By Anthony Harwood
September 20, 2019 "Information
Clearing House" - It's
like the start of a bad joke.
What's the difference between 10,000 people being
killed in air strikes and a bunch of missiles taking
out an oil processing facility for a few days?
The answer is no laughing matter.
The difference is that only the one which
threatens the markets will "not be tolerated" by the
For more than four years, the people of Yemen
have been relentlessly bombed back to the Dark Ages
by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition, reckless, to put it
charitably, about where its aircraft drop their
Forty-seven fishermen here, 137 funeral mourners
there, a 20-strong wedding party and, in one year
alone, 443 children.
Four hundred and forty three children.
Forty-four of these children were on a bus on a
summer school trip into Saada when their vehicle was
hit by a stray missile in August 2018.
A video taken by one of the boys showed them
laughing and playing on the bus shortly before it
When, a week later, US Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo found himself meeting the Saudi Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman, no mention was made of the day
the children died.
Their deaths were not deemed
important enough for America's top
diplomat to bring up with the de-facto
ruler of Saudi Arabia, whose planes were
Fast forward a year, to the missile strikes on
Saudi oil fields last weekend, attributed by many to
Iran or its proxies.
At the time it was said that 18 drones and seven
missiles had knocked out half of Saudi Arabia's oil
production and the world should brace itself for
soaring fuel prices in the wake of an anticipated
fall in supplies.
The loss of 5.7 million barrels a day—about fifty
percent of Saudi's output and five percent of the
world's daily production—was said to have caused the
"biggest oil disruption in history."
Sure enough, Monday saw the biggest hike in the
price of oil for a decade, 14 per cent, and a
miserable future for travellers was predicted with
rises in air fares of 15 per cent expected.
Step forward the same Mike Pompeo to declare the
drone-strikes an "unprecedented attack on the
world's energy supply" and an "act of war."
"The Iranian regime's threatening behaviour will
not be tolerated," he stormed.
Not one person dead, no one injured. Not even a
scratch. And, lo and behold, by Wednesday the Saudi
energy minister was saying that half the oil
production which had been knocked out had been
Not only that, but production capacity at the
plants would be fully restored by the end of the
Global crisis handsomely averted, in other words.
Now, I'm not going pretend that an attack on the
Saudi-Aramco oil refineries should not be condemned.
Of course it should.
But what's shameful and depressing is how the
prospect of the world's energy market being thrown
into disarray for a few days counts for so much more
than a four-year war which has caused the world's
worst humanitarian crisis.
The knock-on effects of the conflict have left
millions, including 85,000 children, facing disease
and on the brink of starvation.
Where is America's condemnation of that? Where is
the outrage? What is the world coming to when a
wobble on the oil markets is deemed so much more
important than thousands of men, women and children
being killed as they innocently go about their daily
And yet these are the priorities of leaders in
the West as demonstrated by their use of words, by
what they choose to condemn and what they're happy
to let pass.
An analysis of debris from the school bus site
showed that the 227kg laser-guided bomb used in the
attack was made by Lockheed Martin and sold to Saudi
Arabia as part of billions of dollars of US weapons
That is one reason that Pompeo would not
criticise the Saudis and why, just a few months
later, President Trump, by his own admission, was so
soft on the Riyadh leadership in the wake of the
killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
But while America, to safeguard jobs and
political capital at home, continues arming Saudi
Arabia with weapons that are used to killed
children, there will be people prepared to say what
Pompeo should have said.
Even it's a lone protestor, Bryce Druzin, 34, who
spray painted the word 'Yemen' in blood red across
Lockheed Martin's Advanced Technology Center in Palo
Alto, California, alongside the date of the
Human life should always matter more than the
price of oil.
Anthony Harwood is a former foreign editor of
the Daily Mail.
This article was originally published by "Newsweek"-
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