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Houthis Strike Largest Saudi Oil Field As UAE-backed And Saudi-backed Forces Clash For Aden

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Houthis Strike Largest Saudi Oil Field As UAE-backed And Saudi-backed Forces Clash For Aden

The invasion of Yemen has become Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam -for some time now. The Saudi-led coalition has failed to achieve a military victory over the Ansar Allah movement, more widely known as the Houthis. Furthermore, the coalition has started shrinking itself with more and more tensions within coalition member states and coalition-backed groups coming to light.

After the coalition’s failure to capture the port city of al-Hudaydah in the summer of 2018, northwestern Yemen and southwestern Saudi Arabia became the main areas of hostilities between Ansar Allah and coalition-backed forces. Additionally, Ansar Alalh successfully conducts drone and missile strikes on key installations in southern Saudi Arabia. These attacks, as well as constant border raids, are slowly moving the war from the territory of Yemen to  that of the Kingdom.

On August 17, Ansar Allah launched 10 suicide drones on the Shaybah super-giant oil field in southeastern Saudi Arabia, in what was described as the biggest aerial operation by the Yemeni movement to date.

The attack, dubbed Operation Deterrent Balance 1, targeted the oil field’s wells and its main refinery. A spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces and Ansar Allah, Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, said that the strike came “within the framework of deterrence and legitimate response to the crimes of the aggression and the siege on the Yemeni people”. He warned the coalition that the Yemeni forces’ bank of targets is “expanding day by day.”

Located near the border with the UAE, the Shaybah is one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil fields. The  field produces up to 1,000,000 barrels per day. The Saudi side confirmed the attack, but claimed that it only caused “slight damage” and only to the oilfield’s gas station.

Late on August 16, Ansar Allah launched several Qasef-2K suicide unmanned aerial vehicles at Abha International Airport in southern Saudi Arabia. According to Brig. Gen. Sari, the strike hit “sensitive military targets” inside the airport. In the last two months, Abha International Airport was targeted dozens of times with suicide drones and even with a cruise missile.

At the same time, the Saudi-led coalition is facing significant difficulties in the Yemeni port city of Aden, which it calls a “temporary capital” of Yemen. On August 10, the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) seized a presidential palace and most of the military facilities in Aden from forces loyal to the Saudi-backed ‘Yemeni President’ Mansur Hadi.

Clashes in Aden started on August 7 after the STC announced a “general mobilization” and called on its supporters to overthrow the Aden-based Saudi-backed government. The clashes  claimed the lives of more than 40 people and injured 260 others until  the Saudi Air Force carried out a warning strike and informed the STC that its forces will be bombed if they refuse to return to the negotiation table. On August 11, pro-coalition sources claimed that STC would withdraw from the captured positions and return to negotiations with the Hadi government. However, by August 18, it appeared that the STC was not going to withdraw from captured positions in Aden. STC representatives also left their posts in the Hadi government. The STC also declared intentions to take full control of the entire coalition-held south and expel representatives of the Saudi-backed “President” Hadi from the area.

Tensions between the Hadi government and the Southern Transitional Council have always been an open secret. However, the years of coalition failures in the conflict against the Ansar Allah movement have deepened differences and increased tensions between the formal allies. Saudi Arabia and the UAE maintain an attitude that the Hadi government is the legal government of Yemen. However, they rely on rival factions on the ground to project their own influence in Yemen. This sets the ground for  constant chaos, instability and power struggle in the coalition-controlled part of the country.

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  • Felix D (TUPPERWARE PARTY)

    It seems that Mohammed bone Sawin’s shedule has turned to skit!

  • EveryoneIsBiased

    This is major! STC leaving post in Hadi gov, not pulling out of Aden, and even aiming to push Hadi gov out of the south! The devide is growing.. Would be nice to know more about the ongoing Iranian diplomatic initiative. Seems there is much more going on behind closed doors than we all get to know.
    Though good things come to those who wait. ;)

    • Icarus Tanović

      Yes, looks like that, or it is rather guaranteed.

  • Ceasar Polar

    They need 20 cruise missile on that raffinery!!

  • jm74

    One can easily imagine what the Houthis can do if they had sophisticated and modern weapons or even a small air force. Syrian Arab tribes should take note.

  • Icarus Tanović

    Yeah, pigs kill each others.

  • Pave Way IV

    Don’t know how many drones were sent – some say it was a cruise missile – or which particular part(s) of the Shaybah complex were hit. But at least one of ‘something’ hit the newly-expanded $5 billion Shaybah Natural Gas Liquids plant. Gas is separated from the oil at four different separation plants and piped to the NGL plant for processing. Sat imagery shows either a compressor/chiller train or an amine contactor sulphur removal (gas sweetening) train burning and a lot of water used on it. One train down is potentially half the plant’s NGL production. This is also one of the remotest plants/complexes in KSA. Every last nut and bolt has to be either flown in or trucked in (several hour trip). Compressor turbines and gas sweetener reactors are huge and custom built. It took this one threw weeks to get there after the year-long manufacturing process.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a4fba9d92e4245617acb385d45b8244e6005035e600635bee053ab6925c3bb5a.png

    One tweet claims NGL plant is down for a week or two..ARAMCO claiming that Shaybah oil production wasn’t affected by ‘a small fire’ is true, but disingenuous. If the Houthis managed to turn the gas sweetener into Swiss cheese and fried the supporting equipment, it may cost ARAMCO a billion in lost NGL production and rebuilding that train. Thread showing sat imagery of damage:

    https://twitter.com/AuroraIntel/status/1163149220637028352

  • verner

    clever by the houthis to bring the war to saudi and in particular to the oil fields which s the life line for the kingdom now that oilprices are down and a budget deficit of say 10 % is in the cards – guess that the clown mohammed bin salman is about to be deposed of by siblings and cousins that now can see the result of his follies. will be interesting to see how it unfolds. one of his follies was the purchase of a fake leonardo da vinci painting, salvatore mundi, for which he paid a staggering 450m$ wth an appreciated value at about 1.5m$. time for a good larf.

  • Rodney Loder

    All this goes to prove how Gadaffi turned NATO away from Syria and Assad turned Yemen into the defining Nation for the future of the Middle East, Trump is turning to Russia and away from China so we’re back to 2013 when Obama announced his pivot to the Pacific.

    Many people think the pivot to Asia was Obama’s biggest mistake, US auxiliaries Saudi Arabia and israel see Trump creating a hostility with China as a terrible thing, the Chinese won’t giveaway on Hong Kong, so now is an excellent opportunity for Turkey and Russia to change their nominal support for Hadi and demand an end to hostilities for election process to begin, put pressure on Trump and support China.

    I doubt if Putin will buy into Trump’s let’s partner up policy, and one thing for sure is that Xi Jinping is no Yeltsin look alike, wouldn’t like to be a Kong King protester waiting for an amnesty.

  • everyone knows, the shareholders drive wars..
    all the govt. who have profited by their partnerships in the yemen war are lower than snake shit.!

    when the jew bites the dust [ we need to get a lot angrier yet ] those very people had better hope to their false god of choice, that they are dead….the people WILL have their say !!!