Tag Archives: oil and civil war Yemen

Thugs and Lambs: the war in Yemen

A withering United Nations report on Yemen’s civil war provides fresh evidence about the extent to which Saudi Arabia and Iran have intervened in the conflict, pursuing their regional proxy war even as Yemen disintegrated into “warring statelets” that would be difficult to reunite. The U.N. panel said there were “strong indications of the supply of arms-related material manufactured in, or emanating from, the Islamic Republic of Iran,” in violation of a U.N. embargo on Yemen.

The U.N. experts were particularly critical of airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition. The U.N. previously had said that the majority of the more than 5,000 civilian deaths in the conflict are a result of the airstrikes, which are carried out by a handful of coalition countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, often using U.S.-supplied munitions.  The report, which has not yet been made public, was obtained by The Washington Post…

Eight million people, or a third of the Yemen’s population, are facing famine. A cholera outbreak that has affected roughly a million people is one of the largest ever recorded. More than 10,000 people have been killed since the war began…

At least four attacks on Saudi Arabia were carried out with missiles capable of a range “beyond that normally expected of the known missiles” in the Houthi arsenal, the panel said. The U.N. panel examined the remnants of two of the missiles – fired July 22 and Nov. 4, 2017 – and found they were consistent with the design of an Iranian missile and “almost certainly produced by the same manufacturer.”  While the report criticized Iran for failing to halt the transfer of weapons, the panel could not say with certainty how they were transported to the Houthis or who the supplier was.

In reviewing the conduct of Saudi-led military activity, the U.N. panel examined 10 airstrikes last year that killed 157 people, including 85 children, and found that “measures taken by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in its targeting process to minimize child casualties, if any, remain largely ineffective.” And a coalition committee tasked with investigating the airstrikes had in some cases denied that strikes had taken place despite “clear evidence” to the contrary, the report said… The panel had corroborated media reports that the United Arab Emirates – part of the Saudi-led military coalition – had tortured prisoners under its control. The Saudi-led coalition, which enforced a blockade on Yemen, was using the “threat of starvation as a bargaining tool and an instrument of war.”The Houthis had carried out extrajudicial executions and mass detentions, fueling a cycle of revenge that “may last for years.”…“Political decision makers on all sides are not bearing the brunt of the war,” the report added. “Yemeni civilians are.”

Excerpts from KAREEM FAHIM A United Nations probe has detailed the fallout of the proxy war in Yemen between the Saudi coalition and Iran,  Washington Post, Jan 12, 2018

Hunt and Kill them All: Saudi Arabia Uses Cluster Bombs

BL 755 cluster bomb

A Saudi-led Arab coalition will halt its use of British-made cluster munitions in Yemen, the Saudi government said on on December 19, 2016, after 20 months of war in which thousands of civilians have been killed and injured in airstrikes.  In London, Britain’s defense minister, Michael Fallon, confirmed in Parliament that the coalition had dropped “a limited number” of British-supplied cluster munitions in Yemen.   Britain, a signatory to an international convention that prohibits use of the munitions, has been investigating whether the coalition dropped the munitions, BL-755 bombs, in Yemen after a report in May 2016 by the rights group Amnesty International…Mr. Fallon stressed that Britain had sold the munitions to Riyadh in the 1980s, long before the convention in 2008.

They pose a particular risk to children, who can be attracted by their toylike appearance and bright colors.  Amnesty International said in May 2016 that civilians returning home in northern Yemen risked injury and death from “minefields” of deadly cluster bombs.

Excerpt from Saudi Arabia Says It Will Stop Using British-Made Cluster Bombs in Yemen, Reuters, Dec. 19, 2016

Shopping for Shiny New Toys: The Yemen Files

yeme-mmap-md

On November 25, 2016,  WikiLeaks released the Yemen Files. .The Yemen Files are a collection of more than 500 documents from the United States embassy in Sana’a, Yemen. Comprising more than 200 emails and 300 PDFs, the collection details official documents and correspondence pertaining to the Office for Military Cooperation (OMC) located at the US embassy. The collection spans the period from 2009 until just before the war in Yemen broke out in earnest during March 2015.

Julian Assange said: “The war in Yemen has produced 3.15 million internally displaced persons. Although the United States… is deeply involved in the conduct of the war itself reportage on the war in English is conspicuously rare.”

Yemen is of significant strategic interest as Yemen controls a narrow choke-point to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal through which 11% of the world’s petroleum passes each day. In addition, Yemen borders Saudi Arabia (to the north) and Oman (to the east) and has access to the Arabian Sea, through which another 20% of the world’s petroleum passes from the Strait of Hormuz (including the oil of Saudi Arabia and Iran). Saudi Arabia seeks to control a port in Yemen to avoid the potential constriction of its oil shipments byIran along the Strait of Hormuz or by countries which can control its other oil shipment path along the Red Sea.The Yemen Files offer documentary evidence of the US arming, training and funding of Yemeni forces in the years building up to the war. The documents reveal, among other things, procurement of many different weapon types: aircraft, vessels, vehicles, proposals for maritime border security control and Yemeni procurement of US biometric systems.

See also Yemen File

 

Yemen War: the Biggest Benefactor AQAP

Makulla port, Yemen, seized by AQAP. image from wikipedia

Yemen: Local militias backed by Saudi Arabia, special forces from the United Arab Emirates and Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants all fought on the same side this week to wrest back control over most of Yemen’s second city, Aden, from pro-Iranian Houthi rebels, according to local residents and Houthi forces.

The U.S. has backed a Saudi-led coalition that launched airstrikes against the Houthis…. [But at the same time],  the U.S. continues to conduct separate airstrikes targeting AQAP militants in Yemen.  Meanwhile, Saudi-backed militias are spearheading efforts to roll back Houthi gains and reinstate the government that the rebels drove into exile in neighboring Saudi Arabia. But they have turned to Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, for help, according to local residents and a senior Western diplomat. This puts the U.S.-allied Gulf kingdom on the same side as one of the world’s most notorious extremist groups…

The AQAP militants are exploiting the chaos to expand across Yemen, according to Western officials. At the same time, the regional coalition has been criticized for ignoring the group’s territorial gains since the onset of the conflict, while relentlessly targeting Houthi rebels.

The local militias used trucks and weapons supplied by the Saudi-led military coalition to finally push the Houthis out of the Aden ports after a five-month battle, local residents said. AQAP militants celebrated the victory alongside the militias, parading cadavers of Houthis on a main commercial street in the city to a cheering crowd, according to residents and video posted online.

Aden wasn’t the first victory for AQAP in this conflict. In April, the group captured al-Mukalla, the country’s largest eastern seaport. The Saudi-backed militias have also acknowledged that they fought with AQAP against the Houthis in Ataq, the capital of Shabwa province, earlier this year.

Since 2011, the U.S. has spent nearly $500 million to train and equip Yemen’s security forces to battle AQAP. The U.S. has also backed the Saudi-led regional coalition with intelligence and logistical support since it formed in March 2015, imposing a crippling aerial and naval blockade across Yemen.  American officials acknowledge that AQAP is one of the war’s biggest benefactor…

Excerpts from Al Qaeda Helps Saudi-Backed Forces in Yemen Dow Jones Business News, July 16, 2015.

The Global Oil Chokepoints and the War in Yemen

global oil chokepoints

Fighters from Yemen’s Houthi militia entered  on March 31, 2015 a coastal military base overlooking the Red Sea’s strategic Bab el-Mandeb strait, local officials told Reuters.  Soldiers of the 17th Armored Division in the Dabab district in Yemen’s southwestern Taiz province opened the gates to the Houthis, whose military advance has been challenged by six days of Saudi-led air strikes. This means that Houthi rebels have a foothold along one of the world’s crucial oil chokepoints.    According to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) fact-sheet on global oil chokepoints, 3.8 million barrels of oil and “refined petroleum products” passed through the Bab el-Mandeb each day on its way to Europe, Asia, and the US, making it the world’s fourth-busiest chokepoint.  The strait controls access to multiple oil terminals and to a oil pipeline co-owned by state companies from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar that transits oil between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, called the Suez-Mediterranean or SUMED pipeline.  The Bab el-Mandeb is 18 miles wide at its narrowest point, “limiting tanker traffic to two 2-mile-wide channels for inbound and outbound shipments,” according to the Energy Information Administration.

“Closure of the Bab el-Mandeb could keep tankers from the Persian Gulf from reaching the Suez Canal or SUMED Pipeline, diverting them around the southern tip of Africa, adding to transit time and cost,” the EIA fact-sheet explains. “In addition, European and North African southbound oil flows could no longer take the most direct route to Asian markets via the Suez Canal and Bab el-Mandeb.”

Recent events in Yemen, where a Saudi-led Arab military coalition is fighting to restore president Abd Rabbu Mansur Hadi against an Iranian-backed insurgent movement, have already jolted global oil prices.

Excerpt from ARMIN ROSEN,  Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen just captured a military base along one of the world’s major oil lanes, Reuters, Mar. 31, 2015

More from wikipedia: On February 22, 2008, it was revealed that a company owned by Tarek bin Laden is planning to build a bridge  across the Bab el-Mandeb strait, linking Yemen with Djibouti.  Middle East Development LLC, a Dubai company owned by Tarek bin Laden, would build the bridge. The project has been assigned to engineering company COWI in collaboration with architect studio Dissing+Weitling, both from Denmark.