Media Analysis

The disastrous Trump-Israel-Saudi Arabia alliance could trigger a global economic crisis

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Here’s the most important fact about yesterday’s Yemeni rebel drone attack on the Saudi oil industry: the Trump-Israel-Saudi Arabia Alliance is a disaster, and could trigger a global economic crisis. 

The attack, by Houthi rebels, was audacious. They reportedly launched 10 drones, which cost only $15,000 apiece, to attack major Saudi oil facilities, starting “gigantic fires” that sent so much smoke billowing skyward that it was visible from a NASA satellite.

The extent of the damage was not immediately disclosed, but the New York Times warned that “shutting them [the oil facilities] down for more than a few days would affect the global oil supply.” Oil experts are predicting prices will rise when markets open Monday, and such a shock is the last thing that an already fragile world economy needs.

Saudi Arabia’s enormous arms purchases could not protect it from the Yemeni rebel attack. The Saudis last year spent an astonishing $67.6 billion on military equipment, and the shipments continue, despite bipartisan efforts in the U.S. Congress to curtail the arms sales.

The New York Times report was more concerned with the impact on the global oil price than with the human cost of the Saudi-led war against Yemen, which is a root cause of the drone attack. It took the paper 38 paragraphs before it got around to mentioning that the Saudi onslaught has put “millions [of Yemenis] at risk of starvation and millions of others homeless.” The report never did state that at least another 100,000 Yemenis have already died, which is probably a low estimate. 

The Trump administration is trying to blame Iran for the attack, with no evidence. What stands out is that the U.S. and Israel have blundered by cozying up to the de facto Saudi leader, the young and unstable Crown Prince Mohammed. Wiser heads in the Kingdom would have by now recognized they can’t win in Yemen and started negotiations, but for now it looks like Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu are still sticking with the volatile Crown Prince — the man who less than a year ago ordered the murder and dismemberment of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

We will wait to see how Prince Mohammed’s other cheerleaders, like NYTimes pundit Thomas Friedman and leading U.S. banks and businessmen, react to this latest crisis. 

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Golly! an interruption in world oil consumption (or cheap prices)? Sounds good — from a Climate Crisis POV. Why so hot and bothered, JN?

Regardless of proof , what are KSA, Israel and the US thinking now? Some people in KSA are thinking we need to get out of that war fast. some people in Israel are thinking that attacking Lebanon is going to be very costly. Not sure about Gaza. And some people in the US are thinking that continuing to strangle Iran is going to get costly. So are they all going to push harder or the… Read more »

For the record:>09/15/201 “Pompeo Manipulatively blames Iran as Saudi Arabia loses 58% of Oil Production to Houthi Attack” By Juan Cole, Informed Comment, Sept. 15/19 “Yemen’s Zaydi Shiite Houthi rebels, who control the northwest of Yemen, including the capital of Sana’a, claimed on Saturday to have launched the 10 drones that struck the major Saudi petroleum production and refining installations at Abqaiq and Khurais. “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denied that the drones came… Read more »

An economic crisis is possible, and it may get attention. But we have had a humanitarian and moral crisis in this regard for years, starting even before Trump took office. He has merely compounded American complicity. The facts get reported to some extent — for those who seek them out — but little attention or concern, it seems, among the media and political elites of America.

Drones are cheap enough for people on the low end of asymmetrical warfare to use them. Why is anyone surprised when they do?