JOHN KIRIAKOU: Houthi Rebels are the Saudis’ Problem

Given the nature of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, which I witnessed firsthand, Trump has no reason to do Riyadh’s bidding in Iran.

Houthis protest airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition on Sana’a, Yemen’s capital city, September 2015. (VOA/Henry Ridgwell, Wikimedia Commons)

By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

Iran has been in the headlines since Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for a drone attack on a Saudi Aramco refinery in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province over a week ago. 

This is not the first time the Houthis have used long-range missiles or drones to attack Saudi installations.  Indeed, it’s at least the 20thattack on a Saudi oil facility, airport or military outpost since Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen two years ago and began attacking both military and civilian sites there.  But the Trump administration has blamed the attack on Iran, not on the Houthis, who publicly claimed responsibility.

The conventional wisdom is that Yemen is a proxy war between the United States and Iran, with the Iranians supporting and supplying the Houthis while the alliance of the U.S., Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain supports the Yemeni government and hits Houthi sites in Yemen. That’s not exactly accurate. Certainly, the Iranians are on the side of the Houthis, but there is little to pin command and control on them. All available evidence points to the Houthis conducting their own military operations and not relying on Iran.  The Yemeni government, however, is completely dependent on Saudi Arabia, which in turn is dependent on the United States for military equipment, planning, refueling and intelligence.

That aside, President Donald Trump blamed Tehran for the attack even before the flames in the Eastern Province were brought under control.  He cited no intelligence, no proof, no intercepts, no declassified photography of an Iranian launch site.  Nothing. We are just supposed to take his word for it.  Defense Secretary Mark Esper, in his first press conference since May, meanwhile, said, “We are not seeking a conflict with Iran.  We want to engage with Iran.” That’s decidedly different from the locked and loaded theme of both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.  

Doing the Saudi Dirty Work

Nobody wants us to attack Iran more than the Saudi royal family and Israel.  They’ve been obsessed with Iran for decades and they want us to do their dirty work for them.  This is nothing new.  The Saudis, at least, expect us to do their bidding. That’s why they spend billions of dollars on our weapons, finance our think tanks, lobby our politicians, and  put out glossy magazines that you can find in any grocery store extolling the greatness of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

I want to tell you the truth about the U.S.-Saudi relationship, which I experienced first-hand.

In late 1990, when I was a very junior officer with the CIA, I was dispatched to Saudi Arabia to help in the war effort in the immediate aftermath of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.  My job was to liaise with the Kuwaiti resistance and to be “on-call” in case the State Department needed my expertise on Iraq and the Iraqi military leadership, which was my specialty.

Saudi oil facility after drone attack. (YouTube)

I was excited to get to Saudi Arabia.  It was very heady stuff for a 25-year-old.  Not only was it my first official trip anywhere as a CIA officer, it was my first trip to the Middle East, my first trip on a black diplomatic passport, and the first substantive work I had ever done with a foreign government.  On my first day I worked a 12-hour shift at the U.S. embassy in Riyadh and then left to find my rental apartment a few blocks away in the city’s Diplomatic Quarter. 

There were Saudi guards stationed all around the embassy — indeed, all around the Diplomatic Quarter — and I smiled at one and, eager to practice my rudimentary Arabic, said, “Assalaamu Alaikum,” the traditional Arabic greeting of “May peace be upon you.”  He stared at me, didn’t respond, and turned away.  This became a daily thing.  Going in to work in the morning and leaving again in the evening, I would greet the guard every day with “May peace be upon you.”  He ignored me every time. 

Finally, after more than a week of this, I stopped and asked in Arabic, “What’s your problem?”  He had a ready response.  He said, “You are hired help.  You are nothing more. You were paid money to come here and protect the oil fields. Don’t expect thanks. You’ve been paid.”  He was right. This is not a mutual relationship based upon trust and affection. This is weapons for oil and nothing else.  Trump has been fooled.

Let’s not be fooled to think that the government of Iran, which has so much to lose in a fight with the United States, would launch an unprovoked attack on Saudi Arabia just for the heck of it.  Let’s not be fooled into thinking that it’s up to us to avenge an attack on Saudi Arabia, no matter where it came from.  It’s not up to us to defend (and prop up) a reactionary royal family that readily and routinely executes (and in some cases even crucifies) its citizens, including women and children, for participating in peaceful pro-democracy protests.

We should tell the Saudis that they’re on their own.  Their diplomats should be engaging the Iranians, not ordering Trump to launch military strikes on Iran.  They should be at the negotiating table.  And, frankly, we don’t need Saudi oil anymore.  We have enough of our own. 

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act—a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

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27 comments for “JOHN KIRIAKOU: Houthi Rebels are the Saudis’ Problem

  1. boxerwar
    September 26, 2019 at 15:26

    teaser excerpt. …

    The real danger

    On the energy front, Persian Gulf energy traders that I have relied upon as trustworthy sources for two decades confirm that, contrary to Saudi Oil Minister Abdulazziz bin Salman’s spin, the damage from the Houthi attack on Abqaiq could last not only “months” but even years.

    As a Dubai-based trader put it: “When an Iraqi pipeline was damaged in the mid-2000s the pumps were destroyed. It takes two years to replace a pump as the backlogs are long. The Saudis, to secure their pipelines, acquired spare pumps for this reason. But they did not dream that Abqaiq could be damaged. If you build a refinery it can take three to five years if not more. It could be done in a month if all the components and parts were available at once, as then it would be merely a task of assembling the components and parts.”

    On top of this, the Saudis are now only offering heavier crudes to their customers in Asia. “Then,” adds a trader, “We heard that the Saudis were buying 20,000,000 barrels of heavier crudes from Iraq. Now, the Saudis were supposed to have as much as 160 million barrels a day of stored crude. So what does this mean? Either there was no stored crude or that crude had to go through Abqaiq in order to be sold.”

    Al-Emad explicitly told me that Houthi attacks are not over, and further drone swarms are inevitable.

    Now compare it with analysis by one trader: “If in the next wave of drone attacks 18 million barrels a day of Saudi crude are knocked out, it would represent a catastrophe of epic proportions. The US does not want the Houthi to believe that they have such power through such fourth generational warfare as drones that cannot be defended against. But they do. Here is where a tiny country can bring down not only a Goliath such as the US, but also the whole world.”

    Asked about the consequences of a possible US attack against Iran – picking up on Robert Gates’ famous 2010 remark that “Saudis want to fight Iran to the last American” – the consensus among traders is that it would be another disaster.

    “It would not be possible to bring Iranian crude on line for the world to replace the rest of what was destroyed,” said one.

    He noted that Senator Lindsey Graham had “said he wanted to destroy the Iranian refineries but not the oil wells. This is a very important point. The horror of horrors would be an oil war where everyone is destroying each others’ wells until there was nothing left.”

    While the “horror of horrors” hangs by a thread, the blind leading the blind stick to the script: Blame Iran and ignore Yemen.

  2. robert e williamson jr
    September 26, 2019 at 09:50

    History looms over the current Saudi – U.S. relationship.

    Mr John Wright is a wise man.

    FYI Nixon fearing run away inflation and a run on gold removed the U.S. from the gold standard August 1971.

    I would submit that given the history of CIA involvement in domestic affairs that the evolution of events from Carters problems in Iran, a contrived oil shortage, Nixon’s gold action, BCCI, the Safari Club are the direct result of CIA’s machinations in their attempt to direct the world economic order.

    Something that they have very obviously bungled. Except not they have no one to blame except themselves.

  3. Occupy on!
    September 24, 2019 at 16:01

    The US should be supporting Houthis not the Saudi Wahhabi extremists (al Qaeda and their children al nusra, ISIS, Daesh etc.) who are fighting tooth and to keep the more moderate Houthis from governing Yemen. Yemen holds the Red Sea and Persian Gulf southern key for Arabian oil to reach the rest of the world.

    The US and Israel want the radical Wahhabi’s to prevail in Yemen. That way, the world would welcome US/Israel’s takeover of Yemen in the future – for ‘order’, alone. google: text; Oded Yinon Plan – 1982; Global Research

    • boxerwar
      September 26, 2019 at 15:48

      US WOULD be supporting Houthis if U S Government were controlled “By The People”
      and not by Millionaires, Billionaires and/or Corporations; they whom Really Control ‘The Purse’
      Also see Paul Craig Roberts’ piece, Trump Is Being Set Up for War with Iran.

    • Will
      September 27, 2019 at 12:26

      I read somewhere that the Houthis were pretty effective against ISIS types in Yemen which probably pisses off their Saudi sponsors all the more

  4. jon guillory
    September 24, 2019 at 15:46

    the right-wing NeoCon govts of Europe previously signatory to Iran deal (Boris, Macron, Merkel) have today at the UN signed on to Pompeo statement that Iran must have blown up the oilfields (“the only plausible explanation”). that doesnt mean much more than they agree to whatever Obama says, then whatever Trump says. my question, Where is China, Russia? they were also signatories. they may have independent view of whether Tehran shd be bombed

  5. Pablo Diablo
    September 24, 2019 at 15:26

    Don’t I remember it was the Israelis who sold Missiles to Iran (our number ONE ENEMY) on behalf of Reagan/H.W.Bush efforts to get elected?

      September 24, 2019 at 20:27

      The missile sales and deliveries from Israel to Iran are detailed in articles by Bob Parry, who
      founded Consortium News to be able to bring that kind of information to the public.

      The major missile deliveries occurred after Reagan and Bush were in the White House.
      Bob Parry’s groundbreaking articles about Iran-Contra and the “October Surprise”
      hostage crisis are posted here on Consortium News, for example:, on Colin Powell’s role in Iran Contra.

      And Bob Parry’s full-length books, Trick or Treason on the “1980 October Surprise Mystery,” and
      Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press and Project Truth can be ordered on the Consortium News website.

  6. Mary Saunders
    September 24, 2019 at 12:25

    Does the Saudi government want U.S. troops on the ground there?

    There are reasons they may not, given promises to former governments in the region, and then what happened subsequently.

    To some extents, Saudi oil is now in competition with the U.S., in the sense that the U.S. needs high prices to stave off a subsidized, highly leveraged industry, or am I missing something?

    This makes the question of where attacks came from a bit more complicated, adding motivated suspects to the present short list.

  7. robert e williamson jr
    September 24, 2019 at 12:22

    I often wonder about how some things go seemingly completely unnoticed. Bob Baer is Ex-CIA and he wrote a book in 2003, “SLEEPING WITH THE DEVIL”, on page 39 the fourth chapter titled, SAUDI ARABIA, WASHINGTON’S 401K PROGRAM, begins .

    Baer elaborates 0n the theme and on page 43 relates a story I am amazed to see in print so naturally I assume, since I never heard of Baer being sued about the story that it must be true.

    Baer relates in late 1968 after the election Nizon was visited at San Clemente by Adnan Khashoggi. When Khashoggi departed he forgot his brief case which just happened to be stuffed with one hundred dollar bills U.S..

    Khashoggi reportedly returned to his hotel to await a phone call informing him of his oversight. I quote Baer, “The phone never rang. It never would. A couple of days later, and Khashoggi knew the trick had worked: Washington was for sale. Like original sin, that changed everything.”

    In 1972 the Bank Of Credit Commerce International was created and it has been argued that Saudi Intelligence guided the formation of the bank.

    As we have learned GHW Bush is very likely to have been involved in the creation of the Safari Club, 1976, of which Saudi Arabia was a charter member and Kamal Adham who was director of Saudi Arabia’s Al Mukhabarat Al A’ amah, Saudi intelligence. Kamal Adham signed the Safari Club Charter. By 1976 Khashoggi was a significant U.S. foreign agent who helped establish the Safari Club’s supernational intelligence organization the Safari Club.

    Khashoggi has been linked to the BCCI and we might all want to remember that Robert Mueller was involved with investigations of BCCI stating in 1991 that BCCI had been under investigation since 1986. 1992 Sen John Kerry and Hank Brown submit BCCI investigation report to the Committee On foreign Relations.

    I would suggest that the barrel that the Saudis seem to have the U.S. Intelligence community stretched out over may have been built during this time.


    • robert e williamson jr
      September 25, 2019 at 16:32

      I’m thinking John Wright has figured this Saudi thing out and is “SPOT ON”! It’s like Baer stated about the the Saudi / American relationship being America’s 401K program.

      Great stuff John.

    • Dolores Cordell
      September 28, 2019 at 12:41

      Thanks for an excellent and informative post!

  8. mrtmbrnmn
    September 24, 2019 at 00:45

    Face it. We are the Saudis’ butt boy (0r ‘Bitch” in Tulsi’s recent colorful & accurate description) and have been for years, even before they bought and paid for 9/11. It’s all about the Benjamins. They bribe us for protection by buying up our military production. which they don’t even know how to operate and could care less. Worse yet, they are the Harvey Weinstein of international politics and we are the 20-year-old starlet who is always lured up to the hotel room and never leaves in tears and calls the cops. We keep coming back for more. If it weren’t so tragic for most of the rest of the world, it would be pathetic. But we are not alone in this degenerate bargain. The entire Arab/Muslim world hates the Saudis’ guts but cannot resist their corrupt coin or Wahhabi tosh.

    • Dolores Cordell
      September 28, 2019 at 12:47

      Agree except I don’t think America is the 20 year old starlet. We are the whorehouse madame serving up little girls ala Jeffrey Epstein.
      PS: with apologies to hookers, who actually provide VALUE and pleasure instead of death and destruction.

  9. Kiwiantz
    September 23, 2019 at 19:57

    Unfortunately John, America & Saudi Arabia are tidally locked together, to death you do part? The Saudi’s you encountered are correct? America is nothing more than a handsomely paid off prostitute of the corrupt Saudi Royal family? That’s the deals your Country entered into with the Saudi’s, firstly with FDR offering American protection in exchange for Oil & secondly & more importantly, the Deal that Nixon entered into during the 1970’s, being the creation the US Petrodollar system to replace the Bretton Woods agreement & taking America off the Gold Standard!

    In the new Petrodollar deal, the US would provide security guarantees to protect Saudi Arabia from attack if they priced all their Oil in US Dollars! Nixon made America, Saudi Arabia’s “bitch” from that day onwards & this has benefited the US tremendously by enabling it to become the Worlds reserve currency & live beyond its means for decades & run up huge deficits without going bankrupt thanks to the US Dollars Petro system? America has also been able to weaponise the US dollar to force it’s agendas on other Countries via economic terrorism! And as more added bonus’s, Saudi Arabia would pay off US Politicians & it’s pay for play Political system with billions in bribes & also buy billions of dollars of useless Military hardware from America!

    The so called greatest Military on Earth & it’s overpriced hardware was then exposed by the ragtag Houthi’s with their low tech drone attacks on the Saudi’s oilfields as being totally ineffective & worthless & incapable of stopping the attacks, which was a total embarrassment & humiliation for the much vaunted American MIC & a major blow to American prestige!

    Iran is hated because it refuses to price it’s Oil in US dollars via the insidious US petrodollar system? Iraq was overthrown for trying to do the same & Libya as well as Syria? Venuzuela is suffering the same problem trying to extricate itself from America’s economic terrorism via the US dollar & the Petrodollar? When you look at everything through the US Petrodollar lens, the pattern of Regime change by the US is crystal clear, & everything in the Middle East & the Worldwide conflicts begin to make sense? Anyone who opposes the Petrodollar system must be destroyed! America also knows that if Saudi Arabia falls, that’s the end of America & its economic system forever! Saudi Arabia has America by the balls & it knows it, because of the US Petrodollar system? If America ever try’s to pull out of this unspoken deal, the Saudi’s would simply price their Oil in other currencies & form new security alliances with Russia & China & others leaving America isolated & subject to financial collapse & the end of US dollar hegemony!

    The Houthi’s & the Iranians & everyone else knows this Petrodollar system is America’s Achilles heel & have proven that they can utterly destroy Saudi Arabia & burn the entire Worlds & US economy to the ground if they desire? America & Saudi Arabia are two Nations locked together in a macabre & murderous dance, two tyrants joined at the hip with the Saudi’s being the Master of its American slave!

    • anon4d2
      September 24, 2019 at 16:34

      I would agree except on the “petrodollar” concept, which appears to be a coverup for KSA/Israel bribes to US political parties.
      Perhaps we need Paul Roberts or another non-oligarchy economist to clarify. As I recall, long ago KSA had to spend its oil revenues in the US, but now could exchange currency with banks or whomever does business here. We get no discount on oil, and currency conversions do not appear to give us much of a trade advantage. As I recall, the US left the gold standard long before Nixon. But I am not an economist.

  10. Sam F
    September 23, 2019 at 17:37

    “We should tell the Saudis that they’re on their own… should be engaging the Iranians…at the negotiating table…we don’t need Saudi oil anymore. ”

    The US has created the monsters of the Mideast since the 1950s, via unconstitutional control of foreign policy by the MIC/zionist/anti-socialist factions who hide behind the flag and religion to subvert the Constitution and betray all moral principles for money. See Devil’s Game (Dreyfuss) and many others. The federal government has no authority to engage directly or indirectly in any foreign war, except by treaty, and has abused NATO to conduct secret religious and economic wars around the world for bribes to political parties, to the point of widespread treason of Congress and the Executive branch.

    The excuses that “It’s the oil” are completely without foundation. We can buy oil like anyone else without military activity, and we don’t encourage the local gas station to bomb the neighborhood to stabilize prices.

  11. John Wright
    September 23, 2019 at 16:48

    This is about far more than simply weapons for oil.

    The Saudis still buy a significant amount of U.S. debt and are the primary enforcer when it comes to making sure OPEC props up the PetroDollar. If the Saudis were to stop doing either, then the U.S. economy would very quickly crash and burn. The Saudis know this and this has given them great leverage over successive U.S. administrations for a very long time.

    In fact, MBS feels so secure in his power over the U.S. that he plays Trump against Putin in areas such as anti-aircraft missile systems.

    The present U.S. oil production boom is due to fracking, which is both economically and ecologically very unsound. It will also be relatively short-lived as it is not sustainable.

    Unless and until the U.S. deals with its growing debt burden, the Saudis will continue to have the White House and Pentagon over a barrel.

    Finally, I think the question of who actually perpetrated this most recent attack against the Saudi oil facilities remains open and the answer could be very telling.

    • Sam F
      September 23, 2019 at 22:08

      I disagree on the “petrodollar” rationale, JW. While the US once had special deals with KSA so that oil money was initially spent here, and no doubt there is some inconvenience in converting currencies, the buyer has as much power as the seller. The US has since the 1950s supported any Mideast extremist allied with Israel or opposed to socialism; no one at all has even attempted to stop US oil purchases in all of that time, and so far as I have heard, no other oil buyers have had difficulties in purchasing based upon currency exchange. The whole “petrodollar” scam was concocted to silence critics of zionist wars, and has always been based upon handwaving and raised eyebrows rather than facts.

      Would the US go out of business if Walmart accepted other currencies? Amazon? Gas stations and domestic oil suppliers? It would have no great economic effect, and those volumes are likely similar to or greater than that of KSA.

      If KSA had so much power over the US, it would have been attacked and taken over after 9/11, as all of those terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, and such a takeover would have been trivial and lucrative compared to Iraq, where we did not even get a discount on oil, let alone a vast free supply. No doubt it was preserved by bribes from zionists and KSA to political parties.

    • September 24, 2019 at 18:28

      @ Sam F: “Would the US go out of business if Walmart accepted other currencies? Amazon? Gas stations and domestic oil suppliers?”

      You misunderstand the basis of the petrodollar system. I suggest you review this 2012 article that appeared in under the title, The Road to World War III. It is the insistence that other nations pay OPEC nations in dollars that props up U.S. currency, not Walmart’s insistence in being paid in that currency in its U.S. stores.

      Israel’s influence is another factor in U.S. Mideast adventures, to be sure. But it is the petrodollar that keeps the U.S. banksters lined up behind that policy, not Israel’s influence.

    • John Wright
      September 24, 2019 at 18:48

      Sam F –

      I hope that you and yours are well.

      Yes, the Saudis have recently reduced the amount of U.S. debt they buy (and hold) with all the U.S. dollars they earn on their oil sales.

      That said, you seem to be completely ignorant of the advantages accrued to the economy of the country which controls the world’s reserve currency, which at present is the U.S. PetroDollar. Petroleum has been the lifeblood of the industrial economy for over 100 years. No industrial economy can survive without this commodity and this fact puts it in high demand throughout the world. Thus, the OPEC countries, by requiring buyers to make purchases in U.S. dollars, increase the global demand for said U.S. dollars. This increased demand for U.S. dollars in turn increases its value relative to other currencies, giving it greater purchasing power in the global economy. This is an enormous “hidden” benefit to the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, which controls the U.S. money supply, and U.S. consumers. Only the global reserve currency enjoys this specific benefit. This is why many, including myself, argue against a single global currency and in favor of a “basket” of global currencies (I would argue that this should be tied to gold, silver and other metals as well, but that is a separate debate regarding fiat currencies).

      This is born out by the facts. OPEC oil transactions, with only a few recent exceptions, have been made in U.S. dollars since the mid 1970s. The vast majority of them still are. Those countries which buy a significant amount of oil are required to have significant U.S. dollar reserves to facilitate these transactions and they do. This is all readily available information. As with almost all commodities, the seller determines the currency the sale will be conducted in while the market determines the price.

      [Thus, we can see that the PetroDollar is not just about Saudi U.S. transactions, as you seem to imply, but involves the vast majority of global oil transactions]

      Conversely, we see that when any significant oil producer attempts to sell in a currency other than the U.S. dollar it becomes a target of the U.S. When Saddam tried to sell Iraq’s oil in euros he was taken out, the U.S. moved in and oil sales in dollars resumed. When Chavez began selling Venezuela’s oil in other currencies, the U.S. attempted two coups against him and put sanctions on Venezuela, including reducing U.S. imports of Venezuelan oil. When Qaddafi began selling Libyan oil in euros he was taken out and Libya’s oil sales, such as they are, returned to being made in dollars. Iran has long sold some of its oil in other currencies and we can see the long history of U.S. sanctions against that country. Iran recently struck a deal with China to sell oil directly to them outside of the PetroDollar regime (and the U.S. is now threatening war on Iran). The reason Russia’s direct sale of gas and oil to China is such a big deal is because this is completely outside the PetroDollar framework and weakens the U.S. dollar as it decreases the demand for it. In order to better facilitate its oil purchases outside of the PetroDollar system ( and decrease its dependency on the U.S. dollar), China created a gold backed PetroYuan one year ago. This clearly underscores the importance of the PetroDollar to the U.S.

      It is a widely accepted financial fact that if the U.S. dollar was not the global currency, the U.S. would not be able to finance its consumption based economy through borrowing and its standard of living would drop quickly and precipitously.

      Next, let’s look at the twin deficits of the United States. The U.S. has a significant trade deficit with the rest of the world, in 2018 the U.S. imported $621 billion more in goods and services than it exported. This imbalance has been going on for decades and the U.S. now owes the rest of the world about $30 trillion. As the U.S. government also spends more than it earns every year, it has run up over $22 trillion in debt. Saudi Arabia with its large earnings in U.S. dollars; along with China and Japan (due to their large trade deficits with the U.S.), have historically been the largest buyers of U.S. debt. More recently, the Saudis and Chinese have been quietly selling their U.S. debt, while the Japanese have slightly increased theirs. As the U.S. dollar is the global reserve currency, U.S. debt is seen as the safest debt to hold and is the most widely held debt in the world.

      I think it’s worth noting here that if the U.S. was not able to accrue such massive debts, it wouldn’t be able to support Israel to the degree that it does (if at all). This tends to undercut your rather bizarre dismissal of the PetroDollar as a “scam*” “concocted to silence critics of zionist (sp) wars”. Also, a quick check of history since the late 1970’s will show a long history of cooperation between Israel, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. in a variety of projects, most notably Operation Cyclone in Afghanistan. I think it’s more accurate to say that one of the benefits of the PetroDollar was to make the Gulf OPEC states feel that their long-term interests were being balanced against those Israel as they turned their backs on the plight of the Palestinian people.

      [*The scam part is the fiat nature of the PetroDollar. While it’s tempting to argue that the PetroDollar is backed by oil (not gold), it’s more accurate to describe it as a pure fiat currency granted market dominance by being tied to the primary global commodity (oil).]

      As for your “logic” regarding why Saudi Arabia was not attacked following the September 11th false flag (given that 15 of the 19 alleged hijackers were from Saudi Arabia), it seems rather obvious that the Saudis do have enormous power over the U.S. in that they were not attacked (although there are other compelling fact-based arguments which explain the U.S. reaction). The U.S. didn’t need to invade Saudi Arabia in order to control the oil, the Saudis are perfectly willing to keep selling oil in U.S. dollars and maintain the global currency status quo (for now). The primary reason the U.S. invaded Iraq was to control Iraqi oil production (of great interest to the Saudis, btw) and insure that it was sold in U.S. dollars (which it still is). We can also see that various U.S. actions throughout the world since September 11, 2001 have decreased oil supply leading to stabilized or higher prices. This also benefits the Saudis, who have been unable to increase their own production in recent years, as they maintain their market share and realize a greater return on their diminishing reserves.

      [Incidentally, Saudi Arabia is almost five times the size of Iraq, has roughly the same population as Iraq, has much more sophisticated military equipment and is home to the primary Muslim holy sites of Mecca and Medina. Thus, it would hardly have been trivial to invade Saudi Arabia, as the war in Iraq proved not to be (and wasn’t supposed to be, yet another story)]

      Finally, for me to even begin to address U.S. activities within the greater Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia would require a series of posts outside of the primary focus of the above article. However, I feel very confident in asserting that the primary U.S. strategy in these areas, as well as the rest of the world, is to employ various strategies of tension to keep individual countries off balance and regions in turmoil. It is no accident that these policies also happen to support the Greater Israel Project.

      More specifically and to the general point of this article, I think the present conflict in Yemen is primarily a Saudi desire to seize strategic territory and acquire new oil reserves to supplement their now-peaking reserves. I think that the Iranian involvement is both a strategic and humanitarian response.

  12. Groucho
    September 23, 2019 at 16:02

    Good article but he draws the mistaken conclusion that the US’s motivation was/ is its need for Saudi oil. Rather, it is the leverage over other countries which control of Saudi oil provides that drives US Policy.

  13. Jeff Harrison
    September 23, 2019 at 13:18

    Thank you, John. It’s an interesting vignette. I spent two years in Tehran in the ’70s working on an FMS contract with the IIAF. Yes, they expected me to do the job, after all, the Iranian government had hired my company (Lockheed) to provide this support and train the Air Force people in doing it. But I never encountered the kind of crass rudeness you describe. From the one stripers to the Homafars to the officers, they were all polite and we all got along very well.

  14. Drew Hunkins
    September 23, 2019 at 13:13

    It’d be funny if it wasn’t such a waste of resources — the military shield the Saudi gangster oligarch kleptocracy has purchased from the Washington Zio-imperialist machine has proved totally incapable of protecting the one crown jewel it was designed to protect: the Saudi oil infrastructure! Though come to think of it, it really wasn’t a terrible waste of resources per se, since who gives a rip about the Saudi plutocrats currently in bed with the heinous Israelis.

    So not only has the military-industrial-mass media-complex ripped off the U.S. population (most of which are mired in debt peonage, slaving away at insecure low-wage employment and paying exorbitant housing and heathcare costs) but it’s also fleeced the Saudi mobsters. There is a sick sort of justice in this somewhere I suppose.

    • AnneR
      September 24, 2019 at 08:47

      Too true, Drew H, too true.

      If only it would also fleece our MIC (oh wait, *they’ve* been fleecing us, the vox populi, for decades with their hammers and F35s, ne c’est pa?).

      If only the Demrat supporters (well, those among my late husband’s sickeningly bourgeois, highly educated FB friends anyway) would get off their “impeach” Strumpet, Russophobic, Sanders or Warren (which would be the better bet to beat the Strumpet stance – not, who has at least some pro-working class positions, although not any anti-MIC ones – bandwagon) manias. They are for MFA (and the pro-capitalist GND, of course) without really paying much attention to how it is structured, the contribution levels required (one of those friends told me that she paid over $200/month for her version of Medicare which enabled free this that and the other – by choice, by the way and it hadn’t occurred to her that, hey will those people at the bottom of the ladder be able to afford such contributions even if only one per family, let alone the reality as it stands now of Social Security deductions for Medicare *per* recipient in a household). But they don’t give flying f*** about what the US military is doing in the world, to the world.

      And they definitely don’t give a f*** about the Yemenis, Houthi or not. Not in the MSM or squidgy leftish online “news” (like Truthdig and these days Counterpunch) so can’t be of significance.

      The Yemenis – Houthis have every right to retaliate (and this fact is *never* mentioned in the MSM when by happenstance this war is mentioned [usually only in order to blame something nasty on the Houthis]) against Saudia by whatever means available to them. They didn’t start the war and they are the ones being bombed by Saudia with FUKUSIS help.

      There is also something profoundly Orientalist in the US-UK-IS view (expressed by some arseholes) that the Houthis (any Yemenis for that matter) couldn’t conceivably make and use such “sophisticated” weaponry. They’re barely – or so it seems to be believed among the Bernard Lewis aficionados – out of the Stone Age or 12thC, take your pick.

    • Occupy on!
      September 24, 2019 at 15:40


    • John Wright
      September 24, 2019 at 20:42

      Drew Hunkins –

      Or, as is often the case these days, things may not appear as they seem on the surface.

      Are we sure we know who committed the attack and how severe the damage is?

      I think there is more to unfold regarding this story.

      Time will tell.

      Be well.

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