Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

Anonymous: New Files Reveal John McCain Shipped Weapons To ISIS

July 22, 2017 1 comment

Newly released files released by Anonymous reveal that John McCain helped ship weapons to terrorists, including ISIS, in the Middle East.

The Dilyana Files released by Dilyana Gaytandzhieva and Anonymous Bulgaria, expose how the U.S. State Department and McCain used Silk Way Airlines to transport weapons into the hands of terrorists.

This new release is highly likely to be related to the Story of Marc Turi – a convicted international weapons dealer out of Arizona:

Twenty-four years later, in March 2011, an international arms dealer named Marc D. Turi set up a $534 million deal to ship military weapons from Eastern Europe to rebel fighters in Libya’s civil war.

Within months, according to court records, federal agents swarmed over Turi’s Scottsdale residence and seized his computer. He was charged with violating the U.S. Arms Export Control Act.

Seemingly unrelated incidents, but with a common denominator: The student and the arms merchant are just one person — a mysterious figure named Marc whose story contains all the elements of a spy novel.

Be advised that this saga, full of spooks and political misdirection, twists the mind. The CIA is involved. Also Bulgarian arms manufacturers, Benghazi terrorists, Libyan rebels and U.S. political operatives.

In court filings, Cabou sought evidence that Clinton secretly armed the Libyan insurgents through other private brokers.

He claimed Turi was a CIA contractor, working with agents, and the U.S. “did in fact covertly arm the Libyan rebels using a plan remarkably similar to the one at issue here.”

In May 2016, the defense put together a slideshow for Justice Department lawyers, outlining reasons the case should be dismissed. The presentation stressed that Turi had pursued the Libya transaction openly, ultimately received a permit for the Qatar shipment, and had even contacted Arizona Sen. John McCain’s office for support.

One slide featured a March 2011 message from Turi to a McCain staffer describing his company as “the single largest private supplier of weapons and ammunition into Afghanistan.” Turi explained that Libyan fighters were requesting firepower, and he was seeking State Department licenses “to begin delivery immediately. … We feel this option provides an avenue to limit U.S. involvement while supporting the opposition forces.”

Within weeks of that message being sent, McCain became a leading voice for arming Libya’s anti-Gadhafi forces. As reported at the time by CNN, the senator “argued that Western powers need to do more to ‘facilitate’ the delivery of weapons and training for the rebels.

Trump to Saudi King: US Could Abandon the Largest Military Base in the Middle East

July 18, 2017 2 comments

(ANTIWAR.COM) — The latest in a series of moves by President Trump that appeared to throw a wrench into State Department efforts to calm the Qatar blockade situation saw him telling the Saudi King today that the US could well just abandon their largest military base in the Middle East, the al-Udeid Airbase in Qatar.

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Officials from the blockading states have previously suggested that the US ought to consider finding an alternative to the Qatar base, as State and Pentagon officials express concern the protracted blockade could start impacting US wars in the region, which are run out of the base.

This is a hugely important base for the US, and that’s a big part of why State Department officials have been so desperate to try to resolve the dispute. President Trump, however, has treated this base with relative ambivalence, and in his talk with King Salman today said he was confident other countries in the region would “gladly” build the US a replacement base if they abandoned Qatar.

Trump may be over-optimistic in that regard, particularly if after Qatar spent decades cultivating close ties with the US he just cuts them loose at the first sign of mild inconvenience. Hosting a US base is historically seen as an easy way to get US support, and if that’s no longer the case there may not be so many willing to host a new one.

By Jason Ditz / Republished with permission / ANTIWAR.COMReport a typo

This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.

Israel Growing Concerned That Unresolved North Korea Nuclear Crisis Will Embolden Iran, Experts Say

July 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Israel is anxiously observing the escalating international crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program, paying particular attention to its implications for Iranian behavior, a policy paper released this week by one of the Jewish state’s leading strategic think tanks stated.

“Concern exists that American restraint and continued provocative North Korean behavior would signal to Tehran that a country determined to cross nuclear red lines is able to do so, even in face of American opposition,” wrote prominent defense analysts Amos Yadlin and Avner Golov in The North Korean Challenge: Insights for the Middle East from the Far East, published by Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).

Moreover, the authors argued, the basic dynamics of the crisis are playing to the advantage of North Korea — and also Iran.

“The crisis surrounding North Korea’s missile program in effect presents a model of a balance of terror against Washington’s allies, based on support for a determined nuclear policy from a global power that is a United States rival,” the paper said. “Strengthening Iran’s ability to threaten Israel and the Arab Gulf states directly and through proxies, combined with the rapprochement and growing coordination between Iran and Russia, conforms to this model. According to the model, it is worthwhile for Iran to continue developing its nuclear capabilities and its missile program in order to attain a nuclear deterrent.”

Iranian actions along these lines have already been visible in the field. Syrian opposition sources reported at the end of June on what they alleged was a new Iranian facility manufacturing long-range missiles in the town of Wadi Jahannam, located in territory controlled by the Damascus regime. Managed by the “Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center” — the government entity identified by the US Treasury Department as  responsible for the manufacture of chemical and biological weapons unleashed by Bashar al-Assad’s regime upon its own people — the facility is said to be under direct Iranian oversight.

What Is Trump’s Middle East Doctrine and How China, Russia and Iran Are Dealing with It

Federico Pieraccini

Donald Trump‘s first foreign visit has begun to define America’s foreign-policy posture. After almost two years of words and rhetoric, Trump has began to reverse his electoral promises with diametrically opposed actions. The most recent meetings with the King of Jordan and President Erdogan, in addition to the trips to Saudi Arabia and Israel, represent the foundations of a great alliance that seems to be directed towards halting the advance of the Shiite arc in the Middle East that is led by Iran and Syria (as well as Hezbollah) with the assistance of Russian military power and Chinese economic power.

Over the past 30 days, Donald Trump has been able to meet with the most important allies of the United States in Middle East. First of all, King Abdullah of Jordan, and then Erdogan of Turkey, were received at the White House. Then Trump went on a trip numbering several days to Saudi Arabia and Israel. In each of these meetings, major points of friction between parties were discussed in an effort to find a shared outcome in the interest of everyone.

With Jordanian King Abdullah, the issue of the southern border between Syria and Jordan has been dealt with, and attempts are being made to influence the conflict, although there are few men and resources available. It would appear that Trump has agreed to supply the Jordanians with armored vehicles and trained proxies (FSA, but in reality anti-Assad militias recycled with other terrorist groups) with the intention of preventing the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) from taking control of the borders between Jordan, Iraq and Syria. In this sense, the town of al-Tanf is a good example of what the US and its allies want to avoid. Conquering the town would let Damascus link Baghdad to Iran, reactivating one of the major road-supply lines between Syria and Iran. This is precisely why the US and its proxy fighters decided to attack the SAA and bomb its convoy when it was approaching the town to reconquer it.

Image result for king abdullah of jordan and trump

President Donald Trump greets Jordan’s King Abdullah II during a joint news conference at the White House in Washington on April 5, 2017. (Source: Yuri Gripas / Reuters)

With Erdogan, the main thrust concerns the joint effort between Washington and the Kurds to conquer Raqqa, though the bigger issue for Washington is the hidden offensive to seal the eastern border with Iraq, thanks to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The problem remains that Trump and Erdogan seem to have different ideas about the role of the Kurds in the offensive in Syria. At the same time, Washington’s notorious duplicity in its intention to fight terrorism shows that the offensive on Raqqa has intentionally left open two roads south of the city linking the capital of Daesh with Deir ez-Zor, a strategic city still partially controlled by Assad’s troops. The intent, as in Mosul, is clearly to relocate terrorists to another city under Assad’s control so as to continue the work of destroying Syria.

The tour in Saudi Arabia and Israel, in addition to the usual assurances concerning the sale of weapons — Trump has secured nearly 400 billion dollars of sales to the Saudi kingdom — coincided with the new American project in Syria to directly or indirectly control all the country’s borders. The goal is to seal the border to the south and southeast with Jordanian-led Free Syrian Army (FSA) troops, as well as seal the border in the north and northeast border with Iraq and Turkey through the SDF, or even alternatively, a mix of Turkish troops linked with the Nusra Front, as seems to have been the case with Euphrates Shield. What remains is the western border, which is the most complicated to decipher. The southwest, bordering Jordan, is firmly in the hands of the SAA. The other is the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights a safe place for daesh and al-Qaeda terrorists. In the west, the Mediterranean laps on SAA-controlled land, as with the border with Lebanon. Finally, to the northwest, the border with Turkey is in the hands of terrorists funded by Ankara, currently halted by the agreements from Astana, or in the hands of the Syrian Kurds allied with Damascus.

As one can easily see, the American objective in talks with regional allies is to find a common strategy that can guarantee a semblance of victory in Syria. With Assad’s army pushing more and more against the terrorists, thanks to the forces freed by the Astana accords, it is easy to foresee that the Jordanian and Iraqi borders will be attractive targets for Damascus. The northern border, controlled in part by Turkey, is currently frozen in terms of movements and will be discussed in future negotiations; it is difficult to see any military effort to change the situation.

Trump’s journey to the Middle East has thus had the goal of boosting the sale of weapons, the confidence in the US as an ally, and the organization of a strategy in Syria.

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President Donald Trump and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia sign a Joint Strategic Vision Statement for the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during ceremonies, Saturday, May 20, 2017, at the Royal Court Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo Shealah Craighead)

The intention is to create an Arab NATO that can coordinate key events in the region more easily than can the current international coalition. The plan envisaged is essentially that of employing all resources available to prevent Assad from controlling the borders between Syria and Iraq and Syria and Jordan, effectively freezing the situation in Syria. Washington’s desperate wish is to prevent a union between Syria, Iraq, Iran and Hezbollah, for such would spell the creation of a Shiite arch that is clearly opposed to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar and Turkey.

It is likely that Trump, the Saudi’s and Israel are looking to a strategy that could justify in the eyes of the Arab world an open cooperation between the Riyadh and Tel Aviv, something that could also earn points for Trump before the international community. The first thing on the list is a negotiation between Israel and Palestine in order to resolve this historical conflict. The point is that if this operation were to succeed, the divisions between Israel and a part of the Sunni world could be overcome in order for them to face their common enemy, which is of course Shiite Islam that is most prominently represented by Iran, Hezbollah and Syria.

If the strategy is to avoid the emergence of a Shiite arc dominated by Iran, the US has made clear that countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel and Jordan set aside their strategic differences regarding the future of the region in order to unite under an American leadership in the region. Trump’s biggest incentive to negotiate a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is to be seen by the world as “the best negotiator ever”, building his legacy. From the Saudi perspective, the resumption of a leading role by the United States is a welcome relief after the Obama presidency. Moreover, Riyadh’s closeness to Beijing has generated some anxieties amongst US policy-makers, who see the role of the Saudi-controlled petrodollar and OPEC as the only way to continue to fuel their wars thanks to the economic hegemony of the dollar.

For Israel, this is a long-awaited shift of policy from Washington. Secret talks and meetings with Riyadh, with the common goal of limiting Iranian influence in the region, have been going on for years, and from their point of view, Washington is finally completely on board. Another aspect to consider is the role of Qatar, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood (very close to the Erdogan Turkish faction, as well as enjoying a presence in the former Obama administration through Huma Abedin) and the financial hand behind many Palestinian factions such as Hamas. Although the wounds between Riyadh and Doha were patched up after the Egyptian affair (Morsi was supported by Qatar, and el-Sisi received more or less indirect support from Riyadh) some outstanding issues remain, above all the competing ideological roles in the Middle East played by Wahhabism and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The intention of Washington and Riyadh, with the blessing of Tel Aviv, is to bring together all the opponents of Tehran and Damascus under a single banner renamed Arab NATO. In this way, co-ordination between the parties to take control of the Syrian borders, the last option left to influence events in Syria, could be given a realistic shot.

The final strategy for Washington is as simple as it is difficult to implement, namely, to isolate Iran while preventing the emergence of a link between Iran and the Mediterranean, something that is connected to the export of gas and oil from Tehran to Europe, in sharp contrast to the Qataris’ plan to export gas through Iraq and Syria in Europe. In addition to the energy corridors and the domination of the region, there is a much wider picture to consider.

Beijing intends to rebuild Syria at the end of the conflict, and the same intentions will likely extend to all those countries needing money and funding following years of war. The Chinese idea is to intervene economically to revitalize the region once the wars are over, something that will happen sooner or later. Moscow’s leadership role from a military point of view continues to expand in co-operation with Iran and Egypt. In Syria we know of the massive Russian presence, but in Iraq there is coordination with Moscow in terms of information sharing, and the same with Egypt in Libya. Russian armaments and specialists are at the disposal of these countries for the purposes of defeating terrorism, but also as a means of expanding the Russian presence in the Middle East and North Africa.

Summing up these situations, it is easy to imagine how Iran intends to drive the Shiite arc in the Middle East, with guaranteed economic support from Beijing and a military umbrella courtesy of Moscow, consolidating a region that has been living in chaos for decades.

Beijing, Moscow and Tehran are faced with the ultimate challenge of resisting the foreign intervention of powers aligned with the United States by ending the Syrian quagmire through diplomatic and military efforts. If this operation can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time, it may be that neocon-Israeli-Wahhabi efforts will vanish into nothing.

Syria, as well as the whole of the Shiite arc, is destined to dominate the region thanks to industrial development and security, something that currently seems unachievable but ultimately will be the norm. Beijing and Moscow are aware that in order to achieve a full integration of the Eurasian continent with its Middle-Eastern, Persian and North African neighbors, something is needed beyond territorial problems like in Syria or Libya. The region needs a wide-ranging project that can revive countries where poverty abounds, where the average age is very low, and where there is a lack of education. These factors are primary ingredients for the recruitment of extremist terrorism.

Tehran, Beijing, and Moscow are struggling to extirpate the seeds of hatred from the region in order to give a radiant future not only to their peoples, but to all nations that want to be part of a new world order based on mutual respect and dialogue, not imposition and strength.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani attend the Expo Center before the opening ceremony at the Expo Center at the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Shanghai on May 21, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani attend the Expo Center before the opening ceremony at the Expo Center at the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Shanghai on May 21, 2014 (Source: AFP 2017/ ALY SONG / POOL)

The dollar is the symbol of the financial domain that feeds the Western war machine. The Arab NATO is the latest attempt by a number of countries to stop the inevitable in Syria and the Middle East. It is no coincidence that Riyadh focuses on two very different scenarios. The approximation between Beijing and Riyadh is a factor underestimated in the West, just as is Moscow’s fruitful dialogue between Turkey and Israel. While Ankara, Tel Aviv and Riyadh are central to Washington’s strategy, these contacts with Beijing and Moscow indicate that even amongst the sworn opponents of Tehran and Damascus, there is lack of confidence that the plan elaborated by the Israelis, Neocons and Wahhabis may succeed.

Once US efforts in the Middle East and North Africa eventually fail, it is likely that the dollar’s role will also begin to be affected by a diversification towards non-dollar-based sales of oil. The reality that Washington faces is much more complex and negative than it does not seem. If the Shiite arc really succeeds in dominating the region, with Beijing’s economic protection (linked to One Belt One Road and the Maritime Silk Road, as well as institutions such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), Washington will be unable to hold back even her closest allies, who are already eager to talk with their Russians and Chinese counterparts.

The deep state in Washington, and Trump to a lesser extent (he is interested in creating a legacy based on the solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict), realized that a last attempt was to be made in Syria with the takeover of Raqqa and the conquest of the borders between Syria and Iraq and Syria and Jordan. All future projects of the Wahhabi-neocon-Israeli alliance depend on the military success of these operations.

If Assad will be able to secure his country by defending its borders, the Shiite arc will finally come to life and at that point it will only be a matter of time before Beijing can inject money into the country’s economy to stabilize it while Moscow continues its security work in the region targeting extremists in Libya, Egypt and Iraq.

There is a ruthless struggle in various areas of the Middle East and North Africa on which the future of millions of people will depend. A victory for Assad and Syria today is a defeat for the American-Israeli-Saudi war machine and a triumph for the future the evolving multipolar world.

Federico Pieraccini is an independent freelance writer specialized in international affairs, conflicts, politics and strategies.

Featured image: Strategic Culture Foundation

Trumps on tour: Donald and Melania (plus Ivanka) are greeted by the Saudi king as they land in Riyadh for his crucial first test abroad

President Donald Trump, pictured with first lady Melania, touched down Saturday in the Middle Eastern country of Saudi Arabia after tweeting about his excitement for his first 'big foreign trip'

President Donald Trump has landed in Saudi Arabia as he begins his first foreign tour since taking office.

He touched down in the Middle East this morning, hours after tweeting about his excitement for his first ‘big foreign trip.’

Trump flew to the capital Riyadh overnight on Air Force One – becoming the only president to make Saudi Arabia, or any majority Muslim country, his first stop overseas as president.

His arrival following a 6,700-mile flight was met with the pomp usually reserved for the likes of a Papal welcome in South America.

The president got the red carpet treatment – literally – and some airport workers took off their shoes before manicuring it with brooms in 97-degree heat.

The Saudi King later presented Trump with the kingdom’s top civilian honor, the gold King Abdulaziz medal, at the royal court.


Saudi Arabia Whines US Has Too Much Control Over World’s Oil

May 14, 2017 1 comment

(Daily Caller News Foundation) The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) asked the U.S. to stop producing so much oil, according to a report Thursday.

Saudi Arabia Whines US Has Too Much Control Over World’s Oil

OPEC’s report blames the U.S. in particular because hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has greatly increased American oil production. The new production has led a lengthy period of very low oil prices. OPEC claims raising global oil prices will “require the collective efforts of all oil producers” and should be done “not only for the benefit of the individual countries, but also for the general prosperity of the world economy.”

New American oil production is undermining OPEC’s efforts to keep global prices between $50 and $60 per barrel, with current prices hovering around $47 a barrel.

“I think [OPEC] are now acutely aware that they don’t have the kind of influence they used to have 10 years ago, and that shale is now the swing producer in the market,” Tom Pugh, commodities economist at Capital Economics, told CNN Money.

As U.S. oil production continues increasing, OPEC oil gets edged out of the lucrative American oil market. America imported about 60 percent of its oil in 2007, but by 2014, the U.S. only imported 27 percent of its oil — that’s the lowest level since 1985, according to government data. The rising oil production has reduced demand for Saudi oil abroad too, keeping prices low.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects oil production to top 9 million barrels a day in 2017. The U.S. surpassed both Saudi Arabia and Russia in 2015 as the world’s largest and fastest-growing producer of oil.

OPEC de-facto leader, Saudi Arabia, is increasingly unable to control the global oil supply because of rising energy production in the U.S., Russia and Iran.

“Saudi Arabia is under extraordinary pressure both internally and externally,” Dr. Jean-Marc Rickli, a risk analyst at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, told The Wall Street Journal.

The world’s biggest crude exporter is conceding ground to enact a steep oil production cut in order to prop up the low global price of oil, causing the Kingdom to rapidly lose market share and influence over other OPEC members.

The Saudis convinced OPEC to cut production to raise prices in November, but OPEC countries can’t cope with low crude prices and already appear to be cheating to balance their national budgets. Such cheating keeps oil from rising, further weakening Saudi control over OPEC.

Though Saudi Arabia can likely handle cheap oil better than other OPEC countries, it is expecting a budget deficit of $140 billion— roughly 20 percent of the country’s economy. The fiscal outlook for the country looks so dire when compared to 2013’s surplus of $48 billion, that the International Monetary Fund warned it could go through its fiscal reserves within five years. Saudi oil export revenues dropped 46 percent in just a year and the country is selling bonds for the first time since 2007.

Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation via iCopyright license.

Russia to Establish A Naval Base in Yemen? Implications for US Military Involvement in Syria?

“If You Take East-Syria, I’ll Take That Yemeni Port”

Moon of Alabama

Will the U.S. leave Syria if doing so prevents a Russian fleet in Yemen? 

The question seems weird but if Russia succeeds with its negotiations in Yemen it will soon have to be asked.

A U.S. neoconservative outlet recently published an interesting but mostly unsourced bit about Yemen:

Russia is mediating negotiations for a political solution to the Yemen conflict outside of UN channels as a means to secure naval bases in Yemen. Russia is pursuing political negotiations with the UAE and former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh by beginning to discuss the future consensus Yemeni government. Saleh’s support for the Houthis is critical for the al Houthi-Saleh bloc to retain its influence across northern and central Yemen. The UAE may see this settlement as a way to halt the expansion of Iran’s influence in Yemen and to limit bearing further costs associated with the Yemeni war. Saleh previously expressed willingness to grant Russia military basing rights in Yemen. This basing would allow Russia to project power into one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in the Red Sea and the Bab al Mandab strait, a global maritime chokepoint.

Back in August 2016 the former Yemeni president Saleh had indeed made an offer to Russia:

“In the fight against terrorism we reach out and offer all facilities. Our airports, our ports… We are ready to provide this to the Russian Federation,” Saleh said in an interview in Sanaa.

No one (but Russia?) took Saleh serious at that time. He was not, and is not, in a position to achieve control over Aden in southern Yemen nor any other relevant Yemeni port.

I also doubted the recent report. Yes, until the early 1990s the Soviet Union had bases in southern Yemen and thousands of military advisers and trainers worked in the country. But Russia currently does not have the naval resources, nor the immediate interest, to open a new base in the area. Or so I thought.

But a well-informed source in Yemen dispelled my doubts. It confirmed the report. Russia is negotiating with the UAE, the Houthi/Saleh alliance and the various southern groups in Yemen over a peace deal and has been doing so for the last six month. The deal would include Russian naval basing rights in Aden.


The red lights must be flashing at CENTCOM, the Pentagon and the National Security Council. For the last twenty-five years the Arab Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea were largely U.S. controlled waters. That China recently opened an “anti-piracy” base in Djibouti has already led to concerns. Now the Russians are coming!!!

The Saudi war on Yemen, actively supported by the U.S., is going nowhere. The Saudis are daily losing soldiers to Yemeni incursions (vid) into south Saudi Arabia. There is no chance that Saudi supported forces will take the Houthi/Saleh controlled northern Yemen and the capital Sanaa. The United Arab Emirates has supported the Saudi war with capable forces. But the UAE only wants Aden port and its nearby oil-loading facilities for its DP World port management business. The Saudis want the ports as outlets for their oil exports away from their Persian Gulf ports that Iran could easily disable. But they also want to control all of Yemen.

The Saudis hired Al-Qaeda in Yemen to fight as their proxy force. But neither the U.S. nor the UAE agree to that ploy. UAE forces in Yemen were attacked by AQ. The U.S. fears AQ in Yemen as a potential source of international attacks. Since the beginning of the year the U.S. and UAE special forces have raided or bombed a number of Al-Qaeda concentration in Yemen. The Saudis were surprised but could hardly protest. Al-Qaeda was their last ace in the game. They have lost it.

The Saudis are pulling back from their planned invasion on Yemen’s Red Sea coast in Hodeidah. The port is currently the only one through which food aid is shipped to the besieged and starving northern areas. The UN had protested against an attack on it and the U.S. has held back support for the operation. The Houthis and Saleh will likely agree to some UN control over the port. While the Saudis allege that the port is for smuggling arms from Iran, the Houthi know well that this has not been the case.

The Saudi fear of an Iranian stronghold in Yemen is baseless. The alleged Iranian support for the Houthis never materialized. During more than two years of war no Iranian was killed, captured or even seen in Yemen. The ballistic missiles the Houthis are using against Saudi Arabia are old Soviet types including locally modified SA-2/S-75 air defense missiles. The Yemeni army had purchased and stashed many of those while Iran had never owned that type. The military supplies the Houthis use is not of Iranian origin but taken from Saudi deliveries to its proxy fighters in Yemen. The Houthi simply capture or buy from them whatever they need.

There were recent protests in Aden against the U.S./Saudi puppet president of Yemen, Hadi. He had resided there for a few weeks but had to flee back to his luxury hotel suite in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. While Hadi is officially in control and responsible for Aden no government wages have been paid, utilities are out and various gangs control and fight each other over parts of the city. Party headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood aligned Islah party, which supports Hadi, have been burned down.

The UAE has had enough of it:

The Emiratis are beginning to tire of their bickering wards. Officials who hoped that Aden would be a model for the rest of Yemen now fear that leaving the south on autopilot might only condemn the country to instability. And that might engulf the whole Arabian peninsula. Thousands of fighters they have trained have gone AWOL (after collecting their pay). Motivating recruits to push north is an uphill task even with the payment of bonuses. Those who were happy to fight for their own homes seem unenthused about fighting for somebody else’s.

If the Saleh/Houthi alliance can make peace with the southern movements that so far supported Hadi, the war can be ended within a few month. Russia can moderate the negotiations and provide, to some degree, guarantees. Unlike the U.S. it is seen as neutral and sober by all sides of the conflict. The UAE and the Saudis will have to pay up for the carnage they caused. The UAE would probably get commercial Aden port rights for its DP World business. The Saudis would only get some peace within their borders. But by now the Saudis are likely to agree to such a deal – if only to keep face while ending that calamitous adventure in Yemen.

As for the naval port and Russian basing rights – these are excellent bargains in negotiations with the U.S. over Syria. If the U.S. insists on controlling eastern Syria the Russians can send some submarines, a destroyer and other combatants to Aden and install some very capable air and sea defenses to keep their ships and the harbor safe.

If the U.S. agrees to leave Syria alone then a small rusty Russian corvette in Aden, without air defenses, would probably do. The Pentagon and the White House would have a choice to make: keep primacy in the seas of the area or have the constant menace of a nearby Russian “fleet in being” on their back. Is a troublesome occupation of east-Syria really worth that hassle?

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