Iran’s Latest Escalation in Yemen Could Drive Up Gas Prices in the U.S.

Jan. 12 2022

On January 3—the anniversary of the American drone strike that killed the Islamic Republic’s terror mastermind Qassem Suleimani—Yemeni Houthi rebels seized an Emirati ship, the Rwabee. The Houthis are but one of many guerrilla outfits that General Suleimani built up, armed, trained, and integrated into Tehran’s strategy for increasing its influence throughout the Middle East at gunpoint. Benny Avni writes:

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said Saturday that Yemen’s largest port, Hodeidah, controlled by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, is now a military base.

Meanwhile, turning Yemen’s Houthi militia into a thorn in the side of Saudi Arabia was one of Suleimani’s achievements in exporting the Iranian revolution to the region. The January 3 seizure of the Rwabee marks a major turning point in the long, cruel, and deadly Yemen civil war. “They’ve never done anything like that before,” says Jamal Benomar, who served as the United Nations representative in Yemen between 2011 and 2015.

Yemen is situated at the southernmost entrance to the Red Sea, where a 16-mile-wide strait, Bab el-Mandeb (“Gate of Tears”), connects the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, shortening shipping routes to Europe and America from Asia and Africa. Through the Red Sea’s northern point, the Suez Canal, goods have sailed freely for decades, making it one of the world’s busiest maritime lanes. Crucially, tankers carry some 3.3 million barrels of oil daily along Yemen’s coast on the way to Europe and America from the Gulf.

Last summer Iran was suspected of hijacking an Emirati-owned tanker in the Gulf of Oman. Now, with the Houthis’ seizure of the Rwabee, Iran signals it could extend to Yemen such efforts at controlling and manipulating global oil prices.

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Iran, Oil, Yemen


In the Aftermath of a Deadly Attack, President Sisi Should Visit Israel

On June 3, an Egyptian policeman crossed the border into Israel and killed three soldiers. Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow urge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to respond by visiting the Jewish state as a show of goodwill:

Such a dramatic gesture is not without precedent: in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Isle of Peace,” a parcel of farmland previously under Israeli jurisdiction that Jordan leased back to Israel as part of the Oslo peace process. In a remarkable display of humanity, King Hussein of Jordan, who had only three years earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel, traveled to the Jewish state to mourn with the families of the seven girls who died in the massacre.

That massacre unfolded as a diplomatic cold front descended on Jerusalem and Amman. . . . Yet a week later, Hussein flipped the script. “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own,” Hussein lamented. He told the parents of one of the victims that the tragedy “affects us all as members of one family.”

While security cooperation [between Cairo and Jerusalem] remains strong, the bilateral relationship is still rather frosty outside the military domain. True normalization between the two nations is elusive. A survey in 2021 found that only 8 percent of Egyptians support “business or sports contacts” with Israel. With a visit to Israel, Sisi can move beyond the cold pragmatism that largely defines Egyptian-Israeli relations and recast himself as a world figure ready to embrace his diplomatic partners as human beings. At a personal level, the Egyptian leader can win international acclaim for such a move rather than criticism for his country’s poor human-rights record.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: General Sisi, Israeli Security, Jordan