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25 September 2019

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JamesT

I hear Tulsi has made the next debate. The Hill was asking who she is going to "kneecap" next. I bet it is going to be Warren, and I bet it is going to be about Yemen/KSA.

ambrit

Sir;
I have noticed that, as far as my public news sources are concerned, the Houthies have refrained from molesting international sea traffic passing through the Straits of Bab al Mandab. Is there a possible scenario where the Houthies try to close off those straits for political ends? If their rocket forces can hit installations deep within Saudi Arabia, closing a waterway right next door should be simple.

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12)

closing a waterway right next door should be simple.

I am not Colonel, but, if I may, hitting stationary large targets and moving ships requires a vastly different terminal guidance and a large amounts of explosives. It is a very different technology.

fredw

My first thought is that the Saudis think the Houthis gave this shot all they had. They can make or get more of these weapons, but they don't have them now. In the short term it may be safe to attack them again. Knowing that things are likely to get dicey later.

If that is the thinking, then the Houthis may need to establish a steady attack tempo before they get taken seriously. This will likely get harder with stepped up air defense and possible (announced but not specified) US intervention. Or not.

The Saudis resuming aggressiveness just means that the combatants are still establishing each others' strengths and perhaps weaknesses. Once they have sized each other up more accurately, the situation can be stabilized. In the meantime we get to see how nervous all this makes the world financial system. I think it might only take one more well conducted attack to re-panic the Saudis.

jonst

The US support for the Saudi efforts in Yemen seem to me to be a tragic (for the Yemenis) act of insanity. This kind of mindless and reckless policy has gone on far too long in the ME. However, sadly, I see no end to this in sight. Until we fall, inexorably, into some generational type disaster. Once again.

PavewayIV

And about that refueling...

Facing Iran, Saudi Arabia still owes US $181 million for Yemen refueling
https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2019/09/20/facing-iran-saudi-arabia-still-owes-us-181-million-for-yemen-refueling/

WASHINGTON ― The Pentagon was set to outline new military options to President Donald Trump on Friday to respond to an attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, but Riyadh still has an unpaid bill with the Pentagon for $181 million over assistance in Yemen.

Despite the Trump administration’s emphasis on the U.S.-Saudi alliance in the wake of an attack that both sides attribute to Iran, Saudi Arabia has not repaid the Pentagon for its midair refueling assistance for its bombing runs over Yemen, nine months after the Pentagon announced it would seek to recoup its costs...


walrus

I imagine that there have been redoubled efforts by the West to find the sources of the technologies used by the Yemenis and destroy the associated logistics chain. I would also expect similar actions to find and destroy manufacturing/ launch sites.

The big question for me is whether the Houthi have already got stocks of completed drones or enough parts sufficient for a similar size operation.

My WAG is that the Houthi used everything they had in the last attack. That may mean a new attack is at least Six months away - too long for oil markets to care and way longer than U.S attention spans.

If the Houthi want to continue to impress, then they should mount one or more attacks very quickly so as not to lose the momentum the first strike generated.

My WAG is that Pompeo and the Neocons have told Saudi that the attack was a one off lucky shot and in any case we are adding more missile batteries, so continue your war.....

What might be the reaction to a further successful attack apart from blaming Iran?

Sbin

MBS is stubborn
Perhaps an attack on desalination facilities or the power plant running them would get his attention.

Barbara Ann

Unless the resumption is a short term face-saving exercise to cover an imminent deescalation and peace deal, this looks very bad indeed. If MbS has been persuaded that the US has his back so he can prosecute his war as before, it seems to me another Houthi attack is inevitable. The neocons will surely be ready with their "Iran dunnit" smoking gun when it comes.

PeterHug

I would expect that the next target will be a desalination plant.

ambrit

Sir;
That would explain the occasional stories about Houthi 'suicide' boats. A different tool for a different target.
Thanks. Nothing is ever as simple as we wish it were.
A conspiracy theory thought; someone "finds" Iranian mines in the aforementioned strait. One can never be too cynical.
As for the Yemen war, I remember seeing a video of some Houthi combatants during a battle. One of them was an old man shooting an old, probably ex-British Lee Enfield bolt action rifle. That level of determination is hard to beat. I imagine that to beat the Houthi, and keep them down, will require a large ground troop investment. The Brits finally gave up trying that back in 1967. I seem to remember another hill people who did similar to all comers.

turcopolier

ambrit

the people the Brits were fighting then were Sunni villagers and townspeople, The Houthis are Fiver Shia mountain tribes from the north. they are tougher than Afghan pushtuns.

Sbin

Wealthy pampered and delusional is no match for hard men defending their territory.
An ax handle to the head of MBS would be to sink his yacht with the fake Da Vinci on board.

Fred

Pompeo needs to be fired before he drags US into another war. Unlike walrus I suspect the Houthi's have enough weapons for another strike for exactly the reasons walrus pointed to regarding a let up in pressure.

Morongobill

If the Houthi's put as much thought into the next drone strike as they did the last one, it may put a real hurt on the oil markets.

Also bravo for Tulsi making the next debate. The thing I'd like to see her "knee cap"
is this neocon push to war.

Johnb

The intensive bombing may well be a provocation of the Houti to have them launch a less well prepared attack that can be blunted by revitalised and better focussed resources.

ambrit

"...tougher than Afghan pushtuns."
Says it all, doesn't it.
And, "Fiver Shia" as opposed to "Twelver Shia," which is the branch most Persians adhere to. Would this be in any way similar to the sub-sects of Christian Protestantism? If so, the often asserted claims of Iranian 'sponsorship' of the Houthi would be somewhat compromised, no?
Thanks for sharing your expertise.

BABAK MAKKINEJAD

With their low view of their mullahs/sheikhs/imams, congregationalist models of community life, and sola scriptura approach to the Qur'an, and absence of a central authority, and emotionless religious experience, Sunnis resemble Calvinists more than Catholics.


The Shia, on the other hand, have a strong emphasis on religious authority of their doctors of religion and the Pious References, veneration of their saints (the 14 Immaculate Ones), an approach to the Qur'an accenting both scripture and tradition; a deep mystical streak; devotion to a holy family; a theology of sacrifice and atonement through the death of Hussein, the son of Muhammad's cousin Ali; belief in free will (as opposed to the Sunni doctrine of pre-destination); holy days, pilgrimages, and healing shrines; intercessory prayer; and strongly emotional forms of popular devotion, especially the festival of Ashoura commemorating Hussein's death.

In the United States, very many Iranian men are married to Catholic women.

Stephanie

We are sending four of these to KSA:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/MPQ-64_Sentinel

according to:

https://www.rt.com/news/469704-pentagon-patriots-sentinel-saudi/

and 200 troops presumably to operate them.

Deal is, they detect, although it is not absolutely clear they will detect cruise missiles flying low and fast, but the Patriots cannot shoot down those missiles flying low and fast (or any other missiles it would appear) so what difference will the radars make?

But we have reached the moment where everything that happens in the ME is driven by domestic US politics. Everything we do is a political decision. So where do these radars fit in politically.

Lastly, the Houthi's are going to attack again and definitely it will not be a desalinization plant. That is a crime against humanity, and the Houthi's will not go there. Perhaps a palace?

ambrit

Sir;
Thank you for explaining the intricacies of the branches of Islam for me.
The very thought of 'Calvinist' style Sunnis makes a lot of what goes on in the Middle East suddenly more understandable.

turcopolier

ambrit

the similarity between different branches of Islam and those of Christianity are not very exact.

different clue

I'd like to see her "cap" every "knee" she can reach.

ambrit

Sir;
A fully human situation. The best analogue I can think of in that case would be Traditional Christianity and Swedenborgian Christianity. Even there, I'm making the mistake of imposing western biases onto a foreign system.
I've got a lot to learn.

turcopolier

ambrit

Among the worthwhile things I learned is that in Islam the religion resists adopting forms and ways of thought common in the West. Attempts to graft Western religious thinking on Islam have been generally defeated over and over again. In the Arabic language I struggled for a long time to find mirrors in classical Arabic for western grammar. The language is taught to Westerners on that basis. In the end I came to realize that the things we labelled as "case," "verbs," "tense," "adjectives," etc. were nothing like their Western equivalents.

ambrit

Sir;
My experiences with Spanish support your observation. I rarely have the good fortune to suddenly start to 'think' in the language. When I do, it is almost like being a different person.
A question for you. Do the Persians read the Qur'an in arabic or farsi? I would imagine that would affect the interpretation of the verses. It's bad enough for Christians to not read the Bible in the original Greek or Aramaic. My wife prefers the Latin Mass. It was how she originally learned it as a child. The emotional content of religion cannot be underestimated. That's why I commented to Mr Makkinejad that I could understand matters in the Middle East a bit better with learning of the Pseudo-Calvinist sensibility of the Wahhabi.
This old dog is trying to learn some new 'tricks.' Thank you all for the help.

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