While the world’s attention is focused on the profoundly weak performance of President Obama’s “coalition” against the Islamic Jihadi ISIL army in Syria and Iraq, another major event is happening which could have huge ramifications for global oil markets, global trade and geopolitics.
A radical Islamic Shiite army has just seized control of a Red Sea port city in Yemen called Hodeida (see first link and second link). Yemen is located at the southern tip of the Red Sea and all traffic to and from Egypt’s Suez Canal goes through that region. The Shiite radicals seized control of the city from the American-aligned Yemeni government forces as the Yemeni troops and police “vanished from the streets” of Hodeida. The Shiite rebels, aligned with Iran, have looted weapons from government arsenals in the seized city and are overrunning entire provinces in Yemen. Is this sounding like a familiar story to you? The same thing happened in Iraq when ISIL seized Mosul as the Iraqi police and army vanished there also. ISIL also looted government weaponry supplied by the USA and has seized large swaths of provinces in Iraq. I wonder if the weaponry seized by the Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen’s port city were also American-supplied weapons, just like those ISIL seized in Mosul, Iraq?
The seizure of this Yemeni port city that can control access to the Red Sea (and thereby to and from the Suez Canal) is hugely important. From firing positions within Hodeida, the Iranian-backed rebels can fire short- and medium-range cruise missiles at any and all oil tankers and merchant vessels that attempt to travel between the Mideast/Asia and Europe. I wonder how long it will take Iran to supply them with such missiles. Do they already have them? Are they being unloaded from Iranian merchant ships or submarines at the city’s piers as you read this?
As noted in the links, this is terrible news for Saudi Arabia. It is also terrible news for Egypt, which badly needs transit fees from ships traversing the Suez Canal to support the Egyptian government. It is horrible news for the weak nations of Europe, whose oil supplies are now threatened as winter approaches. The risk of Iran controlling access to and from the Suez Canal via their Shiite rebel army clients in Yemen could seize up the global oil markets and many other global markets. Does it make sense to you that the price of oil has been plummeting even as the stability of oil supplies from the Mideast to Europe has never been under greater risk due to the possibility of a collapse of the Iraqi and Yemeni central governments? As a layman, I would assume the price should be shooting upward due to the increasing uncertainties about European nations receiving steady shipments of Mideast or Asian oil via the Suez Canal…as winter approaches.
There is one difference between the disastrous circumstances in Iraq and Yemen. The Iranians are backing the rebels in Yemen, but are backing the Shiite central government in Iraq. Iranian military units are reportedly already in Iraq, and (as cited in my previous post) an entire Iranian armored division has been deployed into Iraq to the northeast of Baghdad. The Iraqi government troops defending Baghdad may do better than they did in defending Mosul. It is possible that Iran has embedded elements of its Revolutionary Guards units within the Iraqi army units, not only to help them fight ISIL attackers, but also to shoot any Iraqi troops who attempt to flee.
The Mideast is nearing an explosion point. The fact that Iranian-backed Shiite forces have seized a port city that controls the southern approaches to the Suez Canal may force both Egypt and Saudi Arabia to openly invade Yemen to prop up what is left of its Sunni central government and take back control of the port city of Hodeida from the Iranian-backed military forces. Hmm. Another need for “boots on the ground” even as they are also needed to confront ISIL in Syria and Iraq. The USA’s army is worn out, thanks to the endless wars of presidents Bush and Obama. European nations scarcely have any armies. I guess the Mideast nations will have to fend for themselves.
Remember that just a few short weeks ago, Obama was citing Yemen as a success story for his administration that could apply to Iraq’s future (see third link)? What a joke! Now Obama’s statement has come back to bite him. Yemen is fast turning into another Obama foreign policy disaster. Is he going to blame the intelligence community for this failure too? The fourth link has a damning exposé from the British media about Obama’s negligence in conducting the office of president. It reports that Obama hasn’t bothered to attend (or read, I suppose) half his daily intelligence briefings provided to him by the US intelligence community–which struck back at Obama for blaming them when it was actually Obama himself who was at fault for American foreign policy disasters during his presidency. I suppose Obama had more important things to do than read vital intelligence briefings, such as planning his tee times at golf courses or setting up his next lavish, taxpayer-funded vacation/junket.
I ask a question: Can a president be impeached for incompetence and non-feasance of his duties? I think that he can be impeached for anything for which the US House wants to impeach him. The US Senate is currently controlled by the Democrats, but most observers opine the Republicans will control the US Senate after the November elections. The US Constitution sets a high bar for the Senate to agree with a House bill to impeach a president, but Obama’s performance in office is getting so bad that even the Democrats may not want him in office for the next two years as his disastrous policies could be a political death-knell for many Senate Democrats running in 2016 and for the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016. VP Biden may not look so bad to the Democrats as an interim president if the GOP wins big in November. Besides, Biden knows most of the Democratic senators very well–having served with them. I’m not making any predictions, but am rather thinking out loud about a surprising possibility.
Back to Yemen. The seizure of a strategic Red Sea port city by Iranian-backed military forces is surely causing Saudi and Egyptian military planners to devise contingency plans for an invasion of Yemen to take back control of the city of Hodeida. Even as the price of oil has been dropping on world markets, oil supplies to western nations are now under a dire threat. I wonder what Lloyds of London is now charging for insurance for the oil tankers who now have to pass under the guns or missiles of an Iranian-backed force at the southern approaches to the Suez Canal? The Iranian-backed Jihadis don’t need missiles to roil the oil markets and disrupt tanker traffic via the Suez Canal. Piracy is common near the horn of Africa, and many merchant ships in that region have been seized and their crews held for ransom. Iranian-supplied small boats could be used by Iran’s Shiite Yemeni forces to hijack an oil tanker in the Red Sea, sail it to the middle of the narrow, strategic Bab-al-Mandeb Straits where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden and threaten to blow it up in the shipping channel unless Iran’s demands are met.
Did you read about the above danger in any other media outlet?
The Gog-Magog alliance of Russia, Iran and China (foretold in Ezekiel 38-39) is positioning itself to put severe pressure on the western world led by the modern nations of the ten tribes of Israel. The Gog-Magog alliance is led by tough-minded leaders. The western alliance is led by an unskilled president of the USA who doesn’t even comprehend the need to show up for his daily intelligence briefings. If a crisis erupts, perhaps you can find him in a sand trap on the ninth hole of a local golf course. Thanks to Obama, the USA and the entire western world and its Mideast allies are in “sand traps” as well. The sand traps they are in are called the Arabian, Syrian and Iraqi deserts. In those hot spots, Obama has neither a caddy nor a clue.
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