Saturday, November 29, 2014

Iran Takes Yemen and Red Sea Waterway; Media Blackout Hides Strategic Power Play

Iran Just Took Over Yemen, Red Sea Waterway - Media Blackout Hides Strategic Power Play

[This is a very long article which is well worth reading. Below are just a few of the most germane quotes]

A power grab in Yemen brought Iran much closer to controlling this strategic Red sea waterway. Unlike the events surrounding the ISIS crisis in Northern Iraq and Syria, this major regional development which designates a significant success of Iranian imperial expansionism remains under total media blackout in the west.
It’s not clear if the blackout is meant to cover up the western failure or to enable Iran to accomplish its goals on behalf of the west without too much public attention. Reports on the events in Sana’a lean toward the later option: 
In recent months, Houthi “rebels” (Shiite Iranian proxies) took advantage of anti-government protests and sit-ins, triggered by rising fuel prices, to launch a full-scale bloody anti-government rebellion. This was the precise mode of operations throught the “Arab spring” which was a CIA operation. 
Weak government and an absence of security contributed to the Houthi territorial expansion; they currently enjoy total administrative control of Saada, Al-Jouf, Hajjah. And in September, they shocked the region by succeeding in taking over the Yemeni capital Sanaa, despite the government’s attempt to appease demonstrators with a variety of measures - ...the first step toward the creation of a Shiite state, supported by Tehran, in northern Yemen. For many predominately Sunni Arab countries, a militarized state would present an unacceptable threat in the region.

Iran’s ability to blackmail global economy on two strategic sea lanes – the Persian gulf and the Red sea (leading to the Suez canal) – are likely to have dire consequeces for regional and global stability, and draw counter measures from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel, all of whom are the immediate targets for this latest Iranian aggression which contiunes unabated by Obama and his Trilateral handlers.

A member of the Iranian parliament who is close to Khamenei declared, “Three Arab capitals (Beirut, Damascus, and Baghdad) have already fallen into Iran’s hands and belong to the Iranian Islamic Revolution.” He suggested Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, is the fourth.

In September, Shia rebels took over the capital city of Sana’a and the Al-Hudaydah port on the Red Sea. Iran has long been trying to take over the sea lanes surrounding the Arab world. It commands the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf and is now trying to seize the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

Yemen’s geostrategic location at the entrance to the Red Sea and across from the Horn of Africa along with the inherent weakness of the central regime has made it an attractive target for subversion by external power centers.

    A map of Yemen
    Map of Yemen

    Meanwhile, Iran will keep trying to augment its advantage over Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Arab world with its nuclear program, or, to put it simply, a “Shia bomb,” which would provide an umbrella and immunity for promoting the spread of the Shia revolution and the survival of the regime. From Iran’s standpoint this will entail the redress of a historical injustice – dating back to the dawn of Islam – of contemptuous, arrogant treatment of the Shia by the Sunnis, while providing a viable, Islamic, Shia alternative for confronting the West and Israel, the West’s “handiwork” in the Middle East, after the repeated failures of Arab nationalism.
    Should Iran complete its nuclear program and attain a bomb, Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states will be forced to settle for an American or Pakistani nuclear umbrella, and may even choose to launch their own nuclear program and thus open a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
    More than they fear enriched uranium or a few thousand determined ISIS fighters, the Saudis fear Shiism enriched to high levels of subversion in the east of the kingdom (in the oil-rich areas with their restive Shia population) and to the south (along the border with Yemen). The Houthi takeover of Sana’a, which constitutes an Iranian victory in the pitched battle with Saudi Arabia over its backyard, Yemen, has augmented the Saudi sense of threat and shown that Iran, which is gaining a foothold at the entrance to the Red Sea and the major international shipping lanes, does not intend to stop there. From Iran’s standpoint, Yemen is part of a series of “heavenly” victories as Khamenei calls them (the “victory” of Hizbullah in the Second Lebanon War and the rounds of fighting between Hamas and Israel), as Iran builds its status as a regional power on the ruins of the old Arab and superpowers order.

    The Sunni-Shia rivalry will continue to characterize and dictate the course of events in the region; meanwhile, as part of this struggle, Iran goes on gaining strategic territorial assets.
    This rivalry will also continue to affect other conflict arenas throughout the Middle East where Iran will try to impose its influence, as it does in Lebanon through Hizbullah. Saudi Arabia, for its part, will keep trying to counter the Iranian-Shia threat, as it is doing in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq with great transfusions of money. This will be very difficult for Saudi Arabia in the absence of U.S. support.  Yemen, which is not threatened by ISIS and where Iran has now prevailed, is clearly a case in point.

    The intensifying political-religious-military struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran has expanded to most of the Middle East’s countries. Iran’s power projection to the southern border of Saudi Arabia adds regional implications to the conflict between the Yemeni regime and the Shia rebels well beyond the domestic Yemeni dimension. The ongoing success of the al-Houthi tribe’s revolt with Tehran’s support, which has now led to the takeover of extensive parts of Yemen, creates another locus of regional confrontation (in addition to Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and the Palestinian territories) between Iran and Saudi Arabia, each with its own interests and proxies in the Yemeni arena.

    In sum, Iran is continuing to exploit the Arab camp’s weakness and Washington’s hesitant policy toward the developments in the region since the start of the Arab Spring.  While the Gulf states, chiefly Saudi Arabia, are occupied with thwarting ISIS and are joining the rickety coalition the United States has formed to defeat it, Iran keeps pursuing with increased intensity and without fear its policy of exporting its revolution to main areas of conflict, particularly Iraq, Yemen, and Syria.
    Via its proxies, Iran is gradually managing to take hold of strategic areas of the Arab world that are mired in ongoing internal crisis and where there is an active Shia population that has long been subject to Sunni authority. The Arab states’ weakness plays into Iran’s hands; it encounters no substantial resistance to its activity apart from feeble, toothless protests. As for the international community, Iran suddenly finds that it is the United States that, in effect, is helping strengthen and stabilize the Shia axis that extends from Iran through Iraq, Syria (where the United States refrained from military action after Bashar Assad crossed the chemical weapons “red line” it had drawn), Lebanon, and now also crosses the Red Sea to Yemen and back through Bahrain in a sort of circle surrounding the Arab world. For the Gulf states the fall of Sana’a (“the fourth Arab capital in Iran’s hands”) to the Shia rebels and the possibility that they will soon control the Bab al-Mandeb Strait constitute a “clear and present danger.”
    In the context of its campaign against ISIS, the United States turned to — and was rebuffed by — Iran. Yet Washington believes that its interests in the struggle against ISIS overlap with those of Iran. As in the past, however, it is doing Tehran’s work (as in the defeat of the Taliban in 2001 and the ouster of Saddam Hussein) and serving Tehran’s long-term interest in achieving regional Shia hegemony. Washington is investing limited effort and great diplomatic energy in defeating about 20,000 ISIS operatives while simultaneously strengthening Iran and its role in Iraq and Syria. In actuality, the United States is playing in the Shia court and helping vanquish a radical Sunni actor (ISIS) that poses a substantial challenge to Iran. And in the court of the nuclear talks, the United States is not taking a strong position comparable to the red lines that Iranian Leader Khamenei is laying down.27

    Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Saturday that ties between Israel and the US have reached such a nadir that the US’s assistance at the UN Security Council — including using its right to veto anti-Israel resolutions — was no longer assured.

    “We are at an unprecedented low point in our ties with the US. No one knows what they will do when Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] goes to the Security Council. Their veto is not assured like before,” Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, said at a gathering in Tel Aviv.

    The Palestinians have yet to formally submit to the UN Security Council a UN draft resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines by 2016, but are expected to do so in the coming weeks.
    Despite Palestinian statements that the text would come up for a vote in November, Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour told AFP this week that no date had been set for the draft to be discussed at the 15-member council.
    (The Times of Israel reported earlier this month that many in Jerusalem fear the US can no longer be relied upon to use its veto in the Security Council. In a second article, ToI’s Raphael Ahren wrote that in the Security Council’s present constellation, it will be difficult — though certainly not impossible — for Abbas to get the nine yes votes required to pass a resolution or force the US to veto it. “However, if Abbas decided to hold off until next year, when five of the non-permanent Security Council members will be replaced, the chances of the Palestinian demarche will increase significantly,” he noted.)

    With no political solution in sight, governments and parliaments in Europe are moving toward Palestinian recognition, with France’s National Assembly set to vote on a non-binding resolution on December 2 after debating the issue on Friday.

    Most Americans are completely unaware of what is currently happening in the financial world, but right now there are deeply troubling signs that we could be on the verge of another major global financial collapse.  If the next great economic downturn does strike in 2015, that could mean that we may have just witnessed the last great Black Friday celebration of American materialism.  As you read this, stock prices are approximately double the value that they should be, margin debt is hovering near all-time record highs, and the “too big to fail” banks are being far more reckless than they were just prior to the last major stock market implosion.  So many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed back in 2007 and 2008 are repeating right now, and as you will see below, this includes a horrifying crash in the price of oil.  Anyone with half a brain should be able to see the slow-motion financial train wreck that is unfolding right before our eyes.

    The next great financial crash (which many have been anticipating for years) is rapidly approaching.  So many of the same things that happened last time are happening again.  As I noted above, this includes a crash in the price of oil.

    In the months prior to the last stock market collapse, the price of oil began plummeting dramatically in the summer of 2008.  This was an “early warning signal” that something was deeply amiss in the financial world…

    Many people assume that a lower price for oil is good for the economy, but the exact opposite is actually true.  The oil industry has become absolutely critical to the U.S. and Canadian economies.  And in recent years, the “shale oil boom” has been one of the only bright spots for the United States.  If the shale oil industry starts to fail because of lower prices, a lot of the boom areas all over the nation are going to go bust really quickly and a lot of the financial institutions that were backing these projects are going to feel an immense amount of pain.

    So just like we saw during the summer of 2008, crude oil prices are collapsing once again.  The chart below comes from the Federal Reserve, but it is a few days out of date.  Now that the price of crude is down to about 66 dollars, you have to imagine the price actually going below the bottom of this chart…

    Needless to say, this price collapse is having a huge impact on the stock prices of oil companies.  The following information about what happened in the markets on Friday comes from Business Insider

    This comes at a time when there are already a whole host of signs that the global economy is slowing down.  Three of the ten largest economies on the planet have already slipped into recession, and the economic nightmare over in Europe just continues to get even worse.  In fact, we just learned that the unemployment rate in Italy has shot above 13 percent for the first time ever recorded.

    And without a doubt, the next crash is coming.  Hopefully we have at least a couple more months of relative stability, but many experts are now urgently warning that time is quickly running out.
    By this time next year, Black Friday may look a whole lot different than it does today.

    1 comment:

    Gary said...

    In the months prior to the last stock market collapse, the price of oil began plummeting dramatically in the summer of 2008. This was an “early warning signal” that something was deeply amiss in the financial world…

    From what I read, the reason why the price of oil is low is because of Saudi Arabia. They want keep the price low so the U.S. will stop getting oil from shale.