Saudi Arabia’s inability to defeat tiny, poor Yemen blows a gaping hole in President Trump and Netanyahu’s Middle East strategy. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
It’s pretty clear. Saudi Arabia has lost, and, notes Bruce Riedel, “the Houthis and Iran are the strategic winners”. Saudi proxies in Aden – the seat of Riyadh’s Yemeni proto-‘government’ – have been turfed out by secular, former Marxist, southern secessionists. What can Saudi Arabia do? It cannot go forward. Even tougher would be retreat. Saudi will have to contend with an Houthi war being waged inside the kingdom’s south; and a second – quite different – war in Yemen’s south. MbS is stuck. The Houthi military leadership are on a roll, and disinterested – for now – in a political settlement. They wish to accumulate more ‘cards’. The UAE, which armed and trained the southern secessionists has opted out. MbS is alone, ‘carrying the can’. It will be messy.
So, what is the meaning in this? It is that MbS cannot ‘deliver’ what Trump and Kushner needed, and demanded from him: He cannot any more deliver the Gulf ‘world’ for their grand projects – let alone garner together the collective Sunni ‘world’ to enlist in a confrontation with Iran, or for hustling the Palestinians into abject subordination, posing as ‘solution’.
What happened? It seems that MbZ must have bought into the Mossad ‘line’ that Iran was a ‘doddle’. Under pressure of global sanctions, Iran would quickly crumble, and would beg for negotiations with Trump. And that the resultant, punishing treaty would see the dismantling of all of Iran’s troublesome allies around the region. The Gulf thus would be free to continue shaping a Middle East free from democracy, reformers and (those detested) Islamists.
The Saudi war on Yemen is only over if somebody in the Saudi leadership, notably Mohammad bin Salman, has half a brain. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:
Today Saudi Arabia finally lost the war on Yemen. It has no defenses against new weapons the Houthis in Yemen acquired. These weapons threaten the Saudis economic lifelines. This today was the decisive attack:
Drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked a massive oil and gas field deep inside Saudi Arabia’s sprawling desert on Saturday, causing what the kingdom described as a “limited fire” in the second such recent attack on its crucial energy industry.
The Saudi acknowledgement of the attack came hours after Yahia Sarie, a military spokesman for the Houthis, issued a video statement claiming the rebels launched 10 bomb-laden drones targeting the field in their “biggest-ever” operation. He threatened more attacks would be coming.
New drones and missiles displayed in July 2019 by Yemen’s Houthi-allied armed forces
Today’s attack is a check mate move against the Saudis. Shaybah is some 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) from Houthi-controlled territory. There are many more important economic targets within that range:
The field’s distance from rebel-held territory in Yemen demonstrates the range of the Houthis’ drones. U.N. investigators say the Houthis’ new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 kilometers (930 miles). That puts Saudi oil fields, an under-construction Emirati nuclear power plant and Dubai’s busy international airport within their range.Unlike sophisticated drones that use satellites to allow pilots to remotely fly them, analysts believe Houthi drones are likely programmed to strike a specific latitude and longitude and cannot be controlled once out of radio range. The Houthis have used drones, which can be difficult to track by radar, to attack Saudi Patriot missile batteries, as well as enemy troops.
The Saudis are learning a lesson about the decentralization of violence and the ability of lesser powers and insurgencies to fight major military powers to a standoff. It’s a lesson the US government should have learned many times over. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
The Saudis just learned that some moments in history show their significance as they unfold. Iran shooting down a U.S. Global Hawk stealth drone and President Trump refusing his war-hawk cabinet in retaliating militarily is one of them.
I said then and still maintain that this was a turning point in the history of the world.
Any retaliation by the U.S. would be catastrophic for the world economy. It would unleash a regional conflict on multiple fronts which would not be any kind of controlled theater…
… That for all the might of the U.S. military and financial empire, its weaknesses are deep enough that even a relatively weak military and economy like Iran’s can stop it all dead cold because of basic things like geography, logistics and simple human resolve.
Many people misinterpreted these statements, and, indeed the entire article, to mean that Iran could stand up to the U.S. in a direct military conflict and prevail. Nonsense.
War today isn’t just fought with soldiers, bombs, guns and drones. It’s fought in all theatres including the commodities futures and forex markets.
And Trump backing down had everything to do with the fragility of the world economy and his own worries over getting re-elected if his military invasion of Iran sent oil to $250 per barrel.
As we move farther downstream from that event things become clearer just how important it was. Sure, Trump et. al. will fulminate and commit provocations, like impounding the Grace 1 oil tanker, but as far as anything substantive it’s all rearguard actions as the U.S.’s opposition in the Middle East counter-attack.
And the Saudis are the natural weak link in the U.S./Saudi/Israeli alliance pushing for the balkanization of Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran; the ultimate goal of all U.S. foreign policy objectives in the region.
Attacking Iran will hasten the decline of the American empire. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:
The transition in recent years from a unipolar to a multipolar world order has created international tensions that seem to threaten to escalate into clashes between regional and global powers.
In 2014 we were almost at the point of no return in Ukraine following the coup d’etat supported and funded by NATO and involving extremist right-wing Ukrainian nationalists. The conflict in the Donbass risked escalating into a conflict between NATO and the Russian Federation, every day in the summer and autumn of 2014 threatening to be doomsday. Rather than respond to the understandable impulse to send Russian troops into Ukraine to defend the population of Donbass, Putin had the presense of mind to pursue the less direct and more sensible strategy of supporting the material capacity of the residents of Donbass to resist the depredations of the Ukrainian army and their neo-Nazi Banderite thugs. Meanwhile, Europe’s inept leaders initially egged on Ukraine’s destabilization, only to get cold feet after reflecting on the possibility of having a conflict between Moscow and Washington fought on European soil.
With the resistance in Donbass managing to successfully hold back Ukrainian assaults, the conflict began to freeze, almost to the point of a complete ceasefire, even as Ukrainian provocations continue to this day.
Tensions were then focussed on Syria, where a mercenary army of at least 200,000 men, armed and trained by the US, UK, Israel, France, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, almost managed to completely topple the country. Russian intervention in 2015 managed to save the country with no time to spare, destroying large numbers of terrorists and reorganizing the Syrian armed forces and training and equipping them with the necessary means to beat back the jihadi waves. The Russians also ensured control of the skies through their network of Pantsir-S1, Pantsir-S2, S-300 and S-400 air-defence systems, together with their impressive jamming (Krasukha-4), command and control information management system (Strelets C4ISR System) and electronic-warfare technologies (1RL257 Krasukha-4).
Posted in Collapse, Eurasian Axis, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Intelligence, Military
Tagged Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia
The history of US troops in Saudi Arabia offers no encouragement for the current US deployment there. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
It was big news. U.S. military forces streamed into Saudi Arabia in response to a supposedly serious threat to the kingdom’s eastern region. The American troops were invited by nervous Saudi royals; it wasn’t an American invasion per se. Everything unfolded smoothly at first; still, the consequences would be severe for the United States. Pick up the latest Military Times, or any other news source, and the story will seem recent, if not worthy of any special attention or alarm. Indeed, US troops are headed into Saudi Arabia right now, but that’s not the situation described above.
No, that happened in August 1990, in response to the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq—a nation, few remembered, that the US had previously backed in its aggressive war with Iran (1980-88). The kingdom then served as a launch point for the U.S.-led Persian Gulf War (1991) which drove the Iraqis from tiny Kuwait. American soldiers pulled out of Saudi Arabia just over a decade later, in 2003. Now they’re rolling back in. History, as it’s said to do, seems to be repeating itself.
This time, however, the ostensible threat to Saudi Arabia comes from naughty Iran, the American national security state’s current favorite exaggerated villain. And, of course, Iran—unlike our onetime “partners” in Iraq—hasn’t invaded anybody. Thus, the US troop infusion is more preemptive than reactive. It’s no matter; few Americans (or even most media/political elites) seem to notice.
If Iran blocks the Straits of Hormuz, it will inflict major damage on the global economy, regardless of any assurances Saudi Arabia has offered. From Cyril Widdershoven at oilprice.com:
Saudi Arabia’s CEO Amin Nasr’s message to the press that oil flows to the market are guaranteed, should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Looking at the current volatility in the Persian/Arabian Gulf and the possibility of a temporary closure of the Strait of Hormuz, the Aramco CEO’s message might be a bit overoptimistic. In reality, Aramco will not be able to keep the necessary crude oil and products volumes flowing to Asian and European markets in the case of a full Strait of Hormuz blockade. Even that Aramco owns and operates a crude oil pipeline with a capacity of 5 million bpd, carrying crude 1,200 kilometers between the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea, much more is needed to keep the oil market stable.
Trump and company are pressing hard for negotiations that would entail Iran accepting provisions it will never accept. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.com:
fter a somewhat quiet weekend the Trump administration today engaged in another push against Iran.
Today the Treasury Department sanctioned the leaders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It also sanctioned Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and his office! There will be no more Disney Land visits for them.
There is more to come:
Josh Rogin – @joshrogin – 16:18 utc – 24 Jun 2019Mnuchin: “The president has instructed me that we will be designating [Iran’s foreign minister Javad] Zarif later this week.” cc: @JZarif
The Treasury Secretary will designate Javad Zarif as what? A terrorist? Zarif is quite effective in communicating the Iranian standpoint on Twitter and other social media. Those accounts will now be shut down.
The Trump administration’s special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, said today that Iran should respond to U.S. diplomacy with diplomacy. Sanctioning Iran’s chief diplomat is probably not the way to get there.
All those who get sanctioned by the U.S. will gain in popularity in Iran. These U.S. measures will only unite the people of Iran and strengthen their resolve.
Iran will respond to this new onslaught by asymmetric means of which it has plenty.
On Saturday Trump said that all he wants is that Iran never gets nuclear weapons. But the State Department wants much more. Hook today said that the U.S. would only lift sanctions if a comprehensive deal is made that includes ballistic missile and human rights issues. Iran can not agree to that. But this is not the first time that Pompeo demanded more than Trump himself. Is it Pompeo, not Trump, who is pressing this expanded version to make any deal impossible?
Posted in Energy, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Military, War
Tagged Iran, Israel, Mike Pompeo, Oil, President Trump, Saudi Arabia