Gaza War: Keep an eye on the Suez Canal

Israel is at war and a major concern to this war is the attack on shipping by the Houthis of Yemen. This is critical to the world as the attack on shipping in the Red Sea waterway threatens to disrupt commerce around the globe.

America’s naval mission to keep the sea lanes open for democracy is being tested and may be even more tested in the future. It has only been a few years since the Suez was closed due to a super large carrier ship getting stuck and blocking the Suez Canal for several days. This had major implications to the commerce of the world as ships were diverted around Africa or sat idly in the Mediterranean waiting for the ship to be freed. This was not the first time the Suez was closed.
In 1967 Israel went to war with the Arab world. Ships were stuck in the Suez Canal and many were sunk. Even Jaques Cousteau, inventor of the Aqua Lung (SCUBA), had his mini submarine machine gunned by Israeli fighter jets while sitting on the Red Sea port in Egypt. Thus the exploration for Atlantis around the Greek Island of Santorini came to an abrupt end. The clearing of the canal took years to complete.
Five years after the Suez closure I was sitting on a ship in Mayport, Florida waiting to set sail to the Mediterranean for a nine month cruise. Suddenly we were told to make ready to sail to a “war zone in Southeast Asia”. We were too big for the Panama Canal and going around South America was out of the question and due to wrecks in the Suez Canal we would have to sail around South Africa. This added days, possibly a week, to the sailing. For a war ship this is a major issue when traveling to a conflict. For a commercial ship the extra days of sailing causes a significant cost to the price of goods that are being transported plus the cape of good hope can be very uncomfortable if not dangerous due to the huge swales from the meeting of the Indian, Arctic and Atlantic bodies of water. Finally after years of work the Suez was wreck free and the Canal was back in operation. Saving days for shipping is not the only advantage to having the Suez open.
In the early days of the Saudi Arabian oil development, ships loaded with crude would sail from the ARAMCO port at Ras Tanura on the Persian Gulf through the straights of Hormuz and on to ports around the world. Tapline was a small pipeline that crossed Arabia and ended in Jordan but the quantity that could be shipped was small in comparison to the producing capacity of the country. If the ability to transport crude through the Straights of Hormuz was stopped, the world economy would take a nose dive as the planet would be starved of precious oil. A pipeline was built across Saudi Arabia and oil would go to the new oil facility at Yanbu on the Red Sea. I was fortunate enough to be on the second pipeline project and that would insure enough transport capacity of oil for a thirsty world. There was no problem with getting oil out of Saudi. If the Persian Gulf route through the Straights of Hormuz was closed oil could easily go out through the Red Sea and north through the Suez Canal to Europe and the United States; at least until now.
So now we get to something that perplexed me when I first heard it but has now become quite evident why it was said. Saudi Arabia had been at war with the Houthis in Yemen for years. The current American administration said no more support for Saudi’s war with the Houthis. Saudi stopped the bombing and the Houthis got more and more aid from Iran and they now have the ability to launch attacks on shipping in the Red Sea that came through the Suez Canal. British Petroleum already announced that they will stop using the Canal and will reroute their tankers. The perplexing issue was that Saudi Arabia told America that we should not retaliate against the Houthis at their bases in Yeman. It then became clear. If the incident escalates, the Houthis could use the Iranian anti-ship missiles and thus cause shipping to stop using the Suez Canal. Then Iran, a long adversary of Saudi could launch attacks on tankers and the fear of sinking a large tanker could stop the flow of oil out of the Persian Gulf. In essence Saudi could no longer sell crude oil in the volume it requires to survive. This is why Saudi said that the Houthis should not be attacked.
The Houthis and the Iranians can partner to hurt Saudi but America is standing on the side lines ready to enter the game. We are ready and we are well equipped. We have gone to the rescue of the world before and we may have to do it again. Our confrontation is inevitable and has been for years and we will persevere.
God Bless America, Pray for the Ukraine and God Save Israel.

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