After months of burning on the back pages, The New York Times and Anglo-globalist mainstream media are finally noticing there's a war in Yemen that's claiming the lives not only of Yemenis and Saudis, but also Western military contractors aka mercenaries. The Old Grey Lady wrote: "The United States on Tuesday sponsored a United Nations Security Council session intended to draw attention to the dire consequences of the war in Yemen, but the meeting also raised questions about potential crimes committed by a Saudi-led military offensive that the Pentagon actively supports." The NY Times reports:
The United States refuels military jets and provides intelligence support to the military coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, that is trying to defeat Houthi insurgents in Yemen. Since those airstrikes began in March, more than 2,700 civilians have been killed, dozens of schools and hospitals have been attacked and the United Nations has warned of breaches of international law.
But during the session on Tuesday, the United Nations’ top human rights official said that the Saudi-led coalition bore the greatest responsibility for the civilian carnage. The official, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the high commissioner for human rights, said that while both sides in the conflict had engaged in attacks on civilians, “a disproportionate amount appeared to be the result of airstrikes carried out by coalition forces.”
The United Nations deputy emergency relief chief, Kyung-wha Kang, also warned of the suffering inflicted on civilians by the war, pointing out that two million Yemenis were malnourished and that the country’s health system “is close to collapse.”
All that has placed the United States in an awkward diplomatic tangle. But the fact that American officials invited Mr. al-Hussein to brief the Council on Tuesday was an indication that cracks in the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia are beginning to show.
After several weeks of brazen Houthi raids on Saudi forts and border towns, ballistic missile attacks by the Houthis that killed multiple Western mercenaries employed by the Saudi-led coalition inside their bases in the past week have forced official Washington and its mainstream media to start talking about Yemen. And as the NYT quote above admits, the conversation between Washington and Riyadh is becoming more strained.
While the Saudis and their Hadi loyalist tribal allies boast of successes after retaking the strategic port of Aden from the Houthis, the Yemeni Army Saleh loyalists and Houthis continue to inflict unsustainable casualties on the Kingdom's coalition, with over 300 alleged combat deaths from ballistic missile attacks alone in the last two weeks. Other combat deaths have come from Houthi ambushes or surprise rocket and mortar attacks on inexperienced or hapless Saudi, UAE and Sudanese troops, despite the Emirati Presidential Guards being led by retired Australian and British army commanders.
Are the Houthis' Increasing Military Successes Against the Saudis and Especially Their Skill at Hitting Saudi Bases When Foreign Mercenaries Are Present Signs of the Covert Technical Assistance from the French and Russians the Guerrilla has Discussed? Does a Russian Bear Crap in the Taiga?
According to pro-Shi'a media Lebanese media source Al-Masdar News, the latest Houthi missile strikes hit a Saudi Aramco (Arab American) refinery in Jizan province. The Russia Analyst could not confirm whether this was the same 400,000 bpd refining complex near the Red Sea that Aramco planned to bring online in early 2016.
The strikes allegedly involved Iranian- ballistic versions of the venerable Soviet SA-2 Guideline SAM, the Qaher/Qahir 1, but the bulk of the casualties came from Soviet designed and possibly late 80s or early 90s built Tochka ballistic missiles with 1,000 pound high explosive warheads. This is even more embarrassing for the Saudis because their lavishly equipped but incompetent military, which features more British planes than the Royal Air Force and lots of F-15s, failed to take out these 'son of SCUD' weapons before they could be launched. Saudi claims that at least one Tochka rocket launched at one of their bases was intercepted by a U.S.-provided Patriot missile have not been bolstered by any photographic evidence of Tochka wreckage that fell in the desert.
The Yemeni Army loyalists use of missiles raises some intriguing questions about what technical assistance the Houthis may have received covertly in order to bleed the Saudis and threaten the Kingdom's economic assets in the Jizan area, which consist of more than just the new refinery, but also important Red Sea ports and the civilian airport serving over a half million Saudi citizens or residents of Jizan.
After V's bombshell Guerrilla Report on November 24, 2015, in which he disclosed towards the end of the podcast that the Houthis had received covert support from French intelligence operatives against the Saudis, covert Russian assistance to the Yemeni military in order to ensure their aging late 1980s/early 1990s vintage Tochkas would work when launched and hit with better than 300 meters accuracy should not be ruled out. Especially with the Saudis sending so many CIA-provided TOW missiles to their jihadist proxies in Syria that some of the 'Free Syrian Army' types even waste these $200,000 weapons by firing one at a single Hezbollah fighter in a pick up truck (such profligacy with weapons is often a substitute for actual combat training, as the 'FSA' and their jihadist allies have found out the hard way over the past few weeks with Hezbollah and the SAA's 4th Mechanized Division making mincemeat out of them in the Aleppo suburbs).
Iran (and Russia's) payback for AlCIAeda allah snackbaring with Langley provided TOWs -- Russian made anti-tank missiles killing Saudis near Jizan
Since the Russians know the best defense is a good offense, and they cannot in the immediate term halt the flow of Saudi weapons that are slowing down (but not stopping) the advance of their Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Iranian allies, the best defense against Riyadh's doubling down in Syria may be a good offense. Meaning help the Houthis pay the Saudis back for all the murder and mayhem they've caused in Syria by killing as many Saudis and especially the Western mercenaries they and their Gulf Arab partners have hired as possible. As we stated above Washington could safely ignore the conflict so long as it was Saudis, Sudanese and Emiratis, and not Brits, Aussies and a Frenchman plus several South Americans dying in Yemen. But the fact that multiple missile attacks have now killed Western mercs when they were on Saudi bases both inside Yemeni territory and on the Kingdom's soil speaks either to superb Houthi infiltration of the Hadi loyalists, whom the paranoid Saudis must increasingly distrust, or even SIGINT (signals intelligence) from hidden helpers to the Houthis.
The possibility that someone or some group of foreign helpers are telling the Houthis when Aussie or American English is audible 'on the airwaves' from Saudi bases with lax electronic signals discipline and thence indicating the perfect time for a Tochka strike cannot be ruled out either. Recall back on November 6 that the Saudi-led coalition tried to prevent a Russian cargo plane carrying humanitarian aid from taking off from Sa'naa:
The Saudi-led coalition yesterday prevented a Russian plane leaving Sanaa International Airport after it arrived without going through the coalition’s inspections process in Djibouti, a pro-Houthi TV channel reported.
The Al-Masirah TV quoted an unnamed Russian diplomat as saying that there is no justification for preventing the flight from taking off.
Yemen’s Saba news agency reported Sanaa airport director, Khalid Shayef, as saying that the plane is the first to arrive in Sanaa directly from Russia, carrying 20 tonnes of humanitarian aid and diplomatic staff.
A team from the Saudi-led coalition inspect all planes bound for Yemen fearing the transfer of weapons or military experts to support rebel groups.
Is China's New Base in Djbouti Being Used by the Iranians, Russians (and French?) to Covertly Assist the Houthis?
While not a single Iranian Revolutionary Guard operative much less commander has been caught alive by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen (otherwise surely Riyadh would've televised it), Saudi military signals bouncing off the ionosphere can be read by foreign militaries. And it just so happens that @GizaDeathStar author Dr. Joseph P. Farrell has been engaged in 'high octane speculation' this closing month of 2015 regarding the purpose of the brand new Chinese military base in Djbouti.
Putting Farrell's speculation together with our own, we'd conclude that Iranian and Russian intelligence support for the Houthis in the form of captured Saudi signals intelligence is most likely being conducted right across the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, behind the heavily fortified barbed wire of China's newest and first official military outpost in Africa. This would only make sense because as the Russia Analyst's D.C. source informed him several weeks ago, the Chinese People's Liberation Army most certainly has intelligence officers closely observing events inside Russia's Khmeimim air base in the very pro-Assad Latakia region of Syria, and thus Russian GRU operatives would likely be posted to a Chinese base in such a sensitive spot for Russia (and Moscow and Beijing's de facto ally Egypt's) interests as the Horn of Africa. As we mentioned here at Rogue Money, Dr. Ben Carson blurting out that the Chinese have military members on the ground inside Russia's Syria base during the November 11, 2015 Milwaukee GOP presidential debate was a major factor in ex-Iran Contra CIA figure 'handler' Duane Clarridge throwing Carson 'under the bus', and the subsequent self-immolation of the Carson campaign.
#DontMakeVladMad: Putin's Covert Action Payback for Turkish and Saudi Aggression in Syria and Iraq
As V indicated in his November 24 Guerrilla Report, Russia's response to the shoot down of its SU-24 bomber and the subsequent murder of its pilot by Turkish intelligence run 'Turkomen' Grey Wolves operatives would not stand, but Putin would opt for an economic and asymmetric warfare response. That it has taken the Russian Foreign Ministry nearly a month to invite representatives of the Kurdish opposition inside Turkey to establish offices in Moscow should not be mistaken for inactivity, or Putin forgoing revenge.
The dish will be served cold for the Muslim Brother in chief with his newly built thousand room Ankara palace, and for the Saudis who have bankrolled his neo-Ottoman dreams this winter, count on it. The heavy casualties suffered by the Saudis and their inability despite having total command of the air (though a few coalition jets and helicopters including an F-16 and multiple Apaches have been shot down) to repulse Houthi fighters from the desert hills of Jizan province are part of Putin's payback. Iraqi Shi'a and IRGC operatives firing Kornet anti-tank missiles at the Turks still occupying a base outside ISIS-held Mosul in northern Iraq is another card yet to be played.
However, we don't think it was a coincidence that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government suddenly agreed to pull out some Turkish troops from their illegal base on Iraqi soil after the first Houthi Tochka attack killed or wounded scores over a week ago. The new sultan correctly feared that if Yemeni tribesmen could pull some old Soviet Tochka missiles out of the early 1990s mothballs and use them against the Saudi military supposedly protected by new U.S. Patriot missiles, then his own troops in northern Iraq might be sitting ducks for Tochka or even Tornado MLRS weapons the Russians could provide to Baghdad.
It was likely the Pentagon's awareness of this stone cold fact, and not a sudden regard for the territorial integrity of a nominal U.S. ally in Iraq being grossly violated by a NATO ally in Turkey, that prompted Vice President Joe Biden to call for the Turks' to peacefully withdrawal their tanks and soldiers in mid-December. Unfortunately for both Washington and Ankara, a sizeable Turkish contigent remains near the Daesh stronghold of Mosul, nominally 'training' Kurds to take back the city, but in reality preparing for the 'roll up' of ISIS when the Islamic State in Mosul have ceased to be useful to their funders. We'll have much more to write about Turkey and where it fits in with the increasingly exposed war inside the U.S. government over Syria and America's Mideast policy (thank you retired DIA director Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Seymour Hersh and his brave editor/s at the London Review of Books).
For the purposes of this pre-U.S. Christmas 2015 piece, we wanted to focus on the Saudi Kingdom's profound socio-economic crisis, which the failed aggressive wars against Assad and the Yemenis and especially the Shi'a tribes affiliated with the Houthis have exacerbated. To the point that even The New York Times, after all the hundreds of millions the Kingdom has spent on PR since 9/11, describes the House of Saud as 'an ISIS that made it [big]'. As Dr. Farrell correctly concluded in his recent videos, Saudi Arabia (and soon their Turkish allies) are 'on the menu' for destabilization, with a new Middle East waiting in the wings to be born this Bethlehem birth-giving yuletide eve...
Saudi Arabia is Not Only Losing on the Battlefields of Syria and Yemen -- It's Losing Market Share to Energy Kingpin Moscow
In a series of posts and broadcasts the Guerrilla, and then Ken Shortgen Jr. and myself have broken down how the Saudi Kingdom is deteriorating. The crisis is related to the quality of the Kingdom's leadership, as indicated by the German intelligence service the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND)'s recent leaked assessment of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and his father the aging King Salman's erratic and aggressive regime. It probably adds injury to insult from the BND in the eyes of the House of Saud that the German spooks are now cooperating with Riyadh's enemy Assad, and may have been according to Seymour Hersh, passing intelligence to Damascus via the Israelis all along...
Since the publication of the late Houston oil consultant Matthew Simmons book Twilight in the Desertand the explosion in North American fracking a decade ago, the combination of tapped out super giant oil fields like Ghawar and rise of alternative oil sources from the rest of the world and especially a resurgent Russia allied to a sanctions-lifted Iran have spelled trouble for the Kingdom's shrinking market share. Which according to Zerohedge, has taken a particularly hard hit in East Asia, with Russian 'Urals' blend and other forms of crude muscling Saudi exports aside:
On Monday, we [Zerohedge] learn that for the third time in 2015, Russia has once again bested the Saudis for the top spot on China’s crude suppliers list. “Russia overtook Saudi Arabia for the third time this year in November as China's largest crude oil supplier,” Reuters writes, adding that “China brought in about 949,925 barrels per day (bpd) of Russian crude in November, compared with 886,950 bpd from Saudi Arabia.”
This is an annoyance for Riyadh. China was the world's second-largest oil consumer in 2014 and closer ties between Moscow and Beijing not only represent a threat in terms of crude revenue, but also in terms of geopolitics as the last thing the Saudis need is for Xi to begin poking around militarily in the Arabian Peninsula on behalf of Moscow and Tehran...
...one could plausibly argue that one of the reasons the Saudis moved to artificially suppress prices last year was to sqeeze Putin and ultimately force The Kremlin to give up its support for Assad. As The New York Times put it, a dramatic decline in crude prices has certain "ancillary diplomatic benefits."
Unfortunately for Riyadh, the strategy hasn't worked. In fact, it's backfired in more ways than one.
First, Saudi Arabia is facing a fiscal crisis as Riyadh's budget deficit balloons to 20% of GDP, forcing the kingdom to tap the debt market in order to offset the SAMA burn.
Second, Putin not only refused to give up his support for the government in Damascus, he actually doubled down by sending the Russian air force to Latakia. Meanwhile, Russia continued to pump even more oil, and as Bloomberg reports, Moscow is now producing at "the fastest pace since the collapse of the Soviet Union."
As Zerohedge reports citing Reuters and Bloomberg in the article we reference above, the Russian oil industry has proven more resilient and efficient than many expected after crude prices tumbled in the past year.
"Russia’s unexpected oil bounty this year is the result not of a new Kremlin campaign but of dozens of modest productivity improvements across the sprawling sector. Even pressured by plunging prices, as well as U.S. and European Union sanctions that cut access to much foreign financing and technology, Russian companies have managed to squeeze more crude out of some of the country’s oldest fields," Bloomberg writes, before noting that "Bashneft and other Russian companies working fields in the Volga River basin -- some of the first to be discovered in Russia early in the last century -- are benefiting from Soviet inefficiency as [the old motto was]: 'whatever we don’t produce will be left for our children.'"
For analysts, Russia's resiliency has come as a surprise. “I know of no one who had predicted that Russian production would rise in 2015, let alone to new record levels,” Edward Morse, Citigroup’s global head of commodities research said.
As our Moscow expat hedge fund 'bond jockey' fund manager acquaintance would probably quip, it's amazing what French petroleum geologists working with Russian counterparts from Schlumberger Dubai to sidestep the U.S./EU energy sector sanctions plus overt and hidden Chinese capitalization can do for Moscow's oil producers. At least for a while until oil prices modestly rebound and production can be cut back. But for now OPEC looks dead, and everyone on the planet seems to be pumping flat out with the flow of illicit Daesh crude through Turkey to Saudi Arabia's allies, principally that small country in the southeastern Mediterranean, further cutting into Saudi revenues.
The Saudis Are Hemorrhaging Cash -- According to Consortium News, Riyadh is Running Deficits of $10 BILLION Per Month
Writing for former Associated Press Iran Contra reporter Robert Parry's website Consortium News, Daniel Lazare had this to say about the long term petro-dependent sclerosis of the Saudi economy's fatal collision with low oil prices, in much the same way the failures of Brezhnev-ian GOSPLAN Soviet economics were exposed by the petro-tide going out in the late 1980s. If the old Soviet joke was 'so long as the bosses pretend to pay us, we pretend to work' despite many comrades working quite hard during that era, in Saudi Arabia millions of young men don't work at all...hence the urgency to send them abroad for jihad in Syria or to fight the hated Shi'a takfirs in Yemen:
With its stubbornly high unemployment rate and growing wealth gap between the rich and poor, Saudi Arabia has long been the sick man of the Persian Gulf. Even though planners have been talking about economic diversification since the 1970s, the kingdom was actually more dependent on oil as of 2013 than 40 years earlier.
“Saudization” of the workforce is another mantra, yet the labor market remains polarized between a private sector dominated by foreign guest workers, mainly from South Asia, and a public sector filled with Saudi “sofa men” who spend their days lounging about in government offices.
Riyadh wishes that young people would take jobs in hotels, oil refineries and the like, but most prefer to wait for a high-paid government sinecure to open up – which is one reason why the jobless rate among young people is as high as 29 percent.
Given this combination of oil dependence and joblessness, a two-thirds drop in the price of crude since mid-2014 couldn’t be more painful. But what makes it even more frightening is the growing realization that, with softening demand due to the global slowdown and growing over-supply due to the fracking revolution, low prices will be a fact of life for years to come.
This prospect does not bode well for a country dependent on oil for 91 percent of its foreign revenue, one that is currently burning through its foreign reserves at the rate of $10 billion a month.
A tweet from RogueMoney's friend @BanksterSlayer -- ponder the implications of this, especially three years from now...
If anything, this $10 billion per month of petro-dollar reserves being liquidated to cover Saudi princes lavish lifestyles, social welfare, government salaries and military/spreading Wahhabist preaching and jihad expenses may be understating the actual rate of cash burn. This is what has led both the Guerrilla and the 'godfather' of team Rogue Money, W the Intelligence Insider, to warn that the Saudi Kingdom may have 3 1/2 years or even less to live in its current form. It would be ironic indeed if the low oil prices that were intended to repeat the Reagan era playbook on how to take down the Soviets ended up destroying their old Wahhabist adversaries in Riyadh instead.
WARNING: Graphic content including a dead Saudi soldier
Conclusion: Saudi Arabia Like the Soviet Empire Won't Be Brought Down on the Battlefield, but By Socio-Economic Factors and Demoralization; Nonetheless, Losing Not One But Two Wars in Syria and Yemen Will Hasten the Kingdom's Demise
The campaign the Saudis had been planning with their Western globalist co-conspirators as far back as 2006 according to Seymour Hersh to sweep away Bashir al-Assad/Hezbollah and break the so-called 'Shi'a crescent' stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean has failed miserably. The 'leaks' to Hersh and the weak, somewhat half-hearted neocon hipster Vox media rebuttal of Hersh's bombshell claim that the Defense Intelligence Agency (under then director Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn) and the Pentagon conspired to undermine Obama and the CIA's war on Assad shows that the Washington Establishment is cracking up.
After so many leaks about frustrated U.S. pilots not being permitted to bomb the Daesh oil tanker trucks and huge convoys in the desert that Russia's air force later obliterated, half-assed attacks by John R. Schindler, the disgraced ex-NSA analyst who was forced to resign from the U.S. Naval War College and his zombie-like Twitter followers against Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn's integrity and patriotism, or confusing rants from 'Accuracy in Media' fake conservative disinfo operative Cliff Kincaid aren't having much effect.
The word is out: Obama and his team at the very least sought to use the Islamic State created by America's allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for their own plans in the greater Mideast, and at worst they're treasonously complicit in the rise of the super terrorist group. Given this awareness washing over 'awake' parts of the U.S. military and the American alternative if not now mainstream media, claims that Lt. Gen. Flynn is some sort of traitor or dupe for the Russians don't stick. But neocons are gonna neocon and make them anyway, along with their 'Russia/Iran/Assad are doomed because of our awesomer invincible TOW jihadi legions' rhetoric anyway.
Making matters worse for team neocon (soon to be dubbed Team 'screw the Republican Party if it selects the 'wrong' nominee, we're backing Hillary and our fake third party candidate') Donald Trump and the man who wants to be his vice presidential nominee Senator Ted Cruz of Texas have smelled blood in the water and taken populist positions that ISIS, not Assad, is America's enemy in Syria. Rather than apologizing in the face of fierce attacks on his compliments in reply to Putin's words about himself, Trump has doubled down and asked the mainstream media to produce proof that the Russian President ordered the deaths of journalists and opponents.
Trump and Cruz's position of working with the Russians to destroy Daesh has been supported by Democratic Rep. and Hawaii National Guardswoman Tulsi Gabbard, picking up the mantle from the anti-war partnership and friendship between retired Texas Congressman Ron Paul and former Ohio Democratic U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich. The 'Assad must go for the war with Daesh to be won' mantra of Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power and the bought and paid for Qatari shills of the Brookings Institute/Doha Center has been abandoned, at least in principal if not yet in practice, by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. Given that the Russians were diplomatically getting everything they've asked for last week in Moscow, it was little wonder Kerry looked like he just wanted to get home for Christmas faster while Putin came out of the 3 hour plus meeting grinning like the Cheshire cat.
Russia's decisive entry into the war on the side of Assad has not yet routed the Turks', Saudis and Qataris proxies on the battlefield, but the position of the Salafists in Syria becomes more desperate by the day, including with the recent cutting by the Syrian Arab Army of the highway from rebel-held Idlib to their stronghold in western Aleppo city. No matter how many TOWs the Saudis send to Syria as soon as the CIA flies more over, the Kingdom's proxies continue to be strangled by ever tightening noose around their supply lines and hammered by Russian firepower (and there are hints that the Russians' ground forces presence and combatant roles may expand, as Putin has also suggested Moscow has some modern weapons it has yet to deploy against the Daeshbags terrorists).
Neocon hipsters did their best to plug your idea of sending Saudi troops who couldn't fight Houthis to fight Assad's army and Hezbollah Lindsey, but you're still stuck with less than .01% of all GOP primary voters...
Stars and Stripes: US-backed 'Free Syrian Army' group on the verge of collapse, December 13, 2015 Given the Russians' fourth generation warfare ability to start suborning or bribing demoralized 'Free Syrian Army' 'moderates' to quit (a trick they learned from the U.S. which paid off Saddam's Republican Guards to melt away during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003) even Stars and Stripes is reporting that many of the demoralized 'Free Syrian Army's recruits are considering abandoning the fight and/or fleeing to Germany. The article by the quasi-independent DoD mouthpiece/U.S. armed forces newspaper also says that the more radical join Jabhat al-Nusra aka Al-Qaeda. Retired Army Green Berets Colonel Patrick Lang summed up the military situation for the Saudis' Syrian proxies in mid-December:
...the kesselschlacht battle to be fought in Idlib is shaping up nicely. The rebels (of various persuasions) will have to fight hard to try to hold the M5 highway open to the south from Aleppo [which has since fallen to the SAA/Hezbollah advance -- JWS] and that will make them superb targets out in that open country. IMO the expectation of large numbers of surrenders/defections from the rebel forces grows greater by the day. Faced with all the Russian fire power and in the face of a reinvigorated SAA and their allies the temptation to experience a "come to Bashar" moment will be very strong. pl
Look at these evil 'Assad supporting' Christians celebrating Christmas -- if 'regime change' had been carried out in Syria as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey plus much of official Washington demanded most of these Syrian Christians would've been butchered, their wives and daughters raped, and the survivors forced to pay the dhimmis' jizyah or had to flee to avoid forcible conversion after their homes were destroyed...
Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin: God (and the NWO) have weighed the Saudi Kingdom on the scales and found it wanting. Judgement is coming, oh Saudi princes...the blood of countless Mideast Christians who were butchered by your jihadists cries out from the ground against you...