Sana’a (GPA) – Yemen’s Sana’a-based Air Force revealed a new domestically produced long-range unmanned drone this week by striking a Saudi Aramco oil facility in Riyadh. This retaliatory attack comes at a crucial time as Riyadh prepares to go public with Aramco which is expected to be the largest IPO in history.
Yemeni Drone Strikes Target Aramco as Saudis Prepare to Take the Company Public
It appears that the Yemeni strike accurately hit its target because Saudi Arabia claimed a fire broke out at Riyadh Aramco shortly after. It’s common practice for Saudi Arabia to blame damage from Ansarullah (aka Houthi) missiles on fires or other malfunctions.
Riyadh’s denial strategy isn’t just to avoid embarrassment (although that plays a part).
This attack (and other similar attacks) on Aramco come at a crucial time. Riyadh intends to go public with Aramco anytime now providing “market conditions permit,” of course. Analysts expect the oil giant’s initial public offering will be the largest IPO in history — surpassing Apple, Alibaba, and ExxonMobile at a staggering $2 trillion.
At least, that’s probably what Mohammed bin Salman is hoping for to fund his Saudi Vision 2030 sweeping privatization plan.
While originally intending to go public in 2018, that date has teetered to late 2018 or early 2019. Perhaps Mohammed bin Salman is concerned that Aramco won’t debut at a price the stock world is salivating over.
On Thursday — the day after the Yemeni drone strike — Saudi Aramco proclaimed the company was considering investing (not actually investing, mind you) in the world’s fourth largest chemical firm: Saudi petrochemical company, SABIC. Aramco admitted that the discussions were in a “very early stage” and that “there is a possibility no agreement will be reached.”
Last summer, Mohammad Ali al-Houthi announced that Yemeni Ansarullah forces would consider high-value economic locations viable targets for missile strikes provided the Saudi-led siege and airstrikes continue. Yemen’s Ansarullah forces subsequently launched several missile attacks and even drone strikes on multiple Aramco facilities and other economic targets over the past year.
Read more about Yemen:
Resistance Victories against U.S.-backed Saudi Aggression
Yemen’s Sana’a-based Air Force continued utilizing their new homegrown drone technology on a few other fronts in al-Jawf and along the intense West Coast battle. According to a military source, dozens of Saudi-backed mercenaries were killed in what was the Yemeni Air Force’s first offensive operation utilizing drones in al-Jawf province.
In Marib, Yemen’s Army and Popular Committees targeted a large gathering of Saudi-backed mercenaries. Several high ranking military members of the Saudi coalition were killed or injured. General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar — a prominent member of Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi coalition darling — sustained injuries in the aerial attack.
The new drone is called Sammad 2 in honor of the late Yemeni President, Saleh Ali al-Sammad. Saudi-coalition warplanes assassinated President al-Sammad in April of this year along with six members of his entourage.
The assassination’s strike’s precision displayed in leaked footage from the attack led many to believe the United States or Israel carried out the attack. The sheer precision also brought into question the indiscriminate bombing of homes, farms, buses, water facilities, and other civilian infrastructure.
U.S.-Saudi War Crimes in Yemen
Dozens of countries support the Saudi coalition in Yemen but none are quite as involved as the United States. Washington provides the bulk of military support including bombs, fuel for warplanes, and even special forces training. Although Saudi Arabia gets most of the attention, the United Arab Emirates has really functioned as the coalition’s strongman.
Coalition airstrikes and military actions have killed or injured over 37,000 civilians — nearly 30 percent of all victims are women and children. In fact, warplanes frequently target women and children such as refugee camps or the bride’s tent at a wedding. It appears that the goal of the airstrikes is to wipe out all Yemen’s civilian infrastructure necessary for daily life and Yemeni civilians themselves. Air attacks from the U.S.-backed warplanes typically strike homes, farms, water treatment facilities, government buildings, bustling markets, buses, gas stations, and anything else imaginable.
In addition to providing military support, the United States provides logistical and intelligence support for selecting airstrike targets. On the day of the Yemeni drone strikes, coalition warplanes bombed a home killing eight and injuring three others. It’s common for the Saudi coalition to attack multiple homes in a single day as well as rescue crews entering the scene.
Founder and editor of Geopolitics Alert, Randi is an American geopolitical analyst and content strategist. She covers US imperialism with a special focus on Yemen and Lebanon.