- Yemeni geopolitical analyst
- Riyadh-based advisory to Saudi Public Investment Fund
- London-based consultant tracking Glencore’s activities in DRC for 5 years
- Investigative journalists on the ground at ‘Davos in the Desert’
The Yemen Quagmire Just Got More Complicated
The timing of a Saudi airstrike on Yemen that killed 21 at a crowded marketplace will put further pressure on U.S.-Saudi relations, with Washington facing increasing pressure in the wake of the Khashoggi murder to step back from and punish Riyadh—a move Washington is extremely hesitant to make. But Yemen is the proxy war venue for a Saudi-UAE-American war against Iran, and it is part and parcel of the unspoken U.S. containment policy.
But there’s more tied up on the ground in Yemen than is apparent on the surface. Yemen’s oil resources aren’t Iraq’s, or Libya’s. Production is at a bare minimum, and civil war has ensured that development has been sidelined, but the prospect remains alluring, and whoever ends up controlling the oil and its export points wins this civil war. As such, Yemen’s barrels are worth more than their volume in oil.
Right now, the Iranian-backed Houthis control Yemen’s port of Hodeida, a gateway to the Bab el Mandeb Strait. In other words, Iran largely controls this strait through which nearly 5 million barrels per day of oil flow—over half of it to Europe. The…