Yemen war clouds raise dangers for top oil shipping route

Note the location of Aden, Yemen. It was just taken over by the Houthis yesterday.

LONDON (Reuters) – Conflict in Yemen risks spilling out into the busy sea lanes that pass it and potentially disrupt the narrow Bab el-Mandeb passage through which nearly 4 million barrels of oil are shipped daily to Europe, the United States and Asia.

Oil prices rose as much as 6 percent on Thursday after neighboring Saudi Arabia and its allies launched air strikes on Yemen that targeted Iran-backed Houthi rebels fighting to oust Yemen’s president.

The development is a gamble by the world’s top oil exporter to check Iranian influence in its backyard.

“The collapse of Yemen as a political reality and the power of the Houthis will enable Iran to expand its presence on both sides of the Bab el-Mandeb, in the Gulf of Aden and in the Red Sea. Already discrete numbers of Iranian naval vessels regularly sail these waters,” J. Peter Pham of U.S. think tank the Atlantic Council said.

Analysts say Houthi forces do not themselves have the maritime capabilities or the interest to target the Bab el-Mandeb, while warning of Iranian influence.

“If the Iranians were to gain access to a de facto base in some port or another controlled by the Houthis whom they have aided in the latter’s fight, the balance of power in the sub-region would shift significantly,” said Pham, who also advises U.S., European and African governments

The United States and its allies regularly stage naval exercises in the Gulf. The head of U.S. forces in the region said on Thursday the U.S. military would work with Gulf and European partners to ensure the Bab el-Mandeb remained opened…

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  • dance…dancetotheradio

    Psst.
    Hey Europe, remember when you said the tar sands oil was dirty?

  • Minicapt

    “… enable Iran to expand its presence on both sides of the Bab el-Mandeb …”
    Unfortunately for the rigour of this analysis, one side of the Bab is controlled by France.

    Cheers

  • UCSPanther

    Why it’s important to develop our own oil resources, and enviro-whackos be damned!

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  • robins111

    Bet that old KXL is starting to look good right about now.

  • DD_Austin

    Why is Iran shown?,
    They the ones pulling the strings in Yemen
    It isn’t their problem, it’s their solution