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Global Energy Advisory – 4th September 2015

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

If nothing else, we have Yemen to thank for upwards oil price volatility. So while the Saudis continue to play their high-output game, keeping oil prices low, at the same time the Saudi troop incursion across the border into Yemen with boots on the ground is causing intermittent oil price spikes. Saudi troops have entered Northern Yemen and taken control of two areas in the Saada province, the Shi’ite Houthi stronghold. The war affects oil prices because a key focus here is on Yemen’s oil-rich Marib province, which supplies the capital, Sanaa, which is under the control of Houthi Shi’ite rebels, nominally backed by Iran. The Saudis—in time-honored US-style bungling—are using this battle field as a proxy war against Iran. The initial beneficiaries will be Sunni jihadists who will gain a foothold in Yemen’s oil thanks to the Saudi (Sunni) meddling here. Right now, pro-government forces are trying to push the Houthis out of Marib province. If they do this, the rebels will likely be forced toward the Saudi border. In the meantime, Yemen’s port of Aden is increasingly becoming a jihadist playground—with IS allies infiltrating at what we are told is a steady rate. The Saudi-Iranian proxy war has made it possible for the IS to gain a solid foothold here, so consider this the extension of what is going on in Iraq and Syria.

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