Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 29, 2017

"If You Take East-Syria, I'll Take That Yemeni Port"

Will the U.S. leave Syria if doing so prevents a Russian fleet in Yemen?

The question seems weird but if Russia succeeds with its negotiations in Yemen it will soon have to be asked.

A U.S. neoconservative outlet recently published an interesting but mostly unsourced bit about Yemen:

Russia is mediating negotiations for a political solution to the Yemen conflict outside of UN channels as a means to secure naval bases in Yemen. Russia is pursuing political negotiations with the UAE and former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh by beginning to discuss the future consensus Yemeni government. Saleh’s support for the Houthis is critical for the al Houthi-Saleh bloc to retain its influence across northern and central Yemen. The UAE may see this settlement as a way to halt the expansion of Iran’s influence in Yemen and to limit bearing further costs associated with the Yemeni war. Saleh previously expressed willingness to grant Russia military basing rights in Yemen. This basing would allow Russia to project power into one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in the Red Sea and the Bab al Mandab strait, a global maritime chokepoint.

Back in August 2016 the former Yemeni president Saleh had indeed made an offer to Russia:

"In the fight against terrorism we reach out and offer all facilities. Our airports, our ports... We are ready to provide this to the Russian Federation," Saleh said in an interview in Sanaa.

No one (but Russia?) took Saleh serious at that time. He was not, and is not, in a position to achieve control over Aden in southern Yemen nor any other relevant Yemeni port.

I also doubted the recent report. Yes, until the early 1990s the Soviet Union had bases in southern Yemen and thousands of military advisers and trainers worked in the country. But Russia currently does not have the naval resources, nor the immediate interest, to open a new base in the area. Or so I thought.

But a well-informed source in Yemen dispelled my doubts. It confirmed the report. Russia is negotiating with the UAE, the Houthi/Saleh alliance and the various southern groups in Yemen over a peace deal and has been doing so for the last six month. The deal would include Russian naval basing rights in Aden.


The red lights must be flashing at CENTCOM, the Pentagon and the National Security Council. For the last twenty-five years the Arab Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea were largely U.S. controlled waters. That China recently opened an "anti-piracy" base in Djibouti has already led to concerns. Now the Russians are coming!!!

The Saudi war on Yemen, actively supported by the U.S., is going nowhere. The Saudis are daily losing soldiers to Yemeni incursions (vid) into south Saudi Arabia. There is no chance that Saudi supported forces will take the Houthi/Saleh controlled northern Yemen and the capital Sanaa. The United Arab Emirates has supported the Saudi war with capable forces. But the UAE only wants Aden port and its nearby oil-loading facilities for its DP World port management business. The Saudis want the ports as outlets for their oil exports away from their Persian Gulf ports that Iran could easily disable. But they also want to control all of Yemen.

The Saudis hired Al-Qaeda in Yemen to fight as their proxy force. But neither the U.S. nor the UAE agree to that ploy. UAE forces in Yemen were attacked by AQ. The U.S. fears AQ in Yemen as a potential source of international attacks. Since the beginning of the year the U.S. and UAE special forces have raided or bombed a number of Al-Qaeda concentration in Yemen. The Saudis were surprised but could hardly protest. Al-Qaeda was their last ace in the game. They have lost it.

The Saudis are pulling back from their planned invasion on Yemen's Red Sea coast in Hodeidah. The port is currently the only one through which food aid is shipped to the besieged and starving northern areas. The UN had protested against an attack on it and the U.S. has held back support for the operation. The Houthis and Saleh will likely agree to some UN control over the port. While the Saudis allege that the port is for smuggling arms from Iran, the Houthi know well that this has not been the case.

The Saudi fear of an Iranian stronghold in Yemen is baseless. The alleged Iranian support for the Houthis never materialized. During more than two years of war no Iranian was killed, captured or even seen in Yemen. The ballistic missiles the Houthis are using against Saudi Arabia are old Soviet types including locally modified SA-2/S-75 air defense missiles. The Yemeni army had purchased and stashed many of those while Iran had never owned that type. The military supplies the Houthis use is not of Iranian origin but taken from Saudi deliveries to its proxy fighters in Yemen. The Houthi simply capture or buy from them whatever they need.

There were recent protests in Aden against the U.S./Saudi puppet president of Yemen, Hadi. He had resided there for a few weeks but had to flee back to his luxury hotel suite in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. While Hadi is officially in control and responsible for Aden no government wages have been paid, utilities are out and various gangs control and fight each other over parts of the city. Party headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood aligned Islah party, which supports Hadi, have been burned down.

The UAE has had enough of it:

The Emiratis are beginning to tire of their bickering wards. Officials who hoped that Aden would be a model for the rest of Yemen now fear that leaving the south on autopilot might only condemn the country to instability. And that might engulf the whole Arabian peninsula. Thousands of fighters they have trained have gone AWOL (after collecting their pay). Motivating recruits to push north is an uphill task even with the payment of bonuses. Those who were happy to fight for their own homes seem unenthused about fighting for somebody else’s.

If the Saleh/Houthi alliance can make peace with the southern movements that so far supported Hadi, the war can be ended within a few month. Russia can moderate the negotiations and provide, to some degree, guarantees. Unlike the U.S. it is seen as neutral and sober by all sides of the conflict. The UAE and the Saudis will have to pay up for the carnage they caused. The UAE would probably get commercial Aden port rights for its DP World business. The Saudis would only get some peace within their borders. But by now the Saudis are likely to agree to such a deal - if only to keep face while ending that calamitous adventure in Yemen.

As for the naval port and Russian basing rights - these are excellent bargains in negotiations with the U.S. over Syria. If the U.S. insists on controlling eastern Syria the Russians can send some submarines, a destroyer and other combatants to Aden and install some very capable air and sea defenses to keep their ships and the harbor safe. If the U.S. agrees to leave Syria alone then a small rusty Russian corvette in Aden, without air defenses, would probably do. The Pentagon and the White House would have a choice to make: keep primacy in the seas of the area or have the constant menace of a nearby Russian "fleet in being" on their back. Is a troublesome occupation of east-Syria really worth that hassle?

Posted by b on April 29, 2017 at 16:30 UTC | Permalink


Thanks b, perceptive.

Could this be one of the reasons our " ally" KSA, is waging war in Yemen? Keeping Russia bottled up, IMO, is one of the Empire's prime concerns.

Posted by: ben | Apr 29 2017 16:54 utc | 1

b Excellent analysis and history, will the establishment regimes' bites Russia offers and will China agrees? China too is earmark for the regime changes.

Posted by: OJS | Apr 29 2017 16:55 utc | 2

You seem to assume that US military leaders are reasonable people who will look at the situation and agree to a trade off.
That isn't going to happen.
Mattis and McMaster believe that political solutions can only be achieved through the use of extreme force. The fact that Mattis now controls troops levels in the region, suggests that there will be a swift uptick in combat troop deployments in the very near future.
These guys are not going to give up on Yemen or east Syria.
In fact, I expect some attempt to annex the territory east of the Euphrates sometime within the next month.

Posted by: plantman | Apr 29 2017 17:13 utc | 3

That is good news that Russia may be interested in stabilizing Yemen by having a presence there. I so hope that can happen. I know so little about the situation as it currently stands in Syria, apart from what I read here, but I don't think a trade off computes with Russia's position on multipolarity and sovereignty, the latter meaning hands off on national border issues.

One has only to look at the temptations to ignore such matters with respect to Ukraine. With the exception of Crimea, Russia has continued to honor Ukraine's sovereign status even as they were being accused of ignoring it. I just can't see them changing that attitude with respect to Syria as long as the government there doesn't wish to do so.

Posted by: juliania | Apr 29 2017 17:33 utc | 4

@ 4 Juliania I think you mis-understood something. The Trade would be the US giving up its' emerging occupation of East Syria (thus allowing the possibility of a full restoration of sovereignty to Syria) in exchange for Russia not re-establishing a large base in Yemen.

Slightly off-topic, it is interesting to me that the UAE is looking to establish a way to get its' products and oil to markets without having to go through the Gulf (avoiding Hormuz). The more that alternatives like this develop, the more the West is free to confront Iran with the purpose of regime change. Hormuz is Iran's ace-in-the-hole. The more suppliers in the Gulf have alternative routes outside the Gulf, the more Iran is a target. I would look to Iran to try to advocate for a Yemeni solution that will give the Houthi bloc a veto over such developments in the country.

Posted by: les7 | Apr 29 2017 18:28 utc | 5

thanks b.. lots of good conjecture on your part.. i tend to agree with @3 plantman... since when will the exceptional nation take to being on a somewhat even level with others? even if they agreed to it in principle, they would find a way to throw it off.. the usa is a bad country to try to do a deal with.. meanwhile, they are happy to work with saudi arabia, and by extension al qaeda... the fact that they continue to be on such good terms with sa, tells us all we need to know... if it was me and i had any say in any of this, i would be trying to figure out how to take saudi arabia down further.. one less cheap and phony headchopping dictatorship in the middle east would be a good thing for everyone concerned..

Posted by: james | Apr 29 2017 18:36 utc | 6

plantman 1:13:35 PM | 3

I agree. U.s. irrationality / nihilism / greed of the military industrial complex - however you call it will be stronger then everything else.

Posted by: Pnyx | Apr 29 2017 18:38 utc | 7

I'd bet I'm not the only person on the planet who likes the idea of Russia blackmailing the Yankees out of Syria. AmeriKKKa's Standard Operating Procedure (of making violent threats against weaker potential negotiating partners), to establish unreasonable pre-conditions before 'negotiations' commence, is nasty and treacherous. It's also the way the Jews 'negotiate' with the Palestinians.
So if Russia can give the Yankees a sobering lesson in non-violent diplomacy, that'll be a big PLUS for Humanity.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 29 2017 18:42 utc | 8

Apart from AQ and ISIS, I have never heard these "various southern groups" named. MSM passes them off as loyal government forces and similar.

The bulk of Yemen army seem to be with Saleh in the north. The south seems perhaps a mix of Sunni militia groups of constantly changing allegiances similar to Syria with AQ the leading group.

What would make more sense is is for UAE to take the Sunni groups in the south under its wing so they are state controlled and UAE also gets its port in Aden, and Russia to work with the North and have its base on the Red Sea coast. The North appears to be a functioning state without infighting which would alow a Russian base more security.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 29 2017 19:20 utc | 9

It would represent a moral victory if the Russians could help to break the siege of Yemen, and keep the Houthi from being starved into submission. One cannot buy that kind of reputation; or ever bully, or boast, or blast one's way into it. That would be a memorable accomplishment, and something different for a change: an undeniable good, which would weaken the hand of the aggressors.

Posted by: Copeland | Apr 29 2017 19:32 utc | 10

There is nothing to trade as far as Russia is concerned. It has consistently stated that Syrian national integrity is sacrosanct.

The US will not establish meaningful presence in east Syria. They are currently there as an invading force. After the terrorists are done, what do we have? A putative Kurdistan surrounded by Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, all of whom do not want a Kurdistan to exist. The Kurds will be totally reliant on US air power / supply supplemented by land transport / smuggling. All the four countries will totally try to stop that. There will be no legal air access. By this time the Syrians will have their own S-400 and similar systems which will give pause to ther USAF. The US forces will be told to leave Syria. If they do not, Syria is legally protected whilst the US will descent further into the mire of the crime of aggression, the ultimate crime with no time limits (courtesy of Jewish influence setting up Nuremberg, etc). The SAA will move east into east Syria. Do the Kurds have the manpower to effectively defend all of east Syria? I doubt it, especially given the difficulties of resupply. If the Kurds attack the legitimate government forces, they will be given the same treatment as the terrorists - renounce violence, join the government force and aim for a political solution or be defeated.

If the Kurds have any sense they would go along with the Russian-backed peaceful political solution rather than be used by the US for its own purposes. Given their past relations with the US, that is highly doubtful.

The Russians are also mediating on a political solution to the Israel-Palestine issue. They are not fooled by Israel's verbal promises etc. They are also not cowed by the spurioius anti-semite accussations that Israel throws out when it doesn't get its way.

Posted by: Yonatan | Apr 29 2017 19:36 utc | 11

@PeterAU - " I have never heard these "various southern groups" named. MSM passes them off as loyal government forces and similar."

Many of these groups do not have names (or change them constantly). They are loyal by the day.

There is large group of southerners that want to go back to the old South Yemen as an independent communist state. They hope of and get some UAE support and dislike everything north-Yemen (Houthis, Saleh, Sanaa). They recently fought UAE troops at the airport (don't ask - it was complicate and the issue has been solved). They do not support Hadi as he wants to rule over a united Yemen.

There are alos communists that are not southern separatists.

There are several local clans and gangs who sell themselves (by need) to the highest bidder as mercenaries, take the money and weapons and leave again.

Then there are genuine AQ and genuine ISIS. But when there is a local street war between local gangs or some robbery going on these local gangs often call themselves AQ or ISIS even though they have nothing to do with them. It helps when someone wants to take revenge: "Hey ISIS did that, not us."

Then there are some Islamic-political parties. Islah is Muslim Brotherhood, gets Saudi money and supports Hadi (sometimes). There are various Salafi groups with Saudi or Qatari connections - all borderline AQ or IS.

No external actor, neither the UAE, the Russians nor the U.S., can decipher the ever changing local groups and alliances. I tried and soon gave up. Even the locals have difficulties to sort it out.

The MSM certainly has no idea about these groups and their positions.

Saleh was and is a master on such issues. He is also not afraid to use force to keep the various local clans and gangs within their limits. He played them against each other so none grew into a dangerous force. It let him rule for 33 years and he is still going strong.

Posted by: b | Apr 29 2017 19:46 utc | 12

Have my doubts.

Such a scenario would engender a consequential direct existential threat to Irans continued existence re its 'ace-in-the-hole', throttling the strait of Hormuz and turning the Persian Gulf into a free-fire zone. Iran would be forced to act to prevent UAE undermining that standing asymmetric threat re a port. RF semi-alliance or not.

Cannot see any concrete advantage to Russia in such a scenario. UAE as an Empire vassal cannot be trusted. The financial & materiel cost of building up the facilities, securing it adequately and simply operating even a minor 'fleet' from it would be burdensome for little strategic benefit and a huge propaganda boon re Roosia!Roosia!Roosia! by the Empire & western MSM. Furthermore to horse-trade Yemen vs E Syria in such a way would undermine the rational & legalistic approach the Russian Federation has maintained for over a decade re International Law & State relations, the wider disadvantages outweighed by any limited possible advantages.

Why would RF trade re E Syria in any case ... deployment of US or 'Coalition' forces, or further attempted ramp-up of terrorist proxies, into E Syria would highly probably be unsustainable and detrimental to Empire beyond any actual short term benefit. Over simplifying, but essentially a pseudo Bien Dien Phu/Afghan-soviet war type scenario for the Empire re consequences, ultimately.

In any case, the Empire routinely has/does not honor Treaties, Agreements written or verbal, the UN Charter, Geneva Conventions, International nor Domestic Law, the UCMJ, etc, etc. See Native American treaties from the colony days onwards, abrogation of the Korean War Armistice terms by introducing Nukes in '58 and everything since, abrogating the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, abrogating the Conventional Forces Status Agreement in Europe, and so on, and so on. Without material escrow-like enforceable guarantees, such a 'deal' would also be betrayed, IMV.

Strongly suspected for some time KSA was enticed, lured, into the Yemen quagmire, with the US only providing sufficient highly limited support to bleed KSA out so as to undermine the Al-Sauds and ultimately replace them with more compliant, directly controlled, less independent minded puppets ... Empire has form re having its 'targets' slog-it-out, bleed-out, over time (years), throughout its history so as to merely waltz in and pick up the pieces and devour any fresh carcasses. The legislation overwhelmingly passed, precedent setting, breaching sovereign immunity enabling sanctions and legal suits/sanctions against KSA did not happen by accident, IMHO ...

Russia current government has been demonstarbly deliberative, strategic, legalistic/realpolitik & rational, IMHO. Maybe RF will help out the Yemenis, as payback, as a material cost for KSA re facilitating/funding Wahhabist terrorism, even if just indirectly, tho cannot foresee the scenario as proposed, to UAE benefit and Iran detriment, panning out. YMMV

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 29 2017 20:00 utc | 13

Yes Slavic philosophy you got to luv it. Note how all Russian moves are all made via the bak doors and real diplomacy at work, never publicized and well planned.Russians ,Chinese and Iranian r real diplomats and not sycophantic automatons The western countries r still left with their 19th century colonial mentality . Might is right gun boat diplomacy. The Chinese and Russian style diplomacy is measured and well thought out. Western style diplomacy is all based on tired old paradigm of exceptionalism. Well such arrogance and hubris are all signs of weakness. Old Slavic saying . When one uses threats and aggression one can only concur that it is a sign of weakness. I might add sign of a bully and when a bully's threat is challenged 9 out of ten times he will back down. IE Syria. Rumours have it Tillerson's trip to Moscow behind the scenes he was apologizing for the failed strikes on Syria.

Posted by: falcemartello | Apr 29 2017 20:10 utc | 14

It's still mainly the south against the north, according to your map.

The Saudis are too engaged to give up. There might be ructions in Riyadh, if defeat were admitted. The UAE are less engaged, and could pull out without problem.

There's no reason for the Russians to intervene seriously. It's not one of their major interests. Putin has too much good sense to over-extend himself.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 29 2017 20:19 utc | 15

that 'the russians are coming' link is pretty funny.. thanks.

Posted by: james | Apr 29 2017 20:42 utc | 16

I don't know if the fluid nature of chaos, typical Saleh rule, can really be called a government. A diplomatic settlement which restored the status quo ante in Saleh's land would not be a very good outcome for the people. This kind of organization is usually the prelude to complete annihilation, social disintegration, or perhaps the occupation of Yemen by a foreign power.

On the subject of complete annihilation, the current media craze in the US seems to grind along on the showdown with Kim the Young One, on the Korean Peninsula. It could be that it is really South Korea that is being blackmailed into purchasing more US weapons systems; and that the notorious ploy is just another diplomatic scare (or sales pitch) by the Orange Meister.

If future anthropologists ever are to poke around in our charred or fossilized remains for answers; they will surely be baffled by what we were doing, or thinking.

Posted by: Copeland | Apr 29 2017 20:43 utc | 17

B @ 12: Is there not a possibility that, as in Ukraine's war against Donbass in which large numbers of Ukrainian soldiers defected to the rebel side, Saudi soldiers were also defecting to the Houthi side (in units as well as individually) in large numbers and bringing with them weapons, ammunition and artillery? I have seen some reports that this was happening.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 29 2017 20:45 utc | 18

@13 or,

Strongly suspected for some time KSA was enticed, lured, into the Yemen quagmire, with the US only providing sufficient highly limited support to bleed KSA out so as to undermine the Al-Sauds and ultimately replace them with more compliant, directly controlled, less independent minded puppets ... Empire has form re having its 'targets' slog-it-out, bleed-out, over time (years), throughout its history so as to merely waltz in and pick up the pieces and devour any fresh carcasses. The legislation overwhelmingly passed, precedent setting, breaching sovereign immunity enabling sanctions and legal suits/sanctions against KSA did not happen by accident, IMHO ...

it has long seemed to me to be a setup of the ksa by the usa in yemen ... i just cannot imagine the 'directly controlled, less independent minded puppets' ... al-cia-duh? i can imagine some sort of us/israeli direct control attempt ... their combined greed knows no bounds ... but i cannot imagine that working at all. i think it would end in a great victory for the "shi'a", as in iraq. par for the neoconian course.

so to that end, maybe all this russian diplomacy is working around the edges of a saudi collapse. have the uae seen the handwriting on the wall? are they trying to get a more reliable ally than the us which 'routinely has/does not honor Treaties, Agreements written or verbal'?

especially now, with the us uniforms filling the vacuum created by tee-rump's empty, apprentice 'reality' schtick, the us has got to be looking like a wounded, violently flailing monster. very dangerous indeed. other tiny royalist states in the region, too, must be learning the real meaning of 'terror'.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 29 2017 20:53 utc | 19

Thanks for expanding on the southern groups b. It does look as though it will take a local strongman type who can do deals and knock heads to sort out the south.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 29 2017 20:54 utc | 20

Yemen has a huge touristic potential. KSA wants it as a brothel and a playground to develop projects they don't want their 'citizens' to be playing with.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 29 2017 21:00 utc | 21

@ Posted by: jfl | Apr 29, 2017 4:53:06 PM | 19

Did not intend to imply an actual belief that such would likely be wholly successful re KSA regime change in terms of 'control', should it eventuate, simply that is what I have suspected from the beginning has been the Empires true primary goal from the start re KSA-Yemen War paired with the State Sovereign Immunity legislation ... from their deluded/flawed world-view/reality.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 29 2017 21:04 utc | 22

Thanks b

Once again the Russians are playing chess and my Amerikan govt. leaders are mostly playing with themselves.

I do hope it happens.

Posted by: jo6pac | Apr 29 2017 21:20 utc | 23

If there is anything worse than a ruthless strongman like Saleh; then it is one that is politically regurgitated, and imposed upon a country. It is a recipe for hell in a county. I would strongly recommend against it.

Posted by: Copeland | Apr 29 2017 21:32 utc | 24

Copeland 24

Three cheers for democracy and humanitarian bombing?
US has been in the business of removing so called strongmen, destroying countries while crapping on about democracy and human rights.
From what I can see, many countries that have various ethnic and religious groups, seem to do better under a leader that can keep a lid on things, both through intrigue (playing groups against one another) and force where necessary. Without it there is only anarchy - various warlords, militia groups ect.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 29 2017 21:49 utc | 25

@ Posted by: jfl | Apr 29, 2017 4:53:06 PM | 19

Indeed the Trump administration has repeatedly demonstrated so far it doesn’t seem to have any actual formulated policies, nor either coherent diplomatic or defense strategies, whatsoever. There are multiple conflicting messages & declarations on a daily rotating basis combined with regular implied threats to disavow/abandon allies/partners or coerce blatant 'tribute' from them.

Hence a number of limited indications to suggest as you do, smaller nations and even long term allies are 'sniffing the breeze' as to where this may all be heading re a Unipolar vs Multi-Polar world & 'stable' Global Trade/Economics ... ASEAN and the upcoming Korean presidency for example ... a number are and have only been 'good time' opportunists and may be unlikely to stand firm should the costs re walking into preludes to WWIII or MAD mushroom clouds become a probable reality.

Posted by: Outraged | Apr 29 2017 22:00 utc | 26

The Russians should take east Syria AND the Yemeni port. The US has no legal right to deny either and the US has no right to be in east or any other part of Syria.

Here is a better negotiating point. Dear America, do you and your boss (AIPAC/Israel) want hezbollah to have advanced air defenses or not?

Posted by: Alaric | Apr 29 2017 22:19 utc | 27

@25 Peter AU

There is the necessity for triage in the situation in Yemen. Any diplomatic solution that puts the emphasis on restoring a leader that has spent significant time in exile, is misplaced. I'm confident the Russians are sophisticated enough to realize this.

Needless to say, since the US maneuvered its way into being excluded from peace negotiations in Syria, it will likewise play no role in the relief of the civilians in Yemen, who are being starved.

It has only been a few days since someone, speaking for the US military, said that the US might take an active part in helping the Saudis seize a critical port in Yemen. There is the likelihood for severe malnutrition to escalate into famine. It will not be a good thing for the Houthi, who have carried two years of war, to be told who they will have to accept. First things first. This means a cease fire, and adequate relief to those who are starving.

Posted by: Copeland | Apr 29 2017 22:22 utc | 28

Copeland 28

From what I can make out, the north has an elected parliament where neither Houthi's or Saleh military have total control. More a parliament where everyone/every group has their say.
First thing I guess is to stop the US Saudi war on Yemen. As to what happens in the south is anyone's guess, but it will take a leader who can gain the respect of a majority of groups, and then use force if necessary to pull the remainder into line before the south is any sort of unified state or area. Whether Russia backs a leader that can do this, or UAE backs one, or somebody emerges as is leader with no outside backing really does not matter a great deal.
Russia seem more in tune with this sort of thing so be interesting to see where they are headed.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 29 2017 23:18 utc | 29

I don't know about Yemen, but isn't Saudi Arabia a rather pathological elephant in just about everybody's room now?

The SA atrocities inflicted on Yemen have served to draw a bit more attention to SA's various longstanding manifestations of pathology. They've imported money, and exported their oil and religious pathology and operatives to many places, and maybe their welcome is wearing as thin as their oil revenues. An ominous financial innovation, deficit financing, rears its aberrant head. Much of their foreign work force is 'retired' and repatriated without pay.

So did some of the Saudi superiors have a brainstorm and thought they'd try - maybe as a kind of manhood testing experiment, or as a desperate diversion, or as a dubious attempt at augmenting social solidarity, or perhaps to try out some equipment and rally the troops - abandoning for the moment their golden toilet bowls and harems in favor of the war room and plan a sporting war, like a falcon hunt extraordinaire, against the bedraggled inferiors of Yemen?

(Try explaining to the Canadian public that their brainwashed young soldiers went to kill and be killed in Afghanistan on behalf of the lie of woman's rights and building bridges and nurturing democracy, but that Saudi Arabia should remain in Canada's good books, because …. there's not even a good lie available re SA. Do we honour them because they have so many princes with such lurid grimacing smiles?)

Is there anybody on the planet who doesn't get a foul odour from SA? How many real friends do they have? Certainly not the Americans. They ain't nobodies friend, not even their own.

Posted by: canuck | Apr 30 2017 3:04 utc | 30

Interesting comment on Sputnik regarding US troops on Syria-Turkey border:

"This is a tactical move in prepartion for the occupation of North Syria by the USA led coalition (of which Trukey is part of), concurent with the massing of forces in the south (from Jordan) and the east (from Iraq) and last but not least, over the Golan(from Izrael). To me it looks like a invasion is being prepareed (Assad mus go).
How & if Russia, Iran, China et al will bogdown this intention by the US led coalition, remains to be seen.
The Turkey : Kurd problem is just a smoke screen (Barzani faithfull ally with Erdgan and the Syria kurds a problem for both). The north of Syria is too important to be 'given' to the kurds. (water controls the region, gas & oil to Europe)"

Posted by: Ninel | Apr 30 2017 4:41 utc | 31

There's no reason to believe the US would ever relinquish so much as an inch of Syrian land for anything, other than to avoid a total collapse of the campaign for regime change in Damascus (and if they can't achieve that; balkanization). Syria isn't for the US to give up, so long as there's the slightest chance that country threatens the security and dominance of Israel in the ME (nobody cares was the Saudis want, their time will come when and if there are no other potential hostiles left).

If the Russians are sincere in these negotiations, as a means of leverage against the US in Syria, the US will simply continue bullying and demonizing them until either that fails or they get what they want.

Posted by: never mind | Apr 30 2017 4:45 utc | 32

It sounds like a workable solution to a coupla otherwise intractable problems, but I cannot see it coming off.
Why because such agreements are dependent on one thing - trust and nobody trusts amerika to keep to a deal. Even in situations where it almost works eg the deal between amerika and Iran negotiated when oblamblam was king for a quadrennial. Blamblamblam never fully implemented the terms of the deal and whammo a new boss gets the gig and announces he isn't going to abide by the limited terms blammer instituted.
I was quietly happy when Mr Orange renounced the TPP, but the current situation is actually worse than a signed TPP. Just about all of the other signatories had already legislated amerika's unreasonable T&C particularly in regard to copyright and egregious royalty payments, the new rules are in place and amerika is savagely leaning on any nation which attempts to 'turn back the clock'. When the deal was still being negotiated bribery and blandishments were used more frequently than bullying to push the shit of a deal through but now amerika has what it wants - it's cake and eating, the tactics are pure unashamed strong-arm shit.
Neither Russia nor in particular Iran, are unaware of amerikan propensity for deceit and malfeasance; so while the proposal may look good on paper to the architects who thought it up, I cannot see the boss pols in Russia going for it. As shrub said "fool me once . . ." then we won't get fooled again

Posted by: Debsisdead | Apr 30 2017 5:17 utc | 33

This whole Yemeni disaster started shortly after Yemen announced the China was going to establish a port in Aden.

Suddenly, it was time for an 'al CIA Duh' moment.

Posted by: Greg Bacon | Apr 30 2017 10:53 utc | 34

Wow! Every time I turn my attention in that direction I see utter chaos and confusion because that is precisely the effect of U.S. policies in the region and has been since the Iraq invasion. You have different organizations within the Deep State going in, at times, opposite directions. One part creates and supports Al-qaeda and ISIS and other parts fight it. In the end there's only one conclusion--chaos is deliberate in order to please everyone. First the security complex gets rich the more chaotic the situation is, second Israel has to have its often contradictory needs met, and finally, Saudi money tends to dominate parts of Washington in their often contradictory needs. In the end chaos is beneficial to all parts of this balance. The only hope for the region is Russian and Chinese involvement.

Posted by: Banger | Apr 30 2017 16:03 utc | 35


"... to horse-trade Yemen vs E Syria in such a way would undermine the rational & legalistic approach the Russian Federation has maintained for over a decade re International Law & State relations, the wider disadvantages outweighed by any limited possible advantages..."

You said it better than I did - thanks!

Posted by: juliania | Apr 30 2017 16:30 utc | 36

One of the first bellicose acts of the Trump administration was to assassinate persons unknown in Yemen. I wouldn't think the Russians have forgotten that. You don't trade with irrational entities - there's no point. I should think the best we can hope is that the new world order proceeds apace, and the US is shunned for the time being. It's past time to concentrate on helping those in need instead of bravely bombing them to smithereens.

Posted by: juliania | Apr 30 2017 16:42 utc | 37

CNN. The article headlines about US efforts to keep Turkey and the Kurds from killing each other. And yet a major news item present is US Tanks and forces in Northeast Syria. Erdogan is perturbed to see US flags with those of YPG.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 30 2017 21:54 utc | 38

I hope that peace comes to Yemen soon, and that the saudis are made to pay for their many crimes..

Saw footage recently where the pm of the parasitic force occupying Palestine announced that there would be two more israels, one in Libya, the other in Yemen..

Posted by: Ingrid B | Apr 30 2017 23:21 utc | 39

UAE expands military presence in Africa, Mideast: Report

Yemeni sources have revealed that the United Arab Emirates is trying to establish control over the strategic island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea, which Yemen’s resigned president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi had rented out to the Persian Gulf kingdom for nearly a century.

According to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, the UAE is building an airstrip on Perim or Mayun Island, a volcanic island in Yemen that sits in a waterway between Eritrea and Djibouti in the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait.

South of Eritrea, the UAE agreed with the authorities of Somalia’s breakaway northern territory of Somaliland in February to open a naval base in the port town of Berbera.

Moreover, the UAE is suspected of launching air raids in Libya and operating out of a small air base in the North African country’s east, near the Egyptian border.

The UAE has seen its military grow in recent years. Back in 2011, it confirmed working with private military contractors, including a firm reportedly tied to Erik Prince, the founder of the infamous US security firm, formerly known as Blackwater, to build up its military.

The Associated Press also cited Colombia’s media reports as saying that Colombian mercenaries were serving in the UAE’s military.

In 2014, the UAE introduced compulsory military service for all Emirati males aged between 18 and 30. The training is optional for Emirati women.

this is an ap report in clothing. it does seem that the us/nato has not all of its eggs in the saudi basket, as b points out. the us can 'afford' just to sell them arms and train their mercs ... if it all blows up ... they've still been paid. i don't think the gulf 'states' are anything but a weapons-sink/source-of-cash for the us.

saudi arabia has been the source of grade al-CIAda mercenaries for fifty years. although al-CIAda is de facto the saudi army, i suppose they are as willing to work for qatar and the uae as they are for the saudis.

what a mess this is all is. real people die daily amidst the stupid fantasies of the neolibraconians and royalist pigs in the middle east. real states are destroyed. when will it end?

perhaps when the rump's soldier boys actually do attack iran and north korea, and their navy is sunk in return? what then? will they go nuclear? take us all with them? or will they collapse? in the event, i surely hope for the latter.

Posted by: jfl | May 1 2017 10:02 utc | 40

For a week or two, Yemen has been popping up in the news, alongside the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, whereas before there was nothing but a deafening silence. I assumed that something (but what?) had changed in the underlying strategic situation, that for some reason they now want everyone to talk about the country to exert pressure on...whom? The Saudis I presume.

The Yemen war was always a means to keep the Saudis occupied imv. They never had the slightest chance of winning, but their hands were tied thanks to that quagmire, so they could cause less trouble elsewhere (Iran, Syria). Saleh was the key to this strategy, and he will be the key to ending the war.

And now it's being pushed on the agenda, and Riyadh seems to be falling from grace.
Because of Russian (threat of) intervention?

About the Houthi-Iran connection: It seems to be more of a hypothetical or ideological alliance than a pr/tactical one. It they controlled all of Yemen, they would indeed align the country with Iran imo, which means that Riyadh's fears are basically justified, even if there has been no relevant material support.

@les7 5

Iran could still destroy oil production facilities with missiles, so I'm unsure about the pipeline thing.

Posted by: smuks | May 2 2017 2:27 utc | 41

Some of us having followed events and more importantly President Putin's leadership and words for those who have ears to hear have seen this coming for some time.

November 21, 2015; Putin Out Maneuvers Puppeteers of ISIS, Declares War under UN Charter!

"ISIS are going to be the recipient of hell, fire and brimstone soon bringing control of the sea of Adan, Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, the entrance to the Red Sea as well as the Arabian Sea under control of the Russian coalition. Did I forget to mention the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and Caspian Sea are already under lock down.

I would beg to disagree or rather offer another possible scenario that is not quite as bleak as Paul Craig Roberts's "Guile Replaces the Stick".

"Realizing that guile can be more effective than the stick, the West is moving toward drawing Russia into the Western system by offering a coalition against ISIL. Once Russia is in a coalition against ISIL, Russia will lose control. This is Washington's strategy for counteracting the initiative that Russia seized in Syria."

Evidence Putin's Russia in all that they have achieved in the past few decades from rebuilding self-defense forces and weapons to not only an emergency response to the economic war (sanctions) pursued against Russia but a stabilization in the near term and a sound stable defensive economic system for the future, BRICS.

They have enhanced and increased commercial trade unions and energy agreements while showcasing trade in military equipment of what appears to be the latest greatest technology in all areas of systems that actually work as designed. Intercontinental High Speed Rail Systems to transport people and trade, "The New Asian European Oriental Express" no navies or merchant fleets need apply. This opens up a complete replacement or diversification in trade partners. And of course we see an investment in its infrastructure for their people and their future. This does not sound like a nation that is going to capitulate to being gullible to anyone.

How do you say surrounded to the creators and funders of DAESH, checkmate!

Posted by: George R King | May 19 2017 23:09 utc | 42

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