Saudi Arabia Imposes Naval Blockade On Red Sea Strait, Deploys 150,000 Troops As Iran Condemns Military Action

Tyler Durden's picture

As noted earlier, the biggest significance of any Yemen conflict has little to do with its own domestic oil production, which at 133,000 bpd is negligible, but due to its location, which not only shares a border with Saudi Arabia, but more importantly due to the Bab el-Mandeb strait which connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden: it is the fourth-biggest shipping chokepoint in the world by volume (3.8 million barrels a day of oil and petroleum products flowed through it in 2013) and is just 18 miles wide at its narrowest point. It’s located between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea, and connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.

 

And since to Saudi Arabia preserving the logistics of oil supply is critical, it is hardly surprising that as Egypt's Ahram Gate reported earlier, the Saudi-led Firmness Storm coalition imposed a naval blockade on Bab El-Mandab strait earlier today. The Saudi navy's western fleet has also secured Yemen's main ports including Aden and Midi.

 

It is not just Saudi Arabia: moments ago Reuters reported that four Egyptian naval vessels have crossed the Suez Canal en route to Yemen to secure the Gulf of Aden, maritime sources at the Suez Canal said on Thursday. The sources said they expected the vessels to reach the Red Sea by Thursday evening.

The naval blockade is just part of what so far has been mostly an air-based proxy war. As Al Arabia reported previously, as part of the "Decisive Storm" coalition against the Yemen rebels, Saudi Arabia has deployed at least 150,000 soldiers in preparation for what appears to be a land assault next, an assault that already has the preemptive blessing of the US. As a reminder, Saudi Arabia will be fighting US-armed rebels, but that's a different story.

Just as importantly, and since as we reported first yesterday the Yemen conflict is merely a proxy war between the Saudis and Iran, we also now have reports that Iran has condemned Saudi Arabia's intervention, is demanding an immediate halt to the military action, and has warned that a war on Yemen won't be contained in one area.

From Reuters:

Iran demanded an immediate halt to Saudi-led military operations in Yemen on Thursday and said it would make all necessary efforts to control the crisis there, Iranian news agencies reported.

 

"The Saudi-led air strikes should stop immediately and it is against Yemen's sovereignty," the Students News Agency quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying. "We will make all efforts to control the crisis in Yemen," Zarif said, according to the agency's report from the Swiss city of Lausanne where he is negotiating with six world powers to resolve a years-old dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

 

Earlier on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry in Tehran called for an end to the military operation.

 

"Iran wants an immediate halt to all military aggressions and air strikes against Yemen and its people," Fars quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham as saying.

 

"Military actions in Yemen, which faces a domestic crisis, ... will further complicate the situation ... and will hinder efforts to resolve the crisis through peaceful ways."

Prior to that, Bloomberg cited the head of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, who told Iran's Fars News Agency that Saudi Arabia’s strikes on Yemen will haunt the kingdom as war won’t be contained,

So as the proxy war snags more and more countries, threatens to become less proxy, more war and much more global, keep an eye on Russia which is caught in that "other" proxy war from 2014 and which is also going nowhere fast. Because if and when Russia and China pick sides and get involved, that's when it may be a good time to take a vacation far away from any major metropolitan areas.

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spinone's picture

This will fizzle out quickly, I hope.

22winmag's picture

With blow by blow reports of where the vessels are and will be, they'll be found at the bottom soon. Our vessels too.

pitterrier's picture

That would be a game changer, and not in a good way.

Ignatius's picture

Watch for attacks on Eritrea which has been going its own way outside of 'banker hell' as of late.  They may use this conflict to weaken them in the same way they use ISIS as an excuse to attack Syria and Assad.

dlmaniac's picture

Funny how people make it as if Russia & China are all influencing every corner in the world. They don't have that capacity, not in Gulf at least. 

Ignatius's picture

The idea of "projection" in psychology has been one of the few theories which seems to hold true.  The US methodically and psychotically seeking control thinks everyone else is psychotically seeking the same control.

Ozy_mandias's picture

Lets ignore the fact Saudi Arabia is at war with its neighbor over one of the most geostrategic pieces of real estate in the world.... There was a plane crash for Gods sake! 

BuddyEffed's picture

Is Yemen where that aircraft carrier headed off to a few weeks ago?

Killer the Buzzard's picture

A veritable Storm of FIRMNESS!!

J S Bach's picture

"... Deploys 150,000 Troops..."

 

I didn't think there were 150,000 people in that desert wasteland.  The troops must be mercenaries.

cnmcdee's picture

ok everybody seems to be up on the score that there is a battle occuring - but the real question is why do these countries have an interest in Yemen at all?

Fun Facts's picture

The increasing war and chaos fits Richard Perle aka the prince of darkness 1990's description of "total war" to a tee.

This enveloping chaos and destruction has been the goal of the PNAC Revolutionaries since prior to their New Pearl Harbor in 2001 when they had plotted to attack seven countries in five years....needing only to manufacture the political consent to do so.

The climax won't be reached until the end of the war, which involves an exchange between USA and Russia....the nuclear genies of death.

Once they launch, the war, whatever you prefer to call it, is 12 hours from being over.

COSMOS's picture

What if the Russians say NYET to the blockade and sink the Saudi Navy?  Payback for Chechnya towel head suckers.

Are the Saudis looking to get the Peace Prize this year?

kaa1016's picture

The Russians and the Chinese aren't going to do shit. The Russians have their hands full with Ukraine and this doesn't have anything to do with Taiwan or the South China Sea so China can care less.

smlbizman's picture

i would probably expect that great shinning star on the hill, or the star with 5 points to do one of those things were they sink a ship and blame it on putin...and with that being said maybe vlad should do it and make it look like the usa did it to blame him...shit all he has to do is put out a u tube vid and that would be proof....

Stumpy4516's picture

I suggest people look at the reality instead of what they think or wish Russia or Iran could/would do.

Overnight SA has bombed (and claims to have killed top leaders), taken control of main ports, established a major naval blockade and is ready to put boots on the ground.  Against Irans's (and Russia's) ally.  SA overnight.

Iran is like Russia thus far.  Neither supplied their proxy with appropriate arms to counter the attack, neither shoots a missile, neither declares a nofly zone for protection.  Just hot air and diplomatic complaints.

SA has done in 24hrs more than Russia has since Iraq1.  Was a single jet shot down during the bombing.  Has a single ship been even damaged?

Russia, Iran, China have no response.  After all the talk on here about how easy of target the US fleet is in the area this is evidence to the contrary.  They cannot even deal with the SA navy. Those same posters make wild claims about Iran's capabilities but SA just did it to Iran's proxy.

Forget what could happen.  What actions of force did Russia accomplish in Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria? 

Paveway IV's picture

"...I suggest people look at the reality instead of what they think or wish Russia or Iran could/would do..."

Iran and Russia have nothing to do with it. Why do you invoke 'reality', then repeat what you hear on CNN or read in the NYT?

"...Against Irans's (and Russia's) ally..."

That's like saying Haiti is a "U.S. ally." Yemen is not allied with Iran or Russia. 

"...Iran is like Russia thus far..."

In the mind of the MSM and Israel. 

"...Neither supplied their proxy with..."

Yemen isn't anybody's proxy. Is this the script you've been told to spread today? Sheesh...

"...Just hot air and diplomatic complaints..."

Almost as if Yemen isn't anybody's ally, proxy, etc. Gosh, what are the chances?

"...SA has done in 24hrs more than Russia has since Iraq1..."

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia created the Wahhabi nut-jobs - al Qaeda. Now they're terrified of blowback. What the hell does this have to do with Russia and Iraq? 

"...Was a single jet shot down during the bombing.  Has a single ship been even damaged?..."

No, because they attacked the equivalent of Haiti or Somolia. What kind of defenses do you imagine Iran/Russia have supplied them? 

"...Russia, Iran, China have no response..."

Whoa!! That was quick. 'China' tossed in to your jumbled paranoia by the fifth sentance. Are you an ally of Iran or Russia?

"...After all the talk on here about how easy of target the US fleet is in the area this is evidence to the contrary..."

Wrong gulf. The Yemeni 'fleet' consists of fishing boats and their coastal defenses are AK-47s. Do you even know where Yemen is located?? 

"...They cannot even deal with the SA navy..."

Oh for God's sakes... WHO? Yemenis in row-boats? Somoli pirates? The Iranian/Russian/Chinese navy? 

"...Those same posters make wild claims about Iran's capabilities but SA just did it to Iran's proxy..."

Yemen is not Iran's proxy. Yemen's Zaidi Shia are almost the polar opposite of Iranian Shia. Zaidi are more like Sunni than they are Shia. The only connection Iran has to Yemen is in Jewish-owned MSM outlets. You are either Hasbara or believe the MSM without an ounce of critical thought. Iran has nothing to do with Yemen or Zaidi Shia. The connection is laughable.

"...Forget what could happen.  What actions of force did Russia accomplish in Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria?..."

So your logic is that... Iran is the invisible evil behind this and an existential threat to everyone but powerless? I'll remind you that the U.S. has killed far more Yemenis with its incompetent intel and drones than Iran's Russian-supplied Chinese-Yemeni drones. 

Stumpy4516's picture

"Iran and Russia have nothing to do with it. Why do you invoke 'reality', then repeat what you hear on CNN or read in the NYT?"

Read ZH.  Iran has been the supporter of the rebels and the articles here, not CNN, have identified them as Iran's proxy.

"Yemen isn't anybody's proxy. Is this the script you've been told to spread today? Sheesh..."

Yemen has been identified by many as a proxy and allied with Iran.  Right here on ZH as a matter of fact.  Articles and claims that Yemen showed how the US and it's allies were now being driven back or out.

"No, because they attacked the equivalent of Haiti or Somolia. What kind of defenses do you imagine Iran/Russia have supplied them? "

I do not imagine they supplied them much of anything but small arms.  No real support no real weapons.  Also no real response or sheilding of their ally.  Now try attacking a simular country in the ME that is allied with the west or Sunni's and you will actually see a real response.  Russia/Iran have no influence once shots are fired.

"Whoa!! That was quick. 'China' tossed in to your jumbled paranoia by the fifth sentance. Are you an ally of Iran or Russia?"

Not sure the reason for thinking this make someone an ally of Iran or Russia.  Many believe China has gained influence in the ME and northern Africa and are now a real player.  They talk about Russia/China/Iran being a bonded group that intends to move together.  I do not believe that at all.

"Wrong gulf. The Yemeni 'fleet' consists of fishing boats and their coastal defenses are AK-47s. Do you even know where Yemen is located?? "

I thought you could sail a boat (or sub) to that location.  Is that not correct?  If these are such easy targets it would not have taken much to supply the systems.  SA is right there blocking the ports.  The SA navy did this.  Did Russia or Iran ever shown the capacity to take simular actions to protect an ally?  Suddenly it does not look so simple.

"Oh for God's sakes... WHO? Yemenis in row-boats? Somoli pirates? The Iranian/Russian/Chinese navy? "

Well, yes.  The SA "navy" just took over a proxy of Iran/Russia.  The SA navy just blockaded ports and a critical shiping lane.  You will not see Iran or Russia challange the blockade here or elsewhere.

"Yemen is not Iran's proxy. Yemen's Zaidi Shia are almost the polar opposite of Iranian Shia. Zaidi are more like Sunni than they are Shia. The only connection Iran has to Yemen is in Jewish-owned MSM outlets."

Funny, you were not saying that in response to articles here on ZH identifing the Iranian/Yemen connection.  The articles claiming the rebels were tied to Iran and the US was getting pushed out by Iran becoming aggressive.  Now that the proxy for Iran is getting cleaned up at a fast pace the story is different - suddenly it has nothing to do with Iran.

"So your logic is that... Iran is the invisible evil behind this and an existential threat to everyone but powerless? I'll remind you that the U.S. has killed far more Yemenis with its incompetent intel and drones than Iran's Russian-supplied Chinese-Yemeni drones. "

Not even close, please reread.  Iran is not a threat but is hot air as is Russia in the ME.  You are correct about the US.  And it will continue here in Yemen as well as in Syria, Iraq and across the ME.  And the lack of action by Russia will continue.  

Watch Syria for a timeline on Iran.  When Syria's fall in completed little time will pass before Iran begins.

This is just another clear example of who has  any real influence and ability to project power in the ME.  Whio is isolated in the ME.

Let me know when one of the opposing powers dare to sail a ship into a Yemen port without SA/US approval to provide supplies.    

Paveway IV's picture

"...Read ZH.  Iran has been the supporter of the rebels and the articles here, not CNN, have identified them as Iran's proxy..."

Tyler is parroting the MSM line here and all the articles Tyler reference parrot the MSM narrative. Tyler hasn't addressed the fact that an evil, corrupt U.S. puppet runs Yemen and is pissing off the Zaidi (and almost all other Yemeni).

"...Yemen has been identified by many as a proxy and allied with Iran.  Right here on ZH as a matter of fact..."

Where? Do you mean in the StratFor analysis or the Israeli-driven MSM presumptions of an alliance where none exists? Sympathy for the Houthis does not equal 'military alliance'.

"...The SA navy just blockaded ports and a critical shiping lane.  You will not see Iran or Russia challange the blockade here or elsewhere..."

Russia and Iran could care less if the Red Sea shipping lanes are blocked or not. Why would they? SA blocked a shipping lane important to Israel and the West, not to Iran and Russia. 

"...Funny, you were not saying that in response to articles here on ZH identifing the Iranian/Yemen connection..."

As a matter of fact I was. Read my posts. Tyler simply regurgitated the MSM spin about the Iran-Houthi connections. 

"...The articles claiming the rebels were tied to Iran and the US was getting pushed out by Iran becoming aggressive..."

You do know, of course, that the U.S. bombed Houthi cities in December, don't you? The Houthis hate Hadi - they wanted to kick his ass out of Yemen. The U.S. said that no Yemeni is allowed to choose their leaders - Hadi would remain in power and any Yemeni that opposes Hadi will be killed. That's why the U.S. bombed Houthis. The U.S. 'became aggressive' and got the Houthis even more pissed at Hadi and his U.S. support. You're not seeing the connection at all here? You can dismiss all of that and simply assume the Iranians have brainwashed the Houthis? 

"...Iran is not a threat but is hot air as is Russia in the ME..."

So by your logic, Denmark and Vanuatu are also full of hot air because their obviously getting their ass kicked in Yemen and don't dare send in their ships and air force. They wouldn't DARE!

"...Watch Syria for a timeline on Iran.  When Syria's fall in completed little time will pass before Iran begins..."

Congress and their Israeli masters want a war with Iran. Obama is interferring. As soon as Obama is gone, the war will start. The 'demonizing of Iran' spring MSM campaign has already started. Syria has nothing to do with it. 

"...Let me know when one of the opposing powers dare to sail a ship into a Yemen port without SA/US approval to provide supplies..."

The Houthis are the opposing power and don't have a navy. The U.S. wants them ethnically cleansed from Yemen becasue they don't like the corrupt U.S. puppet president forced on them and they don't like the U.S. treating Yemen like a giant war gaming area. The Houthis are sitting ducks and easy targets for Saudi, Egyptian and U.S. Air Forces. There's nothing Iran could do if it wanted to. The U.S. seeks to pacify the Zaidi Shia by killing all the Houthi leaders. 

TheGrandChessboard's picture

And yet despite that Asssad is still standing. And Iran is still standing, even though Russia wont give them the S300, or veto sanctions against them. Your little Israel cant do jack, even with the worlds only superpower backing them. If you actually do attack Iran they will target the dimona reactor there goes your precious one bomb state, and the saduia oil fields - Russia would then be laughing all the way to the bank as oil goes through the roof. 

cowdogg's picture

No the war will be over when the first nukes hit Tel Aviv.

screw face's picture

....Viva #Eritrea....all roads lead to #Badme #Eritrea

Smegley Wanxalot's picture

Game changer?  This game is as old as time, and has yet to even approach change. 

GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

OK....lets get the rules straight here.

weburke's picture

 

"Bloomberg cited the head of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, who told Iran's Fars News Agency that Saudi Arabia’s strikes on Yemen will haunt the kingdom as war won’t be contained,"  thats the problem about iran, they have already set up trouble around the world to impliment when they want.

29.5 hours's picture

 

 

" problem about iran, they have already set up trouble around the world "

You misspelled "U.S.A."

Motasaurus's picture

Iran has been at war with Saudi Arabia and Israel for five years now. 

Eyjafjallajökull's picture

You mean even quicker thank Iraq? :)

BandGap's picture

Can't help but think these things are dry runs for bigger plays. Also gets live training for your armed forces and allows for bugs to be worked out.

Aside from the US "hardware", what do these "rebels" have? Oh yeah, ideas.

junction's picture

World War III calling, as the Bush and Obama and Saudi policies of arming jihadist mercenary forces is making the Middle East a killing ground for civilians there.  Next stop for these killers, the streets of Manhattan.  Get your tickets to New Zealand now, before prices go up and NZ restricts visas.

Jonesy's picture

That's what they said about the Archduke Franz Ferdinand moment.

Arnold's picture

Got some F-22 s that need testing here.

rsnoble's picture

Does it really matter, in the end, if Russian jets are better than US jets? No.  It doesn't.

BandGap's picture

The US military has been honing it's skills in the Middle East for 20+ years. Looks like the navy might get a chance to try out some munitions.

It will matter, soon.

SilvertonguedAngel's picture

Honing your skills in places like Iraq is not adequate training to fight Russian's.

Just ask the 7000 crack mercenaries who got trapped in the Debaltsevo cauldron.

 

Oh wait, you can't because they are all dead...

spinone's picture

Theres a big difference between shooting clays and shooting grouse.

Sanity Bear's picture

Not in the case of direct conflict, but yes in the export market.

 

Anyone want to buy an F-35?

rsnoble's picture

This must be serious.  They couldn't wait till after the close of US markets on Friday and have it be 'old news' by monday?  You know, just another war, nothing to see here?

sam i am's picture

Also, in an asymmetric response of Russia to the US decision  to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine, the Parliament of Chechnya makes a decision to  supply lethal weapons to Mexican rebels.  They also will support the demand of Mexico for the return of the territories annexed by the US from Mexico including California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, and a part of Wyoming.

http://lifenews.ru/news/151787

Arnold's picture

Isn't US.gov already doing that?

GMadScientist's picture

Dammit, didn't we work this shit out with NAFTA already? /sarc

BandGap's picture

So where do Russia and China sit on this?

I didn't know the Saudis had a navy worth shit.

Round and round we go.

Monty Burns's picture

"I didn't know the Saudis had a navy worth shit."

They don't. The Saudi armed forces are riven with conflicting tribal loyalties. The energies of the top officers are devoted to heading off internal conflicts that might arise therefrom.  

BandGap's picture

Wonder if this focuses them on a common "enemy" or highlights the conflicts further. Either one would allow you to shake out the malcontents before a real war starts.

Monty Burns's picture

Could be.  But in Saudi the focus is, or at least was when I was there, on internal enemies.

lakecity55's picture

Both vessels are armed and seaworthy.