Monday, January 11, 2010

The Yemen Hidden Agenda: A Strategic Oil Transit Chokepoint

In an older post I had mentioned the geostrategic positioning of Yemen, and Somalia for that matter, with regards to the Gulf of Aden. Here is what I had said "Yemen is right there at the Gulf Of Aden. Right there.
IMHO this is to control the water passage ways to control energy resource flow to China."

 The continued saga of strangling China!
This article from Willian Engdahl discusses the strategic position of Yemen and more.
I disagree with the title, it is hidden only if one is not paying attention.
But, since most aren't... I guess it is appropriate.
First some background-

The picture that emerges is one of a desperate US-backed dictator, Yemen’s President Saleh, increasingly losing control after two decades as despotic ruler of the unified Yemen. Economic conditions in the country took a drastic downward slide in 2008 when world oil prices collapsed. Some 70% of the state revenues derive from Yemen’s oil sales. The central government of Saleh sits in former North Yemen in Sana’a, while the oil is in former South Yemen. Yet Saleh controls the oil revenue flows. Lack of oil revenue has made Saleh’s usual option of buying off opposition groups all but impossible. 

Somali Pirates escalate as if on cue 
(did you notice that? All of a sudden a ship is taken, after a long period of quiet)

As if on cue, at the same time CNN headlines broadcast new terror threats from Yemen, the long-running Somalia pirate attacks on commercial shipping in the same Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea across from southern Yemen escalated dramatically after having been reduced by multinational ship patrols.
The Oil chokepoint and other oily affairs

The strategic significance of the region between Yemen and Somalia becomes the point of geopolitical interest. It is the site of Bab el-Mandab, one of what the US Government lists as seven strategic world oil shipping chokepoints. The US Government Energy Information Agency states that "closure of the Bab el-Mandab could keep tankers from the Persian Gulf from reaching the Suez Canal/Sumed pipeline complex, diverting them around the southern tip of Africa. The Strait of Bab el-Mandab is a chokepoint between the horn of Africa and the Middle East, and a strategic link between the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean." [9]
Bab el-Mandab, between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Oil and other exports from the Persian Gulf must pass through Bab el-Mandab before entering the Suez Canal. In 2006, the Energy Department in Washington reported that an estimated 3.3 million barrels a day of oil flowed through this narrow waterway to Europe, the United States, and Asia. Most oil, or some 2.1 million barrels a day, goes north through the Bab el-Mandab to the Suez/Sumed complex into the Mediterranean.
An excuse for a US or NATO militarization of the waters around Bab el-Mandab would give Washington another major link in its pursuit of control of the seven most critical oil chokepoints around the world, a major part of any future US strategy aimed at denying oil flows to China, the EU or any region or country that opposes US policy. Given that significant flows of Saudi oil pass through Bab el-Mandab, a US military control there would serve to deter the Saudi Kingdom from becoming serious about transacting future oil sales with China or others no longer in dollars, as was recently reported by UK Independent journalist Robert Fisk.

In addition to its geopolitical position as a major global oil transit chokepoint, Yemen is reported to hold some of the world’s greatest untapped oil reserves. Yemen’s Masila Basin and Shabwa Basin are reported by international oil companies to contain "world class discoveries."

As always, read the entire article at the link!

1 comment:

  1. YouTube: World War 3 The Unthinkable Cost of Preserving the Petrodollar
    About 10 minutes - there another Video with an Identical Name - this video is 15 minutes and in my opinion isn't nearly as good