THE SAUDI REGIME, backed to the hilt by the US and the UK, yesterday admitted that the Houthi movement’s drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s key oil facilities have shut down 50 per cent of its production.
Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman acknowledged that the attacks had cut the state oil giant’s crude oil supply by around 5.7 million barrels per day, or about 50 per cent of its output. The minister noted that there had also been a halt in gas production.
Not just the Saudi regime but Anglo-US imperialism that arms the Saudis is now in a huge crisis. Despite their massive arming of the Saudi military and extensive training of Saudi personnel, aided in the field by US and UK specialists, the imperialist powers have proved to be unable to defend the Saudi oil fields, a strategic asset that they cannot do without.
Ten Yemeni drones hit two oil facilities of Saudi Arabia’s state oil giant Aramco in the country’s east, causing huge fires before dawn Saturday.
Yemen’s armed forces spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Sare’e has even warned that operations will ‘expand’ and be ‘more painful’ as long as Saudi Arabia continues its military aggression.
In August, Saudi Arabia produced 9.85 million barrels of oil per day, according to the figures from the US Energy Information Administration. In the aftermath of the successful Yemeni operation, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to blame Iran, claiming, ‘Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia’ and that ‘there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.’
He added: ‘The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.’
Following the drone strikes, US President Donald Trump spoke on the phone with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the same Crown Prince who was behind the murder of Saudi dissident Kashoggi.
Trump offered his administration’s support for what he called ‘Saudi Arabia’s self defence,’ saying the attacks on Saudi oil facilities had a negative impact on the US and global economies.
US senator Lindsey Graham stated on Twitter on Saturday: ‘It is now time for the US to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocations or increase nuclear enrichment.’
The attack by the Houthis has hit the imperialist powers hard. They may well lash out, as all mad dogs do before they are put down.
Trade unions in the UK and the USA must warn their governments that any attempt to attack Iran will be met with general strikes to bring them down.
There will now be a massive rise in oil prices. This will have a revolutionising effect on the world capitalist economy. In fact this crisis has a revolutionary precedent for the UK working class.
In June 1967, Israel seized the Sinai right up to the River Nile, as well as the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip in the Six-Day War. It was hailed as a great victory. There were 40 Israeli dead while the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian dead numbered over 20,000.
The Israelis seemed to be invincible. They believed this themselves. They even printed maps showing the entire Sinai as part of a Greater Israel. However on October 7 1973, while the Israeli army was celebrating Yom Kippur, the Egyptian army crossed the Suez Canal and was able to win back the entire Sinai.
The shock of the Egyptian victory had a huge impact on oil prices, forcing them upwards. One of the main casualties of this was the UK economy, whose government under Heath, locked in a struggle with the miners and railworkers, introduced a three-day week from January 1 1974 to make the workers pay for the crisis. This three-day week lasted till March 6th.
By 7th February, Heath was driven to call an election, and a Labour minority government ended the three-day week before being re-elected as a majority government on Thursday October 10th. This was forced to smash all of the Tory anti-union laws.
The lesson for today is that the ruling class will seek to dump the whole crisis onto the working class. The working class must be ready to leave the EU, and to take the power, to bring in socialism. This requires the rapid building up of the WRP!