Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 29, 2019

Saudi Arabia Acknowledges Defeat In Yemen - Starts To Sue For Peace

Two weeks ago we wrote that war on Yemen will soon end. The Saudis lost their ally, they lost the war and would have to sue for peace. They are now doing so. But they fighting in Yemen will continue until that country finds a new balance.

Today the United Arab Emirates airforce bombed the Yemeni proxy forces of its 'ally' Saudi Arabia:

Yemen's internationally recognized government accused the Emirati air force of attacking its troops Thursday as they were heading to the key southern port city of Aden to fight separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates. The airstrikes killed at least 30 government forces, a Yemeni commander said.
...
Col. Mohamed al-Oban, a commander of the government's special forces in Abyan province, said the troops were on the road, headed from Abyan toward Aden on Thursday, when the strikes took place, killing at least 30.
...
At least six raids were carried out by Emirati warplanes around the temporary capital, according to government military sources who asked to remain anonymous.

Southern separatist forces under the Southern Transitional Council and supported by the UAE hold Aden. Between 1967 and 1990 south Yemen, then named the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, was separated from the mountainous north. After uniting with north Yemen the south became neglected even though its eastern desert holds most of the country's hydrocarbon resources.


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Since 2015 the coalition of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with U.S. and British help, has waged war against the Houthi in northern Yemen. The coalition is now falling apart. Both countries claimed to fight against the Houthi, which control the capital Sanaa, in support of the internationally recognized 'legitimate' government under 'President' Hadi. But both countries had from the very beginning more egoistic war aims.

The Wahhabi Saudis want a Yemeni government that is not controlled by the Zaydi-Shia Houthi with whom they fought dozens of wars over two provinces that Saudi Arabia once annexed. They also want to control Yemen's oil and a pipeline from the Saudi oil region to a harbor in Yemen. It would help Saudi oil exports to avoid the Iran controlled Strait of Hormuz.

The UAE is big into the port business. It wants to control the strategic port of Aden and other Yemeni harbors on the southern coast. As it has no direct border with Yemen it largely does not care who controls the rest of Yemen.

The UAE leader Mohammad bin Zayed (MbZ) is not an absolute king. He is the son of the Emir of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates that form the UAE. His aggressive foreign policy, with military engagement in Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya, has come under criticism of the rulers of the other emirates. Wars are expensive and bad for regular business. MbZ's alliance with the Saudi clown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) was seen as dangerous. While the Saudis would like the U.S. to wage war on Iran, the UAE, and especially Dubai, would become a casualty of such a war.

In June the emirs decided to change cause. The UAE retreated from active war in Yemen and started to make nice with Iran. It hoped that the southern separatists it had trained would keep Aden under control and continue to do the UAE's bidding. The Saudis and the 'legitimate government' under Hadi they control do not want to condone that.

The Saudis are extremely angry that the UAE changed course:

But this month, at his Mecca palace, Saudi King Salman took the unusual step of expressing “extreme irritation” with the UAE, his closest Arab partner, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The comment appears to be evidence of a fissure in the alliance, which is led in practice by the king’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), and the UAE de facto ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (MbZ).
...
The king’s annoyance was voiced in a conversation on Aug. 11 with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, head of Yemen’s Saudi-backed government, according to two Yemeni sources and one other briefed on the meeting.

Hadi’s forces in Aden had just been routed by troops supported by the UAE, as nominal allies in the country’s south turned on each other in a power struggle.

The Saudis must end the war against the Houthi that was launched at the behest of its clown prince. The war has cost the Saudis an enormous amount of money even as they are still losing it. Only yesterday 25 of their forces were killed in a Houthi ambush. With the help of Iran the Houthi acquired long range missiles and drones and they now use them in volleys that reach deep into the Saudi's land:

Beginning on Aug. 24, the Houthis said its forces conducted two drone strikes on the King Khaled airbase in Khamis Mushayt and the Abha airport in southern Saudi Arabia. A day later, another round of drone strikes were reported on both targets.

On the same day, ten Badr-1 ballistic missiles were reportedly fired into Saudi’s Jizan city. However, Saudi officials reported that the country’s air defense systems shot down six ballistic missiles. The officials did not confirm if more missiles were included in the barrage.

On Aug. 26, another ballistic missile, the newly-announced Nakal missile, was reportedly fired at Saudi troops near Najran. Later in the day, another round of drones were reportedly intercepted near the King Khaled airbase in Khamis Mushayt.

As drones were hitting the King Khaled airbase, a separate attack was purportedly occurring near Riyadh with the new Samad-3 suicide drones. If confirmed, this marks the second time Houthi drones have hit the Saudi capital. The first was a reported strike on an Aramco facility near the capital last month.

On Aug. 27, the Houthis showcased another newly-announced ballistic missile, the Qasem-1, by allegedly hitting Saudi troops positioned near the Yemeni border in Najran. Another drone was intercepted and destroyed by Saudi forces over Khamis Mushayt as well.

And yesterday a new cruise missile, the Quds-1, was launched towards the Abha airport. Though, Saudi officials stated that the missile was intercepted and destroyed.

The Saudi king must have recognized that he has no longer any chance to ever win the war. It seems that he asked the Trump administration to work out an agreement with the Houthi:

The Trump administration is preparing to initiate negotiations with Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in an effort to bring the four-year civil war in Yemen to an end, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The effort is reportedly aimed at convincing Saudi Arabia to take part in secret talks with the rebels in Oman to help broker a cease-fire in the conflict, which has emerged as a front line in the regional proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran.

The brother of the clown prince came to Washington to prepare for the talks:

Prince Khalid met with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Wednesday and discussed “U.S. support for a negotiated resolution between the Republic of Yemen government” and a breakaway group known as the Southern Transitional Council, according to a statement from State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.

The Hadi government is irrelevant. The Southern Transitional Council will demand independence from the north. The Houthi will demand to control the north and reparations for the war the Saudis waged against them. North Yemen's infrastructure is largely destroyed. It will cost several dozens of billions to rebuild what the five year long Saudi air war destroyed. As the Houthi can continue to harass the Saudis at will, even in their capital, their is no way out for the Saudis but to pay whatever the Houthi demand.

It was the clown prince Mohammad bin Salman who launched the war in Yemen soon after he came to power. It was supposed to defeat the Houthi within a few weeks. Five years later and after at least a $100 billions was spent on it, the Saudis have lost the war.

Will the King hold his son responsible for the large loss of money and face that he caused?

Posted by b on August 29, 2019 at 19:22 UTC | Permalink

Comments

As shown in this article, the United States and Saudi Arabia have one thing in common:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/04/what-saudi-arabia-and-united-states.html

Brutality knows no bounds.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Aug 29 2019 19:42 utc | 1

Phrases like "internationally recognized" do so much propagandistic harm.

Posted by: paul | Aug 29 2019 19:42 utc | 2

Well, it's like Crooke said, they can't deliver anything now, they will be focussed on saving their own ass for the forseeable future, King Salman and his kid. The King was not that thoughtful a ruler in his previous posts either, I have read, had a tendency to reach for the sword when opposed. What will they learn from it? Probably not much.

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 29 2019 19:44 utc | 3

Hmm... If I were Houthi, I would reject mediation by the Outlaw US Empire which is a party to the aggression against me. I would demand Russian or Chinese mediation and make it a mandatory condition for peace that the Saudis join onto and work to make Russia's Persian Gulf collective security pact reality.

But what about the South and the large al-Ciada presence there and in the East?

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 29 2019 19:44 utc | 4

So, the poorest nation on earth defeats Saudi Arabia and America? Do I have that right?

Maybe someone should ask Trump: "How come America never wins wars under your Presidency, Mr President?"

Posted by: timbers | Aug 29 2019 20:04 utc | 5

timbers @5--

Trump didn't begin Outlaw US Empire involvement in Yemen, Obama did, unless you want to go further back in time.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 29 2019 20:11 utc | 6

True but he did lose it now, didn't he. Unless you want to forward in time.

Posted by: timbers | Aug 29 2019 20:18 utc | 7

Considering how the US is both an active enemy and entirely untrustworthy and incapable of honoring or complying with any decision they sign on to, negotiate, or dictate I doubt they can mediate anything unless by mediate one means threaten, and I don't believe threats will work or matter.

Or maybe the US thinks they could switch sides and trade selling out the Saudis for influence with the Houthis, I don't know if that is a possibility at all or if the Houthis would be interested in anything like it. I couldn't trust that either.

Isn't it more likely that the Houthis will continue to destroy the Saudis until they disappear completely?

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Aug 29 2019 20:28 utc | 8

By the way who would the US and Saudis acknowledge by talking to and would it be the right person(s)? Asking since I don't know.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Aug 29 2019 20:36 utc | 9

this war on yemen was one big cluster fuck for yemen, but think of all the usa military gear that got sold... one fringe benefit is it looks like the mental monkeys uae and ksa are at odds with each other over the loss of yemen bananas.. well, uae is still working on it in the south.. at some point this craziness has to stop, but i doubt as karlof1 notes, the usa can be an honest broker in anything! thanks for the update on this b!

Posted by: james | Aug 29 2019 20:41 utc | 10

Will Houthis now go after the Government in South for a unified country?

Posted by: Muzaffar | Aug 29 2019 20:45 utc | 11

Timbers
So what? When the United States loses enough wars against shithole countries Washington might decide that like the rest of the world war should be regarded as a last resort rather than the first resort as it is now. Perhaps Trump is more radical than he is thought to as a non-interventionist. Perhaps he is better read than most American when it comes to Clausewitz and his famous dictum that "war is the mere continuation of war with other means".

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Aug 29 2019 20:50 utc | 12

SRB @8 & 9--

Houthi negotiator in Oman:

"Yemen Houthi chief negotiator, Mohammed Abdul Sallam met today the special envoy of Russia, Mekhail Bogdanov.

"In the Omani capital Muscat, they discussed the developments in Yemen and how to move forward in bringing peace to Yemen."

Same man was recently in Tehran. I know Zarif's ongoing shuttle diplomacy includes Yemen and the collective security proposal. The video of his I linked to on the open thread was mostly about security and the new multipolar reality. The process is moving slowly, but it has at least begun. IMO, a Eurasian nation must be the mediator, one that has credibility with all factions.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 29 2019 21:07 utc | 13

b writes, "Five years later and after at least a $100 billions was spent on it..."

wasn't $100 billion more or the less the figure that MbS shook out of all his relatives and the saudi business elites when they were all kidnapped, I mean, 'invited' to the Ritz hotel and held hostage and uh... tortured... some of them for weeks before they gave up their often illicit gains.

With the world as it is now, with near absolute impunity for all the world's powerful and super-rich, I can hardly believe the MbS will be held in the least responsible for any of his vast war crimes and crimes against humanity against the poor peoples of Yemen.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Aug 29 2019 21:08 utc | 14

Ghost Ship @12--

LOL! Good garble of that famous quote.

Muzaffar @11--

IMO, longstanding tribal animosities will prevent that from happening. Houthis may try to regain the regions annexed by Saudis, however.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 29 2019 21:24 utc | 15

@8 What the US thinks is irrelevant. It comes down to what Israel wants and they we see a Saudi defeat in Yemen as a victory for Iran.

Posted by: dh | Aug 29 2019 21:28 utc | 16

I wonder how the Houthis will be able to guarantee they will get billions to rebuild the infrastructure the Saudis destroyed, That should be the minimum besides peace. Vietnam thought they would get billions when they won that war but it never happened for the misfortune of many hundreds of US POWs.

Posted by: gepay | Aug 29 2019 21:57 utc | 17

The kind of war the Houthi are fighting now is very different from what I remember being fought before. This kind of strategic bombing campaign prompts two question: Why does anyone think strategic bombing will work? And, who is paying for the missiles and drone program?

Posted by: steven t johnson | Aug 29 2019 22:02 utc | 18

Thank you karlof1.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Aug 29 2019 22:11 utc | 19

I would expect that the Houtis will relax when the house saudomi is destroyed.

Posted by: ruca | Aug 29 2019 22:18 utc | 20

I saw the headlines on France24. According to them the UAE bombed "terrorist".

Funny, the times they are a-changin'

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Aug 29 2019 22:40 utc | 21

steven t Johnson @18--

Who's paying? Houthi society in a very socialist manner, presumably, since everything's being supplied indigenously--except the blueprints as was discussed several days ago.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 29 2019 22:43 utc | 22

Karlof1 @ 15:

"... Houthis may try to regain the regions annexed by Saudis, however."

Part of the southern Hejaz region along the KSA's Red Sea coast has history and cultural traditions in common with Yemen, and there may be a question mark over how loyal the people in that area are to Riyadh given that the Saudis invaded the area and made it part of the KSA by force back in the 1920s.

If this part of the Hejaz unites politically with Yemen, other parts of the Hejaz as far north as Mecca and Medina, and possibly even farther north, may try to break away from the KSA.

This would partly answer Gepay's query @ 17: the Yemenis would gain custodianship of the Islamic holy cities and Hajj pilgrims' donations would help pay for reconstruction.

But can we assume the Houthis want to unite all of Yemen, and not just control what used to be North Yemen and part of southern Hejaz in an enlarged North Yemen?

Posted by: Jen | Aug 29 2019 22:51 utc | 23

While I’m very satisfied to see the criminals lose their war in Yemen ....i’m Cautioned that the evil forces will learn nothing more than: ‘let’s find another way”. That seems to be the way of the world...evil is afoot, and there is no stopping it in drinks and drabs...no more than if the socialists had won the Spanish civil war.

Posted by: Bread on waters | Aug 29 2019 23:16 utc | 24

Marvellous reporting 'b'.

Canadians, and there are lots here, will be aware that this disgusting war against the people of Yemen- for that it what it was, a war of starvation and the bombing of civilian targets- was supported to the hilt by Trudeau and the fascist Freeland.
Their motives? Partly appeasement of the US and partly support for corrupt businesses supplying arms to the Saud family.
Incidentally Israel, too was snout deep in this trough of Arab blood.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 29 2019 23:22 utc | 25

Jen @23--

That certainly is the unknown question. Given Arab tribal revenge culture, however, IMO Houthis will try to exact as much damage on Saudi as possible, but Saudi will defend the holy sites as best as they can. I once opined the Houthis could drive up the coast, but I think that's beyond their current capabilities.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 29 2019 23:33 utc | 26

The war in Yemen was an Israel/UK/US war from the begining - fundinding/training and to some extent even leading both sides against one another for the purpose of feeding the Military Industrial Complex and redrawing borders based on known deposits of oil.

The claim of Iranian or Hezbollah participation was always a farce, with the same staged picture of missiles in a warehouse shown over and over as 'proof' of same.

The people of Yemen have suffered and died, mainly through starvation, in unknown numbers. To declare 'defeat' and withdraw after achieving all your goals is as wise an exit strategy from Globalists as you'll likely ever see. Expect more of these admissions of defeat from the objective winners of these wars over the next several years, including in Syria.

Posted by: C I eh? | Aug 30 2019 1:17 utc | 27

Phrases like "internationally recognized" do so much propagandistic harm.

Posted by: paul | Aug 29 2019 19:42 utc | 2

That's because "sheeple" are not used to parsing. "Internationally recognized" is one of those phrases that are informative by exclusion. Not "democratic" or "democratically elected" but "internationally recognized". Love Assad or hate him, he had an opponent when he run for presidency, unlike Hadi, the selection of candidates was not marred by assassinations of the members of the committee that approved them (or just Hadi), Assad is actually leading the government and resides in his country, and he is not begging foreign powers to help starving his own people.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 30 2019 1:19 utc | 28

Part of the southern Hejaz region along the KSA's Red Sea coast has history and cultural traditions in common with Yemen, and there may be a question mark over how loyal the people in that area are to Riyadh given that the Saudis invaded the area and made it part of the KSA by force back in the 1920s.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 29 2019 22:51 utc | 23

More precisely, Najd, where ar-Riyad (the capital) is, is the Wahhabi heartland (for 200+ years), Hejaz is dominated by Wahhabis, to be sure, but it has much more fresh "normal Sunni" tradition, being a Hashemite monarchy until Saudi conquest ca 1923, and to the south of Hejaz is Asir that had strong Yemenite traditions, I am not sure how strongly preserved. Before Muhammad there was a very sharp division between southern Arabs (Yemen, Oman, Arabia Felix on Roman maps) and northern (Arabia Deserta on Roman maps), and while southern Arabs were assimilated linguistically, they have their dialects. religious identities and traditions that are separate. They know that they were "civilized" about 1000 years before northern Arabs, their Sunnis have a special "jurisprudence" (there are several of those, but Yemen is separate), their Shia are unique as well, the ruling sect in Oman has a name used as an invective by northern Sunnis (being neither Sunni nor Shia) etc. Asir was part of that milieu.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 30 2019 1:34 utc | 29

So, $5 billion in payments would be what, @ $56 a barrel, about 90,000,000 barrels of oil. IIRC, the Saudis are pumping about 8 to 9 million barrels a day. So, they'd have to pay 10 or 11 days worth of their oil output to resolve the damage that they've caused. Yes, I know that they are close to running a deficit these days, but still, the Sauds can afford that. They'll make the deal.

Posted by: Monty Hall | Aug 30 2019 1:36 utc | 30

@25 bevin.. and do you think it would be any different under scheer or a conservative gov't? harper went down to washington in 2003 to apologize to the usa over the fact chretien didn't agree to the war in iraq... unfortunately for us canucks the choices in this upcoming election are grim... i have always avoided to 2 main parties - liberals and conservatives, for obvious reasons..

Posted by: james | Aug 30 2019 2:08 utc | 31

Posted by: C I eh? | Aug 30 2019 1:17 utc | 27

Good contrarian thinking. You make an excellent point

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Aug 30 2019 2:22 utc | 32

@ Monty Hall # 30

Wow Monty, what a deal, deal of the century for the saudis. However our host stated above it would cost many dozens of billions of dollars, so perhaps you should multiply your numbers by twelve, at least? Can they last nearly four months without pulling their visas and mastercards?

Posted by: aye, myself & me | Aug 30 2019 2:26 utc | 33

Piotr Berman @ 28:

24 candidates nominated and applied to contest the Syrian Presidency in 2014 but just three of them (including Bashar al Assad) met all the necessary conditions needed to run. So Assad had to nominate and submit an application to run for the Presidency, and receive approval from 35 politicians in the Syrian parliament, just like the other 23 applicants.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 30 2019 3:29 utc | 34

Out of curiosity, where can one find evidence of Iranian material assistance to the Houthis in any shape or form? B cites the example of missile technology.

Posted by: Ninel | Aug 30 2019 3:34 utc | 35

Posted by: C I eh? | Aug 30 2019 1:17 utc | 27

To add to your point, the Anglo-Zionist empire has been drone bombing the place for almost 2 decades now, long before MBS ever came on the scene.

Posted by: O | Aug 30 2019 3:51 utc | 36

Yemen must demand the return of lost territory and full compensation for damages before ending the war. Yemen can bomb its oil infrastructure and desalination plants. It can now do it.

Posted by: El Cid | Aug 30 2019 8:43 utc | 37

Posted by: Jen | Aug 30 2019 3:29 utc | 36

That just means that in Syria, they feel obliged to go through the motions of people's rule, as their state has no other legitimacy. Compare to Eastern Europe including GDR where the ruling parties would not have survived elections without Soviet boots on the ground. They all had elections though the results used to be (non) surprising.

You can read the civil proxy war in Syria as a conflict between religious legitimacy and the Baath party. In Yemen there are several tribal and religious systems of loyalty and legitimacy that have been fighting each other for a very long time. Once you take the mediation out of these systems there is chaos. The colonial borders don't form nations and they don't apply.

Iran seems to have solved the problem of religious legitimacy by a mix of secular state and religious authority, but they could only do that on the basis of an absolute Shia majority. It is no recipe for a mixed religious tribal state.

Parts of Europe continued to be tribal (monarchy) until 1919, long after religion had ended to be the source of legitimacy, there was still family.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 30 2019 9:23 utc | 38

Interesting to see UAE's turnabout

To paraphrase Nasrallah:
People in Glass Towers shouldn't throw Rockets

I wonder what the Houthis will ask of MbZ to keep Dubai (and the Emirates) intact; negotiations on Al Dhafra would be a good start.

Posted by: ziogolem | Aug 30 2019 10:05 utc | 39

Perhaps Trump is more radical than he is thought to as a non-interventionist. Perhaps he is better read than most American when it comes to Clausewitz t

You're quite the comedian.

Posted by: bongo_Jones | Aug 30 2019 10:09 utc | 40

re #28

I recently came across a commenter elsewhere who consistently uses the phrase "occupied Palestine" in place of the "internationally recognised" term Israel.

Informative by exclusion indeed.

Posted by: augrr | Aug 30 2019 10:53 utc | 41

I see my comment @ 36 was trolled by Somebody @ 40 who presumes to know all about the cultural mindset of people in the Middle East.

I don't suppose reminding people that Syria has been fighting an invasion of an army (in all but name) - whose fighters were recruited from all over the world through social media platforms by various Western and theocratic Middle Eastern governments and defence elites using propaganda, lies and caricatured Wahhabi Islam to dupe these cannon fodder fighters - since 2011, will work much as it seems some people clearly fail to learn anything much even when the information is punched right through their heads.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 30 2019 11:13 utc | 42

OT: I just want to say that B's "deep battle" piece from Aug. 15th appears to have been spot on. The SAA and Russians are ripping things up going north now. Turkey is not talking much about it, busy with other things. Today Turkish FM said Turkey will leave Syria once political settlement is done.

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 30 2019 11:31 utc | 43

To answer Ninel's question, the only physical intercepts of material were insignificant.
A few small skiff's filled with AK47's and a some RPG's that were manufactured in Iran but could easily have come from Somalia on the secondary market.

The more likely scenario is that Iranian engineers assisted the Houthis technically in helping them modify their existing missile arsenal, make remote control speedboats, and the recently introduced drones. In essence, they didn't give the Yemenis fish, they taught them how to fish. That the likes of Haley and Pompeo self-righteously fuliminate over this while we sell the Saudis cluster bombs makes me sick.

"Out of curiosity, where can one find evidence of Iranian material assistance to the Houthis in any shape or form? B cites the example of missile technology. Posted by: Ninel"

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Aug 30 2019 11:42 utc | 44

Posted by: Jen | Aug 30 2019 11:13 utc | 44

Does your black and white view of the world allow for the possibility that interested parties have hijacked justified grievances? Or that fighters risking their life believe in what they are fighting for, because of religion or tribal loyalty, or ownership? Mercenaries are not very good fighters as Saudi Arabia just found out.

And that very often people are on no side because all sides are bad? If you do not wish to fight a war you have to flee, and that is - according to the UN - 5 million Syrians - over a million in Europe and what I can see in Germany most of them are young men, ie they are escaping military service.

To believe that a family can remain in power since 1971 in a country and hold meaningful elections requires a lot of naivety.

Or that we live in a world where medieval concepts coexist with modern organisation and science?

And no, I am not just talking about the Middle East. 20 percent of the US population reject evolutionary theory and half of them believe in the will of god guiding it.

What is your bet that this ape brain we own develops enough to deal with climate change before we become evolutionary extinct? As may very well be the will of god(s).

Posted by: somebody | Aug 30 2019 11:57 utc | 45

@ Posted by: Monty Hall | Aug 30 2019 1:36 utc | 30

No, because there's a cost to extract and transport the oil.

Not every oil field is profitable at USD 56.00-60.00 a barrel. In fact, I would risk to say that only few oil fields are profitable at that price range (the Brazilian pre-salt being one of them).

The only reason countries continue to pump and sell oil at those prices is because the fierce competition among the oil exporter nations (market share). Russia has already stated they will only stop extracting oil when the price goes to zero.

Posted by: vk | Aug 30 2019 12:05 utc | 46

@Karlof1 you are so right, the Houthis should demand direct talks to KSA, this is how they can squeeze these criminals in Riyadh. I still see this war taking a bit more time, the coalition of idiots freak show ain't over yet, the criminals will still try to save face, so a few more bombs in KSA's oil industry and infra structure can speed up the direct talks.

Posted by: Canthama | Aug 30 2019 12:36 utc | 47

Bummer. So Israel (cuz Saudis work for them) won't have control over the ports. I agree, bring RU in to negotiate peace. Slowly but surely peace will ensue. Meanwhile, keep chipping away at the zionist war mongers till they are obsolete.

Posted by: christy | Aug 30 2019 12:55 utc | 48

.. maybe the US thinks they could switch sides and trade selling out the Saudis for influence with the Houthis, I don't know if that is a possibility at all or if the Houthis would be interested in anything like it. I couldn't trust that either.

Isn't it more likely that the Houthis will continue to destroy the Saudis until they disappear completely?
Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Aug 29 2019 20:28 utc | 8

interesting thought but my money is the USA will likely join forces with the South in Aden to be sure the division of Yemen is complete and most likely the USA:UAE will leave the Houthi to feast on the Saudi disarray.. seems to me throughout S.A. "rising in dissents" are simmering.. all that is needed is Yemeni security and support..I think the Houthi armies are going to be growing in size they move deeper into S.A. If Yemeni capture control of the oil pipe line and manage to maintain control over the entire eastern sea coast the Yemeni may capture sufficient oil production to do their own reconstruction. Imagine a Houthi controlled Riyadh.. might be an end to Wahhabism. The party with the problem is the USA, its friends in that area are worse than its enemies. IMO.

Posted by: snake | Aug 30 2019 13:21 utc | 49

Where's Pompeo and Bolton when they're needed most?

Posted by: Carroll Price | Aug 30 2019 13:43 utc | 50

Lot of wishfull thinking here, in your hate of the Saoud but your lost a bit the focus on all things that matters and not only on the military capability of the Houthis to force the Saoud to negociate. When did the Houthis got access to full food ? I must have missed the news. Last time, the Saoud could still bomb/block the port where the food arrives. That's just to point the fact that the Saoud could exchange full peace with nothing in return but the right for the houtis to eat. My 2 cents.

Posted by: murgen23 | Aug 30 2019 13:50 utc | 51

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, a British diplomat, brokered an agreement in December which was hosted in Stockholm.

Now Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom is heading to the Middle East in an attempt to relaunch talks between Yemen's internationally recognized government and the country's Iran-backed Houthi rebels here.

Why isn't Griffiths going? He seems like a reasonable guy.(not) Griffiths last week: The United Nations envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths has commended the “tireless role” played by Saudi Deputy Minister of Defense Prince Khalid Bin Salman to “restore order and stability” in the south of Yemen. here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 30 2019 13:53 utc | 52

Posted by: murgen23 | Aug 30 2019 13:50 utc | 52

Last time I looked this was not a problem.

The United Nations' food agency and Yemen's Houthi rebels say they have reached a deal to resume food deliveries to rebel-controlled parts of the war-torn country after suspending the aid in June.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a spokesman for the Houthis, tweeted late on Saturday that the rebel group, which toppled the country's internationally recognised government from power in Sanaa in late 2014, had inked a deal with the World Food Programme (WFP).
...
The Houthis' Alsyasiah website said Saturday's deal included a biometric database of civilians in need of aid to guarantee "effective and efficient distribution" and to "benefit the most needy".

The agreement also stipulated "total transparency" in the registration of beneficiaries and distribution of aid, it added.

Al-Houthi, head of the Houthis' Supreme Revolutionary Committee, tweeted that "cash distribution will soon begin, God willing, in accordance with the mechanism".

Cash transfers to those in need so they can buy goods is a common method of aid distribution.

The warring parties in Yemen's conflict have used access to aid and food as a political tool, exacerbating what the UN has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Al Saud may believe that it is acceptable to starve people into surrender the UN definitively does not.

In any armed conflict where fighting takes place within a civilian population the people with the guns will have the food.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 30 2019 14:02 utc | 53

I am sure the Houthis have people quite capable of using blueprints etc. But smarts are no substitute for the manufacturing systems that supply the parts for the high IQ boys and girls to put together. It seems much more likely that the essential material supplies are coming from UAE, either as UAE policy or from al-Qaeda affiliates (or other jihadis who've been armed by UAE.) It's possible that some outside party has sharply stepped up support, but the only one that seems to have the logistic capacity to penetrate the contested territory is the US. As for corrupt Saudis selling essential supplies, even Saudi corruption doesn't seem likely to want to sell weapons that will fall on the sellers, as opposed to other people.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Aug 30 2019 14:24 utc | 54

Why did KSA lose?

from BusinessInsider, Dec 16, 2017

Saudi Arabia is one of the best-equipped nations in the world. Yet the Saudi military does not strike fear into the hearts of its adversaries, or would-be foes.
... Saudi Arabia, however, has not deployed significant land forces into Yemen that would be required to win on the battlefield. "We don't know if the Saudi military is able to have a significant impact on the Yemen war, because we've only seen the deployment of Saudi airpower,"
...10,000 to 20,000 troops would be required to have the desired affect. Yet the Saudi military has not deployed its ground forces — most likely because the Saudi leadership knows that, as Knights says, they "suffer from significant weaknesses."
... "They have no experience in an expeditionary operation," he said, noting that the Desert Storm campaign against Iraq — which Saudi Arabia did contribute to — was largely an American effort. Additionally, Saudi ground forces as a whole are not trained well enough to where they would be able to perform successfully in large-scale operations. As such, a Saudi ground force in Yemen may cause more harm than good.
...Saudi Arabia would not deploy large contingents of ground forces "because their casualties would be severe and they most probably would cause tremendous collateral damage in Yemen."
. . . Today, local militias and tribal groups form the majority of the ground force battling the Houthis, and few if any Saudi soldiers assist them — save for a few special forces units. . . ."there is no credible military pressure on the Houthis." . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 30 2019 14:58 utc | 55

@somebody 54

The agreement will not hold if the Saud feel really in danger. These skirmishes at borders are not threatening the kingdom, nor is the occasional missile here and there despite what b posted. Refineries are still working and none is burning. That's why there is room for some diplomacy for now.

Posted by: murgen23 | Aug 30 2019 15:04 utc | 56

ksa and uae's actions on there islamic neighbours speak about how they treat their own people... these leaders show what losers they are on a regular basic to the world...they are unfit for any leadership role.. it's only a matter of time before ksa falls apart, in spite of the work of usa-israel, to hold it together..

Posted by: james | Aug 30 2019 15:13 utc | 57

Saudi Arabia has been severely threatened by Yemen, so KSA must sue for peace as b indicates.
from FDD, Aug 29
String of attacks in Saudi Arabia claimed by Houthis here. "Yemen’s Houthi insurgent movement has steadily increased its capabilities to strike inside Saudi Arabia utilizing a myriad of weapons and tools, many of them newly announced, as these recent attacks demonstrate."
Reportedly, drones have struck the Saudi capital twice, also a ballistic missile allegedly hit Saudi troops positioned near the Yemeni border and a new cruise missile, the Quds-1, was launched towards the Abha airport which had been attacked in June. At the time, Saudi Colonel Turki Al-Malki said, “the Houthi terrorist militia continues its immoral practices by targeting civilians."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 30 2019 15:22 utc | 58

@Ghost Ship:

So what?

So, what I said:

Trump lost the war, and someone should ask him "Mr President, why do only lose wars on your Presidency?"

He did campaign on that after all, didn't you know?

Posted by: timbers | Aug 30 2019 15:30 utc | 59

In other news Trump wants to talk to Iran.


Posted by: somebody | Aug 30 2019 15:33 utc | 60

I was told some time ago by a senior diplomat in the UK Colonial Office that in 1967, what was then Aden and the Hadramaut, then both under the Aden Protectorate, were handed over to an Egyptian sponsored, officially Communist regime specifically to prevent KSA getting its hands on it.

Some believe in powerful conspiracies behind all things middle-eastern, but this decision was typical of those made at that time - Britain’s retreat from Empire - by well-meaning colonial officers working under acute time pressure - they did the best they could, tied by guidelines which they often disagreed with. The UK FCO was traditionally strongly pro-Arab. I was told that Britain did her best to pass this hot potato to the Yanks, who weren’t in the least bit interested!

The poor old Hadrimaut suffered most. They were given no choice - their sultan was a teenager at the time entirely under the influence of his colonial office mentor. Traditionally, their main connections had been with India and I think they were actually governed from Hyderabad for a while. They lived a quiet mediaeval sort of life, unfortunately for them in the wrong part of the world.

Posted by: Montreal | Aug 30 2019 15:37 utc | 61

@ 61
Trump may want to talk to Iran, but Iran doesn't want to talk until sanctions are removed. IOW Iran is in the driver's seat as the big winner in the Middle East, along with Russia and Turkey.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 30 2019 15:46 utc | 62

@ Posted by: vk | Aug 30 2019 12:05 utc | 48

> Not every oil field is profitable at USD 56.00-60.00 a barrel. In fact, I would risk to say that only few oil fields are profitable at that
> price range (the Brazilian pre-salt being one of them).

You'd be surprised. Not only is there just no way that Brazilian pre-salt [offshore] oil has cheaper production costs than KSA and their supergiant fields with excellent reservoirs, but the latter are generally the world's cheapest to produce. We're talking $10-20 per barrel (the WSJ says $8.98 as of 2016: http://graphics.wsj.com/oil-barrel-breakdown/ ). Unconventional oil is problematic at the price range you specified, but it's not a problem for giant legacy fields.

Posted by: AshenLight | Aug 30 2019 16:13 utc | 63

I thought pre-salt was not cheap. Wikipedia

" According to Petrobras, the oil and natural gas lie below an approximately 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) thick layer of salt, itself below in places more than 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) of post-salt sediments, in water depths between 2,000 and 3,000 metres (6,600 and 9,800 ft) in the South Atlantic. Drilling through the rock and salt to extract the pre-salt oil and gas is very expensive. "

Posted by: arby | Aug 30 2019 16:24 utc | 64

@steven t johnson #55
Outside of things like electronics, 3D printers can create anything - with modern variation tolerances - in small quantities.
Blueprints can be re-created or stolen.

Posted by: c1ue | Aug 30 2019 16:36 utc | 65


james@31
No, I don't think the Tories would be any better. Nor would the NDP. And there are no signs that the Greens won't squirm and ask "How High?" when Israel tells them to jump.
The point that I was making is that nobody voting Liberal can pretend that they are not voting for a Foreign Policy as bad as Harper's but more dangerous because it is wrapped in Freeland's faux feminist frills and accompanied by the sickening rhetoric of
crooked hypocrites, like Trudeau who has the gall to justify the criminal Haitian government on the grounds that-no doubt at his request- it has as many female as male kleptocrats in its ranks.
Personally I find it easier to deal with scum like Harper than Nazis waving pink ribbons like the current Liberal mob.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 30 2019 16:38 utc | 66

@AshenLight #64
@arby #65
As far as I've read, Brazilian pre-salt presents a technical challenge.
I believe overall cost is not just a function of drilling cost (note there is a relationship between cost and technology, but it isn't 1 to 1, necessarily), but of transportation, yield per well etc.
I don't pretend to be an expert, but Saudi fields are extraordinarily productive - which would reduce both transport (pipelines) and drilling cost.
In contrast, shale wells have much lower lifetime yields per well, which in turn drive up the relative impact of drilling and transport costs.
If Brazilian pre-salt has the potential to have high yields, then drilling cost would be much less a factor - whereas the oil being underwater may actually make transport easier (load directly onto a tanker rather than pipeline over land into tanks, when then get loaded to tankers).
The problem, as I understand it, is the ability to drill - not the cost per se.
Again, just what I've read. Could be totally wrong.

Posted by: c1ue | Aug 30 2019 16:42 utc | 67

You are correct. Drilling very expensive but once drilled---

"Brazil’s Pre-Salt Extraction Costs Fall To $8 Per Barrel"

don't want to break the format so won't post the link

Posted by: arby | Aug 30 2019 17:07 utc | 68

$8/barrel for offshore deepwater, and cheaper than KSA? Ha! If anyone believes that, I've got a great deal on some Florida swampland...

Posted by: AshenLight | Aug 30 2019 17:14 utc | 69

Try googling the line I posted. I thought it was expensive as well but apparently not.

Posted by: arby | Aug 30 2019 18:11 utc | 70

bevin | Aug 30 2019 16:38 | 68
james | Aug 30 2019 2:08 | 31

Admittedly OT (apologies b and others)

What about Bernier and PPC?
Would a vote there be "wasted"?


Posted by: xLemming | Aug 30 2019 19:30 utc | 71

@ Posted by: arby | Aug 30 2019 18:11 utc | 72

I saw the article, but still don't buy it. It is not standard practice to ignore infrastructure and drilling when calculating "production costs"--especially if that's where most of your capex went! In other words, that $8 figure (which, it seems, originated as hype from the mouth of Petrobras' CEO) might be true if you ignore all the real costs, but that's not an apples to apples comparison with say KSA, whose listed costs include _all related costs_, so it's fairly meaningless.

Posted by: AshenLight | Aug 30 2019 20:11 utc | 72

@AshenLight
I looked a little deeper out of curiosity.
Here is some data:
shale performance per well

Ghawar data

Note the Ghawar article doesn't say what EUR is, but we can calculate that. The first well produced an average of 15,600 barrels per day from 1948 to 1999.

I'm sure average Ghawar EUR per well is lower, but that first well produced 233,454,000 barrels of oil vs the 500K to 600K EUR for shale.

If the Brazil pre-salt has similar properties to Ghawar - i.e. can produce enormous amounts of oil per well, then the low recovery price is believable.
It is easy to see from this - how drilling costs matter more if the production is low. A $10 million drilling cost for shale means $20/barrel cost just for the drilling, but that same drilling cost for the first Ghawar well would be $0.043

Posted by: c1ue | Aug 30 2019 22:53 utc | 73

$10 million drilling cost seems on the low side though. I don't know the pre-salt resource very well but articles like this mentions that the costs of a single well can reach $200M. (It also suggests their break-even point is around $40-50/barrel.)

No field on Earth is similar to Ghawar (in terms of some of its properties, sure, but on the whole?). It is in a class by itself, as you have helped to illustrate. With it being subdivided into five or more sections, it actually has at least that many spectacular discovery wells, not just the first one.

Posted by: AshenLight | Aug 30 2019 23:42 utc | 74

Amused. However, it will still take some time for the war to wind down. I'm still hoping for the collapse of the House of Saud at the end.

Posted by: Ian | Aug 31 2019 0:59 utc | 75

@68 bevin.. okay, thanks.. i agree with you and what you state in your post...i appreciate you articulating that so well too..

ot - @73 xLemming.. i would go with what you feel is right.. at this point the mainstream parties aren't really looking after canucks priorities as i see it..

Posted by: james | Aug 31 2019 1:56 utc | 76

@Don Bacon #57 I seem to recall that at the beginning the Saudis did try a land attack, which was easily repulsed by the Houthis with a loss of something like 50 men. I'm not clear if that was 50 KIA or 50 total casualties, both dead and wounded, but it was enough that the Saudis abandoned any thought of attacking with their own soldiers. I believe the UAE did send some of their own army, but mostly they hired mercenaries, a lot of them from Sudan. I suppose from Somalia, too. Mercenaries can be good soldiers, it's just they prefer not to die. Well, no soldier really believes he's going to die, so there's that.

Posted by: Procopius | Aug 31 2019 2:01 utc | 77

reply to
I would demand Russian or Chinese mediation...
Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 29 2019 19:44 utc | 4

Lets have some real fun,demand Iran negotiate:)

Posted by: frances | Aug 31 2019 2:42 utc | 78

Somebody @ 47:

Syria under Bashar al Assad is a different country from what it was under his father Hafez al Assad. The country changed its constitution in 2012 to incorporate changes that were approved by public referendum in late 2011: changes that among other things limit presidential terms to 7-year terms and do not allow more than 2 consecutive terms, and which made the Ba'ath party into just another political party with no special privileges. Syria effectively got a multi-party parliamentary system.

I should think that meaningful elections in most Western countries are as much a laugh to most MoA barflies now as meaningful elections in Syria (and presumably also in India and Pakistan in the past when the Gandhis and the Bhuttos respectively dominated the politics of those countries) must appear to you. BTW, when does Angela Merkel leave the German Chancellorship - hasn't she had a rather long grip on it?

I'd be a bit concerned that most of those intelligence assets ... erm, sorry, "refugees" in Germany and other parts of western Europe seem to be men of military draft age, especially as most of them seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time (up to 2 years?) in "refugee camps" in southern Turkey near the Syrian border where they could have been subjected to salafist indoctrination.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 31 2019 5:15 utc | 79

I'm very impressed with the knowledge & understanding many of the commenters have here.
Yes.
Kudos.

As for myself, I've actually worked in Asir Province for ca 1 year in the late 1970's.
Ca. 50 south of Wadi Daw'Asir on the road to Najaran.
I worked with among others, a group of Yemenese everyday.
Very nice and polite as well as hardworking.
It was obvious they came from a very poor place.

Here are some 'tid-bits' I've picked-up over the years regarding the area which you may find interesting:

1) Did you know that KSA-Saudi Arabia abolished slavery in 1963?
This fact and the so-called 'saudi elites' attitude towards non-saudis being 3rd/4th class humans is, quite reminiscent of the Talmudic Pharisee's beliefs concerning goyim.
And yes, I'm familiar with Wayne Madsen's 'exposé series' :
-The Dönmeh: The Middle East’s Most Whispered Secret (Part I)
-The Dönmeh: The Middle East’s Most Whispered Secret (Part II)

2) About 20-30 yrs ago I read an analysis of the 'saudi economy'.
It's too long ago to remember who-where I read it.
However, I do remember quite clearly that the 'saudi elites' were....skimming-off-the top ca. 20% of all of the oil revenues.
This was a high credibility source I mention.

3) It is rumored...thru 2nd hand see_I_aye sources that the area at the saudi/yemenese border is FULL of 'undiscovered oil reserves'.
At that time, in the 1990's, the largest in the World!

4) At the time I was in KSA, american military were stationed where I was working.
Yes. 100% fact.

5) Many of the 'saudi elites' were very very 'americanized'.
I'll never forget, in the middle of the desert, a big dark-tanned guy in a long white robe, ca 35-40 yrs old, had his driver stop his white Toyota pickup.
I figured, what the f_ck does this guy want.
He greeted 1st in Arabic and I responded the same.
Then He started talking am.English, wanted to know about some college football team in Texas and, then lift his robe a few inches to show me his 'cowboy boots'.
Yeah.

Don't believe anything differently.

Anyway, Thank You b & MOA-brothers.
X-

Posted by: Veritas X- | Aug 31 2019 5:27 utc | 80

"This is priceless", as we say back home.
It s priceless to see those bastard murderers left behind do die in the desert by
the very one they relied upon to seed terror along and pour blood over the bible aged ancestor's land.
And in all the three or four tipping points of the Turkish
lifeline decisions (to cling or not to US, to go or not to go for the UE 's dream...), in all thise moments the russian diplomacy has played its cards pretty well. And won and that s one of the reasons why bad Vlad of the Kremlin is the greatest statesman of our time.

Posted by: augusto | Aug 31 2019 12:11 utc | 81

Why would Saudi Arabia have to sue since they are the "plaintiff" in the action? All they'd have to do is withdraw their offensive military assets and stand guard at their border to repel any counter-attacks.

Posted by: Vonu | Aug 31 2019 21:32 utc | 82

Will the King hold his son responsible for the large loss of money and face that he caused? -- b top post.

The extent to which MBS has been able to grab power is amazing. King Salman has reigned him in a few times, most important is imho preventing him from selling off part of Aramco.

MBS’ position shows up the terminal weakness of the Saudi Royals Régime: An idiotic naive chancer at the helm, seemingly immovable.

MBS’ ‘modernizing’ moves were not new. KSA’s efforts in this direction have always been for-show, to attract investors, make nice, etc. be accepted, championed, by the ROW. Embracing ‘modernity’ - ‘equality’ with stilted jargon about entrepreneurship, outreach, creativity, women in the work force, diversification, etc. (link.) Ex. Allowing women to hold driving licenses is a joke if they are not free to go out without a male supervisor.

The massive sequestering and torture of rivals, ha ha in a Ritz-Carlton no less, or a group of opponents? (idk..?) grabbing billions in ransom, killing off opposition, a violent Palace Coup, was something to behold - new for KSA. Not sibling rivalry, not an internal family fight, an unfortunate circumscribed quarrel. Imho, the hold of the KSA Royals was very much weakened.

The attack on Yemen, similar.. Fight now lost (see b) at great cost, though being a client - vassal state of the US will provide some protection for some time.

KSA will break up, splinter (internal at top murderous strife, already there; insuperable problems with water, food, more, leading to civil war or similar) or be taken over by another power, within the next 15 years.

Ex. 2030 vision is the same old:

https://vision2030.gov.sa/sites/default/files/report/Saudi_Vision2030_EN_2017.pdf

ROW = rest of the world

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 1 2019 14:33 utc | 83

Vonu @84 asked: "Why would Saudi Arabia have to sue since they are the "plaintiff" in the action?"

Just because a thug/bully starts a fight doesn't mean they can simply walk away if the fight doesn't go their way. Speaking for myself, I have never started a fight, but I have always finished them, and that finish has never been at a time the bully would have preferred.

The soddies cannot just run away and hide behind an ocean like the United States does when they lose a fight that they start.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 1 2019 15:07 utc | 84

So the Wall Street Journal regard this as a Civil War? Clueless at least is what I can say for this prominent representative of MSM

Posted by: Corrugated | Sep 14 2019 7:22 utc | 85

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