Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 13, 2016

Alleged "Attack" On U.S. Ships To Justify Continued War On Yemen

Last night the U.S. launched cruise missiles against three radar stations along the western Yemeni coast. The area is formally under control of the Sanaa government, an alliance of Houthi tribal groups from north Yemen and parts of the Yemeni army under control of the former president Saleh. But their real control is patchy and especially around Taiz and further south al-Qaeda and local south Yemeni independence fighters are predominant.

The attack comes after U.S. ships were allegedly attacked by missiles fired from the coast. All those missiles "fell into the sea short of the destroyer, which was in international waters in the Red Sea." (Were these just short range RPG-36 al-Qaeda had received?) The Houthi as well as the Yemeni army (twice) have officially denied that they fired missiles and to have attacked any U.S. asset. Former president Saleh accused the Saudis and their al-Qaeda proxies and asked for an investigation. No one in Yemen had heard rumors of preparations or execution of such attacks. There is no public evidence that any such attack ever happened. All such claims are solely based on the word of the U.S. military. The Houthi/Saleh government in Sanaa demands an official UN investigation into the issue.

Two weeks ago the Houthis had fired on and destroyed a United Arab Emirates fast supply ship. The missile used was decent medium range anti-ship missile of probably Chinese origin. The ship was transporting weapons and anti-Houthi troops between Assab in Eritrea and Aden in south Yemen. They had proudly admitted the attack and published video of it. Earlier smaller Saudi ships which blockaded the coast were attacked by local fishermen and sunk. The UAE has occupied parts of south Yemen (Dubai Port International would like to control the Aden harbor) and the UAE troops and proxy forces are immediate enemy of the Yemeni forces. But it was clear that any attack on a U.S. ship would only increase trouble for the Houthi forces. They had and have no sane reason to commit such an attack.

A recap how we got here. After some tribal upheaval in 2011-12 the President Saleh was pressed to move aside and his vice president Hadi was installed as president with a two year mandate. The installation of a new national government failed when Hadi and his sponsors denied any seat at the table for the large northern Houthi tribes (some 45% of the total population). Those tribes revolted and occupied the capital Sanaa. Hadi, then in the third year of his two year mandate, resigned, retracted and later verbally resigned again. The UN tried to negotiate a settlement but the UN envoy was ousted on behalf of Saudis and the agreed upon unity cabinet was not installed:

Yemen’s warring political factions were on the verge of a power-sharing deal when Saudi-led airstrikes began a month ago, derailing the negotiations, the United Nations envoy who mediated the talks said.
The Saudis, who had fought earlier wars against the Houthis, do not want them to have a role in any power structure. They claim that Houthi are Iranian proxies. There is no evidence for that at all and the claim is simply false. During some 18 month of war no sign of Iranian help, weapons or personal, has been seen. Even the NYT notes today:
American intelligence officials believe that the Houthis receive significantly less support from Iran than the Saudis and other Persian Gulf nations have charged.

The Sauds want their trusted puppet Hadi back in the presidential role with unlimited powers. He can be endlessly manipulated by them. But while the Sauds are much richer their people is not significantly bigger than Yemen. Yemen has some 26 million inhabitants while Saudi Arabia has some 29 million. Every Saudi attack against Yemenis creates new recruits who will attack Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. supports the attacks by the Saudis and the UAE. It delivers planes and ammunition, its aerial tankers refill the Saudi jets taking part - in total over 5,500 times since the bombing began. U.S. intelligence is used by the Saudis to plan their attacks. U.S. officers consult the Saudi planning cells and U.S. special forces are on the ground. It ships help to blockade the Yemeni coast. Despite such massive support the U.S. officially did not consider itself part of the conflict and even tried to negotiated some powersharing agreement as if it were a "neutral" force. That did not deceive anyone in Yemen but the U.S. public was gullible as ever about this.

That ended as more and more atrocities by Saudi attacks on hospitals, schools, markets and important infrastructure became public. After the recent Saudi attack (vid) on a funeral hall filled with people offering condolences the U.S. ran out of stupid excuses. The bombs used were U.S. manufactured. The attack killed over 200 and seriously wounded many more. The local hospitals are overwhelmed and the Saudis block any evacuation. Many of casualties are tribal elites and generals.

Cholera broke out in Yemen and people are dying of hunger. The U.S. has come under pressure over this and the Saudi attacks. The State Department spokesman was hopelessly trying to explain why the funeral attack was in "defense of Saudi Arabia" and different from less severe attacks in Syria which the U.S. condemns. A significant number of senators are pressing for an end to the support of the Saudi campaign. Moveon has started a petitions against the U.S. support and the Obama administration itself feared legal consequences.

An "attack" on U.S. assets that puts the U.S. into a justified "self defense" position against the Houthis makes all such concerns irrelevant.

Over the last weeks the Saudis have transported sponsored fighters aligned with al-Qaeda in Yemen from south Yemen to Saudi Arabia. These have now started to attack the Houthi areas in the north from the Saudi side of the border. All earlier such attempts miserably failed.

There are rumors that the U.S. attack on the radar stations is in preparation of a massive troop landing by UAE and Saudi mercenary forces currently assembling in the UAE rented and controlled port Assab in Eritrea. That is, in my view, quite possible.

Posted by b on October 13, 2016 at 16:52 UTC | Permalink


When has the Empire ever really based its actions on real events? The Empire is the #1 propaganda source ... even when being nominally truthful the Empire exaggerates and lies to make things seem worse than they are.

Or, maybe the United Arab Emirates fast supply ship was REALLY a US warship in disguise? (Am I being sarcastic?) Wouldn't surprise me ... not at all.

Oh well ...

Posted by: rg the lg | Oct 13 2016 17:00 utc | 1

Iran sends warships to Yemen

Posted by: ALberto | Oct 13 2016 17:22 utc | 2

the usa is in bed with the saudis, and no amount of sweet talking/lying is going to hide any of that. making comparisons between yemen and syria, as the reporters at the usa state dept have done - is bang on, but expect nothing but obfuscation from these talking heads.. they are paid to promote the official story, even when it doesn't have anything to do with the reality.

Posted by: james | Oct 13 2016 17:23 utc | 3

ok ... it does not belong here (at least it is not related to yemen) ... but as you wrote about the white helmets and children and such ... what abou this video of aja looking for her parents after their home was hit by an airstrike?
unfortunately the only thing i have is a german article of a tabloid paper ... but while reading said article somehow exactly that thought occurred. (said link is above in the url-box as i was unable to insert it here)

Posted by: xyz | Oct 13 2016 17:27 utc | 4

No info on exact location of radar sites along the coast targeted by US cruise missiles.

My guess is the radar sites were normal installations to survey the waterway and protect from incoming pirates, smugglers of terrorists coming ashore.

Only mention was a missile was fired from a Houthi-controlled area south of Al Hudaydah. And there was mention of control of Yemen's Bab El-Mandeb strait, the entrance to the Red Sea.

[Source: NBC News]

Posted by: Oui | Oct 13 2016 17:35 utc | 5

The Yemen Crisis and the Bab el-Mandeb Maritime Chokepoint

A threat to Bab el-Mandeb traffic would inhibit commercial shipping through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, including the approximately 3.3 million barrels a day of oil cargoes from the Gulf bound for Western ports. A thorough 2011 CNA study on the “Economic Implications of Disruptions to Maritime Oil Chokepoints” pointed such out.

Posted by: Oui | Oct 13 2016 17:36 utc | 6

Serious question and not OT.

If full blown war between Russia and US breaks up before or on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 (elected president sworn in). can/will Obomo continue in office? It looks more likely, a new front in Yemen and escalation in Syria will lead to WW3, all indication’s Russia is preparing for war with the US.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 13 2016 17:41 utc | 7

The US is the rouge fascist state of the 21st century.

Its plowing and plundering and violence against humanity shows its true nature.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Oct 13 2016 17:42 utc | 8


Like this video report?

Terrified Syrian Girl Survives Airstrike, Can't Find Her Parents | AJ+ |

Posted by: Oui | Oct 13 2016 17:43 utc | 9

how a Saudi journalist talks to an Omani minister...

bab al mandeb, any time they have occasions to take more of the red sea they go for it, to the extent that it is forbidden to talk about the situation in erythrea, another of their nice friend (with ksa) in the area...

Posted by: Mina | Oct 13 2016 17:47 utc | 10

If the US has a problem with being shot at by Houthis, maybe they should take it up with China, who apparently made the alleged missiles. One cannot reconcile the thought of aiding and abetting the headchopping babykillers that brought down the WTC, much less becoming their suppliers and mercenary brokers. It makes sense to think that the USG behaves the way it does not only by profiteering, but by implied threat that US children will be targeted if the USG does not comply with the Shieks' orders. The melting pot is rapidly degenerating into the slag heap.

Posted by: stumpy | Oct 13 2016 17:48 utc | 11

I have collected sources on the alleged attack here on ACLOS: Alleged missile attack on USS Mason

PavewayIV already posted this text

Few hours before Reuter's announcement of a U.S. Navy destroyer came under missile attack off Yemen on Sunday, Saudi official accounts on tweeter like Journalist Fahd Kamely and Saudi-24 News had tweeted that the Royal Saudi Naval Forces targeted what they thought to be an Iranian ship for suspicion of supplying Houthis with weapons! They immediately deleted their tweets following this announcement, but many people have saved a picture for those tweets before being deleted and since then are circulating them on tweeter...

Two screenshots were posted by ‏@M_Alemad2016

KSA newspapers talked about targetting #Iranian navy destroyer in the red sea the same day US destroyer was attacked

The original tweets (if authentic)


استهداف مدمرة ايرانية أثناء تزويدها للحوثيين بأسلحة مضادة للدروع

Translation: Targeting Iranian destroyer supplying anti-tank weapons to Houthis


القوات البحرية الملكية تستهدف تهدد سفينة ايرانية أثناء محاولتها تزويد الحوثيين بأسلحة مضادة للدروع

Translation: Royal Navy aimed at threatening the Iranian ship during its attempt to supply Houthis with anti-tank weapons.

I tried Google searches with the Arabic text of the tweets, but came up with nothing.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Oct 13 2016 17:51 utc | 12

@Jack Smith

No, Obama will not stay in Office. A new president will be sworn in as planned with passing of the nuclear key. No, WWIII is not imminent. Obama is just wagging the dog, losing his legacy about ending wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, fueling three more in Libya, Syria and Yemen. A greater loss of innocent lives during his administration than his predecessor and war criminal George Bush ... think also Tony Blair.

Posted by: Oui | Oct 13 2016 17:52 utc | 13

FF by press release, so what else is new!
Just like Tonkin August 1964.

Looks like Russia can't even get Vietnam as a friend. Likely Russia wants some minor base there to help China 'shadow' those THAAD missiles/radars:

Posted by: schlub | Oct 13 2016 17:55 utc | 14

From Global Research:

Posted by: ben | Oct 13 2016 17:56 utc | 15

Those 1000ft Saudi oil tankers passing through the Red sea should be juicy targets for Yemeni small craft and missiles.

Posted by: harrylaw | Oct 13 2016 17:56 utc | 16

Fox News is reporting deployment of two Iranian warships to the Gulf of Aden:

Iran sent the ships to the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's most vital shipping routes, "to protect trade vessels from piracy," Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency reported. Still, analysts warn the move could ratchet up the danger to U.S. forces in the region.
How long can the U.S. maintain all these distinct war theaters? Don't forget the coming war in the South China Sea.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Oct 13 2016 18:07 utc | 17

Gulf of Tonkin 2.0 is what occurred.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2016 18:19 utc | 18

Would be tempting to lay cash on the prospect those radars taken out were employed in navigation control of the seaways through the straits. Blinding such observation allows all manner of mischief for those so inclined. The story being told is just too convenient and retribution too swiftly taken on allegation only. A distinct echo of Gulf of Tonkin permeates this play.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Oct 13 2016 18:24 utc | 19

From the very second that evil US Empire blockaded Yemen, you just knew the genocidal fix was in.

Food and medicine denial, endless war crimes, policy of starvation, propaganda and diplomatic support for the Saudi killers etc.

As if anyone wants anything to do with this grotesque evil US gov elite.

Posted by: tom | Oct 13 2016 18:38 utc | 20

We are most likely looking at a 95% probability that the rockets supposedly fired at the American naval vessel were a staged false flag operation, if it even occurred. Those running the Empire of Lies just can't help themselves from committing atrocious acts of criminality in all forms but most egregiously as wars of aggression. At some point they must know they will have to answer for these crimes against humanity and being guilty of these acts may go 'all in' with a bunker mentality, rather than face the music they have composed and orchestrated. This is my fear as much as the machinations they pursue in their attempt at world conquest.

Posted by: BRF | Oct 13 2016 18:40 utc | 21

"All such claims are solely based on the word of the U.S. military."

The word of the U.S. military has the same weight as the word of Richard Nixon.

As a matter of fact, the U.S. - if it would be a person - has turned into a blend of Nixon, Jack the Ripper, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Vlad the Impaler, Hitler, Thatcher, Milli Vanilli, among other decrepit character traits.

Oh, and yes, the U.S. military has ZERO honor. ZERO.

Anybody that is part of this institution and has still left a shred of honor in themselves must leave this despicable war machine now, or vanish with it. Which will happen sooner than anybody could wish for.

Posted by: Stillnottheonly1 | Oct 13 2016 18:42 utc | 22

History in the making.. lets watch this closely barflies..

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 13 2016 18:42 utc | 23

The neo-cons must be frothing at the mouth with the prospect of a 'justified' war against Iran on the horizon. It's been a wet dream of theirs for years.

This situation could get hot very quickly. Looks like Obama is being bypassed with a "direct attack" on a US Navy vessel.

Are they looking for fertile ground to continue endless war just in case Syria doesn't pan out?

Posted by: woogs | Oct 13 2016 18:44 utc | 24

@17 Mike

Same question -- think Russia engaging in northern Europe, ME and Pakistan, all in a ring surrounding Russian territory. If China projects into Pacific far enough, the ring might realign around North America. Of particular interest, Russia rebuilding presence in Cuba and aligning with drug lords in Latin America.

Posted by: stumpy | Oct 13 2016 18:46 utc | 25

Oui @5

This map (FWIW) claims to show the location of the targetted radar sites at Ra's Isa, Khoka and Mukha. These sites are clearly civilian shipping navigation radars. Ra's Isa is also one of Yemen's major oil shipping facilities and Mukha is a Yemeni port.

Posted by: Yonatan | Oct 13 2016 18:52 utc | 26

Certainly nothing has ever changed, not the intent nor the plan.
Just behind schedule a little.
(this plan was unveiled to the higher-ups just after 911, about NOV/2001 when they went into Ghanistan 1st (to note not on the list)).

“We’re going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran” –

General Wesley Clark. Retired 4-star U.S. Army general, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the 1999 War on Yugoslavia .

Posted by: schlub | Oct 13 2016 18:56 utc | 27

Iranian warships are heading for Yemen

Posted by: lemur | Oct 13 2016 18:59 utc | 28

If full blown war between Russia and US breaks up before or on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 (elected president sworn in). can/will Obomo continue in office?
Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 13, 2016 1:41:11 PM | 7

no - That's why there's an overlap of a cpl of months between election and handover of power.

Posted by: Bo Dacious | Oct 13 2016 19:05 utc | 29

Although Eritreans have been forming the highest numbers of refugees to Europe in the latest years, this is something European medias are very reluctant to talk about. It has been known for decades that the US where supporting the dictatorship there because of the control of the red sea; it went as far as sponsoring Eritrea to occupy some Yemeni islands.
Are there reliable UN statistics about the origins of the current refugees somewhere?

Posted by: Mina | Oct 13 2016 19:19 utc | 30

@Oui , Bo Dacious

Let me reconstruct the questions - if a full-blown war starts - before/on/after Nov 6, can Obomo declare Martial law?

Joke aside, if Hillary at the helm anything can happen. Read somewhere he could. Does our constitution provide a clear definition? Seriously - thinking should get the hell out now/later and where?

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 13 2016 19:31 utc | 31

In theory he can, but then in theory he can at any time - in theory.

Posted by: Bo Dacious | Oct 13 2016 19:43 utc | 32

meaning in theory he wouldn't actually need the excuse of war with Russia to declare martial - in theory, but in practice he probably would need a manufactured "crisis" of that magnitude, at the very least, in order to pull it off.

Either that or he'd have to have prearranged it with the Mil-(Ind complex?)-Brass beforehand, who would then manufacture the "crises" for him (like they helped do on 9-11 :)

Posted by: Bo Dacious | Oct 13 2016 19:47 utc | 33

Obama is just wagging the dog, losing his legacy about ending wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,

And Russia is signalling, with it's large scale military preparedness drills and warnings about re-repatriating citizens abroad, "you go wag your dog all you want, mo'fo, but just in case, we're ready for ya!"

Posted by: Bo Dacious | Oct 13 2016 19:51 utc | 34

As I understand it this war is all about another pipeline, one which will allow Saudi Arabia to pump oil across Yemen to a port on the Gulf of Arabia. This would take out the need for shipping to use the Straits of Hormuz over which Iran has much control. This will likely remove another barrier to a war on Iran for the Zionists.

Posted by: Mick McNulty | Oct 13 2016 19:58 utc | 35

@34 The Saudis already have an the East/West pipeline with a terminal at Yanbu.

Posted by: dh | Oct 13 2016 20:08 utc | 36

re 34 MMN. Don't believe it about the pipeline. The war in Yemen is about exterminating the Shi'a, who are a risk for the Saudi princes cos they could stop saudi oil production.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 13 2016 20:09 utc | 37

Don't mess with the Bushes, CIA or Texas oil ...

Operations in Yemen

Hunt discovered oil in Yemen in 1984, and opened a refinery at Maarib in 1986. The refinery was inaugurated by then Vice-President George H. W. Bush in April 1986.

In November 2005, the government of Yemen attempted to nationalize the operation of the concession, which is known as Block 18. Hunt Oil responded by filing arbitration against the Yemeni government at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.

Ras Issa Oil Terminal is operated by: Yemen Hunt Oil Company on behalf of Yemen Exploration & Production Company. As of January 31, 2013, Jannah Hunt Oil Company, owns and operates oil fields, became a subsidiary of Kuwait Energy Company K.S.C.C.

Posted by: Oui | Oct 13 2016 20:27 utc | 38

I am also appalled at the utterly dishonourable subservient behaviour of the US armed forces as of lately. It looks like whatever's called USN, US Army, USAF, USMC today is little more than a pale shadow of those institutions just a generation or two ago.

Seems to show that fancy toys and the money can never buy you honour, truthfulness and gallantry. If anything, they seem to be conductive to losing whatever of those one may have believed in to begin with.

Either that, or it's precisely all that 'professionalism' that slowly whorifies a once decent human being.

Posted by: Quadriad | Oct 13 2016 20:58 utc | 39

It's much more than a single Gulf of Tonkin type incident with regard to Yemen.

I recall just as the war in Yemen got underway, an incident occurred where a Mosque was blown to Kingdom Come, all caught on video and occurring at the precise moment attendees began chanting for retribution against Israel.

If you understand how zionist media operates, inventing reality as they go, you would likely conclude the whole event was staged from the get-go.

The war in Yemen has no rational justification if you perceive the world according to anglozionist reportage. If however you understand it as a way to feed the military industrial complex with the wealth of Gulf states, it makes far more sense. All of us have seen the Brookings map of the new Middle East. Yemen was put into 'play' under the most cynical conditions imaginable. It is my perception that Houthis are often led and fed by NATO and Israeli special forces. The constant use of anti-ship missiles and sinking of several boats is beyond the ability and scope of what Yemenis could do on their own.

In the medium term, Rothschild bankers have enormous holes on their balance sheets, which must somehow be filled. I predict with over 2 trillion in Saudi assets held in Rothschild banks, the next stage of this global war might include dismantling the repulsive Wahabbist Entity, with said Rothschild bankers reaping an enormous winfall when a collapsed S.A. can no longer make payments on their enormous debts, with oil fields alight as they had been in Iraq and Kuwait 25 years ago.

Posted by: C I eh? | Oct 13 2016 21:00 utc | 40

Last year the Saudis lost 10 military ships to the Houthis.

"Two Saudi warships were destroyed by Yemen’s army and popular forces in the waters near Bab al-Mandab Strait on Monday, bringing the number of the Saudi vessels sent down in the waters offshore Yemen to 10.

The Saudi warships were reportedly two destroyers and were targeted by the Yemeni army missiles in the Al-Mukha coastal waters in the province of Ta’iz on Tuesday.

According to the Yemeni popular forces the sunken ships had repeatedly fired rockets at the residential areas in Ta’iz province, causing casualties and destruction there.

So far the Yemen’s army has destroyed ten warships of the Saudi-led coalition forces in Bab al-Mandab Strait in the last several months. Other Saudi battleships that were approaching Yemen’s coasts retreated fast following the attack.

For several months now the Saudi-led forces have been trying to win control over the coastal regions near the waterway. The developinf of the battle is as follows:

On December 11, the Yemeni forces destroyed a Saudi warship in the Bab-Mandab Strait.
On December 5, the Yemeni forces targeted and destroyed a Saudi warship in the waters near Bab al-Mandab Strait.
On November 25, the Yemeni forces targeted and destroyed a Saudi warship in the waters near Bab al-Mandab Strait.
On November 15, Yemeni forces destroyed a Saudi-led coalition warship al-Mukha coast.
On November 7, Yemeni forces fired rockets at a Saudi-led coalition warship and destroyed it near al-Mukha coast.
On October 25, the Yemeni forces hit and destroyed another Saudi warship in Bab al-Mandab Strait
On October 11, another ship which belonged to the Egyptian army and named al-Mahrousa was destroyed by Yemeni missiles in the coastal waters near al-Mukha coast.
On October 9, Yemeni army and popular forces also fired missiles at a Saudi warship, and destroyed it in Bab al-Mandab Strait.
The warship was wrecked off the Southwestern coast of Yemen, in the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which makes the connection between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden."

So the Swift boat is nothing new. Also, If you look at YouTube videos of their attacks they seem to have done visual recon on these from maybe small boats, just like the Swift video. In other words they verify the target first. In one video the missile launch is the small as the one in the Swift video. So last year they made a few new Saudi sponsored reefs in the Red Sea. (at 0:50) (at 1:50)

Fort Russ article from February says 11 ships sunk:

"Houthi's Destroy 11 Saudi Warships in 6 Months

...A source in military circles confirmed that it is already the 11th sunken ship over the past six months. Recall that the previous successful attack took place on the 4th February. On that day the militias of the "Houthi" movement sank 4 boats belonging to Saudi Arabia."

So why is the USA concerned now? The pattern I see is some bad incident is orchestrated, (De Ezzor / Sanaa Funeral) MSM starts to pick it up, instantaneously a diversion incident occurs (false flag) (humanitarian convoy / US ship attacked) MSM diverts and the first incident is vaporised. Poof it's gone.

If the Houthis / Saleh have taken out this many ships they know their business. This US ship attack, if it even happened is a false flag for sure.

The USNI News report indicates that 2 SM-2 and 1 ESM missiles were used to defend the first attack. They also mention that the SM-2 is 20 years old. Does that sound correct? Really old technology?

Posted by: Dean | Oct 13 2016 21:13 utc | 41

I don't suppose anyone either commenting here or just reading has heard of the Israeli air attack on the USS Liberty in international waters near El Arish in Egypt in 1967? I've read about this incident, intended in part by Israel to draw the US into the Six Day War against Egypt. (At the same time, the Israelis were also torturing and killing Egyptian POWs in a camp near El Arish and the USS Liberty was in a position to be able to collect information on the mass killings.) The attack didn't succeed as it was supposed to as there were survivors who identified the attacking planes as Israeli.

The Saudi attack on the US ships reminds me very much of the attack on the USS Liberty. The Saudis (or their foreign advisors) might even know of that attack and have tried to emulate it. Claiming that they thought the ships were Iranian warships would have made a plausible excuse. These attacks don't go ahead unless the perpetrators see several gains to be made from them, such that they and their consequences override any adverse fallout.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 13 2016 21:17 utc | 42

A bit off topic but here is a TOW video of how to avoid a missile strike. This SAA tank crew knows the drill.

Posted by: Dean | Oct 13 2016 21:18 utc | 43

C I eh? 38 The constant use of anti-ship missiles and sinking of several boats is beyond the ability and scope of what Yemenis could do on their own.

Watching video's of the Houthi's and others taking out Saudi armour with AK's, it would not be too difficult for Yemen military to take out Saudi ships. Yemen military have had very accurate missile strikes on Saudi bases, possibly some help there. Saudi has a spoilt child/playboy culture, whereas Yemen has a warrior culture.
Yemen seems to be using old missiles but possible they have upgraded electronics and targeting systems.
Iran? Russia? China? plenty of reasons for any of these states to be upgrading Yemen's old missile stocks.

Posted by: Peter AU | Oct 13 2016 21:34 utc | 44

Laguerre@36 - I would say it's kind of a toss-up, Laguerre. "...the Shi'a, who are a risk for the Saudi princes cos they could stop saudi oil production..." Agree.

Don't believe it about the pipeline. You're too quick to dismiss that motivation. You need some help on math, here - a Straits of Hormuz closure would mean the death of the current Saudi regime/empire. The East-West Petroline would give them a few weeks of life support, but isn't any kind of viable alternative over a timeframe of months.

17mbpd are exported daily through the Straits of Hormuz. 15.4mbpd of that goes to Asia. That's on top of the current East-West Petroline export of a few mbpd through the Suez. Even if they opened up the Petroline to 100% capacity and dedicated it all to export, they would still only make up a few mbpd of the 15.4mbpd of Asian exports 'missing' from the Persian Gulf if the Straits were closed. That's well over 10mbpd currently exported that isn't going anywhere, and a good portion of that is Saudi production.

It's not entirely about the Yemeni pipeline though because even a 1mbpd line would be expensive to build. Very expensive. And it's capacity would be unneeded as long as the Straits of Hormuz are open. Same with the last Petroline expansion to 7+mbpd. That was expensive, and less than half of the Petroline's capacity is even used today.

The Saudis might have considered the Yemeni 'insurance' pipeline in better economic times, but they would be a bit more reluctant today even with all other considerations aside. I could have made a better case for "It's all about the al-Mukalla pipeline" a decade ago, but it still has to be in the back of the Saudi royalty's minds. It certainly was at least part of the reason for Saudi aggression in the past.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey’s pipeline wars in Yemen and Syria

The neocon's numbers for oil transit and risk: Risky Routes: Energy Transit in the Middle East. Yes, it's Brookings Doha spew, but the numbers are good.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Oct 13 2016 21:39 utc | 45

The USA has become pathetically predictable in its reflex reactions to criticism.
Just when the international community is accusing the USA of a shared responsibility in the murder of civilians in a funeral in Sanaa, the USA accuses Sanaa of a 'strike' on US navy!
Come on, how has the Obama administration got so infantile?

Posted by: virgile | Oct 13 2016 22:41 utc | 46

"The installation of a new national government failed when Hadi and his sponsors denied any seat at the table for the large northern Houthi tribes (some 45% of the total population)."

The story was a bit more convoluted. As an aside, it is not precise to say "Houthi tribes, some 45% of the population". Some percentage of the population, perhaps 45%, perhaps less, are Zaidites, a Shia sect that is quite old, I think older that "twelver Shia" of Iran. The kings of Yemen were Zaidites, and so was the large proportion of officers who deposed him, and so is the previous president. Houthis are follower of a messianic religious movement that is not followed by all Zaidites. In particular, there were instances of (relatively) minor rebelions and repression under the rule of Saleh. However, most of army officers and troops cooperate with Houthis, and while many of them are Zaidites, many are Sunni. The mutual low regard of Southern Arabs (Oman, Yemen and the part of KSA that borders Yemen) have for Northern Arabs (the rest of the peninsula) predates the Prophet. So Yemeni Sunnis very often are more inclined to follow Zaidite-led alliance than KSA and the Gulfies. Mind you, Oman which is a South Arab state with very interesting sectarian composition stays neutral.

Yemen has surprisingly many similarities to Afghanistan, the size of the population, complex sectarian mix, mountains, tradition of loose dependence from the monarchy and tribal-martial spirit. Pakistani military recognizes it very well and resolutely refused to assist KSA with troop: they know how to fight in places like Waziristan, and they know that they do not like it. Moreover, while Pakistan is an Islamic Republic and Islam is very important there, for mainstream Pakistanis it is very important to cultivate Muslim solidarity than includes the Shia (and excludes Ahmadia). Replacing Pakistanis with mercenaries appears to work on paper, but not in the harsh mountains. Any professional would know that this is not a good job opportunity. Plus you need some type of organized units, and perhaps this is what Gulfies want to assemble near Assab.

I suspect that Assab is the destination of choice for the "happy soldiers". There is a ballad in Russian language about a King who made an expedition onto a foreign country. Once the invasion force of 10 soldiers, five happy ones and five morose, plus the sargeant, was assembled, the King issued a degree reorganizing them into logistics (for the happy soldiers) and line troops (the sad ones).

Concerning the assembly that selected Hadi as the sole candidate for the President (position that he won with a larger percentage of votes than Assad), it included representatives of all major parties. However, two Houthi representatives were assasinated, and so was a representative from the South (Aden region). Until that time, the assembly was deadlocked, but once Houthis and the southern party that was likewise affected by the assassinations started to boycott the meetings, Hadi's candidacy was promptly approved.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 13 2016 22:44 utc | 47

Dean @ 39

"They also mention that the SM-2 is 20 years old. Does that sound correct? Really old technology?"

In the last 50 years USN has not significantly upgraded their overall kill/defense technology. When you are slaughtering people using cruise missiles and drones and consider yourselves exceptional and the sole Super Power you need not worry about blowback. You can even shoot down TWA flight 800 in front of numerous witnesses who saw a missile hit the aircraft and get away with it because you are exceptional. You can kill and not worry about your enemy harming you.

Then Russia comes along and throws a monkey wrench into the plan.

Posted by: ALberto | Oct 13 2016 23:42 utc | 48

For over 15yrs we've been hearing this ridiculous pipeline nonsense.

Yet not one of you can actually produce an example of even one pipeline built as a result of these alleged pipeline wars

When asked what all the wars are for the armchair generals reply "why, for the pipelines, dummy!"

When asked why no evidence exists of pipelines resulting from the wars, the answer is invariably the very circular "cos of all these wars"

Posted by: Bo Dacious | Oct 13 2016 23:56 utc | 49

USS Liberty attack mentioned above. If you read the written recollections of survivors they mention that on the first attack runs Israeli aircraft shot out the ships antennas.

Mighty Israeli air forces could not sink a WWII era freighter.

When fighting time comes Russia will not just roll over and play dead. Bad Moon Rising.

Just my opinion

Posted by: ALberto | Oct 14 2016 0:04 utc | 50

If the al saud clan desperatly needs pipelines to avoid the Hormuz chokepoint then they certainly don't need to go through Yemen, when they can easily reach the same waters with a pipeline by negotiating with Oman.

But they dont even have to negotiate with Oman to avoid Hormuz because they can easily run a pipeline across their own territory to their own red sea coast, without having to negotiate or go to war with anyone.

So anyone claiming the Yemen war is another of these mythical pipeline wars we hear so much waffle about, but see so little evidence of, is talking complete nonsense.

It may sound like a plausible reason for the war but it's complete bullshit

Actually theres nothing plausible about the notion of starting a war on your own borders, with all the risk thqt entails, for a mythical pipeline across territory you do not own or control, which you don't even need in the first place in order to transport your oil to the sea

Posted by: Bo Dacious | Oct 14 2016 0:10 utc | 51

Not to lose sight of this battle, coming for many months now, where we've seen endless pronouncements like about 6 weeks ago where a top Iraqi army commander said they did'nt request nor want any 'help' from the zios in liberating it.
As well as other more recent utterings from the likes of the sultan.

BAGHDAD, IRAQ (9:45 P.M.) - The Iraqi Armed Forces have made their final preparations for their long-anticipated Mosul offensive and now they await final approval from the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider Al-'Abadi.

Posted by: schlub | Oct 14 2016 0:17 utc | 52

There is already a pipeline to Yanbu on Red Sea, running due west from the Saudi oil fields. Increasing the capacity would be much simpler than a route through most inhospitable deserts to Arabian Sea. Oman is not friendly with Saudis, by the way.

So pipeline is surely not the motivation. And if national security was the motivation, you would think that Saudis would build an airbase closer to Yemen, so they would not need in-flight refueling, and who knows! they could be capable to provide combat support to the ground troops. I guess the causes are fear and loathing of Shias, and whims of princes who fancy themselves strategists, defenders of pure faith etc. And USA has clear position here. Sometimes I think that if Putin would order 40 billion dollars of overpriced weapons from USA, he could get full support for all he does.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 14 2016 0:27 utc | 53

At what point does a sane person ask themselves "if i am required to constantly invent situations and events, and constantly twist the facts and obfuscate the truth, in order to achieve my goals, are my goals actually the right goals to be striving for?"

Posted by: insanity | Oct 14 2016 0:29 utc | 54

Oman is not friendly with Saudis, by the way.

Yes i know, but "Jaw Jaw" with unfriendly Oman is still a whole lot cheaper and a lot less risky than "War War" with the even more unfriendly Yemen

Posted by: Bo Dacious | Oct 14 2016 0:43 utc | 55

Aries full moon conjuncts Uranus. 16th - 19th. Be aware.

Posted by: Take Me | Oct 14 2016 1:05 utc | 56

There is an interesting web site:

and it deals with actuarial evaluation of energy vs production.

Todays offering:

makes a lot of the above conversation seem rather silly. My take is that we have a playground peppered
with a bunch of bullies of various sizes who are allied from time to time with other bullies who want to collectively and individually gain the upper hand ... the losers are long term the bullies, but they aren't smart enough to figure that out since they've put all of their energy into bullying and none to thinking long term about the consequences of their actions.

The real problem has more to do with saving face than with anything. Much like the US election and the two two-faced antagonists, the situation as it is developing is a farce. Alas, the winner(s) will end up being losers along with the rest of us no matter who allegedly 'wins.'

For the planet though, maybe WW III will be a nuclear cleansing of rapacious humans. Too bad we didn't have pitchforks in a revolution before we created our own Armageddon.

Sigh ... besides pitchforks and blood of the oligarchs in the streets seems almost palatable?

Posted by: rg the lg | Oct 14 2016 1:45 utc | 57



It is so over for America. Trump is Prince Charles and Clinton is Queen Elizabeth.
They are both 29th cousins of the cuckoo German aristocracy on the British throne.
Their policies are both NeoCon and Globalist. They will both usher in Apocalypse.

"I can't tell you where all the money went." Benhamin

Posted by: chipnik | Oct 14 2016 3:30 utc | 58


I call bullshit on your armchair bullshit

Posted by: chipnik | Oct 14 2016 3:40 utc | 59

I would normally be the last to waste time typing about the US 'election', or politicians in general, but with under 4 weeks to go, a gigantic desperate last gambit was undertaken that needs to be pointed out for its finality, & the simple logic that says their next step will be one of reckless desperation.

The news was that the Clingon has cancelled all personal appearances for any rallies next 20 days, which I assume is the date of a third, final prez debate?

The reason is simply the ridiculous dissonance & chasm that exists between the MSM poll numbers given ad nauseum, & the public crowds showing up for the 2. They cannot be rubbed out or fudged over, so the solution was just to scrub her rallies so no comparison can be made there.
Out of sight, out of mind they reason.
This says their absolute final 'fix' will be the election night polling station data itself,
& the only thing that keeps that data remotely honest is...the exit polls.

Posted by: schlub | Oct 14 2016 4:03 utc | 60

Piotr Berman @ 51:

Could be you are right, the pipeline and national security are not the motivation for Saudi Arabia or the US.

The Socotra islands could be the motivation instead. The Soviet Union used to have a military base on one of these islands. Any power, global or regional, that has a base on Socotra can monitor and (potentially) control the oil routes going through the Gulf of Aden through the Bab el Mandeb and into the Red Sea. The islands are close to Djibouti where the US already has a naval base at Camp Lemonnier and Diego Garcia is about 3,000 km away.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 14 2016 4:14 utc | 61

from today's daily press briefing

"MR TONER: -- struck by – well, I’d refer you to the Pentagon to speak about the specifics of the airstrike. My understanding is that they were directed against radar sites run by the Houthis.

QUESTION: So – okay. And are you – do you have reports that they have been destroyed or rendered completely effective? And what was their role in this fight that’s going on?

MR TONER: Well, again, I – as we assessed in the aftermath of these attacks on our two warships, we came to the conclusion that these radar sites had played a role in targeting. So that’s why they were specifically targeted, in order to take out or in some way limit the ability for the Houthis to carry out these strikes."

funny how the drama goes from a funeral gathering with a few hundred murdered, and another 400 or so injured, to a surprise attack on yemen radar sites belonging to the houthis.. reminds me of the us attack on deir ezzor followed a few days later with the aid convoy attack blamed on russia.. quick, change the story line and focus..

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2016 4:17 utc | 62

pipelines and oil tankers share a few things in common - they both carry oil.. controlling the flow of oil seems relevant here..

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2016 4:19 utc | 63

I agree ... access to oil seems to be the common thread. But, as the site referenced above indicates, the price of oil vs the consumption of what is produced is ultimately a zero sum game. Thus, my analogy of bullies and the constant shifting of alliances, is intended to point out that there is a relationship between the price of oil and the ability of a society/group to produce while maintaining a society able to consume. The reason for indebtedness is to create the illusion that someone is in control and that everything is just hunky-dory. But indebtedness is an illusion, and the idea that oil (or any other energy source) can absorb mythic wealth indefinitely puts paid to the idea that the bullies and their shifting alliances can win in the long run. They can't ... no matter the bluster, no matter the rhetoric. The system, as configured, is doomed. Because we (that means you and I) failed to promulgate a badly needed revolution, the oligarchs would prefer to fry in a nuclear holocaust (or is that term only valid when applied to the jews of Hitlers Germany) than let anyone else win.

OK, my argument means learning about the relationship between oil and products made from or enabled by oil. And that may require more than arm chair bloviating about irrelevant details ... so, it is ignored as we bloviators go on about less than worthy issues ...

Kinda like watching Rome burn while we diddle (oops: fiddle?) ... and that, of course includes me too!

Posted by: rg the lg | Oct 14 2016 5:06 utc | 64

Alberto @ 39
Re TWA-800 disaster:
Who controlled the official investigation? The FBEye quickly took over from the NTSB because FBEye claimed it was a crime scene. It was mud from there on down.

I flew TWA shortly after and asked a crew friend, "TWA800, what do you think?" He instantly and flatly flashed, "It was a missile." No mere scuttlebutt-type reply sounds like that. I figureded he, and they, knew something.

Posted by: chu teh | Oct 14 2016 5:17 utc | 65

@ oui/nr9

yup, that's the one

Posted by: xyz | Oct 14 2016 6:11 utc | 66

@pipelines wars

Must not have watching the energy supply to western Europe direct from Russia [Gazprom]: Ukraine harassment, Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. The cancellation of the South Stream from Caspian Sea through Turkey into Bulgaria ... etc. The renewed contract signed this week by Putin and Erdogan ... politics and Turkisch Stream.

The Syrian War is about the opening of a corridor to the Meditteranean Sea for natural gas from Qatar and the South Pars fields. Some urgency has been alleviated after the find and exploration near Gaza and Israel: the Leviathan fields. The proposed pipeline corridor through Afghanistan has been well dovumented: from the Caspian Sea to the Indian Ocean with no Russian influence whatsoever. Taliban leadership was welcomed by George Bush in Texas ahead of the 9/11 attacks.

The Islamic Republic is in good position to export gas to the EU either via ITE or the scheduled, though decided in 2013, TANAP and TAP pipelines through Turkey, Greece and Albania to Italy and Central Europe, as well as southeastern Europe through the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector (GBI) and Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) or build its own pipeline.

Interestingly, the second option was in motion in the form of an Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline that was thwarted by the West and Sunni Gulf States through the attempted destabilization of the Assad regime in Syria (3). Iran could heal Europe’s energy security anxiety in combination with Azerbaijan, appeasing all worries expressed regarding Azeri reserves.

Teheran’s geostrategic alliance of convenience with Moscow shouldn’t been viewed as an obstacle if Iran wishes to act on this opportunity to further legitimize itself in the eyes of the international community. Indeed, Russia discusses with Israel, Iran’s arch nemesis, the latter’s gas reserves in the Levant basin, and did not veto UN sanctions against its ally.

Under heavy protest from the West and the US, Iran has developed the pipeline through Pakistan. The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Pipeline (TAPI) project will be completed by January 2020. Why else would NATO and the US still be in a wartorn nation like Afghanistan, fifteen tears after 9/11?

[Posted with all embedded links here – Oui]

Posted by: Oui | Oct 14 2016 6:14 utc | 67

Flawed theory

"This line of argument falls down on a number of points.It is undeniably true that the Central Asian republics do have very significant resserves of gas and oil, and that they have been having difficulty in getting them on to the world market on conditions favourable to them.

Until recently Russia had an almost total monopoly of export pipelines, and was demanding a high price, in economic and political terms, for their use.Niyazov: main proponent

But it simply is not true that Afghanistan is the main alternative to Russia.On the contrary, very few western politicians or oil companies have taken Afghanistan seriously as a major export route - for the simple reason that few believe Afghanistan will ever achieve the stability needed to ensure a regular and uninterrupted flow of oil and gas.

There have been exceptions, of course, like Unocal and the Argentine company Bridas.The main proponents of the Afghan pipeline idea, however, apart from the Taleban regime itself and its backers in Pakistan, was the government of the eccentric Turkmen President Saparmyrat Niyazov, known as "Turkmenbashi"."

I call bullshit on your armchair bullshit
Posted by: chipnik | Oct 13, 2016 11:40:30 PM | 57

I call bullshit on your calling bullshit

The original theory was that it was american company Unocal which wanted "its" pipeline built, but the taliban "refused" so the US govt went to war to defend the right of US companies like Unocal to build pipelines in Afghanistan

Not only is Unocal not involved in TAPI, no other US company is either.

The project has been planned since 1996 and the Taliban never objected or attempted to block it's route, and is not doing so today. It was the US Gov that broke off negotiations with the Taliban over this, back in 2001, (pretending the row was about Bin Laden), not the other way around.

The Taliban has never tried to block TAPI, amd in fact welcome the revenue it would bring. Had there been no war TAPI would have been built years ago, yet you and the other pipelinistan false-narrative promoters claim the war was to allow TAPI to be built, which is clearly a nonsense argument, given that no one was blocking it from being built in the first place.

it in no way provides an explanation for the unwarranted US attack on afghanistan

Posted by: Bo Dacious | Oct 14 2016 7:06 utc | 68

The Syrian War is about the opening of a corridor to the Meditteranean Sea for natural gas from Qatar and the South Pars fields. 
Posted by: Oui | Oct 14, 2016 2:14:53 AM | 65

no it isn't

The War Against the Assad Regime Is Not a ‘Pipeline War’

It’s easy to understand why that explanation would be accepted by many antiwar activists: it is in line with the widely accepted theory that all the US wars in the Middle East have been “oil wars” – about getting control of the petroleum resources of the region and denying them to America’s enemies.But the “pipeline war” theory is based on false history and it represents a distraction from the real problem of US policy in the Middle East – the US war state’s determination to hold onto its military posture in the region.It is true that Qatar had proposed a pipeline to carry its natural gas to Turkey.

But nearly everything else about the story turns out, upon investigation, to be untrue. There is no contemporaneous report of any such rejection by the Syrian government. It was only four years later, in August 2013 that an Agence France-Presse article recounting what happened in a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, claimed in passing, “In 2009, Assad refused to sign an agreement with Qatar for an overland pipeline running from the Gulf to Europe via Syria to protect the interests of its Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.”

No source is given for the statement, but the main source for other information in the article was “a European diplomat who shuttles between Beirut and Damascus.”That claim has no credibility for a very simple reason: there was no Qatari proposal for Syria to reject in 2009. It was not until October 2009 that Qatar and Turkey even agreed to form a working group to develop such a gas pipeline project.

Even more important, the immediate problem for Qatar’s proposal was not Syria but Saudi Arabia, whose territory the Qatari gas would have to cross to get to Syria. In January 2010, The National, a daily UAE [United Arab Emirates] newspaper reported that the main obstacle to the idea of a pipeline to carry Qatari natural gas to Turkey and then to Europe “was likely to be Saudi Arabia, which has a track record of obstructing regional pipeline development” and still had very bad relations with Qatar.

And Middle East geopolitical analyst Felix Imonti reported at in 2012 that Qatar had been forced to abandon the pipeline idea in 2010 because Saudi Arabia had not agreed to have it built across its territory.So where did the idea that the Obama administration responded to Assad’s alleged rejection by shifting to covert regime change policy come from?

Kennedy’s article asserts, “In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria.”

But the article links to a Washington Post news report on the WikiLeaks cables on Syria that doesn’t support that charge at all.

According to the Post report, the cables show that a London-based satellite channel called Barada TV, supported by the State Department, “began broadcasting in April 2009.” But they also show, according to the Post report, that the State Department had “funneled as much as $6 million to the group since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria.”.

Posted by: Bo Dacious | Oct 14 2016 7:15 utc | 69

It will be interesting to see if the claim by Yemen is taken to the UN and proof is provided that the alleged US ship attack never happened?

The US needs to get its nose rubbed in a few of its lies.

But all this will be overshadowed by the Friday Syria war meeting by Obama. What floor does escalation stupidity take you to?

At this point I think that Hollywood is jealous. You cannot make shit like this up. When is the train wreck scheduled?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 14 2016 7:19 utc | 70

The Syrian War is about the opening of a corridor to the Meditteranean Sea for natural gas from Qatar and the South Pars fields. 

Posted by: Oui | Oct 14, 2016 2:14:53 AM | 65

The excerable Martin Chulov at the Guardian/Observer makes a similarly flawed argument, only he puts Iran in the frame, not Qatar.

Amid Syrian chaos, Iran’s game plan emerges: a path to the Mediterranean
"Martin Chulov
Saturday 8 October 2016 20.30 BST

Militias controlled by Tehran are poised to complete a land corridor that would give Iran huge power in the region"

All of these flawed "it's the pipeline's, dummy!"arguments regarding Syria, promoted in both the crooked Western MSM and equally suspect Western "alternative media", conveniently leave out any mention or focus on the biggest winner from the destruction of Syria, its neighbour Israel

Posted by: Bo Dacious | Oct 14 2016 7:43 utc | 71

It's interesting and all that the U.S. took out the Yemeni coastal defense radars for the worthless Saudis/UAE, but this will do little to reduce the threat to the troop/arms/armor-ferrying operation from the new UAE naval base in Eritrea.

Eritrea is interesting in itself - one of the most brutal, psychotic regimes out there. Mandatory conscription - forced labor. A regular hell-hole that has produced 100's of thousands of refugees fleeing to anywhere else. The Saudis and the UAE couldn't buy off Djibouti officials for a base there (preferred) but had to settle for Eritrea as a second choice. The regime there folded like a cheap suit after a few pallets of cash and plenty of free oil/gas. The Saudis and UAE claim it's to be used to 'fight terrorism' (but excludes terrorism if it's by the Saudis or the Emirates).

In reality, the UAE base in Assab, Eritrea is a staging area for arms and mercenaries going to Yemen to kill Houthis. The UAE really would prefer to ship directly into the Yemeni port of Mocha - it's almost right across the Red Sea to the northeast. The Swift transport may have been trying to sneak in somewhere near there. The UAE has had to send stuff all the way to Aden to get around the rebels, but plans on invading somewhere on the Red Sea coast, and the port in Mocha would be a convenient port for that purpose. Mocha is in Houthi/rebel held territory today.

Conspiracy? Well, ever since the UAE started building out Assab, there have been satellite images showing a number of landing craft docked there. And it's not just a port, it's a pretty massive UAE military base. An unexpected 'guest' turned up there in force: France Is at War in Yemen, Photos Indicate. Really, France? I thought you guys were past that. How do you feel about helping ISIS relocate from Mosul? Maybe you can get some tips from them for staging your fake terrorist attacks.

But back to all those UAE landing craft at Assab and the Swift. The interesting thing about the Swift is (was) that it doesn't need particularly deep ports. There are probably plenty of other smaller ports that it could have used, and the Houthis knew that. That's why they were shadowing it the night they blew it away - it was hanging around just outside Yemeni territorial waters and it was making the Houthis nervous. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of Eritrean, Sudanese and French mercs (and maybe a few relocated Mosul head-choppers) waiting at the Assab base to invade Yemen from the Red Sea coast. See why the Houthis were concerned?

Well, the Swift fiasco infuriated the Saudis and UAE, who demanded that the U.S. do something about it (because that's what Clinton Foundation donations are for). The U.S. dispatched a couple of guided missile destroyers to troll around the coast, but the Houthis had no interest in picking a fight with the U.S. - they just don't what UAE landing ships unloading mercs in Yemen. So the U.S. ships are mysteriously fired upon (I'm going with a false-flag with Saudi providing the 'attack'), producing the appropriate casus belli to 'do something about it' for their Saudi masters.

Unfortunately, taking out a few mobile radar trucks hardly puts a dent in the ability of the Houthis to defend the coast. More difficult, sure. But the C-802s use internal navigation to get close to the target, and then active radar homing to finish the job. Punch in coordinates, fire and forget. So unless the U.S. is willing to escort the UAE invasion ships right to the Yemeni coast, those landing craft are vulnerable. You only need some specific (but not exact) coordinates to send the anti-ship cruise missile on it's way. An American guided missile destroyer can protect other ships when they're all out to sea somewhere, but that's nearly impossible when trying to protect landing craft that are trying to get to shore.

Say the USS Mason was actually fired upon by the Houthis. At 12nm (~20km) out, that's maybe 60 seconds of flight time. Plenty of time for the Mason to protect itself with it's several layers of defense. Heck, the laser cannon on the USS Ponce might have even worked. The task becomes incredibly more difficult when you want to keep your guided missile destroyers 12nm offshore, but you're trying to protect UAE landing craft as they approach shore. A C-802 travels something like Mach .9, so any vessel within a couple of miles of shore has seconds to respond before being blown away. Even the Mason's newest ESSM missiles can't be fired in time to protect the landing craft. So while the U.S. has effectively taken out Houthi search radar for locating distant ships (which are no threat), it did nothing for blinding them to closer ships approaching their ports. Plus, the U.S. has now pissed off the flip-flop Houthi army even more than they already have (if that's even possible). Think the Houthis will hesitate to use their C-802s against ANY enemy ships if they get a chance? What have they really got to lose at this point?

Didn't gunboat diplomacy fail the U.S. rather miserably in the past? [sigh...] We would be much better served if the USS Mason and the USS Nitze spun around, headed over to Assab and leveled the UAE port/base and everything inside it with Tomahawks. Heck, send a few to the capital of Asmara and do the Eritreans a favor while we're at it. Isn't the U.S. all about 'regime change'?

Posted by: PavewayIV | Oct 14 2016 8:12 utc | 72

Thanks for the link, Bo Dacious.

Chulov is in some sense correct, but he also provides a lot of spurious details that allow to trance whom he is stenographing.

Chulov is correct in the sense that Iran would definitely like to restore status quo ante, the chain of friendly countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon. Mutual military support would operate on inner routes, not vulnerable to harassment from foreign navies or traffic controllers. Surely, pockets of rebellion are not consistent with that plan, actually, no government wishes to tolerate such pockets, unless they "mind their own business". Given that, Iran committed very limited forces so far for that project, which I attribute to the logic of limited war. Like Russia, their interest is in finishing the wars in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon as promptly as possible, but simply increasing the commitment can be more expensive that they can afford, and given the abilities of Gulf-West axis, to a large degree they can be counteracted. In more concrete terms, in Syria the forces supplied by Iran in some form seem to be on the order of 10,000 (sheer guess, I hope an intelligent one), doubling that would simply increase the recruitment of jihadis, and expanding to 100,000 would not fit the budget.

That said, why does Chulov offer a very twisted narrative of a "corridor to the Mediterranean" that follows very zigzagging route? Because it is pieced together from stories of his interlocutors. Turkish propaganda tries to scare the others about danger of independent or quasi-independent Kurds as giving such a corridor, so it duly goes through Syrian Kurdish cantons. Why the other segments of the route are so strangely twisted? Perhaps similar scare is issued about the activity of "popular committees" in Iraq and Iranian paramilitary (and military) in Syria, and some other assumptions. For example, it assumes that Syria will become a patchwork of independent cantons, and the route will have to circumnavigate cantons not friendly to Iran. This reminds me "facts" postulate by Israel-friendly experts, like "settlement blocks that everybody agrees will stay with Israel under any conceivable peace plan". So even Iran cannot imagine using straight highways along Euphrates and straight from Aleppo to Latakia, because some cantons dear to Turkish hearts will exist forever "under any circumstances". OTOH, Kurdish cantons cannot be tolerated because they will .... become a vector of Iranian influence. That is debatable at best, and contrary to the neocon dream of cultivating Kurds as the local vector of Western (and Israeli) influence, so it is a fingerprint of Turkish propaganda.

Like Iran and Russia, Turkey and the Gulfies would like to see a unitary Syria (and perhaps, Arab "Sunnistan" in Iraq because Arab Iraqi Shias are too numerous to control) as a part of "Sunni Axis", a.k.a. "The Umma". But either they abandon this idea due to the recognition of impossibility, or they play Chulov the version of fragmentation, where it is not necessary to unite all pieces of Iraq and Syria, which is an acceptable end-game for PNAC and all that ilk. Strategically, it would be sufficient to cut-off the Mediterranean coast from Iraq by a chain of Sunni cantons starting with one that is being created by Turkey. I see it as Sunni-supremacist vision package for Western acceptance.

Alas, there is rot in the West fomented by Russian trolls etc (this website included), so this "Western acceptance" is eroding. To give one example, for all his popularity among Londoners, the exhortation of the former mayor of London and current FM did not move masses to demonstrate against Russian war crimes. For that matter, the French FM quipped that organizing demonstration is an unusual role for a FM.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 14 2016 8:51 utc | 73

Let's see... Today potus is having a meeting to review what 'kinetic' options are available to the administration in Syria. Tomorrow, Kerry and Lavrov will meet to discuss a new cease fire. That would make today "ultimatum day" assuming I have a grasp on this exceptionalist bullsh#t.

Posted by: Wwinsti | Oct 14 2016 8:56 utc | 74

Paveway 72

The videos I have seen of Yemen hitting Saudi/UAE ships have all been at night. Radar to get the location? even if the missile does not require the radar. I think that is why US is taking out the coastal radars. Allows ships to get in close at night.

Posted by: Peter AU | Oct 14 2016 9:03 utc | 75

Peter AU | Oct 14, 2016 5:03:47 AM | 75

There are relatively "low tech" ways to allow night time viewing; night vision equipment.
It's pretty easy to get these days...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Oct 14 2016 9:12 utc | 76

@Bo Dacious on pipelines

You put in a lot of facts, but the analysis and conclusion is flawed. Thanks for putting in the effort though, ... best laugh I've had in a long time. ;-)

The axiom was whether pipelines play a role in the warfare of the Near East, etc. In my post @BooMan with numerous links, I narrated an article from The Guardian authored by Martin Chulov. My headline: "Teheran's Road to the Sea, Another Big Lie from The Guardian". It's self-explanatory.

Neither Putin, Bandar or Obama are in a position of "deciders" how global resources are divided in oil and gas. Excellent documentary "Seven Sisters" can be found on Al Jazeera channel of the Qatari government.

From an exploration team here with Royal Dutch Shell, the company knew about the large gas fields off the shores of Vietnam in the 1950s/60s. The oil companies do not work on the premise of a few years, rather the targeted investments are planned decades ahead.

Sure, political turmoil may have an adversarial effect on their planning, but in the end the powerful corporations get their way. Globalisation, TPP, CETA, NAFTA, TTIP, or whatever they can get done with some millions of lobby groups. The institutions like the World Bank, IMF, FED and the ECB take care of the financial structures to solidify power. Obama? After January 20, 2017 ... who cares? For Wall Street, Hillary dumped Gaddafi, Barack failed to get rid of Assad. His CV doesn't read well for men in power ... Bill Clinton and Tony Blair have done well ... and scooped in millions of "donations".

Syria was already targeted during the Clinton administration. State terror killed Saudi representative Rafiq Hariri in Beirut, Lebanon; and all blame was placed on the Assad regime in Syria. Persia and Mossadeq in 1953? Think British Petroleum.

Posted by: Oui | Oct 14 2016 12:27 utc | 77

To chip in weakly on the side of ‘it is not about pipelines’ (see Bo for ex.) — though it is about controlling energy resources, raw materials and population, in part, but only in part.

The oil industry abhorrs war.

Oil projects (physically: foraging, extracting, refining, transporting, bringing to end point, selling) involve very long term plans, hauls, most are 10 years or more forward plans, and nowadays involve deals between States (state oil cos., Aramco, Petrochina, etc.), a myriad of ‘private’ or closely tied to a ‘nation’ oil cos., up to 100 sub-contractors, profit sharing agreements set in stone - all while requiring the cooperation of ppl on the ground, all the labor needed, etc. It is impossible to take over / protect the whole chain, everyone has to be on board. Only a stable environments can fulfill all these conditions. War can destroy one little nub and all is lost..

Pipelines of course are relatively easy (well not really but are so compared to the rest) to construct, they are but conduit, like the transport that bring food from ‘production’ to ‘the supermarket.’ They are a condition sine qua non for energy use, so they attract attention, and are often the subject of quarrels, as they generate ‘skim off profits’ which are fought over. For ex. the EU made a condition that transport of gas be split from all the rest in Ukraine.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 14 2016 15:40 utc | 78

France has been assigned a mission by Uncle Sam: replace it (in the picture) as KSA'a faithful lackey. A country of so many reds must be kept tight with the leash, you see.

Posted by: Mina | Oct 14 2016 15:58 utc | 79

@72 paveway.. thanks. excellent commentary.

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2016 16:11 utc | 80

@PIV #72

This explains the action of Hollande, Ayrault and Delaittre at the UNSC and Paris this week. France is once again prostituting herself to the GCC whilst hoping to trade with Iran ( Airbus, trains, cars) once sanctions are lifted.
Hollande is the new poodle of the US now that the UK is struggling with Brexit.

Posted by: Yul | Oct 14 2016 17:44 utc | 81

So Peter Cook was trotted out yesterday for a press conference. CSPAN link I'm sure none of you barflies will be surprised that Cook offered no evidence of this "attack" and that the dutiful pentagram press corps didn't ask any questions about evidence.

The NYT is dutifly playing along. Of course this article fails to note that no evidence of the "attack" exists, and as others here have suggested, poof, just like that the KSA funeral bombing is out of what passes for the news cycle concerning Yemen in the U.S.

Posted by: duncan idaho | Oct 14 2016 18:44 utc | 82


"Economic sanctions" or the white-collar war by Thierry Meyssan
The United States and the European Union launched a war that dare not speak its name against Syria, Iran and Russia, that "economic sanctions". This formidable tactical killed over one million Iraqis in the 90, without arousing the suspicions of Western public opinion. She is now patiently implemented against states that refuse to be dominated unipolar world order.

The Guardian: EU will not support the new US sanctions against Russia

As tensions with United States mount, president Duterte will be joined by around 250 business executives on his visit to Beijing next week

Posted by: ProPeace | Oct 14 2016 20:45 utc | 83

Kit at OffGuardian skewers the stenographers (again):

“Remember the Mason!” – US attacks Houthis in Yemen

A site called ArabToday published this photo (I'm presuming) was one of the radar trucks destroyed (?) by the Tomahawks. The picture's caption reads, "A destroyed vehicle bearing a radar antenna is pictured in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah" I'm kind of skeptical about this one. I would have expected at least a flat tire from a Tomahawk. Still, the mobile radar does look like the acquisition and targeting radars used with coastal batteries and it's obviously damaged (unless they have aggressive rat problems). A Tomahawk doesn't need a direct hit to be effective. No telling what else was blown up around the site without more photos, so it's plausible that this is, indeed, one of the destroyed radars.

Re: Fixed vs. mobile radars. The Yemeni military acquired their coastal defense systems years ago, but most likely had the widely-exported mobile C-802-based equipment. Any batteries they established on the Red Sea coast wouldn't have changed much over the years, so the radar trucks probably are at the same spot/sites they were originally deployed. The missiles themselves are also truck-mounted, and those would be bunkered in several spread-out locations somewhere near the radars. The radar trucks take a lot of power and have their own generators, but you really don't want to run a diesel engine 24x7 for power all year long. If you have a semi-permanent site for them, then you would run power from the electric grid to them. The picture from ArabToday shows a utility pole near the trailer, and I suspect that was it's purpose. So press reports of 'fixed sites' and 'mobile radars' would make sense either way here.

Yemen did have Osa missile cutters with liquid-fueled P-15 Termint anti-ship cruise missiles, but the fuel was pretty corrosive. I doubt those would even be functional today. If they were and the Houthis used them, than it might explain the odd U.S. Navy reports of the missiles dropping into the water well before they reached their targets. The missiles have the range, but if the engine malfunctioned (because the fuel ate most of the internals away) then that might explain it. That would assume the Houthis had some rational explanation for firing an ancient anti-ship missile at one of the most modern missile destroyers that exist. The Houthis are not stupid - I'll still go with the Saudi-fired missiles dog-legging to the coast and then 'towards' the Mason as part of a false flag. Aside from the Mason commander, nobody else on the Mason or other ships would have to know. It would seem like a pretty real attack to them and the ship's defenses would have responded appropriately.

Another Team Tin-foil Hat buddy suggested an alternative method for a false-flag that I had not previously considered: a Predator/Reaper drone firing a Hellfire from over the Yemeni coast. Hellfires have a range of 5 miles or so at Mach 1, and would pose little danger to U.S. warships 12 nautical miles off the coast. Even though they would never reach the ships, they would cause plenty of excitement during their 30-second or so flight towards the ships. At least enough to wake up the SPY-1 radar and send a couple of SM-2's downrange to protect the ship. This fits in nicely with the Navy saying they can't confirm who fired the missile(s), what kind they were or whether they were ever hit by the Mason's missiles. "They just dropped into the water" is exactly how a five-mile Hellfire would behave if it wasn't hit first. I'm sure there are other air-launched missiles that would have had the same effect, so a Saudi F-16 could have been used to fire something else (they don't use Hellfires). The Houthis don't have any capabilities to detect fighter aircraft, much less drones - they would have no idea if this scheme was used.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Oct 14 2016 21:13 utc | 84

Russian Insider is running a Meet the Press clip with Biden talking about sending a message to Putin. The context associates it with the supposed election tampering threat from Russia, but Biden uses the 'time and place of our choosing' verbal code often used when contemplating the use of force.

Hopefully unrelated, is reporting on the death of several Russian officers in Syria, with possibly a general in their number.

Posted by: Wwinsti | Oct 15 2016 8:50 utc | 85

Well, well, well ...

"We successfully accused Iran, diverted public from Saudi mass killing, killed some Yemeni radars
Now let's shut our scam down before someone talks too much."

The Navy destroyer USS Mason fired countermeasures in the Red Sea on Saturday after it detected what it believed were incoming missiles.

Officials Saturday night were uncertain about what exactly happened, if there were multiple incoming missiles or if there was a malfunction with the radar detection system on the destroyer.

Main stream media now has a lot of cake on its face and will talk this down as much as possible.

Posted by: b | Oct 16 2016 6:43 utc | 86

b@86 - "...Officials Saturday night were uncertain about what exactly happened, if there were multiple incoming missiles or if there was a malfunction with the radar detection system on the destroyer..."

Way over $50M sunk costs just for the USS Mason's AN/SPY-1 radar, not to mention a crew of 380 that depend on for life and death and last but not least an act of war against another sovereign nation based on what this radar says, and the U.S. Navy is uncertain about what exactly happened? For Christ's sake, did they secretly put John McCain in charge of the Navy? Why didn't they just lie about being attacked again? That would have made me feel much better about the situation than telling me they simply don't know what happened...

Posted by: PavewayIV | Oct 16 2016 9:12 utc | 87

Don't mix up different attacks...

Early Thursday, the US launched tomahawk cruise missiles into Yemen targeting radar sites in Houthi-held territory, sites the US claims were used to launch missiles in two previous incidents this week.

Posted by: From The Hague | Oct 16 2016 9:28 utc | 88

@84 pw4

Thanks, as always, for your self-described tin-foil hat analysis once again.

@86 b

It sounds like the bottom line is that the only one the 'coalition' of aggressors against Yemen willing to take the heat for knocking out those radars was the USA, so that's who did it. They're daring the Houthis to take a shot at them ... apparently there was no prior to what is now obviously US provocation. To which the Houthis will not respond ... at least not against the US.

Wouldn't it be great if the Houthis got some manpads and shot down some of those USaudi f-16s?

Posted by: jfl | Oct 16 2016 16:04 utc | 89


Mirroring 1984 and the primary aim of Newspeak, this on life in Yemen:

"Politics without knowledge has become the sport of the nation. We’ve become a group who no longer looks back, and does not look into the future. We reduce everything to one word answers, and we don’t have the patience to listen to deeper discussions. We exchange insults with those we disagree with, we trade punches with a total disregard for one another. (navigation at upper left)

Posted by: TheRealDonald | Oct 17 2016 4:23 utc | 90

@Bo Dacious on pipelines

You put in a lot of facts, but the analysis and conclusion is flawed. Thanks for putting in the effort though, ... best laugh I've had in a long time. ;-)

Posted by: Oui | Oct 14, 2016 8:27:11 AM | 77

Actually, where your "Syria War = pipeline war" theory is concerned, Gareth Porter put in the facts, I just copy&pasted it here.

Porter writes:

”That claim has no credibility for a very simple reason: there was no Qatari proposal for Syria to reject in 2009. It was not until October 2009 that Qatar and Turkey even agreed to form a working group to develop such a gas pipeline project.

He showed that Syria didn't block any pipelines from Qatar because no pipeline from Qatar would have made it across Saudi Territory, and for those like Oui who appear ignorant of even the most basic knowledge of Middle East geography: any pipeline heading Syria-ward from Qatar would first have to cross Saudi territory.

Porter writes:

And Middle East geopolitical analyst Felix Imonti reported at in 2012 that Qatar had been forced to abandon the pipeline idea in 2010 because Saudi Arabia had not agreed to have it built across its territory.

Simple to understand, easy to check fact there.

Porter then wonders from where this ridiculous notion of Syria rejecting a Qatari pipeline originated:

Kennedy’s article asserts, “In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria.”

But the article links to a Washington Post news report on the WikiLeaks cables on Syria that doesn’t support that charge at all

Again, a simple to understand, easy to check fact there.

The axiom was whether pipelines play a role in the warfare of the Near East, etc

No it wasn't - you personally made a clear claim that the Syria War was because of Assad's refusal to accommodate a Qatari pipeline - (pls don't try and pretend you didn't, because that would just be dishonest) - and Porter does a pretty convincing job of demonstrating the falsity of that claim.

In my post @BooMan with numerous links.

I have no idea what a "BooMan" is, - other than to note that it sounds like something a child might reference when discussing it's nightmares - but I doubt knowing what a "BooMan" is would in anyway add to my understanding of this issue.

I narrated an article from The Guardian authored by Martin Chulov. My headline: "Teheran's Road to the Sea, Another Big Lie from The Guardian". It's self-explanatory.

uhm, whatever - It's a pity you weren't astute enough to notice that Chulov's ridiculous and false theory is actually quite similar to your own ridiculous and false theory, all Chulov did was replace Qatar with Iran. "Qatar wants a land route to the Med" vs "Iran wants a land route to the Med"

The rest of your comment is just waffle, seemingly designed to disguise the fact that you haven't actually addressed anything Porter wrote on the subject, of "Syria War = pipeline war", which is the theory you have been promoting.

Posted by: Bo Dacious | Oct 17 2016 10:16 utc | 91

Confirming the CNN story of "radar malfunctioning" @86 Reuters: Pentagon voices caution on latest Yemen missile incident

The Pentagon declined to say on Monday whether the USS Mason destroyer was targeted by multiple inbound missiles fired from Yemen on Saturday, as initially thought, saying a review was under way to determine what happened.
Admiral John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, disclosed the latest incident during an event in Baltimore on Saturday, saying the USS Mason "once again appears to have come under attack in the Red Sea."

Cook noted that the crew aboard the USS Mason detected what appeared to be a missile threat and responded appropriately.

U.S. officials cautioned, however, that details from the incident were still under review. It was unclear how soon a final determination might be made about how many, if any, missiles were actually fired at the USS Mason.

My hunch: The very aggressive CentCom and the ships commander faked the incidents. A favor to their UAE and Saudi friends and another chance to blame Iran. The Pentagon finally found out and is looking into it. But don't expect any consequences. This dirt will be silently brushed under the carpet.

Posted by: b | Oct 18 2016 9:02 utc | 92

See #88

b, you're mixing up different attacks

Any determination that the USS Mason guided-missile destroyer was targeted on Saturday could have military repercussions, since the United States has threatened to retaliate again should its ships come under fire from territory in Yemen controlled by Iran-aligned Houthi fighters.
The United States carried out cruise missile strikes against radar sites in Yemen on Thursday after two confirmed attempts last week to hit the USS Mason with coastal cruise missiles.

Posted by: From The Hague | Oct 18 2016 13:57 utc | 93

The comments to this entry are closed.