Helena Cobban Profile picture
Dec 20 24 tweets 6 min read Read on X
THREAD: around 10 days ago, @mouinrabbani commented that the #Houthis in #Yemen didn't even really need to *hit* any of the ships passing thru the Bab El Mandeb in order to have a huge effect on global trade...> Image
That map I used was of the ship-threatening incidents Nov. 18 thru Dec 18. Source: >gcaptain.com/navy-operation…
I find gCaptain a good source of shipping news. Monday, they reported this: > Image
That post on their blog had other good info, too: >gcaptain.com/global-trade-f…
The #Houthis, of course (real name Ansar Alllah), are well known as feisty, mountain-based fighters who have fended off vicious (US-supported) assaults from Saudi Arabia and UAE since 2015... >
& in Sept 2019 they launched v. smart drone attacks against key Saudi oil facilities: > en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abqaiq%E2…
The #Houthi leaders have vowed since late October that they will attack shipping heading to or from, or owned by, Israel so long as Israel maintains its megalethal siege of Gaza. >
This is one of the most notable (& noticeable!) acts of pro-Palestinian solidarity from anywhere in the Arab world. >
So on Monday, after a spate of Houthi attacks last week, US Sec of defense Lloyd Austin announced the launch of a US-led naval op called "Operation Prosperity Guardian" to defend against Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping: >gcaptain.com/us-launches-op…
OPG is meshed with a number of pre-existing, US-led "Combined Naval Task Forces" that have been operating all around the Arabian Peninsula for some years now, as part of the broader campaign to encircle & intimidate Iran >
... & also to counter "piracy" from Somalia (a failed state that has been chaotically dismantled by US military action over the past 25 years.) But anyway >
I was interested in the list of countries that Lloyd Austin has in his new, anti-Houthi coalition. It is: the U.S., United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles, and Spain. Do you notice anything? >
What I see are 8 "Western" nations along with two (very tiny) others, neither located close to the Bab el-Mandeb or Red Sea: > Image
#Seychelles is actually *south* of the Equator, has a populatn of c. 100,000. #Bahrain is a small island, highly controlled by the US/UK, and HQ of the US Fifth Fleet. Also v. significant: >
Is that neither Saudi Arabia nor UAE (earlier, v. bitter & violent foes of the Houthis) are listed as part of OPG. Seems they don't want to be seen as supporting the "Western" attack on the Houthis' brave act of solidarity with #Palestine... >
Houthi official Mohammed Abdulsalam yesterday responded to Austin's announcement of OPG by saying: ""Our position will not change in the direction of the Palestinian issue, whether a naval alliance is established or not...Our position in support of Palestine and the Gaza Strip will remain until the end of the siege, the entry of food and medicine, and our support for the oppressed Palestinian people will remain continuous.” >new.thecradle.co/articles/yemen…
Meantime, US veteran Larry Johnson has written: "On paper it would appear that Yemen is outnumbered and seriously outgunned. A sure loser? Not so fast. The U.S. Navy, which constitutes the majority of the fleet sailing against Yemen, has some real vulnerabilities that will limit its actions... " >sonar21.com/the-u-s-navy-i…
Johnson's technical/operational explanation seems persuasive to me. He writes that the US Navy's real vulnerability is that it "is configured currently as a 'Forward-Based Navy' and is not an 'Expeditionary Navy'.” >
He continues, thusly: > Image
And concludes with this: > Image
Larry Johnson's analysis is pretty intriguing. But I don't see the US military as eager *at all* to get into a shooting war with the #Houthis. So while the military/operational aspects of any potential shooting war between the sides are intriguing, still... >
>I think that mainly @mouinrabbani was right: The geopolitical/geoeconomic effects of their feistiness are really the key thing to look at. And at that level, we can see huge effects: > gcaptain.com/shipping-indus…
@MouinRabbani So let us hope that these extra costs that companies and consumers worldwide will have to bear will add a lot to the pressure on Washington to (finally!) allow a serious #GazaCeasefire resolution to proceed. >
@MouinRabbani But I'm not holding my breath. The UN Security Council hasn't yet come to a vote on the current draft resolution (which is only for a 'suspension" of hostilities, not a full ceasefire.) Get updates, texts, etc here: (END OF THREAD.)news.un.org/en/story/2023/…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Helena Cobban

Helena Cobban Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @helenacobban

Dec 21
THREAD: The role of the 'monitoring mechanism' in the UN Security Council's #GazaCeasefire negotiations >
Back on Monday, the UNSC started discussions on another UAE-provided draft for a #GazaCeasefire resolution. It has still not gone to a vote. News rpts indicate the hold-up is the desire to find wording that does not "force" the US to cast another veto >
And also that one key issue of dissension between the US and the rest is the mention in the current version of a UN-organized *monitoring mechanism* to speed up delivery of aid into Gaza > Image
Read 44 tweets
Dec 5
SMALL THREAD: This week, the US corporate media have returned to doing some thumb-sucking on the matter "#Gaza: the day after". What they're now reporting is actually much *less* substantive than when they did this in mid-November. E.g. the @washingtonpost, Sunday:
Here's the lede: "TEL AVIV— The Israelis say they don’t want the job. Arab nations are resisting. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas might volunteer, but the Palestinian people probably don’t want him. /As the Biden administration begins to plan for 'the day after' in Gaza... the stakeholders face a host of unattractive options."
Where to even start critiquing that? The 3 (count 'em!) highly-paid journos bylined on that start off with considering the Israelis & the "Arab nations"
Read 15 tweets
Dec 3
THREAD: 1956, 2023, and End-of-Empire Derangement Syndrome. I've been writing since Oct 17 that since Oct 7 Israel's political and military leaders have been acting in a seemingly deranged manner, as evidenced primarily by their use of extreme amounts of violence against #Gaza with no achievable political goal in mind. ("Eliminating Hamas" certainly doesn't fall into that category.)
> Indeed, their use of such devastating amounts of force has seemed to stem much more from a blind desire for revenge than from pursuit of any recognizable political goal. (As Tom Friedman also seems to acknowledge, tho that doesn't make it any less true.) >
> I have also, a number of times, noted the parallels between Israel's fierce current assault on Gaza and the 1956 Tripartite Aggression against Egypt in which it took part alongside the UK and France. Now I'm trying to put all these observations together into a broader category >
Read 38 tweets
Nov 27
I just want to get this clear about the Israelis releasing #Palestinian prisoners. They've now rptdly released ~150 since Friday. But in the West Bank, they have detained that same number or more in these 4 days. But it's worse than that > Image
> Since Oct 7 they've arrested several 1000 of additional Palestns in the West Bank. And in #Gaza, where the IDF had "instructed" all Palestns to leave the north & to travel south down Salaheddin St... >
> the IDF then established 1 or more checkpoints on Salaheddin St to do "screening" of those evacuating per instructions. As @mosababutoha described what happened there, he was pulled away from his family & bussed into the Naqab for interrogations and > Image
Read 8 tweets
Nov 20
(Thread) So intrigued to see that the Arab-Islamic committee charged with *ending* Israel's assault on #Gaza, led by Saudi Arabia, will be visiting China tmrw (Nov 20.) Back on October 31, I'd written (at ) that:

"The leaders of China and other representatives of the Global Majority most likely did not want to be launching an open challenge to Washington’s global power right now. But the intensity of the regional and global crisis that has been sparked by the Israel-Gaza war—an intensity that Pres. Biden has greatly magnified through the strength, partisanship, and hugely escalatory potential of the actions he’s taken since 10/7—is bringing ever closer the point at which the leaders of Global Majority states might need to stage an urgent diplomatic intervention in order to defuse and de-escalate these tensions.

"Actually, the sheer horror and devastation that Gaza’s 2.3 million people are currently suffering could well provide the entry-point for a Global Majority intervention that starts with decisive U.N. action... "

And then I provided a clear agenda for how they could proceed...globalities.org/2023/10/gazas-…

> Here's a screengrab of what I wrote on Oct 31: > Image
> To me the 2 central things that need to happen are (1) the UN takes charge of ordering & monitoring the ceasefire (no more US unilateralism), and (2) the UN takes charge of delivering the relief & reconstruction aid to #Gaza (no more Israeli control of-- and profiting from-- that process.) >
Read 7 tweets
Feb 15, 2022
1/n There are 2 ways to read the @washingtonpost breathless reporting on the White House "Tiger Team" that's been "gaming out" confrontational scenarios re #Ukraine since November: washingtonpost.com/national-secur… >
2/n One way wd be to marvel at the "foresight" & smarts of Biden's forpol team. Another wd be to strongly suspect that this "Tiger Team" has been a major mechanism thru which Bidn's ppl have created & hyped the whole #UkraineCrisis. A couple of notes here: >
3/n My spouse Bill Quandt, an expert on US nat-sec policymaking recalled that in the 1980s, when dealing with the Cold War, Reagan would have *two* teams of opposing *analysts* provide their competing analyses of the murky/confusing data coming in from #Russia >
Read 11 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us!