Iranian state-funded Press TV is reporting that scores of soldiers from the Saudi-led Arab coalition were killed this weekend by multiple Houthi-fired ballistic missile strikes on their base near the Bab-el-Mandeb strait that separates Yemen from Africa. Pro Shi'a Mideast sources reported the attack on a Saudi military headquarters at Sha'b Al-Jenn reportedly killed Saudi and UAE commanders, including KSA Col. Abdullah Al-Suhyan, allegedly a coordinator of the Kingdom's special operations inside Yemen. Iraqi expat Shi'a blogger Haider Sumeri says 146 bodies arrived to the port of Aden after the missile attack. Given Islamic burial customs requiring corpses to be repatriated for burial quickly, that number may not be an exaggeration. https://twitter.com/IraqiSecurity/status/676192640539475968
The Houthi Ballistic Missile Strikes in the Context of the Wider Sunni-Shi'a Mideast War, in Which Washington Has (Mostly) Sided with the Sunnis
The weapon allegedly used in these strikes was an Iranian-made, Yemeni Army modified version of the old Soviet SA-2 'flying telephone pole' surface to air missile of the type the North Vietnamese used to shoot down hundreds of American aircraft in the 1960s and 70s, but converted into a ballistic rocket. The Yemenis released a video picked up by Iranian state TV and (allegedly Russian owned) LiveLeak showing an alleged launch with the Houthis shouting their customary Iranian Revolutionary Guards' derived battle cry of 'Allahu akbar, death to America, death to Israel' before firing a Qaher 1 rocket:
The Saudis again discover that Allah snack-baring goes both ways...as soon will the Turks who thought Washington backed their invasion of Iraq
This filmed Qaher 1 (also spelled Qahir1) launch of course, could simply be an Iranian smokescreen for the use of ballistic missiles with bigger high explosive warheads -- like the Soviet designed SCUD or even Ukrainian-sold (prior to the U.S.-sponsored Kiev coup d'etat) Tochka ballistic missiles. How the wily Persians slipped such weapons past the apparently porous Saudi/UAE c coalition naval arms blockade is an interesting question -- one that probably involves as Johnny Cash once sang bringing it 'one piece at a time', Omani arms dealers and high-speed cigarette boats.
It would be ironic indeed (and a little wink and nod from the Iranians to their allies the Russians) if a Tochka missile made in the late mighty USSR and illicitly sold by corrupt officials in Ukraine under Yanukovych were used to blow up American-made Saudi military hardware this weekend...
Given the growing ballistic missile capabilities of the Houthis, Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies, former Riyadh station chief and purported Muslim convert and confidante to the Saudi royals CIA director John Brennan can no longer be sure that Langley's TOW missile warehouses in (significantly Shi'a) eastern Saudi Arabia or even Kuwait are safe from attack. Being a security guard at a Saudi or Qatari warehouse full of weaponry bound for the Kingdom and Doha's pet jihadists in Syria is not a job you could pay me enough 'son of Blackwater' money to do at this point...Abu Dhabi-based XE CEO Erik Prince is going to have to up the danger pay or experience recruitment issues if his company and Langley don't find a way to counter the incoming Iranian-made ordinance.
Who knows? The mainstream media including Reuters and the Associated Press might eventually do their jobs and report on the private military contractors coming home in body bags to the UK, North or South America from the war in Yemen (or a renewed round of fighting in Ukraine).
Yemen Crisis News from the good people at Southfront (consider donating) published on YouTube last week
As we warned in a previous post, the Saudis cannot create a 'bear trap' or a second Afghanistan for the Russians using their militarily inept jihadi proxies inside Syria, no matter how many TOWs Langley sends them for this purpose, without running the risk that more Saudis and Western mercenaries inside the Kingdom, Yemen or the UAE will pay with their lives for this proxy war. The rules have changed drastically since the 1980s and the gloves are now off -- it's all out proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran, and the Iranian sharks smell Saudi (and foreign Hessian mercs) blood in the water. While my friend The Saker aka Andre Raevsky has until recently been asking 'where are the Iranians' in the Syrian Arab Army's offensive, it appears that Gen. Qassem Soleimani and his colleagues have been busy avenging the highly publicized by pro-Israel media deaths of IRGC and Hezbollah at the hands of U.S./Saudi equipped TOW jihadis by killing Saudis through the Houthis.
When William Engdahl asks if ISIS is simply the Saudi Arabian army in disguise, he isn't far off the mark (given how many Saudi passports with Turkish visas that have been found on the bodies of ISIS/Jabhat al-Nusra fighters killed by the SAA/Hezbollah). But the Saudi Kingdom's foreign legion, whether consisting of official mercenaries hired through XE/Academi or the unofficial, terrorist mercenary army known as the Islamic State is failing on all fronts.
Houthis blow up a Saudi military outpost they overran outside the city of Jizan in southwestern Saudi Arabia
Now that the highest Shi'a religious authority in Iraq Shi'a cleric Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani has given his blessing to Iraqi resistance against the Turkish invasion of northern Iraq's Nineveh province near Mosul, IRGC-signature Iraqi attacks on the Turkish military that thought Washington had their back are imminent. The fusillades of TOW missiles that neocons, 'Free Syrian Army' British fanboys and outright Salafist scumbags have cheered on Twitter are about to be answered with brand new Russian Kornet missiles in the hands of IRGC advised Iraqi Shi'a commandos killing Turks on Iraqi soil. The old Marxist comrades of the PKK, labeled as terrorists by Ankara, may also soon get their hands on Iran's latest anti-tank weapons to avenge Turkish attacks on Kurds inside Turkey.
The Saudis' Vietnam -- and the Failure of Riyadh's U.S.-Backed Invasion of Yemen
What remains to be confirmed are more claims that 'Blackwater' private military contractors (the company founded by ex-Navy SEAL and Abu Dhabi resident Erik Prince changed its name to XE services in 2009 due to controversies surrounding its mercenaries killing civilians in Iraq and spun off Academi) were killed in the Sh'b Al-Jenn blasts, which were apparently coordinated with Houthi missiles being launched at the King Khaled Royal Saudi Air Force base (not to be confused with King Khaled Military city in NE Saudi Arabia) near Khamis Msheit. The fast growing city of Khamis Msheit located in southwestern Saudi Arabia Asir province sits in one of the desert Kingdom's few breadbasket regions.
The pro-Shi'a Lebanese Christian run Al-Masdar News site adds that "the Yemeni popular committees [Houthi allied Yemeni army forces -JWS] also targeted a Saudi military camp in Jizan by three rockets, inflicting critical losses upon the site." The pro-Houthi and Yemeni allies twitter feed @YemenFightsBack reports that at least one rocket was also fired at the Jizan airport, threatening any Saudi Aramco executives or workers traveling through that facility. The outskirts of Jizan which are located near the porous border with Yemen and is home to a major 400,000 b/pd oil refinery/export hub planned to come online for Saudi Aramco in 2016 have been under attack from the Houthis counteroffensive since the end of November.
Losing the War in Syria, Losing in Yemen: UK, Australian, French, Mexican, Colombian and Argentine Mercenaries
As the Russia Analyst reported for RogueMoney last week, an allegedly leaked internal Saudi government document admits to the Kingdom having suffered over 2,000 soldiers, GCC allied troops or foreign mercenaries killed in the conflict which began in March. The alleged Saudi document also admitted to "4,850 soldiers reportedly wounded, 450 tanks, 4 U.S. manufactured Apache Helicopters, 15 other military aircrafts, 3 boats (destroyed by P-15 Termit anti-ship missiles), and almost 200 billion Saudi riyals [over $53 BILLION U.S. dollars at current exchange rates - JWS] in damage."
Video posted on Colombian newspaper El Pais' website in which mercenaries from Colombia speak on camera with blurred faces and distorted voices
Naturally like reports of many thousands of hidden Ukrainian army casualties, this leak was ignored as likely anti-Saudi propaganda by the mainstream press, which aside from Al-Jazeera scarcely covers the war in Yemen at all. But the losses of several foreign mercenary squads led by one British, one French, and one Australian, one Argentine and a Mexican national commanding several Colombians who were killed last week forced the long ignored Yemen war into the mainstream media -- though mostly thus far in Latin America.
But repeat after me, these guys have nothing to do with Uncle Sam's Sunni Wahhabi allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar...
Oddly enough, the Colombian newspaper El Pais (our Spanish is a bit rusty since high school) describes mercenaries recruited from the country and inducted into the United Arab Emirates military as fighters against the Islamic State, even though ISIS is taking over areas from the Houthis and allied Yemeni forces the Saudi-led coalition are fighting.
In fact, in the last month ISIS put out a slick video of its jihadi death dealers beheading several Houthi prisoners and detonating a few more in a boat with an old Katyusha rocket. To at least bolster the image that the Daeshbags are fighting the Shi'a Houthis and Saudi coalition alike, ISIS obliged with an incendiary rocket propelled grenade that left nothing but charred remains of a pro-Saudi Yemeni governor in Aden last week.
This Spanish-language video we found about the death of at least six (some sources say 7) Colombian mercenaries fighting for the UAE in Yemen appears to have been produced by Venezuelan or Latin American leftists who condemn the GCC's 'savage aggression' against Yemen
Between Tanking Oil Prices and a Global Glut of Crude, A Losing Proxy and Dangerously Close to Home Hot War, Riyadh is on the Brink
In recent RogueMoney posts both the Russia Analyst and Ken "the shotgun" Shortgen Jr. have laid out how the Saudis are increasingly 'on the menu' for a Western world that no longer sees as much need for their once indispensable role as producers of the world's cheapest light sweet crude. Dr. Joseph P. Farrell (who tweets and blogs at @GizaDeathStar the feed and site named for his first book on ancient Egyptian technologies) has reiterated this point in recent days since German vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel condemned Saudi support of religious extremism and refused to disavow a German intelligence (Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND) singling out 30-year-old Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman as an ambitious driver of the Kingdom's erratic, destabilizing and aggressive policies.
Crown Prince Muhammad bin Sultan, of course, is the same figure who traveled not once but twice to Moscow for talks with Putin, along with high ranking UAE Abu Dhabi royals, in the last several months. It appears that while the Jordanian King Abdullah cut some sort of deal with Putin to abandon support for fighters in southern Syria (leading to successful SAA offensives east and southeast of Damascus and along the Golan Heights), the Russian-Saudi talks again reached an impasse. Whatever Crown Prince Muhammad wanted from Putin -- pressure on Assad to abdicate, or the Kremlin leaning on its Iranian allies to reduce their support for the Houthis -- he received only warm words about cooperation against terror, if that.
Like his retired SVR Lt. Gen. adviser Leonid Reshetnikov, Putin knows the Saudis are up to their eyeballs in sponsorship of ISIS, with the 'stab in the back' Turks merely the hired muscle of Saudi money and Washington brains. Given the realization that peace with the present Saudi regime is not possible and weak demand for oil is here to stay, the Russians are digging in like battle hardened Siberians at Stalingrad for a long siege. They are betting (in part, because they have no choice) that Russia with its expanding military industrial and agricultural exports can endure the economic pain better than a Saudi Kingdom that exports only hydrocarbons and (Wahhabi) Islamic preachers. Time will tell if the Russians are correct, but Russia appears to be stronger, have a broader resource base, and a stronger sense of national unity than the 'gas station posing as a country' called Saudi Arabia.
Russia is battening down the hatches for a Biblical collapse in oil revenues, warning that crude prices could stay as low as $40 a barrel for another seven years.
Maxim Oreshkin, the deputy finance minister, said the country is drawing up plans based on a price band fluctuating between $40 to $60 as far out as 2022, a scenario that would have devastating implications for Opec.
It would also spell disaster for the North Sea producers, Brazil’s off-shore projects, and heavily indebted Western producers. “We will live in a different reality,” he told a breakfast forum hosted by Russian newspaper Vedomosti.
The cold blast from Moscow came as US crude plunged to $35.56, pummelled by continuing fall-out from the acrimonious Organisaton of Petrol Exporting Countries meeting last week. Record short positions by hedge funds have amplified the effect.Bank of America said there was now the risk of “full-blown price war” within Opec itself as Saudi Arabia and Iran fight out a bitter strategic rivalry through the oil market.
Brent crude fell to $37.41, even though demand is growing briskly. It is the lowest since the depths of the Lehman crisis in early 2009. But this time it is a 'positive supply shock', and therefore beneficial for the world economy as a whole.
Once again, if anyone in Washington was counting on years of grinding recession amidst low oil prices to break the Russian Bear's will, they badly miscalculated. Thanks to ruble devaluation (which had an admittedly adverse impact on living standards and food prices) and early 80s Volcker-esque interest rate hikes to stabilize the currency, the Central Bank of Russia has not depleted its forex, but is in the process of shedding dollars and euros in favor of yuan and gold stockpiles. Meanwhile the Saudis, in part due to their ruinously expensive Yemen and Syrian campaigns plus social welfare and make work projects at home, are bleeding out financially and in terms of patience within the royal family for the father-and-son Salman and Muhammad bin Salman regime. Earlier this month 'W the Intelligence Insider' warned on the Caravan to Midnight program with John B. Wells that we could see the Saudis run out of reserves in less than three years, with major upheaval likely in the Kingdom before 2018.
One potential source of dissension among the Saudi princes, aside from major cuts in their lavish living allowances, is likely to be the growing urgency of bringing in infidel mercenaries (including Colombians) to protect military bases and important Saudi Aramco infrastructure if the Saudi military continues to prove incompetent at such tasks. This point was raised by the Russia Analyst's Washington D.C. energy industry consultant source, who maintains excellent contacts in Lebanon. Recall that one of the primary grievances of Yemeni-originated Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri was the presence of infidels and crusaders in the land of the two holy mosques during the first Gulf War of 1991. How much more would radical Wahhabists that the Saudis have generously funded through the years be infuriated by U.S., British or South American mercenaries polluting the Jizan and Asir regions or even the territory further north closer to Mecca and Medina?
Given these facts, it's little surprise Saudi Arabia is suddenly desperate for a ceasefire with the Houthis so it can re-direct equipment and resources to the war in Syria it's also losing. But there's no sign yet a ceasefire scheduled to start on December 14 will hold.
A column of Houthi/Yemeni light infantrymen listening to Arabic rap music as they walk into Saudi military outposts in Jizan province...
Neocon Sunni-stanis and Washington in Dangerous Denial of Sunni Proxies Failures in Syria, Yemen War Implications for Petrodollar
Meanwhile in Washington and among Washington's propagandist networks there is gloating this weekend about the dreaded Marine Le Pen and her National Front being cheated out of representation in parliament by France's two largest parties, the Parisian equivalent to the Republicrats and the Democans conspiring against a Donald Trump or Ross Perot. Neocon shills like British 'Syria watcher' Kyle W. Orton (no relation to the now retired NFL quarterback with a similar name) declare that Shi'a preachers are goading their followers to 'kill Sunnis', deliberately mis-translating exhortations to fight ISIS/Daesh Takfiris:
...while old chess master turned War Street Journal columnist Garry Kasparov is shrieking about how Vladimir Putin is the new Hitler and Donald Trump is America's Putin lite. Speaking of Nazi comparisons, Wolfschanze-type sycophancy and Werhmacht Signal magazine style propaganda prevail in Washington and mainstream media over real sober analysis of the Mideast battlefield. Like a cheerily optimistic Signal correspondent headed into the battle of Kursk, Bloombergview's Eli Lake says the Russians aren't making any headway, they're militarily inept and their allies (in this case, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps who took huge losses without quitting in the Iran-Iraq War) are withdrawing from too many casualties. Even Israel's Defense Minister is getting in on the act of ignoring how much ground and jihadis the Saudi/Qatari/Turkish backed takfiris are losing in Syria, if that's what official Washington needs to hear:
Iran is beginning to withdraw its elite fighters from the Russian-led military campaign in Syria, according to U.S. and other Western military officials, suggesting a fissure in what President Barack Obama derided last month as a "coalition of two."
U.S. officials tell me they are seeing significant numbers of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps troops retreat from the Syrian combat zone in recent weeks, following the deaths and wounding of some of top officers in a campaign to retake Idlib Province and other areas lost this year to opposition forces supported by the West and Gulf Arab States. As a result, the Russian-initiated offensive that was launched in September seems to be losing an important ally.
On Friday at the Saban Forum at the Brookings Institution, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said that Russia's initial plan was to take back Idlib and other cities that had fallen under rebel control within three months. "It’s not going to happen because of the military difficulties," he said, adding that the campaign to date looked to be a "failure." He cited the "incompetence" of Syria's army as well as "the lack of determination of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps."
The odor you smell after reading such remarks, isn't the charred entrails of takfiris blown to bits by Russian-made bombs and thermobaric rocket fire along the Syrian border with Turkey -- it's bulls--t. And Washington is happy to serve up more of its own with mainstream media saying it smells like Chanel Homme while the emperor Big Zero prances around in his new clothes, oblivious to his own nudity so long as the sycophant presstitutes insist he's shown that bad, bad man Vlad who's boss. But leave it to retired U.S Army Green Berets Col. Patrick Lang to burst the neocons' and official Washingtonians bubble, with the cold hard reality of looming defeat:
The minions of the foreign policy sector of the US branch of the Borg are hard at work seeking to sculpt a reality in which the current R+6 offensives in Syria are said to be ineffective, bogged down and doomed to failure because no military solution to the Syrian Civil War is possible according to Obama and the Harpies [National Security Advisor Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, and Undersecretary of State for War and Ukraine Proconsul Victoria wife to Donald Kagan 'f the EU' Nuland -JWS].
The Russians are said have been taught a severe lesson by the death of two soldiers and are supposedly having a bad case of "buyer's remorse" over their intervention in Syria. This is an amusing idea if you know anything about Russian national character as displayed at places like Stalingrad and Leningrad in WW2 [links added by JWS]. It is also said that the Iranians are withdrawing from the war having been disheartened by the death of several senior leaders of the IRGC in combat. This, too, is amusing if you were around during the Iran-Iraq War when IRGC and Baseej men lay down their lives by the tens of thousands in massed frontal attacks against the Iraqis.
The rebels have recently evacuated what they held of Homs. They are the people who left, not the government. In the end the rebels were defeated at Homs but you would never know that from the BS flowing in Washington and New York where the surrender agreement (truce) is said to be a sign of crumbling of resolve on the R+6 side.
R+6 troops are steadily chewing up rebel forces in Lattakia and Aleppo Provinces in the process of preparing the battlefield for a great action soon to come [what Col. Lang calls the coming Idlib 'kesselschlacht' or encirclement battle of the Saudi/Turkish backed Takfiris - JWS]. Numerous airfields have been re-captured and Syrian/Russian air assets are being moved forward onto these airfields. Russian sortie rates continue to rise, but the Borg insists that Russia will soon withdraw from Syria in exhaustion.
This thematic IO campaign in the think-tanks and media may well have some effect on Western populations but the Russians, Syrians, Iranians, Hizbullah and associated militias are unlikely to be impressed.
John Kerry said today that there are "kinks" in the Riyadh agreement stitched together by Adil (the Chihuahua) al-Jubair [KSA Foreign Minister - JWS]. Well, yes, the obvious intention of the Saudis and the jihadis among the rebels to make Syria a Sunni sharia law state might be considered a "kink."
Does Obama really not care about that? Does he not care? Does he not care about his brothers and sisters in Christ who would be reduced to dhimmitude by a "kinky" Islamist government in Syria? And what of the others; the non-Islamist Sunni Arabs, the Yazidis, the Alawis, the Shia, etc? Does he not notice that these people are all sheltering behind R+6?
[Late Democratic U.S. Senator -JWS] Daniel Patrick Moynihan is reputed to have remarked that while "you are entitled to your opinion, you are not entitled to your own facts."
Evidently Obama and the Harpies do not agree with Moynihan.
Katyushas -- the most feared weapon in Soviet arsenal for the Wehrmacht then...and Russia's Godzilla version the Smerch cluster MLRS now...