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The World Turned Upside Down

By Martin Sieff | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 13, 2019

When a still-bewildered General Earl Charles Cornwallis surrendered his entire army to George Washington and to the Comte de Rochambeau at Yorktown in 1781, according to legend, a British military band heightened the humiliation by playing a ballad called, “The World Turned Upside Down.” The composer Lin Manuel Miranda later reimagined the song as a hit number in his acclaimed modern musical “Hamilton.”

In a time without speed of light communications, telegraph wires, radio or Internet, the fall of the British Empire in America still rocked the entire world. It was celebrated and welcomed from the Emir of Kuwait to the Tsarina Catherine in St. Petersburg.

Yet when the Houthi rebel movement that controls much of Yemen wiped out three Saudi Brigades and inflicted at least 2,500 casualties at the end of September, the Western media ignored it.

The outstanding analysis of Frederico Pierracini on this web site still stands virtually alone in offering unparalleled assessment of that event.

It is out of fashion among Western commentators to admit that any “decisive battles” can happen anywhere unless they are safely in the past and the United States has won them. But when the Nazi Wehrmacht overthrew the legendary French Army in six weeks of operations in 1940 and when the Red Army wiped out the elite combat forces of the Nazis at Stalingrad in the fall of 1942, those battles were indeed decisive and the clock could never be turned back from them.

The humiliating defeat that the Houthis have just inflicted on the Saudis is of comparable epochal significance. It does far, far more than confirm the victory of the Houthis in the long, needlessly prolonged civil war in Yemen that has killed at least 100,000 civilians over the past four years. The Houthis are now poised to bring the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia itself crashing down.

There is dark poetic justice to this development. The House of Saud will fall as it rose, by a clash of arms in which a young, harsh but dedicated revolutionary movement challenged a worthless old reactionary regime supported by the great imperial power of the day and then destroyed it.

Saudi Arabia’s founding father King Abdulaziz ibn Saud was a dashing, charismatic young tribal leader whose conquest of Arabia from the previously dominant but lethargic, petty, and corrupt Hashemite Dynasty eerily foreshadows the rise of the Houthis today.

The Hashemites enjoyed the religious leadership of the Holy Cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina. They had previously served the Ottoman Turkish Empire but during World War I, they eagerly embraced the British Empire whom the family correctly judged to be on the rise and certain to supplant the Turks as the dominant empire of the Middle East.

This Hashemite reading of global strategy was correct. But there was one insurmountable problem. Sherif Hussein of Mecca was such a uniformly despised, unjust and unsympathetic loser that he was capable of leading no one, and most of his family was no better.

The British led by Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill embraced the Hashemites in the 1920s and put one of Sherif Hussein’s sons, King Feisal I on the throne of Iraq. Even with British military support, the family was hated there too. In 1958, the entire Hashemite Royal Family of Iraq was machine gunned to death in Baghdad in a massacre that shocked the world.

Back in the mid-1920s, Sherif Hussein himself had already been driven out of Arabia by Abdelaziz and the House of Saud. Not all the might of the British Empire and not all the efforts of Winston Churchill could save him.

So when the time came to explore the oil resources of Arabia, Abdelaziz spurned the British and gave the vital concessions to American oil companies instead. In May 1933, the Saudi Arabian government granted a concession to SoCal – the Standard Oil Company of California – in preference to a rival bid from the British-controlled Iraq Petroleum Company. It was the forerunner of today’s giant Saudi Aramco oil corporation.

However, all the fabled Saudi oil wealth of the past 80 years was based on their previous conquest of the Arabian Peninsula. The core military lesson was clear: Brave, passionate troops with dynamic, energetic leaders will always beat wealthier, larger and better equipped forces led by tired, corrupt and worthless rulers.

Now history is repeating itself, except this time the Saudis are going to be its losers not its winners.

The Houthi victory serves notice that the Saudis have met their nemesis. Arrogant, reckless young Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman has had ample time over the past few years ago to call off his ferocious, cruel and bloody air campaign against the people of Yemen. He did not do so and it is too late now.

Payback is coming. And it will not stop at the borders of Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The world is about to turn upside down again.

October 13, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

Yemen’s Ansarullah offers new prisoner swap deal to Saudi-backed ex-govt

Press TV – October 11, 2019

Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has offered the Saudi-backed former government a new deal for exchange of prisoners over a week after the popular movement unilaterally released hundreds of detainees.

Head of Yemen’s National Committee for Prisoners Affairs (NCPA), Abdulqader al-Mortada, said Friday the group had told “local mediators” that it was ready to implement a prison exchange within one week.

“We are waiting for the other side to respond,” he noted, according to a report by Al Masirah TV.

The Ansarullah official said the deal offered to the other side would cover 2,000 prisoners in the “first phase”.

The offer came days after the Houthi movement released hundreds prisoners, including three Saudi nationals, in its latest goodwill gesture.

Through the release, the Ansarullah movement and its allies in the Yemeni army said they sought to underline their commitment to peace negotiations held in Sweden last December.

The talks with Yemen’s Saudi-backed former government resulted in an agreement, which calls for a ceasefire in Hudaydah, a prisoner exchange and a statement of understanding on the southern city of Ta’izz.

The unilateral release of prisoners proved Ansarullah’s “credibility in implementing the Sweden agreement and we call on the other party to take a comparable step,” the NCPA head said at the time.

The released detainees were “included in the prisoner lists of the Sweden deal,” Mortada said in a press conference.

Mortada noted that the Ansarullah movement launched the initiative due to the big delay in the implementation of the prisoner swap deal.

It is the latest goodwill gesture from the Ansarullah movement which called for a cessation of strikes in September.

President of the Supreme Political Council in the Yemeni capital, Mahdi al-Mashat, on September 20 said the Ansarullah movement would stop targeting Saudi territories with drones and ballistic missiles, hoping Riyadh would reciprocate the gesture.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the former regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 91,000 over the past four and a half years.

The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.

October 11, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | 1 Comment

Yemen Is Now Saudi Arabia’s “Vietnam War”

By Paul Antonopoulos | October 1, 2019

Something does not appear right in Saudi Arabia. Although the Wahhabi Kingdom has a technological, demographical and economical advantage over Yemen, it has completely failed to break the Yemeni resistance, headed by the Houthi-led Ansarullah Movement. The Ansarullah Movement has not just been on the defensive against Saudi Arabia’s advancements, but has also taken the fight directly to them despite the Kingdom controlling the seas and the high skies.

On September 14, the Yemeni Resistance attacked a Saudi Aramco oil facility, causing billions of dollars in damage that will take months to completely fix. However, it is the capture of thousands of Saudi soldiers, including high-ranking officers, and mercenaries that has consolidated the idea that Saudi Arabia is experiencing its own so-called “Vietnam War.”

Although Saudi Arabia has the fifth biggest military budget in the world, ahead of even Russia, France and the United Kingdom, it has not been able to dislodge the Ansarullah Movement from power. With Saudi Arabia dropping bombs indiscriminately in Yemen, including on mosques, markets, schools, hospitals, wedding parties and funeral processions, the country has become the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis. Even Ansarullah leader Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi has visibly lost a significant amount of weight over the course of the war as over 10 million Yemenis are starving or on the verge of starvation.

Saudi Arabia’s state budget is fuelled by oil and the Aramco company is in the six largest corporations globally, with annual revenue of around $350 billion recently, about the GDP of Denmark. Yemen is far off from Saudi Arabia in every developmental metric, but yet, they have not been able to dislodge the Ansarullah Movement from the Yemeni capital of Sana’a.

Saudi Arabia has mobilized about 150,000 of its soldiers and mostly Sudanese mercenaries, and has used hundreds of jets with U.S.-provided weapons to attack Yemen and its infrastructure because of their defiance in not being subjugated to Riyadh’s demands. Saudi officials also went on a diplomatic mission to include Morocco, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Sudan in their war against Yemen. This was all in an effort to remove what Riyadh believes to be an Iranian proxy on its border, an allegation both the Ansarullah Movement and Tehran deny.

Ansarullah have not just remained passive as the Saudi-led coalition began its aggression, and have utilized rockets and drones to attack directly into Saudi Arabia’s southern regions, despite the Kingdom possessing the U.S.-made Patriot Missile Defense System. Although Saudi Arabia has air and naval superiority, it cannot convert this control into successes on the ground, and rather has relied on mercenaries, to fight its war against the Ansarullah Movement.

One is not motivated to unnecessarily die for the sake of money, but are willing to take the risk of dying, two very different things. It is for this reason, on Saturday, the Ansarullah Movement captured over a thousand soldiers from the Saudi Coalition, mostly low-ranking soldiers and Sudanese mercenaries, but also some high-ranking officers, when they were surrounded and ambushed. The mercenaries are willing to fight for money, but not die in vain, which is why they surrendered en masse when flanked by the Ansarullah fighters.

Well, comparisons with Vietnam can certainly begin to be drawn now. It is much deeper than the analogy of David and Goliath, as by all means, the odds should be further into Riyadh’s favor rather than Goliath’s was against David.

Saudi Arabia has used all their political leverage in the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council, invested billions into a costly war that it had no reason to intervene in and suffered a dramatic defeat. How could the Ansarullah Movement with limited resources and on the verge of starvation do this? It was concluded by Riyadh that the only explanation for this embarrassment is that Iran orchestrated the attack against Aramco and captured the thousands of soldiers. This bares resemblance to when the U.S. refused to recognize that the Vietnamese were defeating them, and credited the Vietnamese victory directly to the Soviet Union and China, rather than the Vietnamese people.

Riyadh diverting attention away from the Ansarullah movement helps them save face as they can accredit the victories to a rival anti-U.S. and anti-Israel regional power, Iran. Therefore, this can help legitimize a U.S. intervention in Yemen as Saudi-Iranian relations are traditionally poor over theocratical, geopolitical and economic reasons.

More importantly, it could bait Washington to justify military aggression against Iran. However, for the U.S. and Israel, the possibility of waging a “proxy conflict” between Saudi Arabia and Iran would be preferable with their limited intervention. This is a risky gambit as Saudi Arabia produces about 15% of crude oil globally, and can significantly influence the world economy.

Although it would be in Saudi Arabia’s interest to avoid being bogged down in an endless war that drains its resources and manpower, as the U.S. had experienced in their invasion of Vietnam, there is little suggestion that it will disengage from what is the Arab world’s poorest country.

Simply comparing the military budgets of Saudi Arabia and/or the U.S.’ with Yemen or Iran, is not enough to predict a final outcome of this conflict, as Saudi Arabia is learning the hard way with the continued setbacks. With over a thousand soldiers and mercenaries captured, it shows Riyadh has a fighting force lacking motivation and willingness. This is completely opposite to the Ansarullah Movement that believes its engaged in an anti-imperialist struggle.

If Saudi Arabia is to avoid further economic risk and military embarrassments, it would be in the primary interest of Saudi Arabia to disengage in Yemen and accept its losses on this front in the wider Saudi-Iranian geopolitical rivalry. Just as the U.S. finally found the sense to withdraw from Vietnam after a long 18 year involvement that resulted in nearly 60,000 American deaths, Riyadh now must find its sense, much quicker than Washington’s policy towards Vietnam, and accept the situation in Yemen is untenable and unwinnable.

Paul Antonopoulos is the director of the Multipolarity research centre.

October 1, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Three Saudi Brigades Annihilated in Devastating Houthi Offensive in Saudi Arabia

By Federico Pieraccini | Strategic Culture Foundation | September 30, 2019

Many may have hitherto been led to believe that the Houthis were a ragtag armed force lacking in sophistication. Many, seeing the drone and missile attacks on Saudi oil plants, may have declared it to be a false-flag attack carried out by Riyadh to boost Aramco’s market value; either that or it was an operation carried out by Iran or even Israel. On Saturday September 28, the Houthis put paid to such speculation by confirming what many, like myself, have been writing for months; that is, that the asymmetrical tactics of the Houthis, combined with the conventional capabilities of the Yemeni army, are capable of bringing the Saudi kingdom of Mohammed Bin Salman to its knees.

The Yemeni army’s missile forces are able to carry out highly complex attacks, no doubt as a result of reconnaissance provided by the local Shia population within the Kingdom that is against the House of Saud’s dictatorship. These Houthi sympathisers within Saudi Arabia helped in target identification, carried out reconnaissance within the plants, found the most vulnerable and impactful points, and passed this intelligence on to the Houthis and Yemeni army. These Yemeni forces employed locally produced means to severely degrade Saudi Arabia’s crude-oil-extraction and processing plants. The deadly strikes halved oil production and threatened to continue with other targets if the Saudi-conducted genocide in Yemen did not stop.

On Saturday 29 the Houthis and the Yemeni army conducted an incredible conventional attack lasting three days that began from within Yemen’s borders. The operation would have involved months of intelligence gathering and operational planning. It was a far more complex attack than that conducted against Aramco’s oil facilities. Initial reports indicate that the forces of the Saudi-led coalition were lured into vulnerable positions and then, through a pincer movement conducted quickly within Saudi territory, the Houthis surrounded the town of Najran and its outskirts and got the better of three Saudi brigades numbering in the thousands and including dozens of senior officers as well as numerous combat vehicles. This event is a game changer, leaving the US, Mike Pompeo and the Israelis and Saudis unable to lay the blame on Iran as all this took place a long way from Iran.

The large-scale operation was preceded by Yemeni rocket artillery targeting Jizan airport, with 10 missiles paralyzing any movements to and from the airport, including denying the possibility of air support for the encircled troops. The Houthis also hit the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh in a key operation that targeted Apache helicopters, forcing them to leave the area. Nearby military bases were also targeted so as to cut off any reinforcements and disrupt the chain of command. This led to the Saudi forces fleeing in disorganization. Images shown by the Houthis show a road in the middle of a valley on the outskirts of Najran with dozens of Saudi armored vehicles trying to flee while being attacked from both sides by Houthi RPGs together with heavy and light weapons. Visual confirmation of the debacle can be seen in the number of casualties as well as in the number of prisoners taken. Images show lines of Saudi prisoners walking under Yemeni guard towards prison camps. This is something extraordinary to behold: the Saudi army, the third largest purchaser of weapons in the world, getting comprehensively walloped by one of the poorest countries in the world. The numbers say it all: the Houthis were able to control more than 350 kilometers of Saudi territory. Given that the Saudi military budget is almost 90 billion dollars a year, this achievement is made all the more extraordinary.

Houthi forces employed drones, missiles, anti-aircraft systems, as well as electronic warfare to prevent the Saudis from supporting their troops with aviation or other means to assist their trapped men. Testimony from Saudi soldiers suggest that efforts to rescue them were half-hearted and of little effect. Saudi prisoners of war accuse their military leaders of having left them prey to their opponents.

The Yemeni army and the Houthis were within less than 10 days able to inflict a devastating blow to both the credibility of US defense systems and the Saudi military. They did this by employing creative methods suitable for the objective at hand.

They initially revealed the internal vulnerability of the Kingdom through such a level of penetration into Saudi Arabia that they were able to conduct internal reconnaissance through the assistance of infiltrators or local collaborators so as to know exactly where to hit the oil installations for maximum effect and damage.

They subsequently demonstrated their technical and cyber capabilities through an asymmetrical operation employing drones of various types as well as electronic warfare to blind the US Patriot system’s radars, in the process halving Saudi Arabia’s oil production for a period of time Aramco is yet to determine.

Finally, the most surprising and astounding aspect of these recent events is this most recent Yemeni ground operation that was carried out in hostile territory and succeeded in surrounding three brigades consisting of thousands of men and their equipment. Thousands of Yemeni soldiers loyal to Ansarullah (Houthis) took part in this successful operation, supported by drones, ground-attack aircraft and air-defense batteries. Such capabilities are ordinarily better associated with well-trained and well-equipped militaries rather than militaries coming from the Third World.

The Houthis issued a clear message to Riyadh when they hit its oil installations. They effectively let it be known that they had the means and capability to damage the Kingdom irreparably, leading ultimately to the overthrow of the House of Saud.

The Yemeni army spokesman announced, after hitting the Saudi oil facilities, that they would stop all offensive actions using drones and missiles, leaving it up to Riyadh to decide whether things stopped there and they sat down at the negotiating table to end the conflict, or whether Saudi Arabia was in the mood for more of the same treatment.

Mohammed bin Salman would no doubt have received manifold reassurances from the Americans, explaining away the failure of the Patriot systems and assuring him that more American assistance was on the way; and that it would, moreover, be impossible to come to an agreement with the Houthis, especially given that they are considered to be a proxy of the Iranians (a debunked lie); not to mention, of course, the huge loss of prestige that would befall the Saudis, Israelis and Americans were such a capitulation to occur.

There is already talk in Riyadh of receiving new supplies of the THAAD system (similarly useless against Houthi asymmetrical warfare) and other very expensive American air-defense systems. It is too bad for the Saudis that the US has nothing like the Pantsir and the Russian BUK systems, which allow for a multi-layered air defense, ideal for defending against small, low-flying drones and missiles that are difficult to intercept with such systems as the Patriot and THAAD.

Instead of starting peace talks to stop the ongoing genocide in Yemen and being hit again by the Houthis in response, Mohammed bin Salman and his advisors seem to have seen it fit to commit further war crimes in Yemen.

Faced with such intransigence, the Houthis went ahead with a new attack even more devastating for Saudi morale and discombobulating for Western policy-makers. Thousands of men and their equipment were either killed, wounded, or taken captive in a pincer movement reminiscent of the DPR and LNR’s actions in Ukraine in 2015 where Kiev’s forces was similarly surrounded and destroyed.

Usually such pincer movements require thorough reconnaissance to determine where best to surround the enemy. Furthermore, air support and air-defense systems would be necessary to ward off American and Saudi responses. In addition to all this, troops and their equipment are needed together with the necessary training for such assaults that require coordination as well as quick and effective execution of orders. All these requirements were met as a result of the excellent preparation and knowledge of the terrain by the Yemeni army and the Houthis.

If the attack on Saudi oil facilities had such an impact, then the even more dramatic attack of this last Saturday will have forced Mohammed bin Salman and his American allies to face a very harsh reality. Saudi Arabia, it will now need to be recognized, does not have the capacity to defend its borders from Yemen, leaving the Houthis and the Yemeni army free to enter Saudi territory at will while showing little regard for the opinion and feelings of the Saudis and Americans.

This is a triple checkmate for the Houthis against Riyadh. Firstly, they showed that they had enough local support within Saudi Arabia to have ready internal saboteurs in the event of an all-out war with Iran or Yemen. Then they showed they have the capacity to cripple Saudi Arabia’s oil production. Ultimately, Yemen’s conventional forces could redraw the boundaries between Saudi Arabia and Yemen in the latter’s favor should Yemeni leaders decide to invade and occupy a strip of Saudi territory to secure a buffer zone, given that Saudi forces have been violating Yemen’s sovereignty and massacring civilians willy nilly for the last five years.

It bears reflecting on the significance of these events. The third-biggest arms spender in the world is incapable of defeating the poorest Arab country in the world. It is, moreover, incapable of protecting its national interest and borders from this impoverished Arab country. The Houthis are showing to the world what a poor but organized and motivated armed force can do using asymmetrical methods to bring one of the best-equipped militaries in the world to its knees. This conflict will be studied all over the world as an example of how a new means of warfare is possible when technological and cyber capabilities are democratized and available to those who know how to use them appropriately, as the Houthis have shown with their use of drones and electronic warfare.

With the Houthis enjoying a high level of leverage, through a combination of missile capabilities, the holding of many prisoners of war, and saboteurs spread throughout Saudi Arabia (apropos, a strange fire occurred in Jeddah on Sunday at the Al-Haramain railway station), it may be time for Riyadh to accept the tragic consequences of this useless war and sit down at the negotiating table with Ansarullah.

Washington and Tel Aviv will try in every way to prevent such negotiations. But if Mohammed bin Salman and his family wish to save their kingdom, it is better to start talking to the Houthis immediately. Otherwise it is only a matter of time before another attack by Ansarullah leads to the complete collapse and ruin of the House of Saud and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

September 30, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

US and EU Gang up to Demonize Iran Over Saudi Airstrikes

Strategic Culture Foundation | September 27, 2019

The European Union’s statement this week condemning Iran over the recent airstrikes on Saudi Arabia’s key oil industry sites was a tawdry piece of political cowardice. Not only tawdry, but dangerous as well.

For the EU is giving credence to Washington’s intensified attempts to demonize Iran, imposing ever-harsher economic sanctions and escalating tensions that could explode into an all-out war. Ironically, this is in spite of the EU claiming to be facilitating diplomacy to promote peace and security in the Middle East.

To be more precise, it wasn’t an EU joint statement issued at the United Nations general assembly this week. It was a statement formulated by only three members of the bloc: Britain, France and Germany. In practice, however, the biggest members of the EU were speaking on behalf of the others. (Full statement here.)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated the following:

“We condemn in the strongest terms the attacks on oil facilities on Saudi territory on September 14, 2019 in Abqaiq and Khurais, and reaffirm in this context our full solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its population. It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation. We support ongoing investigations to establish further details.”

Thus, the Europeans are repeating assertions made by the United States and Saudi Arabia by which they accuse Iran of being responsible for firing drones and cruise missiles at the vital Saudi oil installations. No credible proof has so far been presented to support such an assertion.

The European powers are engaging in a reprehensible blame game which will only embolden further Washington’s reckless aggression against Iran.

Tehran has categorically rejected all accusations that it was in some way involved in the airstrikes against Saudi Arabia. The Yemeni Houthi rebels have from the outset following the attacks claimed full responsibility.

Iran may support the Yemeni rebels and have at some time provided weapon technology, but the Houthis are capable of developing and deploying their own fire power.

By blaming Iran, the US and Europeans are giving political cover to Saudi Arabia and its nefarious role in starting and waging a genocidal war against Yemen for the past four years. It is arguably the right of the Yemenis to retaliate against Saudi Arabia in acts of self-defense. And it is in Iran’s right to support the Yemenis, just as the US, British and French support Saudi Arabia. Why should there be a double standard?

What is even more despicable is that the European trio (the so-called E3) have been massive weapons suppliers to Saudi Arabia, in particular Britain and France. The British and French (and Americans, of course) have made hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years from weaponizing the Saudi war on Yemen, even though that has led to nearly 100,000 civilian deaths. Why doesn’t the E3 issue condemnation, rather than “solidarity” to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, over this genocidal slaughter?

A further aspect to the joint statement issued by Britain, France and Germany is that these powers are signaling their support for US President Donald Trump’s efforts at sabotaging the international nuclear accord with Iran. That landmark deal was co-signed by the US, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China back in July 2015.

Trump reneged on the UN-endorsed treaty when he unilaterally walked away from it in May 2018. It was typical American bad faith and backsliding whenever international agreements don’t suit their selfish interests.

Russia and China continue to support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, as the nuclear deal is known formally as). Iran has recently begun to suspend certain commitments, such as increasing stocks of enriched uranium. The Iranian position of partial non-compliance is understandable. The US has trashed its obligations to the deal, and the Europeans have barely stepped up to the plate to implement sanctions relief for Iran, which is mandated by the JCPOA. Four years after the deal was done!

Britain, France and Germany claim to be still committed to the nuclear deal, according to a press statement by EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Federica Mogherini at the UN this week.

But it is evident that, on the contrary, the E3 troika is instead moving to undermine the JCPOA. Blaming Iran with groundless accusations of attacking Saudi Arabia is part of the sinister shift by stealth. The day before the E3 issued their joint statement, Britain’s Boris Johnson was disparaging the nuclear as a “bad deal” and urged a renegotiation for what he sycophantically called a “Trump deal”.

Here is another weasel-worded section from the EU joint statement:

“Conscious of the importance of collective efforts to guarantee regional stability and security, we reiterate our conviction that the time has come for Iran to accept negotiation [sic] on a long-term framework for its nuclear program as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles program and other means of delivery… We urge Iran to engage in such a dialogue and refrain from further provocation and escalation.”

That is a clear – albeit with backhanded verbosity – attempt to pressure Iran into accepting Trump’s demand for the JCPOA to be replaced by further restrictions on Iran’s rights to pursue self-defense and normal regional and international relations. In weak-kneed fashion, the EU is augmenting Trump’s agenda of demonizing and criminalizing Iran so that it might succumb to subjugation.

Why the Europeans are acting with such cynicism is to conceal the glaring fact of their own weakness vis-a-vis Washington’s dictates and imperialist bullying. They should be admonishing the Americans for bad faith and reckless aggression; they should be condemning Saudi Arabia for a merciless slaughter in Yemen; they should be with-holding lucrative weapons sales to Saudi Arabia if they were really interested in peace; and if the Europeans really were genuine about non-proliferation and Middle Eastern stability, they should be whole-heartedly implementing the nuclear accord with Iran and providing the country the normalized economic trade that it is entitled to – just as Russia and China have done.

But no. And so to cover up their spinelessness, the Europeans are obliged to gang up with Washington to blame the victim of imperialist abuse – Iran. Such European cowardice is leading to more conflict.

September 27, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Saudis Blame Iran for Aramco Strikes But Retaliate by Bombing Yemeni Civilians

By Ahmed Abdulkareem | MintPress News | September 24, 2019

AMRAN, YEMEN — Unlike the burning fields of neighboring Saudi Arabia, in Yemen scenes of massive fires have become commonplace, a reality that civilians do not accept but have come to expect. For nearly five years, since the Saudi-led Coalition began its bombing campaign in Yemen, Yemeni residents have watched as their neighbors’ homes have burned to the ground, often with whole families still inside, and as schools, factories, hospitals, mosques, and markets are rendered into piles of soot and ash following massive infernos sparked by near-constant Saudi airstrikes. Yet, unlike the attacks on Saudi oil facilities, rarely do the attacks on Yemen garner international media coverage or condemnation.

Thirty-two-year-old Yemeni Bedouin Saleh Masoud Jarwan did not expect that he and his family would be the next victims of the Saudi airstrikes, but on Monday Saleh was killed along with six family members in an airstrike by Coalition jets in Yemen’s Amran province. Saleh had hoped that Yemen would be safe after the attack on the Saudi Aramco facility, assuming that the attack would be enough to encourage the Kingdom to halt its drone and missile attacks against Yemen.

The scene of the attack was illuminated in red from the massive fires that followed the airstrikes, and this fire was not fueled by oil but by the bodies of more than ten civilians, including women and children. The screaming and crying of two children who survived the initial onslaught provided a backdrop to the shouts of rescuers who frantically worked their shovels and called out to victims as they worked to free Saleh and his family from the rubble of the mosque that collapsed on them in the airstrike.  

A sustained Saudi barrage

The Coalition is estimated to have carried out at least 42 airstrikes in just a 24-hour period alone. By 2 a.m. on Sunday, local residents in the al-Sawad district of North Amran were living in horror as they sheltered in schools and mosques hoping to escape death from above as at least 12 Coalition airstrikes leveled their neighborhood. Thekra, Moamer, and Kubra — three young girls between the ages of three and eight — were among those who took refuge in a local mosque, only to be killed after Saudi warplanes brought it down over their heads.

In the village of al-Addi in the Harf Sufyan district, the air was suffused with the smell of charred bodies after a Saudi airstrike hit a car, instantly killing the two civilians inside. That attack was followed hours later by airstrikes targeting the nearby home of Ahmed Jimaie.

On Tuesday, 16 civilians, including four women and seven children, were killed when Saudi airstrikes hit the home of Abbas al-Halmi in Qataba, Al-Dali governorate, according to a local resident who spoke to MintPress but was unable to provide further details on the attack. The bodies of three children were later recovered from the rubble of that attack, adding to the already staggering death toll.

Saudis blame Iran, punish Yemen

The Grand Mufti of Yemen, Shams al-Din Sharaf al-Din, the highest religious authority in Yemen, laid blame on those who declared solidarity with Saudi Arabia following last week’s Aramco attacks but remain silent in the face of atrocities committed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Yemen.

These latest Saudi-led Coalition attacks came days after Yemen’s Houthis announced responsibility for a spate of retaliatory attacks against positions inside Saudi Arabia. It is unclear why the Coalition launched the ostensibly retaliatory attacks on Yemen, as they claim that it was Iran, not the Houthis, that carried out the oil-field attacks.

Mahdi al-Mashat, Ansarullah’s (the Houthis’ political bloc) president of the Supreme Political Council in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, warned that Yemenis would not hesitate to “launch a period of great pain if their calls for peace were ignored.” Al-Mashat made the comments following an announcement that the Houthis would temporarily cease all retaliatory missile and drone attacks against the Saudi monarchy as part of a Yemeni peace initiative. Al-Mashat said:

We announce the cessation of the targeting of Saudi Arabia’s territory by airborne missiles, ballistic missiles, drones and all forms of targeting, and we await a response to this initiative with a similar or a better one to halt all forms of attack.”

That announcement came just three days before the Coalition launched its deadly attacks in Amran.

The United Nations welcomed Ansarullah’s proposal, saying in a statement issued on Saturday by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, that it marked an important opportunity to move forward with all necessary steps to reduce violence, military escalation, and unhelpful rhetoric.

Griffiths emphasized that the implementation of the proposal by the Houthis was in good faith and could send a powerful message of their will to end the war. Saudi Arabia has so far refused to accept the offer and Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir dismissed it, saying, “We judge other parties by their deeds [and] actions and not by their words, so we will see.”

The peace initiative follows Houthi airstrikes on two of Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, which led to a suspension of about 50 percent of the Arab kingdom’s crude and gas production. That attack on a vital economic interest of the Kingdom garnered widespread support among many in Yemen’s capital city of Sana’a. On September 14, the day of that attack, hundreds of thousands of residents from Sana’a and its neighboring provinces took to the streets carrying Yemeni flags and holding banners emblazoned with messages of steadfastness and support for Houthi drone and missile forces.

Many Yemenis see Aramco attack as justified last line of self-defense

For many, the Houthis’ setting fire to the Kingdom’s Aramco oil fields represented the last hope to quell Saudi attacks on Yemen. In a staggering show of solidarity on Sunday, an estimated 1,200 cars filled the streets of 70th Area, a neighborhood in southern Sana’a, to drop off food donations for families of victims of Saudi airstrikes. According to many of the families, the attack on Aramco is revenge for the blood of the estimated 100,000 people killed in the Saudi-led Coalition’s war in Yemen.

Indeed, the Coalition has used systematic economic strangulation as a weapon of war — targeting jobs, infrastructure, the agricultural sector, fuel and water pumping stations, factories, and the provision of basic services, as well as imposing a land, sea and air embargo impacting the country’s imports, causing the spread of famine throughout the country. This, to the many in Yemen who celebrated the Aramco attack, is sufficient justification for targeting the heart of Saudi Arabia’s economy.

However, many still doubt that the Houthis were capable of carrying out an attack of the scale and range of the one that struck Saudi Arabia — instead accusing Iran of orchestrating the attacks. Others await the results of an international investigation, but the Houthis, who comprise a major component of Yemen’s resistance to Saudi interference in their country, say the evidence that they carried out the attacks exists and that they will share it with the media.

The Houthis over the past two years have launched a series of sophisticated attacks on Saudi coalition targets deep inside the Kingdom, establishing a precedent for the most recent attacks. Houthi officials say the attacks on the Aramco facilities were launched from three different locations, based on their flight endurance and designated targets, and that various types of combat drones were used in the attack, some capable of carrying four precision-guided bombs and of striking their targets from several angles.

Moreover, the Houthis’ third-generation Qasef (Striker) combat drones and long-endurance Sammad-3 (Invincible-3) drones have an operational range of 1,500 kilometers to 1,700 kilometers.

The attack on Aramco came at a time when the de facto leader of the Kingdom, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was attempting to refloat the much-delayed public offering of Aramco shares, and that attack would not likely not have succeeded without the cooperation of members of Saudi royalty and former Saudi officers, according to some Houthi sources.

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.

September 24, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , | 20 Comments

Beware False Flag Drone Attacks

Opinion by Walrus | Sic Semper Tyrannis | September 21, 2019

The corollary to the Houthis brilliant use of do – it – yourself drones and perhaps cruise missiles, is that anyone else can do the same. This makes the possibility of false flag attacks using such weapons more likely in my opinion. Such attacks would not even necessarily require the resources of a State actor to execute, all the materials, bar perhaps the explosive, are freely available around the globe.

I will not explain the mechanics of manufacturing such weapons. Take it from me that a group of determined hobbyists could do so, provided they have sufficient security and money. Such weapons could be labeled for example “made in Iran” in such depth that it would be impossible to refute their origin, no matter how good ones forensics are.

A State actor, perhaps bent on mischief, could do this rather quickly. While this is just a guess, I would be surprised if various Western countries security services did not already have an operation underway to replicate the Houthi achievements, if only to answer the politicians question: “How did they do that??” and to start thinking about countermeasures.

My reason for being concerned enough to raise this topic is that President Trump has committed troops to Saudi Arabia and we already have other troops and assets in the region. If they were subject to attack and we took casualties, I don’t see how the President could avoid war assuming Iran was blamed.

What triggered me was this article in the WSJ (paywalled) whose opening sentence is:

Yemeni Rebels Warn Iran Plans Another Strike Soon

“BEIRUT—Houthi militants in Yemen have warned foreign diplomats that Iran is preparing a follow-up strike to the missile and drone attack that crippled Saudi Arabia’s oil industry a week ago, people familiar with the matter said.

Leaders of the group said they were raising the alarm about the possible new attack after they were pressed by Iran to play a role in it…”

Once technology is out of the box, as the Houthis have demonstrated, it can’t be returned. How do we avoid false flag attacks?

September 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments

A Precision Strike on US Credibility – Shattering a US Paradigm

By Alastair Crooke | Strategic Culture Foundation | September 23, 2019

The precision attack on the Saudi ‘jewel in the crown’, crude-processing installation last week, is also a precision assault on Saudi credibility, on the believability of the US security ‘umbrella’, and a humiliation for Trump, and particularly to America’s image as a competent military and intelligence power.

Gulf States will be pursing their lips as they consider now their own vulnerabilities and question their reliance on that US umbrella. Even the Pentagon might be questioning, ‘what then – is the point to CentCom’ in light of what has happened? And above all, Israel will be experiencing a very chill wind sending shivers up the spine: Israelis cannot but be a tad struck in awe at the attack’s precise targeting and technical efficacy. Quite impressive – especially given that Saudi spent $65 billion on weaponry last year, to no good avail.

Facing this humiliation, the US Administration has been ‘blowing smoke’: tossing around red-herrings about the origin and launch of the UAVs and cruise missiles. ‘It can’t be AnsarAllah (the Houthis), because such an operation was sophisticated beyond their capabilities’. Apart from the obvious Orientalism to this assertion (for, if Hizbullah can manufacture smart drones and smart cruise missiles, why shouldn’t the Houthis be able so to do?), do the exact, individual contributions towards the strike on Abqaiq really matter? What is most telling is that the US – with all its massive resources in the Gulf – cannot provide the evidence from whence came these UAVs to Abqaiq.

Actually, the ambiguity about the strike modus operandi represents just another layer to the sophistication of the attack.

The US is ‘blowing smoke’ about launch sites mainly to divert from the very obvious (but embarrassing) fact that the raining down of missiles on Abqaiq, primordially owes to the Saudi war on Yemen (supported unreservedly by Trump). The Houthis have claimed the attack; they say they will demonstrate their weaponry (which certainly in the case of the Houthi Quds 1 cruise missile is no mere copy of the Iranian Soumar missile – see here), and promise to repeat their attacks in the near future.

What the precision strike has done is to shatter the ‘vessel’ of the US posing as somehow ‘guardian’ of the Gulf, and guarantor of the crude oil lifeblood feeding into the veins of a fragile world economy. This to say, it was a precision strike aimed at the prevailing paradigm – and it scored a direct hit. It exposed the hollowness of both claims. Anthony Cordesman writes, “the strikes on Saudi Arabia provide a clear strategic warning that the US era of air supremacy in the Gulf, and the near US monopoly on precision strike capability, is rapidly fading”.

Were the Iranians directly or indirectly involved? Well … it doesn’t really matter. To understand the implications properly, it should be understood as somehow a joint message – coming from a common front (Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Hash’d a-Shaibi and the Houthis). This was about blasting the wider sanctions crisis to a head: a strategic (missile) popping of the over-inflated ‘balloon’ of the efficacy of US “maximum pressure” tactics. Trump’s ‘sanctioning/tariffing the world’ had to be brought to a head – and be exploded. Russia and China would almost certainly concur, and (quietly) applaud.

There are clear risks to this approach. Will the message be heard correctly in Washington? For, as Gareth Porter points out in a different context, Washington’s ability to comprehend, or to ‘read well’, its ‘enemies’ mind seems to have been somehow lost – out of a failure in Washington to discover any strain of empathy towards ‘otherness’ (either Iranian, Chinese or Russian). So the prospects, probably, are not great. Washington will not ‘get it’, but rather, may double-down, with potentially disastrous consequences. Porter writes:

“The Abqaiq strike is also a dramatic demonstration of Iran’s ability to surprise the United States strategically, [thus] upsetting its political-military plans. Iran has spent the last two decades preparing for an eventual confrontation with the United States, and the result is a new generation of drones and cruise missiles that give Iran the ability to counter far more effectively any US effort to destroy its military assets and to target US bases across the Middle East.

“The United States was apparently taken by surprise when Iran shot down a high-altitude … surveillance drone … Iran’s air defence system has been continually upgraded, beginning with the Russian S-300 system it received in 2016. Iran also just unveiled in 2019 its Bavar-373 air defence system, which it regards as closer to the Russian S-400 system coveted by India and Turkey – than to the S-300 system.

“Then there is Iran’s development of a fleet of military drones, which has prompted one analyst to call Iran a ‘drone superpower’. Its drone accomplishments reportedly include the Shahed-171 “stealth drone” with precision-guided missiles, and the Shahed-129, which it reverse-engineered from the US Sentinel RQ-170 and the MQ-1 Predator” [link added].

Understanding Porter’s message represents the key to comprehending the nature of the ‘Great Shift’ taking place in the region. Robot planes and drones – simply – have changed the calculus of war. The old verities no longer hold – there is no simple US military solution to Iran.

A US attack on Iran will bring only a firm Iranian response – and escalation. A full US invasion – as in the 2003 invasion of Iraq – is no longer within US capabilities.

There is only a political answer. But for now, the US and MbS both, are in a stage of denial: the latter apparently believes that continuing with the partial sale of Aramco might solve his problems (though markets have just re-awoken to geo-political risk to assets, such as Aramco), and Trump seems still to believe that maximum pressure might still come up trumps.

For the rest of us, ‘the political’ is pretty obvious for Saudi Arabia: Accept defeat in Yemen, and with it, its corollary – engaging with Iran and Russia is a sine qua non for achieving any settlement. For sure it will be costly for MbS, both politically and financially. But what is the alternative? Wait upon further Abqaiqs? To be fair, there are reports that the al-Saud understand their situation now to be existential. We shall see.

And for Trump, the lesson surely is clear. The strike on Abqaiq could have been easily worse (with greater interruption to oil supplies). Oil markets and markets more generally have woken up to the geo-political risks to Trump’s maximum pressure tactics. And they are becoming nervous, as world trade falters.

Headlines such as “Stunning weekend attacks take out 50% of Saudi Arabia’s oil output … Can the economy survive a higher oil price…?” may be a bit too alarmist, but they make the point: Supply disruption could easily tip the fragile US and the global economy into recession, were higher prices to be sustained.

No one is more aware of this than President Trump because his re-election chances in 2020 may hinge on whether the US can stay out of recession. Generally speaking, US Presidents who seek a second term are always re-elected, unless they have a recession late in their first term. This happened to Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush – both lost re-election bids because of recessions on their watches.

Already both Saudi Arabia and Trump are rowing back from a possible (diversionary) confrontation with Iran (in lieu of addressing the Yemen issue, which remains at the root of Saudi’s difficulties). The question is how long denial over the flaws to the maximum-pressure Iran policy might continue? Up to the elections? Probably yes. Trump has some constituency egos he must stroke – in parallel to avoiding the potentially fatal landmine of recession – if he is to gain a second term. And that means pandering to the Evangelical and AIPAC obsession with Iran as our era’s ‘cosmic evil’ – one positive ‘straw in the wind’ might be the end to the Netanyahu reign (although Gantz is no Iran ‘dove’).

September 23, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Saudi regime owes US $181mn for refueling support in bombarding Yemen

Press TV – September 22, 2019

Saudi Arabia still owes the US military $181 million for aerial refueling assistance it received for its brutal bombardment of Yemen’s mostly civilian targets amid Pentagon plans to send more troops to the despotic kingdom to purportedly bolster its air defenses against retaliatory drone attacks by Yemeni forces.

Despite Washington’s emphasis on US-Saudi alliance following Yemen’s destructive drone attack on the Kingdom’s huge Aramco oil facilities, Riyadh has failed to repay the Pentagon for providing midair refueling assistance for Saudi Arabia’s bombing runs over Yemen nine month after American military announced plans to seek reimbursement of its expenses, US-based Defense News reported Friday citing congressional sources.

‘Saudi Arabia pays cash’

The development came after US President Donald Trump emphasized to reporters on Monday that the despotic regime in Riyadh has been a “great ally” for its investments across America, insisting that “Saudi Arabia pays cash.”

While addressing reporters at the White House on Friday, Trump further pointed to Washington’s efforts to build a regional coalition against Iran and emphasized: “We’re also working on the cost of this whole endeavor, and Saudi Arabia has been very generous.”

According to the report however, Saudi’s refusal to pay for US refueling support has already enraged American legislators, many of whom feel frustrated with the kingdom’s involvement in the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as well as the massive civilian casualties the regime has inflicted during its war of aggression on neighboring Yemen.

Saudi’s refusal to pay Pentagon dues angers US lawmakers

“Saudi failure to reimburse us for aircraft refueling — hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars — involves both deep insult and costly injury. It is entirely unacceptable that the Saudis have not reimbursed the Department of Defense for hundreds of millions in refueling costs,” said Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut in a statement cited in the report.

“The American taxpayer-funded US Department of Defense is not the Saudi Royal Family’s piggy bank,” it added.

Inquiries from Blumenthal and Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack Reed of Rhode Island also prompted the US military to announce in December that it would seek to recoup the money it failed to charge Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the midair refueling assistance ― which Riyadh ended in 2018.

The report further cited congressional sources as saying that the original balance due was since revised from $331 million to $291 million, and the Pentagon has separately recovered $118 million from the UAE, but Saudi Arabia has not repaid the US.

Pentagon spokeswoman Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich refused on Thursday to elaborate on its collection efforts but confirmed that “the process of reimbursement is continuing, and we continue to expect full reimbursement of refueling expenses.”

Trump warned against anti-Iran military move

This is while Trump was due to hold a meeting on Friday to purportedly consider military options against Iran, the report added, citing “US officials familiar with the planned discussions.” It further pointed out that the American president was also due to be warned that any military action against the Islamic Republic would likely escalate into a war.

The US announced Friday it would send more troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in response to the recent attack on Saudi oil facilities.

Tehran has fiercely rejected any involvement in the retaliatory attack by Yemeni forces against Saudi oil facilities and warned Washington that any military action against it will spell into an “all-out war” with immediate retaliation.

Meanwhile, congressional critics of the US president insist that he should not lead the country into an unnecessary conflict with Iran to protect Saudi Arabian oil.

Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, who sits on Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, pledged to file a war powers resolution to force a Senate vote to immediately end any such military action.

September 22, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 2 Comments

Even Saudis don’t believe fiction of Iranian attacks on oil plants – Zarif

RT | September 21, 2019

Saudi Arabia may have joined the US in blaming Iran for last week’s attack on its oil facilities, but the kingdom’s response clearly shows it doesn’t believe it to be true, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said.

“Since the Saudi regime has blamed Iran – baseless as that is – for the attacks on its oil facilities, curious that they retaliated against Hodaideh in Yemen today – breaking a UN ceasefire,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.

“It is clear that even the Saudis themselves don’t believe the fiction of Iranian involvement.”

A key Saudi oil facility was seriously damaged last Saturday in a raid by drones and cruise missiles, leading to a sharp drop in production. Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, but Washington and Riyadh insist the group was incapable of launching such an elaborate assault, and accused Iran of being the perpetrator.

Despite this, Saudi Arabia launched bombing sorties in Yemen targeting the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeidah on Friday, which the Yemeni rebels called a dangerous escalation that could “blow up” a UN-negotiated truce between the two parties.

The Saudis have been intervening in Yemen since 2015 in an attempt to return a Riyadh-friendly president to power. The conflict is perceived by Saudi Arabia as a proxy war against Iran, its regional arch-rival. Tehran denies supporting the Houthis militarily.

Washington responded to the attack on Saudi oil infrastructure by deploying more troops to the Middle East. The incident was a major embarrassment for the US since its costly air defense systems failed to protect the site from the drones and missiles. Saudi Arabia is a leading buyer of American arms and has been using them extensively in Yemen, but last week’s debacle questions whether those investments were wise.

The US is also set to impose additional sanctions on the Iranian banking system in retaliation. Washington framed these as measures necessary to stop the funding of terrorism by Tehran, but Zarif said the US wants to stifle Iran’s foreign trade and “its access to food and medicine.”

“This move is unacceptable and dangerous,” the Iranian official said.

Iran is already living under increasingly harsh sanctions from the US, which the Trump administration has been ratcheting up since the president’s first months in power.

September 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

We stop, you stop! Houthis offer Saudi Arabia mutual halt to strikes in wake of devastating oil-plant attacks

 Houthi Ansarullah movement president of the Supreme Political Council, Mahdi al-Mashat
RT | September 21, 2019

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have announced a halt on strikes against Saudi Arabia, adding that they expect reciprocal steps from Riyadh. The ceasefire offer comes days after a major attack on Saudi oil refineries claimed by the Houthis.

The televised announcement was made on Friday by Mahdi al-Mashat, head of the Houthi political council in Sana’a. It comes as the Saudi-led coalition launched a massive operation against “legitimate military targets” north of the port of Hodeidah, in southwestern Yemen.

“I call on all parties from different sides of the war to engage seriously in genuine negotiations that can lead to a comprehensive national reconciliation that does not exclude anyone,” said Mashat. If the Saudis ignore the ceasefire offer and continue bombing, the group reserves its “right to respond,” he warned.

This is not the first instance of Houthis making a ceasefire gesture to try and stop the Saudi bombing campaign – but this time they appear to have some added leverage. The offer comes just a week after a strike on oil processing facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais halved Saudi Arabian production and spiked global oil prices by nearly 20 percent.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for the strike, which demonstrated failure of Saudi Arabia’s US-made air defenses, but Riyadh and Washington chose to blame Iran for the attack instead.

No proof of Tehran’s involvement in the launch of drones and missiles has so far been provided, with Saudi Arabia only identifying the source of the attack as somewhere in the “north.” Iran has denied any involvement in the attack.

Meanwhile, the Houthis also capitalized on the attack’s outcome by promptly threatening another member of the Saud-led coalition, the UAE. Earlier this week, the rebels claimed that they’ve picked dozens of Emirati targets that would be attacked by drones unless Abu Dhabi ceases its participation in the Yemen war.

Conflict has ravaged the Arabian peninsula country since 2015, when a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE invaded Yemen trying to reinstall the ousted pro-Saudi President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. While they have been unable to defeat the Houthis despite their overwhelming advantage in numbers and weaponry, the war has taken a heavy toll on the people of Yemen. Tens of thousands have been killed in the conflict, while millions have been deprived of the very basic healthcare, food and clean water, with starvation and disease rampant.

September 21, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | 1 Comment

Iran vs Saudi Arabia: it’s game-over

By Ghassan Kadi | The Saker Blog | September 19, 2019

Is the attack on ARAMCO the first of a long war or is it game-over already? It seems like the latter and in more ways than one, the war between Iran and Saudi Arabia has ended before it even started. One single solitary Houthi attack on Aramco has sent Saudi oil exports tumbling down by half; not to mention a 20% hike on the price of crude.

Now, even though the Houthis have declared responsibility for the ARAMCO attack, the Trump administration wants the world to buy the idea that it was Iran who launched the attack, not the Houthis. Thus far, at least Japan seems unconvinced, and so is France.

In reality however, the resolve of Saudi Arabia and its capability to stand up and fight has little to do with the identity of the attacker, and this is because Saudi Arabia has demonstrated that it didn’t take much for it to suffer what it suffered. This begs the question; how many such similar attacks can Saudi Arabia weather before it totally capitulates? Seemingly, not many.

In a previous article, I anticipated such scenarios because the Saudi economy and infrastructure are highly vulnerable. A country that has virtually one major wealth-producing base (ie oil) and just a few desalination plants that pump fresh water into its major cities, is a very soft target indeed. After all, if those handful of vital targets are hit, not only will oil exports stop, but water will stop running in households. But the water desalination plants do not have to suffer a direct hit for them to stop running. They need power to run, and the power comes from fuel, and if the fuel supplies stop, so will they, and so will electricity-generating plants in a nation that cannot survive without air-conditioning.

Up until recently, people of Arabia were used to drought, brackish water and searing heat. They lived in and around oases and adopted a lifestyle that used little water. But, the new generation of Saudis and millions of expats are used to daily showers, potable water and climate control in their households. During wars, people normally go to nature to find food and water. They hunt, they fish, they collect local berries and edible wild plants, they fill jars from running rivers and streams, they grow their own vegetables in their backyards, but in Saudi Arabia, in the kingdom of sand, such alternatives do not exist at all.

Furthermore, with a population that has swelled from a few million in the 1950’s, the current population of Saudi Arabia stands at 33 million, and this includes the millions of expats who work and live there.

The limited supply of brackish water is not enough to get by until any damaged infrastructure is fixed, and it’s not even piped to begin with.

As the nation with the third highest global defence budget, higher than Russia’s, Saudi Arabia continues to import everything from Patriot Missiles all the way down to bullets.

This is in sharp contrast with Iran’s geography, natural assets and demography. Iran is a nation of mountains, valleys and rivers, meadows, thriving agriculture and 70 million citizens who have been taught to be innovative and self-sufficient; courtesy of US-imposed sanctions.

And to say that the ARAMCO target was hit by surprise would be quite absurd and inexcusable given that Saudi Arabia is already in a state of war with Yemen, and especially given that the Yemeni aerial strikes have been escalating in recent months. To make the situation even more embarrassing for the Saudis; the spectre of war with Iran is currently hot on the agenda, so how could key Saudi installations be unprotected?

But here’s the other thing, had it been truly Iran that was responsible for the attack as the Trump administration alleges and wants us to believe, America would then be admitting that Iranian missiles flew from mainland Iran, across the Gulf, managed to dodge American defences and state-of-the-art detection hardware and software, and effectively reached their target on Saudi soil. If this is the scenario Trump wants us to believe, what does this say about the capability of America to engage militarily with Iran? This is a much bigger farce than that of Russia-gate; a claim that Russia can indeed affect the outcome of the presidential elections of the allegedly “greatest and strongest nation on earth”. Do such claims mean that America’s adversaries are extremely organised, smart and strong or that America is in disarray, stupid and weak; or both? Either way, when such claims are perpetrated by none but America itself, they certainly do not put America in a good light.

The weaknesses and vulnerabilities of Saudi Arabia and Big Brother are only matched by the other ally, the UAE. As a matter of fact Houthis spokesperson Yahia Saria gave the Emirates a stern warning if they want to protect their glass skyscrapers. In his address, Saria is perhaps giving a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Arabic proverb which says that if one’s house is made of glass, he should not cast rocks at others. After years of indiscriminate shelling under the watchful and indifferent eyes of the world, after years of ruthlessly trying to starve the Yemenis into submission, why would one expect the Houthis to exercise any mercy towards their aggressors?

But let us face it, Dubai and other thriving metropolises of the UAE are predestined to morph into ghost towns. It is only a question of time before they run out of their current charm and their fake onion skin deep glitter. After all, there is nothing in those fantasy cities that is real, substantial and self-sustaining. If anything, a war with Iran has the potential to fast-track the decay process and leave foreign investors and expats exiting in droves; if not running for their lives.

Ironically, the American/Saudi/UAE alliance, if it is indeed an alliance, accuses Iran of spreading its dominion over the region; and perhaps there is evidence to support this accusation. However, the alliance seems to conveniently forget that it was its own orchestrated invasion of Iraq and toppling of Saddam that created a power vacuum in Iraq that was soon filled by Iran. And even though the eight-year long and bitter Iran-Iraq war ended up with no winners or losers, the fall of Saddam at the hands of the American/Arab alliance has turned Iran into the virtual winner that the same alliance is now trying to curb. How more ironic can this farcical situation be?

America plays down the strength of Iran’s Army, and Iran does the opposite. This is normal and part-and-parcel of the psychological warfare. In reality however, no one knows for certain what is Iran’s military capability. For this reason, any all-out confrontation with Iran may at least initially sway America to move its vessels out of the Gulf and further away from the reach of short-range Iranian missiles until and if they feel confident to move closer at a later stage. However, Saudi key and vital ground targets cannot be moved, and for Iran to only be able to hit a few that can be counted on the fingers of one hand, can lead to a total Saudi/UAE capitulation.

Whilst no one knows Iran’s real strength, what we do know is that Saudi Arabia has failed abysmally in defeating the much weaker, poorer, underprivileged starving people of Yemen.

America will not commit boots on the ground and, to this effect, has little to lose apart from risking naval vessels. The soft targets will be Saudi and UAE key infrastructures and no Patriot defence systems will be able to intercept all missiles poised to hit them. If the Houthis could do it, it is a given that Iran also can.

I have recently watched the series “The Vietnam War” on Netflix, and I remembered how back then when the truth about that war was exposed, I believed that American hawks would never get away with lying to their people and the rest of the world again, or ever invade another country in the way that they did with Vietnam. In less than two decades however, they moved full throttle into Iraq, and the masses believed their story. Perhaps some things will never change, and after the losses in Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, America seems still determined to fight Iran. This time around, the biggest loser may not end up to be America itself, but its Arab allies; namely Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the recent attack on ARAMCO is only a prelude to an inevitable outcome, because the writing is already on the wall and it clearly reads: GAME-OVER.

September 19, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments