lebanon and Iran. The scenario is surprisingly similar to US policy today under Obama.

Twelve years later, the US Army commissioned a further RAND report suggesting that the US “could choose to capitalise on the Shia-Sunni conflict by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes in a decisive fashion and working with them against all Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world… to split the jihadist movement between Shiites and Sunnis.” The US would need to contain “Iranian power and influence” in the Gulf by “shoring up the traditional Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan”. Simultaneously, the US must maintain “a strong strategic relationship with the Iraqi Shiite government” despite its Iran alliance.

Around the same time as this RAND report was released, the US was covertly coordinating Saudi-led Gulf state financing to Sunni jihadist groups, many affiliated to al-Qaeda, from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon. That secret strategy accelerated under Obama in the context of the anti-Assad drive.

The widening Sunni-Shia sectarian conflict would “reduce the al-Qaeda threat to US interests in the short term,” the report concluded, by diverting Salafi-jihadist resources toward “targeting Iranian interests throughout the Middle East,” especially in Iraq and Lebanon, hence “cutting back… anti-Western operations”.

By backing the Iraqi Shiite regime and seeking an accommodation with Iran, while propping up al-Qaeda sponsoring Gulf states and empowering local anti-Shia Islamists across the region, this covert US strategy would calibrate levels of violence to debilitate both sides, and sustain “Western dominance”.

Despite its bipartisan pretensions, the Pentagon Highlands Forum is an overwhelmingly neoconservative network. Its acolytes, Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, Deputy Defence Secretary Robert Work, and DoD intelligence chief Mike Vickers, hold the reigns of Obama’s military strategies.

End Quotes

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 3 2015 20:07 utc | 69

@69 - thanks richard. i agree it's worth reading.. thanks for your comments on the other thread as well which i agree with for the most part..

Posted by: james | Apr 3 2015 21:24 utc | 70

Finally: Russia calls UN Security Council session to pause Yemen crisis

I was waiting for Russia to do this. Basic human decency requires it, and checking such war criminal behavior is a main purpose of the UNSC. I hope the SC session will not be closed.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 4 2015 4:58 utc | 71

Why make war on Yemen? For much the same reason as the military move into Bahrain.

1) The defence minister charged with the operation, son of the King, is young(ish), 30 years old, and thus likely open to persuasion for military adventures. The position of the King, Salman, is unknown; he is said to have Alzheimer's.

2) There is an influential faction among the Saudi princes which is extremist and paranoid. Perhaps a large proportion of them, though we don't know. The important point is that it is influential. They are not paranoid about Yemen, nor about Iran. They are paranoid about the Shi'a in their own country, who happen to be sitting on the oil-fields. There are no oil-fields outside their occupation area. If those Shi'a were to revolt, Saudi would be reduced to a poor desert country much like Yemen. The only source of income would be the Hajj to Mecca. How to handle this problem is the major issue for Saudi.

So far, the extremists have the upper hand. They want to exterminate Shi'ism, in order to demonstrate to the Shi'a of the Eastern Province that they will have no help.

3) The position of the US is less difficult to understand. They have been providing intelligence and targeting information to the Saudis. And now (air?) refuelling for Saudi planes. No doubt to reach Aden, which has unfortunately fallen to the Houthis.

I would have thought that was part of the long-standing US policy, agreed with Israel, to reduce all Arab countries to confusion, countries which might provide a focus of resistance to what Israel is doing.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 4 2015 19:14 utc | 72

100s rally in Gaza over ISIL raid on Syria's Yarmuk camp

Hundreds of Palestinian protesters stage a rally in the besieged Gaza Strip to voice concern over the fate of thousands of Palestinians trapped in Syria's Yarmuk camp after it was overrun by foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists.

The protesters, many waving Hamas flags, took to the streets of the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis on Saturday in a protest march organized by the Islamic resistance movement, which administers the Israeli-blockaded Palestinian enclave.

'Foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists' ... that'd be the wahabists backed by 'the coalition', the United States, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the seven dwarves : United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Morroco and Sudan.

Al Qaeda takes over Mukalla army base in Yemen

The al Qaeda jihadists killed an unspecified number of soldiers and captured a large cache of military hardware, a security official speaking on conditions of anonymity said Friday.

The Yemen branch of al Qaeda is among the most active segments of the terror network, operating in the country torn by bloody conflict between government forces and Houthi rebels, who took over the capital, Sanaa, in late January.

On Friday, Saudi forces airdropped weapons to pro-Hadi forces in Aden, who then managed to push Houthi rebels out of several city districts.

Airstrikes will continue until Hadi is back in power, Saudi officials claim.

At least 519 people have been killed and nearly 1,700 injured during past two weeks in Yemen, and more than 90 per cent of the casualties are children, UN humanitarian affairs chief Valerie Amos said.

Is it apparent, finally? The identity of al Qaeda and the Evil Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?

Russia Calls For 'Humanitarian Pause' in Yemen Bombing

As the bombing of Yemen approaches its third week with an ever-mounting body-count, Russia submitted a draft resolution Sunday to the United Nations Security Council, suggesting a break in the Saudi-led coalition aerial bombardment.

The coalition countries, which include the United States, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Morroco, Egypt and Sudan, are attempting to annihilate the Houthi rebels who have gained huge support in the country.

The Evil Kingdom says 'Airstrikes will continue until Hadi is back in power'. I guess the 'coalition' leader will veto humanity, again, in the UNSC.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 5 2015 0:20 utc | 73

Saudi air strikes target aid convoy in Yemen, kill 3

Three people have been killed and nine others injured after the Saudi airstrikes in Yemen's Taiz Province targeted a humanitarian aid convoy.

Looks like the 'coalition' and the MSM have implemented the Ukraine plan in Yemen, the sheeple went for it whole hog so do it again : wage war against civilians and don't report it, respectively.

Anyone who is paying any attention at all must realize by now that the USA is the Evil Empire, and the real McCoy, not some leftover b-reel rattling around in Ronald Reagan's celluloid brain case.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 5 2015 8:42 utc | 74

too slow,to low
to late my mate
the horse has bolted the gate
a year ago

why bother commenting now..... its all old news

the average man in the street is perpetually behind by at least a year

Charting the data for US air strikes in Yemen, 2002 - 2015

Created by Bill Roggio and Bob Barry

Since 2002, the US has been conducting a covert program to target and kill al Qaeda commanders based in Yemen. Reports show that strikes have numbered 111 since 2002, with enemy deaths numbering 546 and civilian deaths numbering 105.

Posted by: mcohen | Apr 5 2015 10:46 utc | 75

Is it apparent, finally? The identity of al Qaeda and the Evil Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?...

Mualla district is captured Houthis are entering Aden port, your report from from Al-Jeezera. PLO has come out in favour of #DecisiveStorm, backing Saudi forces, rejecting ceasefire called by Russia.
Hamas are seeing the backlash of their initial support for the rats in Syria, Yarmouk refugee camp is now being attacked, these traitors. Time for Iran ro remember with these current crop of Sunni leadership Iran should realise that their dream (Islamic Unity) cannot be achieved. The poor people of Palestine suffer while their weasels of leadership follows the money trail.

Posted by: papa | Apr 5 2015 11:37 utc | 76

The US is busy reaching an agreement with Iran. And thst's something Saudi Arabia doesn't like. So, to make up a little with Saudi Arabia the US supports an attack on Yemen.

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 5 2015 15:04 utc | 77

Yemen's Houthis Storm Central Aden

For over a week Houthis and Hadi loyalists have been battling mostly on the outskirts of the city, though on Saturday there were reports that the Houthis had been pushed back. Then early Sunday, local media reported the Houthis had broken through to the central district of Mualla overnight. Unconfirmed reports now suggest they have occupied provincial administrative buildings, including the governor's offices.

According to locals cited by Al Jazeera, Houthi forces are now bombarding Aden's main commercial port, which is still under the control of Hadi loyalists.

“Conditions are devastating actually, we've heard shelling by Houthis on homes, civilians killed. There's no electricity, water. I feel like the humanitarian crisis in Aden is actually getting worse by the hour,” human rights activist Summer Nasser told Al Jazeera.

If this report is true and the Houthis are gaining the upper hand on the ground the UNSC will certainly be directed to call for a 'humanitarian ceasefire'. With the 'coalition' prosecuting the slaughter ... not so much.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 5 2015 22:55 utc | 78

One of the usual pro-Sunni reports on al Jazeera today (AJ is running a very confused line on this as their owner the emir of Qatar dislikes Saudi wahabis and doesn't have too much truck with AQ or IS but of course as a sunni monarch he dislikes Houthis even more than all the others as their rhetoric can sound awfully twelver (Iranian) Shia and essence of Shia is resistance to the established power structures in most Arab states) anyway according to AJ a few hours ago the Houthis have managed to grab a big chunk of Aden today.

The reason for this would be laughable if it weren't for the numbers of Yemenis being killed to further amerika's colonial agenda. The Yemeni armed forces (army navy and airforce are all contained on a peninsular at the tip. There is only one road in and out at the USuk mob's insistence. The job of these forces is to protect the Aden shipping routes. The actual Yemeni army spread across the rest of the country has either joined with the Houthi or already been defeated.

The Houthi have been pretty even handed and tolerant when they have Southern occupied areas populated by Sunni arabs so the only thing the hated Saudis appear to be successful at is turning the entire population against themselves.

But we all know where this goes, I have posted many times before over the years about the rough deal Yemenis have always copped just because they are the meat in the sandwich between the greedy lunatics running Saudi Arabia and fukUSi's major shipping lane.

The English have been dropping Yemeni like flies should they ever look like wanting self determination for over 100 years and amerika joined in with gleeful ablomb post the WTC action.
It is this deliberate yet careless butchery that will make the total destruction of what Yemeni infrastructure there is almost inevitable.

The unity created by wanton oppression over many years in Yemen presents the best chance for all shades of its population to join together and resist the butchers, and that of course is the one thing fukUSi and its Saudi and Egyptian proxies fear the most.

Imagine a united Libya - we don't have to cause I remember it as do most others but how about a united Syria, and/or a united Iraq? That scares the shit out of all the assholes.

It will happen the only issue is when. It seems that the incompetent Saudi airforce who are doing enough to anger all Yemenis but not nearly enough to stop the revolution are gonna precipitate unity sooner than anyone predicted.

Still there is nothing to cheer about because even if they win Yemenis are going to pay a huge price for their impertinence.

Lets hope that Iran doesn't sell out Yemen in order to grab the right to consume western garbage.
I have no doubt that one of the reasons for the Iran/amerka 'talks' running a few days over was amerikan pressure on Iran to toe the line on the Yemen.

It would be typical of the negotiations that have occurred in the past between Iran and amerika if Iran cut such a deal and Yemenis got screwed, then months later Iran also got screwed when Oblamblam said "Sorry Iran I tried - but the senate and congress refused to come to the party".

I just don't trust Rouhani he's a greedy corrupt neoliberal who is more than capable of selling out the people in order to line his and his mates pockets.
For the talks to have gotten as far as they did we can be sure he's signed away the billions amerika stole outta Iranian financial reserves stashed in amerikan banks after the shah copped the boot.

In that light ceding Iran's long term regional security for a quick dollar is a mere bagatelle.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Apr 6 2015 11:19 utc | 79

*a murcunt has been killed in yemen, any plan for evacuation ?*

state dept
*r u kidding me, its too dangerous out there !*

*but the chinese, russians, etc have already evacuated their own citizens plus many other nationals, whats with the world's mightiest navy ?*

state dept

Posted by: denk | Apr 6 2015 17:24 utc | 80

b, re "Why do the Obama administration and the hawks in congress think that this whole campaign is a good idea? Why do they support it?"

there's an interesting post, conclusion and discussion at plato's gun's article "American Empire’s Vision Of A New Middle East":

We’ve read much analysis on why Saudi Arabia is attacking Yemen and heard accusations of criminal hypocrisy against the USA for supporting Saudi Arabia’s attack on the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula. But we haven’t yet established why the USA would allow yet another destabilizing war in the Mideast, a violent war taking place right at the gates of the world’s largest oil fields.

On the surface, it would seem odd that the USA would approve of a war that could easily get out of control and threaten to jeopardize global industries and the health of our global economy. But… there is method in Empire’s madness.

America intends to remove the House of Saud from power.

more that the link.

Posted by: annie | Apr 6 2015 19:16 utc | 81

plato's guns.

Posted by: annie | Apr 6 2015 19:17 utc | 82

Annie, do you know what brand of Tinfoil Hat this Taxi character is wearing? It appears to be producing fact free visions of the US wanting to destroy the same House Of Saud that it is supplying $60 billion worth of arms to defend and expand its hegemony in the ME. The Saudis with US support now have the complete support of the Arab League in their goal of controlling and using the new Pan-Arab Army to expand their dominance in the region.

The US is losing interest in the ME because we don't need their oil anymore and is turning over to the Saudis control and expansion in the region including the removal of Assad, confronting Iranian expansion and combating the Islamic State.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 6 2015 19:59 utc | 83


Taxi's description of the 'new' Saudi Arabia echoes the new blood borders posted here by Saleh, these lo so many years ago.

I don't think the USG is actively seeking the breakup of SA, like 9/11, they're just letting it happen. The MIC's cash registers have rung up 60 billion ... so far. I imagine they're thinking of arming the Houthis, too, so they can shoot down some of those f-16s, and then the Saudis can buy replacements.

Meanwhile, I think they're trying to develop an Iranian gas supply for the EU in order simultaneously to drive a wedge between Russia and Iran. And if SA is relieved of billions more in process, that's good too.

You have to remember that the people running the USG - the various tag teams - are utterly depraved, and, like the Israelis, count the devastation and destruction of the Middle East a plus. Strip it down to basics : oil/gas and the local warlords to accede to USG's diktats regarding the disposition of same.

Our own getting down to basics ... (re)gaining human control of Western governments and eliminating fossil fuels would put out all these fires. I can't think of anything else that will. Can you?

As long as we North Americans/Europeans remain zombified cogs on the wheel of imperial destruction, it will continue turning.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 7 2015 0:45 utc | 84

"The Graun tells the world that all the Russian support on the web is from a building in St.Petersburg."

Though I'm both someone who supports Russia on the web and has been known to wake up in unfamiliar surroundings, I know that its never been in St. Petersburg,

Bunch of bullshit - but par for the course. But I'm certain that in most of these technological trickery - the USA is far ahead with the social engineering, sockpuppet armies, and general trollery.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 7 2015 1:47 utc | 85

Richard Steven Hack @69

This does resonate with me. Need to dig down another layer.

Posted by: Cloak And Dagger | Apr 7 2015 2:49 utc | 86


So you think the House of Saud is the only important client that our Military Industrial Complex has on its rollerdex and the only area where war is possible to manufacture is the Middle East? Cuz I beg to differ on that point. Our Military Industrial Complex thrives on war propaganda and creative business opportunism.

The Military Industrial Complex can milk the king of Saudi till his kingdom come and then compete with Russia in arms sales to Iran: wooing Iran (and her mideast allies) away from Russian influence and to the benefit of the American Industrial Complex. This scenario is as plausible, if not more plausible, than your suggestion of eternal bondage to the House of Saud.

Looks like you missed the point of the article: thing are already changing in the middle east. But in case it is 'I' who's missed the point and it is 'you' who is the Einstein here, why don't you go ahead and tell us why America is encouraging and supporting a war right at the doorstep of the largest oilfields in the world.

Posted by: Taxi | Apr 7 2015 4:46 utc | 87

jfl, it would never occur to me that taxi was echoing the neocon designer of the new middle east map, ralph peters. i did have a kick out of reviewing that article tho. especially:

Begin with the border issue most sensitive to American readers: For Israel to have any hope of living in reasonable peace with its neighbors, it will have to return to its pre-1967 borders — with essential local adjustments for legitimate security concerns. But the issue of the territories surrounding Jerusalem, a city stained with thousands of years of blood, may prove intractable beyond our lifetimes. Where all parties have turned their god into a real-estate tycoon, literal turf battles have a tenacity unrivaled by mere greed for oil wealth or ethnic squabbles. So let us set aside this single overstudied issue and turn to those that are studiously ignored.

ha! sure, let's just set jerusalem aside and figure out how to split the rest of the ME into bite size pieces we can comfortably manage.

Posted by: annie | Apr 7 2015 6:06 utc | 88

Well, annie, open up peters' 'after' map, go to 6 o'clock and proceed clockwise ...

American Empire’s Vision Of A New Middle East

The first province, rich in oil, is presently occupied Yemeni territory which will be returned to Yemen. The second province will encompass all the major ancient Islamic cities, turning it into an Islamic Vatican, administrated likewise; its wealth collected not from oil but from religious pilgrimage and religious tourism. The third province, rich in oil, will be given to the downtrodden Arabian Shia and other marginalized desert tribes already historically rooted there and for decades living practically as slave labor to the House of Saud’s petro corporations.

... compare with 'before' map for the relative increase in size of Yemen's oil patch.

Now Taxi does not seem to be advocating any of this, but seems rather merely to be describing an arrangement he attributes to the neo-cons in the USG.

In Washington, in the New American Century, the more things change the more they stay the same.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 7 2015 10:51 utc | 89

jfl, yes, i thought of the map when i read her reference to "islamic vatican". perhaps "echoing" was the wrong phrasing.

don't recall saleh posting it, but i think b featured the map in one of his several posts about baluchistan starting almost a decade ago w/a link to the original air force journal back when it was still on their website. (i could be mistaken but i think he featured the map(s) here, or maybe he just linked to them.)

i'm clueless about yemen. other than our random drone attacks, i have not been following events at all until the last couple weeks, b's 3/25 post, nasrallah's speech, accusations about iran and all the death in the last couple weeks. it's sort of jolted me. i have a lot of catching up to do and don't really know enough to add to the conversation.

Posted by: annie | Apr 7 2015 14:32 utc | 90


I think I did answer your question in the last paragraph of my comment @83

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 7 2015 21:50 utc | 91

@91 Wayoutwest,

It's not us who need mideast oil, it's our European allies and our mega trade partners in Asia.
Control of the middle east is largely about American power projection and without that power asserted right there in the middle east, literally in center of the world, our 'Empire's' global influence will dissipate, which in return will directly effect our trade exports and federal economy.

Wayoutwest, we have NOT "lost interest" in the middle east - I don't know what gives you that idea, but perhaps you'd like to tell us where you see signs and patterns of this.

Posted by: Taxi | Apr 8 2015 7:04 utc | 92


I should have been more specific and stated that the US is losing interest in carrying the full weight of protecting Western interests in the ME. This is especially evident where armed intervention is concerned, 40% of the air war in Iraq and Syria is being handled by France, England and even Australia who have a more direct need for ME oil supplies.

The Saudi/GCC move to large scale intervention with the US playing a support role is another example of this shift in policy as the US prepares to pivot to Asia. That pivot may have been delayed by the rise of the Islamic State but the project is still being pursued.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 8 2015 21:08 utc | 93


We're still running the war theaters in the mideast - we haven't given over this power to our allies despite us giving them 'permission and facility' to conduct their own military ops. We are never letting go of the middle east - even if oil runs out and israel is liquidated. We need to control the center of the world so as to project our global power effectively and maintain our superpowerdom and Empire. The new strategic thinking is to control a 'peaceful' middle east and not a turbulent one. We have NOT abandoned the middle east or "lost interest" in it in the slightest.

And to other bloggers above who are making comparisons between my map and the 'neocon map' - I beg here to disagree. The glaring difference is that the neocon map was drawn to empower israel - mine is drawn to restrict israeli military hegemony. But I have discovered since writing my article that the Saudi 'demographic' map is a little more complex than I had estimated and I hope to soon write an article adding this new information.

Posted by: Taxi | Apr 9 2015 7:56 utc | 94

U.S. reiterates it won’t evacuate Americans from Yemen as UN slams Saudi attacks

GENEVA — The United Nations’ expert on internally displaced people accused Saudi Arabia on Wednesday of intentionally bombing a camp for people who’d fled Yemen’s violence last week and said airstrikes also had hit hospitals, schools and “other civilian buildings.”

A State Department official said the U.S. government, which is providing logistical support for the Saudi campaign, believes it is too dangerous to risk a military operation to rescue Americans. “There are no current U.S. government-sponsored plans to evacuate private U.S. citizens from Yemen,” the official said. “We encourage all U.S. citizens to shelter in a secure location until they are able to depart safely.”

Obviously Obama feels that any Americans in Yemen 'need killin'.

He's asserted his 'right' to directly and summarily murder Americans himself ... and he's murdered them.

No problem at all for a guy in his position to direct the Saudis to the places where the 'undesirable' Americans are sheltering in Yemen.

Even if it takes the Saudis two or three tries to get 'em ... no problem.

Plenty more weapons where those came KSA, and we'll keep 'em in our sights for you while you reload.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 9 2015 9:03 utc | 95

Americans in Yemen are mainly working in oil companies. They want to be the first on the ground when KSA sells the new shares, as Qatar was allowed with Libya's companies!
tectonic shift of Erdogan

Posted by: Mina | Apr 9 2015 9:24 utc | 96

@ 96

I was thinking of an article I read about a 21 year-old Yemeni-American, critical of Obama's criminal, murderous drone-war crimes - as everyone on the planet should be - who took her younger siblings and cousins, perhaps, back to Yemen just before this US/Saudi massacre began. She wrote back from Aden describing the fear they were experiencing for their lives and mentioning the US' refusal to evacuate Americans. Saudi (American) bombs were exploding not far from where she was at the time. Alas, I've been unable to find the report - I saw it 'a few days ago'.

Thanks for that link, I've bookmarked the blog. Very interesting background. I've never thought of, or known anything about Oman at all.

On Pakistan joining in on Saudi Arabia's blood bath ...

Finally, dispassionately speaking, it really hurts Pakistan’s core interests to fuel Sunni-Shi’ite sectarian strife in the region or to antagonize Iran.

Yeah, they probably dont want to antagonize Iran ...

China to build Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline: report

And with Turkey-Iran holding hands and trying to pull the plug - and together with Oman and Pakistan, more than trying - that seems very promising. Although Erdogan was saying the opposite the last report I'd read on him.

He seems to me to be the most dangerous, the most ambitious man in the region.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 9 2015 10:16 utc | 97


Yemen's oil production, never very large, is headed to zero by 2017 and has been run by Western companies since its inception. There is not much to sell to anyone but they might see more exploration.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 9 2015 15:39 utc | 98

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