Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 15, 2016

New Government Of Yemen Ready To Accept Saudi Surrender

(Update: @Khabaragency translated and published this post in Arabic: موقع أمريكي: السلطة اليمنية الجديدة مستعدة لقبول "استسلام" آل سعود قبل 12 ساعة و 37 دقيقة )

Day by day the life in Yemen becomes more difficult for the people on the ground. The Saudis have restarted bombing and seemingly hit everything in sight - schools, hospitals and food supply routes. Food is running out. But Yemen now has a new legitimate government. And the Saudis will have to either follow the conditions it will set, or all-out lose their war.

UN supervised negotiations between the former Yemeni president Hadi, supported by the armed forces of various Gulf countries, and a the Houthi alliance with the former president Saleh have failed. The Saudis demanded total surrender. A retreat of the Houthi from the capital Sanaa, a complete re-installment of Hadi as president and a handing over of all heavy weapons. The Houthi/Saleh side would never have agreed to such conditions. It would leave them without assets at the mercy of a vengeful enemy. The fighting on the ground continued throughout the four month negotiations though at a lower intensity.

When the failure of the negotiations was obviously imminent, Houthi and Yemeni army forces re-invaded Saudi Arabia. For 200 km of the Saudi-Yemeni border from the Red Sea to inland eastwards Yemeni forces initially invaded at 6 locations 5-20km deep. Video showed them in sight of the Saudi city Narjan, with half a million inhabitants, shelling the electricity station and military barracks. Laughably a joint statement from the governments of the UK, USA, Saudi Arabia and UAE demanded that:

the conflict in Yemen should not threaten Yemen’s neighbours.

A joke. A Saudi invasion of Yemen is fine with them, to respond in kind is not?

The Saudis renewed their air attacks on the capitol Sanaa and other Yemeni cities. Military targets in Sanaa had already been bombed at least twice. The current attacks make no sense and are a pure terror campaign.

Two days ago a Saudi double airstrike hit a school near the northern Yemeni city of Saada:

Doctors Without Borders wrote that the “final number of injured from Haydan school is 28 & 10 deaths. All between 8-15 years old ..."

The Saudis denied that a school had been hit. They claimed that the 8 years old, undernourished children were in a military training camp. They have learned from their new Zionists friends. The chutzpah in their response to the school bombing reports was strong:

"We would have hoped MSF would take measures to stop the recruitment of children to fight in wars instead of crying over them in the media."

An important bridge on the main supply route to Sanaa, over which 90% of its food comes in, was destroyed by a Saudi attack. Today a Saudi airstrike hit a well known hospital in Hajjah. At least 31 civilians, including hospital personal, were killed and many more wounded.

The Saudi king used the occasions to hand out a month's extra salary as war bonus to all "active participants" on the Saudi side.

The Saudis blackmailed the United Nations, with silent U.S. approval, to not accuse Saudi Arabia of any of its atrocities and crimes with regards to its war. They threatened to stop all payments to all UN programs. The relevant UN reports are "cleaned" before being published. No longer will you see any UN comments on "Saudi airstrikes". Atrocities are now void of any origin.

Before the war Yemen was already dirt poor. It is now much poorer. Most infrastructure is destroyed. Nearly all factories have been flattened. The country is under a total blockade. The economy is in tatters. People die of hunger. Some 80% of the population is in dire need of humanitarian aid.

But the Yemenis will not give up. They did not start the war. But they will end it on their terms. They continue to response to Saudi attacks on Yemen with attacks in Saudi Arabia. Mysteriously new self made rockets appear from nowhere and hit Saudi troops and installations. All Saudi ground attacks in Yemen have ended in failure. Their proxy troops, hired from various African countries and South America, get beaten as soon as the enter the central Yemeni highlands. Their paid Yemeni allies are unreliable and tend to switch sides without notice. Only al-Qaeda in Yemen is a trusted Saudi ally.

The U.S. and UK continue to support Saudi Arabia in their slaughter of Yemenis. The U.S. provides targeting intelligence and air refueling. Since April 2015 the U.S. air force refueled Saudi and allied planes bombing Yemen over 5,500 times. The U.S. delivers huge amount of bombs and weapons. Since Obama came into office the U.S sold Saudi Arabia weapons and ammunition for a cool $111 billion. Seven percent of the sales price is a commission that flows directly into Pentagon coffers. Generals involved in these deals end up in very posh industry jobs. For the U.S. weapon industry, the Pentagon and U.S. generals involved, the Saudi killing of Yemenis is extremely profitable.

But the Saudis are losing the war. Not only is it very expensive to hire all the mercenaries and U.S. specialists to maintain (and man) Saudi weapons but the material loss of expensive weapons is quite big. Over 50 main battle tanks have been lost to Yemeni attacks. Many more infantry carriers and other vehicles have gone up in flames (vid). Long videos show the Houthi winning nearly every engagement. They are way better soldiers than the Saudis.

On the political side the Yemenis outmaneuvered the Saudis and the long ago ousted Hadi proxy government. Late July the Houthis and the former President Saleh  and his supporters, once the Houthi's enemies, formalized their alliance with the  formation of a common "supreme political council". But to have real legitimacy the alliance needed some formal acknowledgement by the Yemeni people. It has now managed to gain that.

Despite Saudi bomb attacks on Sanaa the parliament was called into session. Out of 301 members 26 have died. The total remaining is 275, a legal quorum is half of that (138). On Saturday 142 parliament member attend the session and unanimously voted to form a new government.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua was the only one with decent reporting on the ground:

"The Council of Representatives unanimously recognizes, ratifies and blesses the formation of the Higher Political Council to rule the country from it's geographically far north to Aden in the south, and from east to the west of Yemen's official borders," Parliament Speaker al-Raiee and the attending MPs voted with "Yes" as showed by the state TV.

The president, vice-president, and members of the Higher Political Council performed their constitutional oath in the parliament. Today the Houthi dominated Supreme Revolutionary Committee under Mohamed Ali Al-Houthi stepped down as de-facto ruler of Yemen. It had ruled Yemen since February 6 2015. Power was handed over to the newly formed Higher Political Council which is an alliance of Houthi politicians with the GPC party of former president Saleh. The former president Hadi, in Saudi exile, is also a member of the GPC. But his time is now certainly over. He is unlikely to be ever seen again in Sanaa.

Yemen now has a new government. Its formal, public formation with the vote of the parliament gives it enough legitimacy to be accepted by most Yemenis. It will be very difficult to cast it aside.

The UK Foreign Secretary tries nonetheless:

"I am seriously concerned about actions being taken by elements of the Houthis, the General People’s Congress, and allies in defiance of the Yemeni Constitution and the UN process, and encourage all parties not to take any action that undermines the possibility of peace."

According the Yemeni constitution Hadi's election, without any competitor and no "No" vote on the ballot, was unconstitutional. He was "elected" in 2012, for a two year period. His unconstitutional mandate as president has long ended.The side the UK represents and that now insists on constitutional legitimacy has none at all.

Despite all their weapons, arrogance and money the Saudi herders of camels have again lost against the people of Yemen.

As the Hadith says:

Belief is from Yemen, wisdom is from Yemen! Pride and arrogance are found among the camel-owners; tranquility and dignity among the sheep-owners.

"Halfmen" the Syrian President Bashar Assad once called the jokers of the Saudi ruling family. He was too generous. Should the al-Sauds not soon agree to retreat from Yemen, to end their war and to appropriate financial compensation, the Yemenis will start to take Saudi cities. They are strong enough to do so, better dancers (vid) and they have the strong belief and the military means needed to achieve that.

That would be a huge loss of face and the end of the political career of the Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Clown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Posted by b on August 15, 2016 at 17:54 UTC | Permalink


WE SHOULD have invaded Saudi Arabia way back in the seventies, if not before.
That's one country that should be ripe for "Regime Change".
Instead we've coddled them while destroying secular regimes in the area.
The neutralization of Saudi Arabia and the end of them subsidizing the repellant Wahabi ideology and spreading of its associated cruel and medieval socio/political values should be job #1 for the West.
Why have we not done so or even discussed it?

Posted by: Casowary Gentry | Aug 15 2016 18:10 utc | 1

Will Rand Paul's efforts succeed?


Western Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia Under Threat Amid Plans to Block US Deal

With the UK already facing a legal challenge over its continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia, senators in the US have proposed blocking the latest sale of weapons to the Gulf kingdom, raising questions about the future of Western military support for Riyadh.

"Saudi Arabia is an unreliable ally with a poor human rights record. We should not rush to sell them advanced arms and promote an arms race in the Middle East."

Paul's stance comes amid an increase in concern over the humanitarian situation in Yemen, with reports over the weekend suggesting at least 10 children were killed in an alleged Saudi airstrike against a school in the country's north.
UN estimates for the 16 month-long Saudi-led offensive against Houthi rebel groups put the death toll at more than 6,400, with the majority of those civilians.[.]

~ ~ ~ ~
If Canada is any indication, the deal will go through. FM Dion signed the KSA arms export permits knowing the legal challenge had been filed…the rationale can't break a contract…profits and jobs at stake.
Our critters are owned by the MISC

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 15 2016 18:15 utc | 2

Personally I think the Houthis should go ahead and take Najran if they can. That'll give Saudi a shock.

The Houthis will find friends in Najran. The Najranis are Isma'ilis, a related sect of Shi'a, though there will be hesitation to abandon Saudi, for fear of reprisals. I much liked the War Nerd's account of a Najrani rebellion in 2000.

Of course, one camera overlooking Najran city is not the same as being able to take the town. Still, there doesn't seem to be much Saudi resistance.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 15 2016 18:20 utc | 3

"Why have we not done so or even discussed it?"

Short answer - those Wahabi are creation of the West!

Posted by: ex-sarajlija | Aug 15 2016 18:27 utc | 4

@1 are you serious or being sarcastic?

Posted by: shoes | Aug 15 2016 18:32 utc | 5

The big takeaway from the Andrew Cockburn piece in the latest Harper's, which b links to in the sentence above -- "Since Obama came into office the U.S sold Saudi Arabia weapons. . ." -- is the extent to which al-Saud's Yemen debacle is a creature of both the U.S. and Prince Mohammed bin Salman. For the Saudis to fail here is just as much a U.S failure. And while I hope b is right and KSA/USA see the handwriting on the wall, Syria should prove to us that the Saudis and their Western enablers will not accept defeat even when they are beaten.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Aug 15 2016 18:36 utc | 6

Actually, there's no reason the Houthis can't take Najran, and keep it. It would need a direct intervention from the US air force to discourage them. The Saudi efforts have been feeble.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 15 2016 18:55 utc | 7

Remember all the fools that said record weapons by the evil US Empire to the Saudi genocidal state, was merely about making money !! The long-term plan of those sales was for the war between Saudi terrorists and Irsn, but by the looks of it since the criminally pathetic Saudis are losing Yemen, and I don't think Iran have to worry about a defeat to the Saudis so far... Doesn't mean they won't try the future.

Posted by: tom | Aug 15 2016 19:04 utc | 8

Congratulations to the Houthi and allied Yemenis! The only way a genuine truce and eventual surrender is going to be wrung from the Outlaw US Empire and its Saudi vassal is for the new Yemeni government to gain as much Saudi territory as possible, thus possibly igniting a revolt throughout Saudi. Such an event would be a blessing for the world.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 15 2016 19:05 utc | 9

Doctors Without Borders confirms affiliated hospital hit by airstrikes in Yemen

Posted by: Mann | Aug 15 2016 19:09 utc | 10

Tom @8: Remember all the fools that said record weapons by the evil US Empire to the Saudi genocidal state, was merely about making money !! The long-term plan of those sales was for the war between Saudi terrorists and Irsn,...

OK, I am that fool. Clearly, the money making part is a success. If there was a plan to embolden KSA to wage a war with Iran, it would be more foolish that I am ready to concede that it is possible. For example, there were leaks to the press about a "war game" when two teams of American officers played USA and Iran, and the "Iran" team managed to paralyze "US navy". My suspicion is that the "full scale war game" was the true nature of the war between IDF and Iranian trained Hezbollah. Iranian capabilities are a matter of guessing, but they exceed what USA with local allies can handle. Worst of all, they have somewhat decent anti-ship missiles and are capable of closing the Strait of Hormuz. What was tested in Israel-Hezbollah war? One aspect was if aerial bombardment can stop launching missiles that are stored in underground bunkers. Not really. Second aspect was if Iranian missiles can destroy a Western naval vessel. That was tested with a single missile, Israeli ship was disabled but ambled back to port. (But with those missiles in Yemeni hands, KSA vessels were sank). Third aspect was if good Western infantry can finish the job with the bunkers that resisted the bombardment. To a limited degree, dependent how money troops you want to loose.

In a full scale exercise, USA would have capabilities several times larger than Hezbollah, and Iran would have,. what, 10 times more? 50 times more? And extra help from KSA would help to what degree? IDF x 10 it is not.

It is true that Iranians in Syria are far from "superhumans", but they committed very few "real troops".


The war on Yemen is quite mysterious. On a map, it looks like Yemen is totally blockaded. So no weapon shipments. And it was reported that Yemen is 80% dependent on food imports. So there should be mass starvation. But Yemen keeps finding decent missile weapons and while there is widespread deprivation, there are no signs of mass starvation.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 15 2016 19:41 utc | 11

Saudi Arabia has about 3 years left before it collapses. It's running on fumes of 20 percent budget deficits. This can't go on much longer. Saudi desperation is starting to show in them making some preposterous offers to Russia for a "share of the Midlle East that even USSR never had" and other such nonsense. IPO of Aramco - the last ditch effort to fleece some suckers - will inevitably fail, too.

Posted by: telescope | Aug 15 2016 19:55 utc | 12

You and your website are simply one of the best things on the internet. This article alone -and it's slew of links - is phenomenonal. Thank you. I mean that sincerely. If there is ever a 'funding drive', I will gladly contribute.Good stuff

Posted by: Skeletor | Aug 15 2016 21:06 utc | 13

Skeletor @13

What Skeletor said--increasingly, I depend on the substance and integrity of this blog. A gem of a site.

Posted by: Glorious Bach | Aug 15 2016 21:19 utc | 14

thanks b... thanks especially for the video with the yemeni fighters dancing..

@9 karlof1.. i agree with you and hope that unfolds... saudi arabia is one shit hole of an empire propped up by a few other pathetic former and present empires - the uk and the usa... if selling arms is what it is all about, i hope the leaders of these arm supporting countries feeding saudi arabia all rot in hell and that includes canada where i live.. i am disgusted beyond reason by them all..

Posted by: james | Aug 15 2016 21:30 utc | 15

Saudi Arabia and Turkey are been subjected to extreme stress and humiliation. Both arrogant countries are now begging their ally for help.

Turkey's leadership got a slap after it promised to ensure the "stability and security" of the country. The country is in a mess, weakened, divided and isolated. Feeling insulted by the USA and the EU, sulky Erdogan is throwing himself in the arms of Iran and Russia.
Saudi Arabia is in a mess in Yemen's war, a trap set by the USA to weaken further the Saudis and force it to make a peace deal with Israel as a condition for the USA more direct intervention.
The Saudis are in a disarray and in addition their oil revenues are falling. Their only friends are the midgets UAE and Kuwait.
Will the Arab spring grant the world one real success: the fall of the House of Saud?

Posted by: virgile | Aug 15 2016 21:39 utc | 16

@ telescope 12

Saudi Arabia has about 3 years left before it collapses.

Where have all their trillions gone, amassed since 1970s and recycled in U.S. T Bills to finance US deficits?

Why the Yemeni war? Oh, wait ..It is another war over oil and gas and the U.S. is helping out Hal and Schlum.

To offset their dwindling oil reserves, KSA wants Yemeni’s oil basin. The country is now dirt poor but the wealth is in ground and offshore.

“DNO International has oil discovery in Yemen's Masila basin - Oil “
Houston, Oct. 30

Riyadh's Dirty Secret: Saudi Arabia Thirsty for Yemeni Oil, Gas Reserves

”Why does Saudi Arabia continue to bomb Yemen back into the Stone Age? The crux of the matter is that Yemen has oil reserves, while Riyadh is steadily running out of the commodity, American political analyst Phil Butler explains.[.]

the US-backed Saudi Arabian war against Yemen is neither about the longstanding sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shiites, nor about the much-discussed military campaign aimed against al-Qaeda in the region.

While Western media outlets usually refer to Yemen as a "small" energy producer, the truth of the matter is the country is sitting on substantial oil and gas reserves, which Saudi Arabia and its allies want to control,[.]

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 15 2016 21:59 utc | 17

The Saudis are funding proxy wars against Syria, Iraq and Iran together with supplying thousands of tons of weapons to the head choppers. That being the case it is incumbent on those states to hit back at the source of their problems with their own proxy forces and supply Yemen with the wherewithal to defend themselves.
Is it not strange that when the President of Yemen flees the country, Saudi Arabia, the UK/US fight wars and commit war crimes to have him reinstated. Whereas when the legitimate President of Ukraine Yanukovych does the same thing in fear for his life,the West declare his overthrow was done within the constitution. It was not, here is why... "Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appealed to the country’s constitutional court, asking the court to recognize the ousting of former President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 as illegitimate.

"I ask the court to acknowledge that the law ‘on the removal of the presidential title from Viktor Yanukovych' as unconstitutional," Poroshenko said in a court statement published on the website of the Ukrainian constitutional court.

The current Ukrainian president said the law violates the constitution, according to which the President of Ukraine is protected by law and his title remains with him forever. He also added that by enacting the law in February of 2014, the parliament of Ukraine undermined the constitution.

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 15 2016 22:00 utc | 18

More music and dance from Yemen

(The star of south Yemen in the 80s)

Posted by: Mina | Aug 15 2016 22:02 utc | 19


Saudis never had any "trillions" stashed away. The regime is profligate beyond belief, and at these oil prices is completely broke. They have had about $700B in overseas assets about a year ago, but are forced to reduce their net position by about $200B per year (either through borrowing or outright selling). Thus 3 years is all that KAS has left. Then the curtain on the Saud dynasty comes down.

Posted by: telescope | Aug 15 2016 23:40 utc | 20


Are you referring to this in #11?

Posted by: Anunnaki | Aug 15 2016 23:52 utc | 21

This International Business Times article by David Sirota and Andrew Perez might be a bit old (published May 2015) but I think it's still relevant, given that most of the weapons and equipment the US sold to the KSA by now have already been used (and probably also destroyed by the anti-Hadi Yemeni resistance fighters): "Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton's State Department"

"Even by the standards of arms deals between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this one was enormous. A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to the United States' oil-rich ally in the Middle East ...

... Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure -- derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) -- represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.

American defense contractors also donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and in some cases made personal payments to Bill Clinton for speaking engagements. Such firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of Pentagon-negotiated deals that were authorized by the Clinton State Department between 2009 and 2012.

The State Department formally approved these arms sales even as many of the deals enhanced the military power of countries ruled by authoritarian regimes whose human rights abuses had been criticized by the department. Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents ..."

So anyone wondering where the KSA's trillions are all ending up ... a major part of them is ending up in Killary Klinton's presidential campaign and her and her husband's Klinton Foundation "charity" money-laundering operation.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 15 2016 23:54 utc | 22

How can the Saudi Royals withstand a purist wahabbi uprising within it's own borders...? I see no evidence of a backbone.

There is a good reason for why KSA get their skulls kicked up and down their side of the Yemeni border. Their men don't want the fight. They have to pay mercenaries to come do the job.

Getting schooled by Yemeni sheep herders is one thing. Sure, the Houthis fight to the bone and fight the good fight... But what is the KSA gonna do when it's faced with an internal battle with a death cult on captagon...?

The excesses of the kingdom make it ripe for revolution. Too many stories of Saudi royalty shopping on high st in Tel Aviv. The wahabbist cycle will turn fully as it does and clean the royals out.

Telescope @12 says 3 years - it didn't take long to set up the Syraq caliphate, 3 years could be generous if there is just a little internal combustion.

No wonder the chase for oil in Yemen in order to preserve the status quo. Did someone say Russia and Iran should drop the oil price to $5 a barrel...?

Great post b, the Yemeni struggle deserves a voice.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Aug 16 2016 0:00 utc | 23

@5, shoes;


Posted by: Casowary Gentry | Aug 16 2016 0:28 utc | 24

Before the war Yemen was already dirt poor. It is now much poorer. Most infrastructure is destroyed. Nearly all factories have been flattened. The country is under a total blockade. The economy is in tatters. People die of hunger. Some 80% of the population is in dire need of humanitarian aid.

The U.S. and UK continue to support Saudi Arabia in their slaughter of Yemenis. The U.S. provides intelligence and air refueling. Since April 2015 the U.S. air force refueled Saudi and allied planes bombing Yemen over 5,500 times. It delivers huge amount of bombs and other weapons. Since Obama came into office the U.S sold Saudi Arabia weapons and ammunition for a cool $111 billion. Seven percent of the sales price is a commission that flows directly into Pentagon coffers. Generals involved in these deals end up in very posh industry jobs. For the U.S. weapon industry, the Pentagon and U.S. generals involved the Saudi killing of Yemenis is extremely profitable.

That's been the story this millennium ... Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen ... Iran? Russia? China?

Nine-one-one! Nine-one-one!
Che-ney-Bush-wars have begun!

U-S-A! U-S-A!
No-bel Peace Prize O-ba-ma-fey!

Eight more years with Hill-a-ree!

Write-in vote! 3rd Par-tee!
Re-pu-di-ate the men-ag-er-ie

It's going to take 8 more years to clean house, senate, and the white house.

A first step will be made voting 'other' this November, and every November thereafter.
A second, parallel, step lies in coalescing as 'others' publicly to perfect a minimal platform that all 'others' can accept.
A third step will then be publicly identifying 'virtual-other-party' candidates.
... and back to the first step.

I propose 'no more war' ...
- US stands down all over the world immediately,
- US brings the troops and weapons home,
- no more US arms sales|give-aways abroad,
- no more US funding|training|arming terrorists|proxy armies ...
as virtual-other-party platform plank number 1.

The USA is re-enacting the serial aggressions of NAZI Germany in slow motion ... a series of 'sits kriegs'.
Off our asses! On our feet! End them!

Posted by: jfl | Aug 16 2016 1:00 utc | 25

Re: Posted by: tom | Aug 15, 2016 3:04:13 PM | 8

I would love that. If the Saudis were ever stupid enough to attack Iran that would give Iranian allies the Russians carte blanche to send a hail of missiles at Saudi oil infrastructure.

Hello $300 oil (if not more).

It would certainly save the US frackers wouldn't it.

If the US ever gives the Saudis the nod to do this it means they are preparing to abandon them to their fate. That would truly be the end of the war on Syria as at that point, what is the point of building a pipeline from the Saudi/Qatar via Syria to Europe?

In fact, Donald Trump's vitriol towards Iran and friendship towards Russia suggests this is a stunt he could actually pull off.

Posted by: Julian | Aug 16 2016 1:29 utc | 26

Thank you b. Terrific coverage. Where are the Yenenis getting their weapons from-- and their food?

At the beginning of the Saudis war on Yemen so many people predicted the defeat of the Saudis that I wondered aloud if weakening of the Saudi govt could be a longterm Western goal. It wouldn't be the first time that the mobsters running the US armed BOTH sides.

At the time of the Yemeni coup against the puppet Hadi, this link provides a list of Yemeni military equipment, some part of which would have fallen into anti-Hadi hands.

Interesting story here about weapons being smuggled to Yemen.

Here's another. Always better for US mobsters to pass themselves off as incompetents rather than devious?? Published March 17, 2015. Fox News. "As much as $500 million in U.S. military aid to Yemen is unaccounted for, U.S. officials said Tuesday, sparking fears that military equipment could be seized by Shiite Houthi rebels or even Al Qaeda."

Posted by: Penelope | Aug 16 2016 1:54 utc | 27

@27 Somebody is supplying weapons to rebels? Isn't that a bit naughty?

Posted by: dh | Aug 16 2016 2:01 utc | 28

@26 I thought similar the other night; the Saudi's main port is right across the Gulf. Sure they can close the Strait of Hormuz but if things escalate, the Saudis are exposed.
NBC tonight kept the main message of children in hospital and this time in an underground one. But no mention of Yemen and especially nothing on hospitals in Yemen. The Yemen story made NYT, Reuters, WaPo but it's not getting very far. The overall agenda of demonizing Syrian Govt continues.
The Saudis are not our allies who deliberately lowered the price of oil to go after competition. It's not a free market and these are the actions of a state. The Saudis are weasels who do not confront but use as many underhanded tactics as possible. Puppet Hadi who's gone now after an election with only him on the ballet should not be allowed to return. After all Hillary acted to prevent the return of the Honduran President (just like Yanukovich mentioned above).

Posted by: Curtis | Aug 16 2016 2:02 utc | 29

@8 t, @26 julian et. al.

Saudi Arabia cannot even defeat Yemen ... even knuckle-heads and especially cowards like the Saudis know that you only go after countries smaller and presumably weaker than yourself. Not for nothing have they been studying US/Israel all these years. That's why they've been acting in other countries through 'locals' via their wahabist installations. Gülen and the AKP were copycats along that same track at one point ... wonder where they picked up the idea? ... until Erdogan decided there was only room for himself at the top.

The Turks are not the paper tigers the Saudis are, but they, too, seem unlikely to go after the Iranians. That leaves the US/Israel. If they can be enticed to pick the Saudi fruit - especially the Israelis - they can forego, put off, the attack on Iran. So I imagine they're rooting for the Yemenis about now, now that they have the Saudis all-in on that war and losing. Wonder if that has to do with the permeability of the blockade of Yemen?

Posted by: jfl | Aug 16 2016 2:38 utc | 30

[Tinfoil Hat Alert] I'll humbly suggest two relatively unnoticed but important aspects of the western/GCC/U.S./Israeli-backed Yemeni coup is about:

1) Saudi oil pipelines through Yemeni's Hadramaut Governate and out of the Yemeni port in the Gulf of Aden at al Mukalla. The inevitable attack on Iran planned by my country, the U.S., will close the Persian Gulf. This works both ways - the Saudi and Iraqi ports are cut off, but so are the Iranian ones. Iran has few other options at present. If the Saudis were to build their strategic secondary pipelines out of Yemeni ports, they could starve Iran of oil export money while still shipping Saudi Oil (at $230/bbl) out of al Mukalla. Christina Lin of the Asia Times explains this aspect much better than my ramblings: Saudi Arabia and Turkey’s pipeline wars in Yemen and Syria Note: you are unlikely to hear the remotest mention of this in any western press.

2) Saudi Arabia's Hadramaut pipeline plans are slowly disappearing with their inability to pacify the Houthis. An alternative pipeline, the East-West Pipeline or Petroline already runs across Saudi Arabia to the Red Sea port of Yanbu. That pipeline is already big enough to supply all the oil that is currently shipped through the Suez Canal, but they also would need to ship millions of barrels per day through the Straits of Bab el-Mandeb to Asian markets if the Persian Gulf was blocked. That pipeline is currently being expanded to handle 7mmbbl/day. That's still only a fraction of the maybe 15mmbbl/day they ship to Asian markets.

The Persian Gulf will be blocked when the GCC/Israel/U.S. attack Iran in the next year or two and force closure of the Persian Gulf to destroy Iran economically. That's already a guarantee unless Russia intervenes directly. Regardless, Iran will retaliate, in part, by encouraging Yemen to close the Straits. This will cut off Saudi oil to Asian markets and hurt Saudi Arabia more than closure of the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia (and their U.S. and Israeli cronies) must ensure that Yemen is either fully controlled or held in such a permanent state of weakness, impoverishment and chaos that they will be unable to close the Straits. They must ensure some kind of wacky U.N. peace settlement that prohibits Iran from arming Yemen enough to close the Straits. All this is playing out slowly right in front of us.

Related to 1) and 2) For whatever U.S. interests are driving the issue (standard global hegemony or Israeli-firster politicians protecting the Red Sea for Israel, Saudi-firster politicians protecting it for SA or probably all three), the U.S. wants a permanent naval base somewhere near the entrance to the Red Sea. The only chunk of land we could steal was further out at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden: the island of Socotra - which happens to be Yemeni sovereign territory. Having previously bribed Hadi for permission to build a massive naval base on the island, the U.S. fears losing it if Hadi isn't around. Hadi readily agreed after a few pallets of U.S. currency was delivered a few years back. Well, that's my guess anyway. The Houthis are not such easy sell-outs. Expect the U.S. to invoke some measures of desperation (land theft) to hold on to Socotra forever.

During the current conflict, the U.S. simply steamrolled previously permitted (but now questionably legal) construction through third-party contractors and other nations (Saudis or Sudan, IIRC) on Socotra. The point is to rush completion of the base so it will be a done deal by time things get settled in Yemen. This also allowed plenty of time for the U.S. to bribe officials in Socotra to argue for permanent permission for the base to Yemen or (also my guess) have an Arab Spring in Socotra demanding their independence. If you can't get permission from Yemen, then steal the land and bribe the new puppet regime you install. Socotra is also a perfect sea-lane guard post for any potential Saudi-Yemeni pipeline port at al Mukalla. If the U.S. can't control the Yemeni government, they will steal Socotra.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 16 2016 3:56 utc | 31

@31 Paveway

Concerning your 1, what's the status of the Iranian pipleline(s) to Pakistan, terminating at the Chinese port there? Gwadar? Wouldn't that take a lot of pressure off Iran in the event of the forecast US/IL/KSA war on Iran?

Posted by: jfl | Aug 16 2016 4:51 utc | 32

@31 pw

Wouldn't the US/IL/KSA war on Iran necessarily involve Russia? How could it not? And a major war like that in the oil patch ... all the countries there would be involved, surely ... would explain the US' attempts to reverse Chinese preparations in the South China Sea?

I just saw an interesting article on MOFs ... metallo-organic-frameworks ... which will likely form the backbone of the hydrogen-storage-fuelcell equation ... written by Russians. The implications are telling about the state of the studies in Russia. I have to hand it to the Russians ... rather have to remark on how bull-headed and stupidly recalcitrant the US is ... when it comes to reading the hand writing on the wall regarding the end of he line for fossil fuel dominance.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 16 2016 5:06 utc | 33

Paveway IV @ 31: Thanks for the links. Ah yes, nothing like the ever-present resource wars.

"It's just business."

Posted by: ben | Aug 16 2016 5:17 utc | 34

jfl@32 - An Iranian oil pipeline to Gwadar is certainly doable and a gas pipeline for Pakistan's internal use is in the works, but the Iranians won't move on the oil one until China and Pakistan have their pipeline mostly in place. That's going to be five years out at least. Dubai and the usual GCC suspects have their own plans for oil/gas pipelines to Gwandar and plenty of money backing them. I think they intend to have Iran destroyed by the U.S. soon, so whatever Iran is planning for five years out is immaterial (in the U.S./GCC psychopath's feeble minds).

China gets 50% of it's oil/gas from the Mideast. I don't think they are particularly concerned with who is filling the pipeline on the other end, so they have no dog in this hunt. Someone will be willing to fill in in Gwandar. The problem is that the pipeline will still only satisfy a fraction of China's demand. At best, it will help in the far west, but not put much of a dent in east China's thirst. Likewise, even if Iran had exclusive rights to fill the pipeline (improbable), it really isn't a significant amount of what they produce. They would love it, but it's maybe a few percent of what they ship out of the Persian Gulf. This is part of the great deception: the U.S. and Saudi Arabia/GCC wail about Iran closing the Gulf, but that's exactly what they intend in order to assure Iran's destruction. That's exactly why their fear-mongering about Iran closing it is and always has been absolute B.S. - Iran can't afford to have the Gulf closed no matter how pissed they are at the GCC. A false flag will be used for the U.S./GCC to close the Gulf and blame it on Iran as an excuse for the war. The U.S. isn't as clever as it is evil - we will stick with what works: lies and deception.

"...Wouldn't the US/IL/KSA war on Iran necessarily involve Russia?..."

Tough call. As much as Putin resents U.S. constant warmongering and hegemony, his job is taking care of Russia. Is Iran worth protecting if it will economically cripple Russia for the next two decades? Is Iran worth WW III? Putin rightfully recognizes the neocons running U.S. foreign policy are literally insane. He knows they are willing and likely to drag the world into WW III over Iran and go nuclear. That's not hyperbole - that's absolute fact. The B-61s in Incirlik are intended for NATO use on Russia and Iran, period. If Turkey won't play nice with NATO, NATO will just move them somewhere else. The secret stash of B-61s in Israel are for Iran. Russia and China, individually and specifically isolated to Iran, may indeed be unwilling to start WW III over it. I'm pretty sure the U.S. neocons are counting on that. Russia and China will be pissed, but (other factors aside) Iran isn't reason enough for WW III. That's flawed thinking though.

"...And a major war like that in the oil patch ... all the countries there would be involved, surely ... would explain the US' attempts to reverse Chinese preparations in the South China Sea?

Let me qualify your words: "...the useless U.S. attempts to reverse..." China is not backing down on the Spratleys or the South China Sea ever. Plenty of saber-rattling going on, but I have little doubt about China's ultimate conviction there. If the U.S. want's China to leave the South China Sea, it will have to start WW III to do so - nothing short of that will convince China. Does China have the desire for war? Well, just look at their economy - they need a war worse than the U.S., and we need one pretty bad.

China and Russia both understand the U.S. dilemma with starting a war with Iran. The U.S. simply hopes it's not enough to bring in either Russia and China, but they're not sure. Normally I would agree if you consider it in isolation for each country. I'm sure some think-tanks have made that conclusion and convinced the knuckleheads in Washington (and our soon-to-be Queen) that this is so. But the U.S. is simultaneously pissing off Russia (Syria, Ukraine, 'missile defense' nonsense) and China (South China Sea). The eventual U.S. move on Iran will prove fatal if both China and Russia jump in, and I honestly think both are pissed enough to do that (however reluctantly so). At which point NATO will dissolve. The EU leaders - lapdogs to U.S. interests - will be burned at the stake if they pull their countries into WW III over Iran. Europeans have a good memory for things like "F*ck the EU." I think the U.S. is screwed there. Turkey has no intention of helping. In fact, they might help Iran. It will be Israel, the U.S. and Ukraine and a smattering of useless GCC stooges against (at the very least) Russia, China and Iran.

Is the U.S. stupid enough to do that? Well, we're about to elect Hillary Clinton as president whether we want to or not. So, yes... yes we are that stupid. Iran is going to happen - it's already been decided and the psychos are blood-hungry for the kill. The bear and the dragon not so much, but they'll only take so much poking with a sharp stick. I'm surprised they haven't taken a chunk out of us yet, but that's coming.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 16 2016 6:53 utc | 35


You have jusy 5 months b4 you have to sober up and start paying your 40% tithe to the Clinton~Closed Three Houses of Hell Wehrmavcht.

Posted by: Timmy Blair | Aug 16 2016 8:14 utc | 36

A lightning raid on Mecca isn't completely far fetched, the suburbs at least. Launch some artillery at the barracks and high tail it.

Saudi has destroyed everything in Yemen there is to destroy. Plainly they've learned a lot from all their American training, war as a vehicle for pointless immiseration rather than strategic victory. Unless they start to feel some pain, they have no real reason to stop. The money is trivial.

Posted by: Cresty | Aug 16 2016 8:42 utc | 37

In 1945, vivid demonstrations were made at Hiroshima and Nagasaki of overwhelming force. Only 1 nation possessed such weapons, So, there was only 1 possible source of those demos and everyone knew who it was. The effect on USSR was to be a reality-check to ensure their population would feel threatened and anxious.

In 2016, there are many nations with such weapons. So, if a nuc explosion occurs, who did it? This is known as "the Nth-country problem". The answer is not clear, not certain and not instantly knowable. So, any response-in-kind is extremely hazardous and delayed. The delay will cause death-fears among nearly all the population and hesitancy among the military about right and wrong targets.

Q1. As Saudi Arabia is become an aggressive exporter of terror into other nations, are they liable to push-back?

Q2. If, by a few megatons, Saudi rulers were suddenly wiped-out, never to return, and SA oil-export infrastructure destroyed, how would you feel about it?

Q3. As an American observer of such an SA nuc event, would you want to hit back at some other nation and risk a full nuc exchange of explosions back at the US?

Russia and China and Iran/Persia have long histories as survivors of wars and starvations after absorbing mega-millions dead. The US homeland is without much experience at such scales of wars and centuries.

Q4. How much punishment and loss and intimidation will China and Russia and Iran absorb before surrendering or quitting their existence just to avoid the risk of using nuc weapons?

Q5. Would China surrender/quit existing as China, without a fight, after surviving over 2,500 years?

Q6. Would Russia surrender/quit existing, without a fight, after their 1,000 years of struggle to survive?

Q7. Would Iran surrender/quit existing, without a fight, after 2000+ years of struggle to survive?

Q8. Can US teach China and Russia and Iran much about diplomacy?

Q9. Can US teach China and Russia and Iran much about patience?

Q10. What is to be done?

There is an old, alternative Golden Rule:

Do not do to other nations what you would not want them to do to your nation.

Perhaps therein may be a hint for a workable answer; even after an unexpected mushroom event occurs.

Posted by: chu teh | Aug 16 2016 10:04 utc | 38

re Paveway & 17

Just to repeat the obvious and pretty well-known, Yemen is not about oil, in any direct sense. Yemen has very little oil, not at all interesting for Saudi, especially with the current low prices. If the Saudis want any alternate export port to the Gulf, all they have to do is to build a pipeline on their own territory to the Red Sea (which may well exist already).

What it is about - apart from the foolish military ambitions of Salman's son - is the paranoid Saudi hatred of the Shi'a. There is a very, very, good reason for this. It is not just a theological disagreement. It is that the Twelver Shi'a in Saudi (as opposed to the Isma'ilis in Najran) form the majority population of the Eastern Province, which is the only province in Saudi with oil. The princes are paranoid about losing their source of income, if, for example, the Shi'a were to revolt. Some Saudi princes in power seem even to believe that Shi'ism can be completely destroyed (incredible, I know). At least, it has to be kept down, so that the Eastern Province Shi'a never even for a moment think they could have a chance.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 16 2016 12:04 utc | 39

Laguerre@39 I agree, hatred of the Shia the major problem.
"Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: "The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally 'God help the Shia'. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 16 2016 13:02 utc | 40

Saudi-led coalition air strike kills 9 Yemeni civilians -residents

DUBAI, Aug 16 (Reuters) - An air strike by the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen killed nine civilians east of Sanaa on Tuesday, residents said, a day after aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres said an air strike hit one of its hospitals and killed 11 people.

The attack hit the home of a local leader of Yemen's armed Houthi group while he was not home and instead killed his father and eight members of the family, residents added.

Posted by: b | Aug 16 2016 13:10 utc | 41

@35 pw, 'Russia and China, individually and specifically isolated to Iran, may indeed be unwilling to start WW III over it. I'm pretty sure the U.S. neocons are counting on that. Russia and China will be pissed, but (other factors aside) Iran isn't reason enough for WW III. That's flawed thinking though.'

So ... that says that although the US/Israeli neo-cons think they can 'do' Iran without either Russia or China entering into their war they are mistaken, according to you? If so I agree with you. It's nuts to think that Russia and China will figure , "Ah well, Hitler and the NAZIs and Japan ... I mean Hillary and the neo-cons and Japan, will be satisfied/'appeased' with Iran. We needn't involve ourselves there." At least I think it's nuts, and I don't even have the memory of the 50,000,000 dead they lost last time between them to reinforce my thinking. Things might happen so fast though that the European people will be unable to withdraw their respective nations from Nuclear-NATO before its too late. They ought to be withdrawing from NATO as we speak.

Maybe the US/Israel will 'do' the Saudis ... and the GCCs ... instead. Putting off the Iran move, testing the Russian and Chinese response there, and bathing in the spoils. What'd there be in the destruction and take-over of Iran - as though that would happen - that the destruction and takeover of KSA and the GCCs wouldn't make up for? More petro-carbons for much less effort, and no one will be sorry to see the KSA/GCC crew go. In the scramble everyone but Russia will be after a piece of the Gulf petro-carbons. Russia will watch the carnage and China, Russia, and Iran will form an iron triangle around the 'stans. Russia and Iran and the 'stans will pump oil and gas like there's no tomorrow for the fossil-fuel business, between them the Russians and Chinese will move the world to hydrogen ... and there won't be.

If the Europeans have any brains left at that point they will give NATO back to the US, Canada, and the Brexiteers. Then they can watch the ICBMs fly over them ... if they still do fly, out of sheer neo-con terminal aggression. They Europeans can hope anyway.

I think our only rational course is to 'elect' 'other' over the menagerie in November and carry on, one foot n front of the other, as though there will be a tomorrow. We'll be in good shape if there is one ... and we can't lose more than everything if there isn't.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 16 2016 13:19 utc | 42

@41 b

Just like the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and his drones. Maybe the Norwegians will give Salman a Nobel Peace Prize?

Posted by: jfl | Aug 16 2016 13:21 utc | 43

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 16 2016 14:12 utc | 44

One can only hope/pray (if so inclined) that the Saudi's have sown the seeds of their own destruction; Yemen may yet extract the price that will ensure that end.
9/11 didn't trip that wire; but the unexpected may yet result from the mouse who will yet roar...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 16 2016 14:19 utc | 45

KSA is in a dire straits. Basic for the mo:

It survives on oil rents, aka the curse of black gold, re-distribution to poorer citizens (though the slums of Ryad are astonishing to behold), importing slave labor, and returning part of the oil rent to its patron, the US in the form of buying arms. (see b)

It imports 80% of its food, as well as all of its machines (engines, pumps, vehicles, scanners, computers, and on and on) as well as its pharma products etc. Basically it trades oil for everything else and the Royal Family (est. at about 40K ppl) is an oligarchic cabal sucking on these rents, which it manages to capt thru an authoritarian structure that works by delegation from top level > down, down.

... Prince > his flunkeys > flunkeys with some hand on the kitty > co-opt other flunkeys > control the security/police etc. apparatus > offer jobs/status to some few men > control the religious guardians > men control their wives and all women > mothers control the children. = Brief garbled version.

Internal objections, terrorist attacks, rumblings of dissidence are desperate worries, as is the budget (in the pits) and the future of oil. KSA has been trying to ‘modernise’ and ‘diversify’ its economy for a long time, nothing has worked (jobs for Saudis, desalination, collab with others, education, research, new productions, etc. etc.) because such structures are impermeable to change, kicking away one part means the fall of the whole, so the efforts are just feel good pixies to show on stage and in fact (afaik from perso. experience) the Saudis have been ripped off in various ventures. They pay big sums to ‘look good’… a very lucrative cottage industry under the radar.

The latest efforts by the new Salman Junior are more of the same servile following of the W play-book. A new investment fund, I joked to a friend, what are they gonna do, buy shares in Uber and real estate on the Florida coast? (they did buy Uber shares, ha ha..) Selling off part of stake in Aramco (projected 2018)..diversify, etc. these are pipe-dreams. The second prong is of course WAR imitating the patron, flexing muscles, using what one has paid for, we can do this, etc. but for what aim, what result?

(see paveway also for another aspect..)

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 16 2016 16:27 utc | 46

Laguerre@39 - I agree, Leguerre. The Shia paranoia thing has been going on Saudi Arabia for - what - at least a half-century or so?

"...If the Saudis want any alternate export port to the Gulf, all they have to do is to build a pipeline on their own territory to the Red Sea (which may well exist already)..."

No, you miss my point here. The existing and expanded Saudi East-West pipeline can deliver all the Saudi oil that flows north out of the Red Sea now, but European markets are not the problem. The problem is at the south end, where Yemen can (theoretically) control the Straits of Bab el-Mandeb to make the Saudi Red Sea terminal at Yanbu useless for Asian export. The Saudis would need to build out roughly 5x the capacity of the current East-West pipeline to even begin to satisfy the demand from Asian markets they currently serve providing they could transit the Straits. If they can't and the Persian Gulf is closed (war with Iran), then the Saudis lose at least 85% of their daily exports.

If the Saudis could have pacified Yemen and re-installed their stooge Hadi, then they could have built a third major export pipeline to the Yemeni port at Mukalla. That would allow them to continue Asian exports regardless of the closure of either the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea. You don't see that as having any importance to the Saudi Royals? I maintain that in addition to the Sunni/Shia issue, Royal paranoia about protecting 85% of their daily exports is probably high up on the list of reasons for the Yemeni War. All their other GCC cronies would have been behind their Yemeni pipeline efforts because all the GCC exports dry up if/when the Persian Gulf is closed.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 16 2016 18:15 utc | 47

Saudi Attacks on Schools & Hospitals So Bad, US FINALLY Condemns Them — Still Gives them Bombs


"the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove."

And former NATO commander is named "Breedlove".

Are those real, or they are mocking us? "Empire of love"...?

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 16 2016 20:25 utc | 48

@48 Pro Peace
Life imitating art, except for a first strike policy regardless of the existence of a Doomsday Machine.

General Turgidson: Hmm... Strangelove? What kind of a name is that? That ain't no Kraut name is it, Stainesey?
Mr. Staines: He changed it when he became a citizen. Used to be Merkwürdigliebe.
[the German word for "Strangelove"]
General Turgidson: Well, a Kraut by any other name, uh Stainesey?

Posted by: MadMax2 | Aug 16 2016 21:28 utc | 49

re 47

The existing and expanded Saudi East-West pipeline can deliver all the Saudi oil that flows north out of the Red Sea now, but European markets are not the problem. The problem is at the south end, where Yemen can (theoretically) control the Straits of Bab el-Mandeb to make the Saudi Red Sea terminal at Yanbu useless for Asian export.
You are projecting bizarre hypotheses here. Yemen will never be able to control Bab al-Mandeb. Just imagine their trying to check every ship heading for Suez, even if they recovered control of their seas.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 16 2016 22:19 utc | 50

Laguerre@50 "...You are projecting bizarre hypotheses here..."

Yet those bizarre hypothesis were good for an instantaneous increase in oil futures at the merest hint (however unsubstantiated) of the possibility of Yemenis closing the Straits over the last decade. I am projecting the bizarre hypotheses of international shippers, their insurance companies as well as the long-standing belief of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. All of these countries have contingency plans for the event of Yemen closing the Straits by threatening to sink any ships in the Straits. Bizarre does not mean impossible or improbable. Egypt and the U.S. would both have a bit of a problem intervening directly if the Yemenis were just targeting Saudi oil-carrying tankers and not threatening other international shipping.

"...Yemen will never be able to control Bab al-Mandeb..."

I mean control in the sense of preventing Saudi oil from leaving the south end of the Red Sea for Asian markets. Yemen has no political reason to prevent tankers filled with oil of unknown origin from entering the Red Sea from the south and crossing the Red Sea to the Suez Canal. Yemen has no particular reason to close the Straits if the Persian Gulf is still open to ship Saudi oil. In the event of a Persian Gulf closure, Yemen could announce that any loaded tanker approaching the Straits from the north will be assumed to have cargoes of Saudi oil and will be sunk. That effectively closes the Straits to Asian-destined Saudi oil from Yanbu. What insurer is going to cover a $100M supertanker and it's one to two million barrel oil cargo if Yemen made such a threat? Most of these ships are flagged in places like Panama, Liberia or the Marshall Islands.

"...Just imagine their trying to check every ship heading for Suez, even if they recovered control of their seas..."

They have no need to physically check every ship and have zero interest in checking ships headed north into the Red Sea for the Suez Canal. If the Persian Gulf were closed, then Yemen may be convinced/persuaded by Iran to prevent Saudi oil from making it's way to Asian markets through the only remaining Saudi route: Yanbu in the Red Sea south through the Straits. Yemen doesn't need to board any tanker to do that - they simply announce that they will not permit any loaded oil supertankers from crossing the Straits southward into the Gulf of Aden - which would almost all be carrying Saudi oil. Attempting to do so will result in a Yemeni P-15 Termit anti-ship missile (or something similar) visiting the captain of said ship. There are currently three Saudi ships on the bottom of the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen that have met such a fate in the last year. Yemen is perfectly capable of targeting any particular ship it wants in the Strait while avoiding others.

A modern version of the P-15 is good for a few hundred kilometers. Yemen likely has more modern anti-ship missiles, and Iran would be happy to provide more if the Saudis attacked them and/or closed the Persian Gulf. Those mobile land-based anti-ship missiles can be launched from anywhere on the Yemeni Red Sea coast or Yemeni islands near the Straits. There isn't anything like a big anti-ship base you could take out. You would literally have to go after every mobile launcher in east Yemen to prevent them from using P-15s or their more modern Iranian/Chinese anti-ship missiles. Eventually, Yemen would be incapable of threatening tankers leaving the Red Sea through the Straits, but it would take weeks/months to find and destroy every last Yemeni mobile launcher. Yemeni ship-borne anti-ship missiles could be eliminated in a day - that isn't the primary threat.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 17 2016 0:18 utc | 51

By Yara Bayoumy | WASHINGTON

The cost from damage to infrastructure and economic losses in Yemen's civil war is more than $14 billion so far, according to a confidential report seen by Reuters that highlights the effort needed to rebuild the country, where more than half the population is suffering from malnutrition.

"The conflict has so far resulted in damage costs (still partial and incomplete) of almost $7 billion and economic losses (in nominal terms) of over $7.3 billion in relation to production and service delivery," said the May 6 joint report by the World Bank, United Nations, Islamic Development Bank and European Union.

The internationally recognized Yemeni government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi is battling the Iran-allied Houthis in a bitter civil conflict, and is also facing the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula militant group.

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 17 2016 5:59 utc | 52

@20 telescope

Saudis never had any "trillions" stashed away. The regime is profligate beyond belief, and at these oil prices is completely broke.

I appreciate that; but do the math. Oil is priced in USD - +43 years of sales from the lead exporter. Profligate, I agree. But, yes trillions remain- untouched cash holdings, fixed income securities held by KSA agencies.

Why the 40 years of secrecy in the TIC (Treasury International Capital) reports? Since 1973 under secret concessions to end the oil embargo – Treasury has never disclosed KSA holdings. Up until months ago when the Saudis threatened to dump US$750 billion of USTs as retaliation for release of the missing 28 pages 9/11 report, their holdings were included under “Oil Exporters.” To quiet the markets, Treasury announced KSA holdings were a mere USD$117 billion, so that’s all folks, no worry.

{How the Petrodollar was born and lived in Secrecy for over 40 Years.}

KSA at USD$ 117 billion is in 13th position – behind Cayman Islands USD$265 billion!!!? – Cayman's holdings are ahead of Switzerland, USD$230 billion?
Does not compute. I have some under-priced ocean waterfront in Utah for sale.

KSA does not place all its UST bills in the Treasury’s custody. They are not that stupid. There are other ex-USA “offshore” custodial centers – Cayman (fine beaches), Bermuda, Switzerland, London, Jersey, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and Belgium.

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 17 2016 14:05 utc | 53

re 51 PIV

I mean control in the sense of preventing Saudi oil from leaving the south end of the Red Sea for Asian markets.
I know what you mean. It's perfectly obvious, but not right. Closing the Gulf, which could happen, is quite a different matter from closing the Red Sea at the Bab al-Mandeb. The Red Sea is a major world waterway, used by everybody. The Gulf only gives access to the Gulf countries, and closing it is inevitably associated with an act against them, however important an act that may be. That is not so in the Red Sea - quite a large proportion of world trade passes through there. It would be impossible to prevent Saudi oil getting out from Yenbo or wherever. It would cause a world crisis. So many nations ships would be involved.

At any rate that's a more workable solution than attempting to lay a pipeline across permanently turbulent territory to the Hadramaut coast. The pipeline would last a week, before it was cut.

That's not to say that the Saudis in their paranoia are not envisioning some pretty crazy ideas. But this one is no solution for them.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 17 2016 15:52 utc | 54

@51 paveway.. thanks... i hope yemen takes that option.. nothing seems to stop saudi arabia in it's madness, death and destruction of all yemen..

Posted by: james | Aug 17 2016 16:20 utc | 55

The Persian Gulf will be blocked when the GCC/Israel/U.S. attack Iran in the next year or two and force closure of the Persian Gulf to destroy Iran economically. That's already a guarantee unless Russia intervenes directly. -- Paveway IV

Actually, Iran could maintain export after closing Hormuz by borrowing oil from Russia to sell. Note that in that case Russia would get much more money from the smaller export than currently, as the oil prices would double. Moreover, the conditions for opening Hormuz could be very simple, reparations for the attack on Iran, stopping the hostile acts against Yemen, and perhaps aggression on Syria in the from of illegal supplies to illegal armed groups. Many countries, plus the public in countries affected by fuel prices would be receptive to such arguments, and for the duration of negotiation the oil would be expensive.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 17 2016 20:56 utc | 56

@MadMax2 | Aug 16, 2016 5:28:43 PM | 49

Yes, indeed. I forgot about that movie, thanks for reminding me. I have to watch it again. :-)

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 17 2016 21:47 utc | 57

What the hell happened here? A Saudi village in ruins. Yet the only heavy weapons we see are a destroyed column of Saudi armor. The Saudis must have been shooting at themselves!

And f*ck! These Yemeni guys are primitive! They read books and newspapers. I mean, seriously!

Scenes from the villages of Al Khubah Bjeezan show the army and people's committees in which the presence and size of the losses Arabia

Evidently this happened on August 17th. Al Masdar News has a story on it this morning:

[Video] Houthi forces destroy several Saudi Army vehicles in Jizan

By Leith Fadel - 18/08/20166

The Houthi forces carried out another powerful assault against the Saudi Army on Wednesday, destroying several armored vehicles inside the village of Al-Khouba in Saudi Arabia’s Jizan Region.

The Resistance media wing released footage from the battle that ensued on Wednesday, showing a score of Saudi armored vehicles destroyed by the Houthi units in southern Saudi Arabia:

With the Yemeni War spilling into the Jizan Region, the Saudi Army has been forced to deploy several units to the southern part of the kingdom.

However, the Saudi Army has been unable to forestall the Houthi forces and Yemeni Republican Guard from advancing further north of the border, leaving them in a tough predicament and prolonged engagement.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Aug 18 2016 5:13 utc | 58

@56 pb

Clear thinking and exposition.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 18 2016 5:44 utc | 59

I rather doubt that the GCC countries will be very happy if the Gulf is closed because of an Israel/US attack on Iran. They still do have some influence, you know. That would cut the exports of the Gulf States entirely. The US would be forced to do its maximum to keep the Gulf open. This is what has always been said, if Iran closed Hormuz, and it's true.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 18 2016 12:38 utc | 60

re 3

By the way, I see my prediction that the Houthis would go for Najran may be coming true, though it's too early to be certain: Houthi forces advance on key Saudi city. I can't see what's stopping them, unless the Najrani population rejects the Houthis (which could happen).

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 18 2016 12:44 utc | 61

Sorry sirs! Who gave you the right to speak on behalf of yemeni people. Those who you call "yemeni people represent only 5-10% of yemeni population. We don't like Saudi Arabia yet this time we believe they are doing a good job on attaking forces og the corrupted former president of Yemen. Best wishes.

Posted by: Samarkand | Aug 18 2016 23:50 utc | 62

Trrorist militia( Huthies ) is an Iranian tool for killing Sunni in this country and disrtroying the governmet as the Iranian do in Iraq Using uncountable number of Shiat extremist Militia, Lebanon using Hisbullah, and in Syria using Lebanon ,Afgani,iraqi and other counries Shiat .

All of them working under the name of being part of Mula Khomaini rasism dream land where there is no Sunni should stay alive as they believe.

This war actually between Sunni and Shiat rasism.

Saudi arabia should be supported in this fair war against Irania racism militias in this country.

khaled Aldosari

Posted by: khaled aldosari | Aug 19 2016 5:57 utc | 64

@khaled aldosari | Aug 19, 2016 1:57:41 AM | 64

Pasting such a hasbara nonsense will NOT pay you off, contrary to what you've been promised.

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 19 2016 12:41 utc | 65

I was very interested by the Masdar report that the US is withdrawing coordination support for the Saudi air bombardment of Yemen. If it were true, it would be because the US is embarrassed by the indescriminate bombardment, and have failed to convince the Saudis to be more reasonable (Saudi bombing of today's demonstration in San'a is not a bad example). I could believe it to be true.

The consequences could be grave. There's no land defence to prevent the Houthis from taking Najran, or even Jizan (they're already in the plain, according to the photos).

Of course, these are ancient Yemeni territories, only conquered by Ibn Saud in the 1930s. The Houthis wouldn't have any hesitation to take them back again.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 20 2016 19:00 utc | 66

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