The Saudi-led destruction of Yemen - and the inevitable Houthi response - is part and parcel of the usual geopolitical games. Israel re-shaping the West Bank under the radar is where the rules are changing.
Attack on major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia
When, a couple of days ago, Saudi Aramco’s crude-oil processing facilities were attacked with drones – it is thought by the Houthis in Yemen – our media repeatedly characterised this event as a “game-changer”. But was it really this? In some sense yes, since it perturbed the global oil supply and made a large armed conflict in the Middle East much more probable. However, one should be careful not to miss the cruel irony of this claim.
Houthi rebels in Yemen have been in an open war with Saudi Arabia for years, with Saudi armed forces (and the US and the UK supplying arms) practically destroying the entire country, indiscriminately bombing civilian objects. The Saudi intervention has led to one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of the century with tens of thousands of children dead. As it was in the cases of Libya and Syria, destroying an entire country is obviously not a game-changer – just part and parcel of a very normal geopolitical game.
Even if we condemn the Houthis' alleged act, should we really be surprised to see them, cornered and in a desperate situation, striking back in whatever way they could? Far from changing the game, could the attack have been its logical culmination? They might have finally found the way to grab Saudi Arabia where it really hurts. Or, to paraphrase Brecht’s famous line from his Beggar’s Opera “what is robbing a bank compared to founding a new bank”, what is destroying a country compared to slightly disturbing the reproduction of global capital?