Saudis want Yemen’s oil & gas – Max Blumenthal

Saudi Arabia is in a financial crisis and wants to access and exploit untapped gas and oil resources in Yemen, investigative journalist and author Max Blumenthal told RT.

RT America’s Rick Sanchez spoke with Blumenthal about the possibility that the US call for peace and a ceasefire in Yemen could have negative repercussions and cause an intensification of violence in the short term.

“But if we’re trying to stop the war, why would it get worse? Think of it this way: if both sides in a sports game know that the clock is running out, are they going to become more aggressive, more violent, and… want to go for the big score before nobody lets them? It boils down to both sides in a conflict wanting some leverage, as they go into these possible negotiations,” Rick Sanchez explained.

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US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Washington, US, March 20, 2018 © Reuters / Jonathan Ernst

Houthi rebels are concerned that the Saudi coalition might soon launch a new attack on the country with reports that 10,000 troops are moving toward the port of Hodeida, which they’re trying to secure.

“It follows a long tradition among military leaders that approaching peace talks is an opportunity to gain territory or advantages to trade off later. And then there is the question of desperation on the part of the Saudis who may be going through a power struggle of their own right now,” Sanchez added.

Earlier, former Pentagon official Michael Maloof commented on this possible power struggle in Saudi Arabia, which could lead to the end of the Crown Prince’s rule. “This is going to get dirty. And I think what they’re hoping for is that the US and Britain and the other Western powers support somebody who will carry that out. We may be a little premature in saying that it is going to happen… Internally, I think it is conceivable because MBS has upset so many members of the royal family, he has made tremendous enemies from within. And it’s just a question of time.”

Max Blumenthal agreed with Maloof, saying that “he’s right that the US would like to remove him or at least elements within the national security architecture.”

He recalled the former national security adviser to Obama, Susan Rice, calling to sideline the Crown Prince” from his “unlimited power.” 

“And Lindsey Graham from the Committee on Armed Services said the same thing,” Blumenthal added.

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RT composite

“Basically, you have a situation where the Mafia Don has sent his wise guy out to make a hit and the wise guy winds up taking a bone saw to the victim and throwing him in front of the police station. And the Mafia Don saying ‘You’re embarrassing me.’” Max Blumenthal said.

Asked whether the Crown Prince could he be taken out, Blumenthal said that “he has deepened his control over the intelligence services, over the Saudis’ PR game, he is more in control than ever before.”

He suggested we could see Mohammad bin Salman pivot east to China and Russia and other alliances before the US and the UK can take him out.

According to Blumenthal, in the Yemen war, Saudi Arabia does not want the Houthis to control the strategic shipping-lane area between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, Bab-el-Mandeb, “where from three to five thousand barrels of oil flow through.”

“But more importantly, Saudi Arabia is in a financial crisis and they would like to access the untapped resources of gas and oil that are massive in Yemen and exploit Yemen. That is one of the reasons why they’re in this fight,” he concluded.

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