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After Aramco Attacks We Can No Longer Ignore Yemen’s Suffering

This Friday’s large-scale attack, from Yemen, which targeted Saudi Aramco facilities and sent oil prices surging, demonstrates why the world can no longer ignore the suffering caused by the endless war in Yemen.

Yemen’s Ansarallah (Houthi) movement announced that they had launched strikes on a number of sensitive and vital targets deep in the heart of Saudi Arabia. The series of strikes, dubbed ‘Operation Breaking the Siege III’, constituted the largest attack on Saudi Aramco facilities in years and was geared towards forcing Riyadh to break its blockade on beleaguered Yemen.

Brigadier General Yahya Saree, of Yemen’s armed forces, stated that the Ansarallah movement had pounded sites in Riyadh, as well as in the Jizan and Najran regions. “A number of bomb-laden drones targeted the oil refineries in Ras Tanura and Rabigh, as well as the Aramco oil facilities in Jizan and Najran. A barrage of winged missiles targeted Aramco oil facilities in Jeddah and vital facilities in the Saudi capital Riyadh,” he said.

Following the strikes, Brent Crude quickly increased to 1.62 dollars, 120.65 dollars per barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange, a 1.4% jump. This comes at a time when the entire world is suffering with a dramatic rise in fuel prices, following Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

The Ansarallah strikes caused massive fires in two tankers at a Saudi Aramco oil facility, with videos of the burning tankers circulating as the flames engulfed the area throughout the night. During the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, taking place over the weekend, onlookers witnessed massive clouds of smoke emerging in the distance, visible from the race tracks. Saudi officials prematurely announced that the fires had been extinguished, however live stream footage broadcast on the Saudi-owned Ekhbariya still showed the site to be on fire. Despite the scale of the strikes from Yemen, no civilian casualties were reported in Saudi Arabia.

Later that night, Saudi warplanes launched strikes on Yemen’s Sanaa and Hodeidah, both cities under the control of Ansarallah. The airstrikes were said to have killed 8 people, including women and children. The following day, the Saudi-led coalition announced that it had targeted “Houthi strongholds”, claiming that weapons storage and launch sites were present at both the Sanaa international airport and Hodeidah port, providing no proof for their allegations. A health clinic, oil distribution facilities and civilian infrastructure were allegedly targeted in these strikes, which are continuous and are leading to a large civilian death toll. Saudi Arabia then announced the beginning of its targeting of the Yemen Capital Sanaa.

What comes from this deadly escalation is proof of the need to urgently end the ongoing conflict. The war that has been openly waged since 2015 — after the Ansarallah movement seized Yemen’s capital and formed their own government — has been a US-backed catastrophe which has ripped Yemen apart. Saudi Arabia has led a coalition of Arab regimes in its campaigns of brutal aerial assaults, making Riyadh the number one aggressor in support of what it calls the “legitimate government forces of Yemen,” which are in essence Saudi puppets. Iran also backs the Ansarallah movement, which is often why some call this a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, however, this framing of the conflict is disingenuous at best. The US and UK are the main weapons suppliers to Saudi Arabia and their regional partners, but also help Riyadh’s forces with logistical support, diplomatic support, and even launch their own air strikes against Ansarallah’s forces.

Prior to Moscow’s decision to invade Ukraine, Western governments had been for years screaming from the rooftops that Russian President Vladimir Putin was ready to launch an attack. Yet the West did not develop a plan B for the inevitable consequences of sanctioning Russia, they didn’t even strike deals strategically with OPEC members in order to prevent an all-too predictable economic catastrophe from occurring. Since gas prices began rising, the United States and their European allies have been attempting to pressure Saudi Arabia, along with other oil producing states in the Persian Gulf, to pump up more crude oil in order to prevent prices from rising. This put Saudi in a dominant position, to make demands of the West in exchange for doing it a favor.

Now, the Ansarallah movement has demonstrated that it can significantly impact global oil prices by attacking Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, and the Yemeni forces will not back down until Riyadh lifts its blockade. The Saudi imposed siege of Yemen has caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, made 19 million Yemenis suffer from starvation, and according to the United Nations, placed 160,000 in famine-like conditions. UN statistics also indicate that as many 377,000 people have died as a direct result of the conflict since 2015.

It is clear that, for the West, this particular tragedy is not politically advantageous enough for it to address the human suffering being caused by the US and its allies continuing to participate in these brutal and illegal tactics. However, the potential for this conflict to spill over and hit the West where it truly hurts, in their pockets, may now force them to reconsider their position.

The world’s worst war, in terms of sheer death and destruction, is not in Ukraine, it is in Yemen. If the US and UK want, they can stop this war instantly and it would not take half of the effort that they are currently putting into their opposition to Moscow. The Ansarallah have demonstrated that they can successfully bypass state of the art US air defense systems — in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — and hit targets of great importance to both nations. Ansarallah blames the governments of the UK, US, and now more recently, also Israel, as the primary culprits in fueling this war.

Missile strikes could at any time be directed at Israel from Yemen, and the threat to both Emirati and Saudi oil, as well as other vital infrastructure, is not going away. The ramifications of further Saudi-led coalition aggression against Yemen could be much greater than ever before and now would be the opportune time for the United States Government to step in and push for peace — if it had any desire to do so. Yet, the Biden administration finds itself in a tough position, where both the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, are both seeking stronger US support for their war efforts. This being the case, the US has to think strategically and faces one of three options; force Saudi Arabia and the UAE into a peace settlement; up their support for the two nations in their war efforts, or do neither. The only option which will prove positive in the long term is peace, but it seems as of now that Washington doesn’t have enough sense to even comprehend the severity of the colossal mess they have created.

Robert Inlakesh
Robert Inlakesh is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer, Middle-East analyst & news correspondent for The Last American Vagabond.

One Reply to “After Aramco Attacks We Can No Longer Ignore Yemen’s Suffering

  1. Once Yemen is defeated and absorbed by Saudi Arabia, the northern one-third of Saudi land will be ceded to the Greater Israel Plan. Access to the Gulf of Aden will nullify the Strait of Hormuz chokepoint.

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