Oil & Gas

On 4 August 2018, Saudi Arabia has resumed all oil shipments through the strategic Red Sea shipping lane of Bab al-Mandeb.[1]  They halted oil shipments through Bab al-Mandeb on 25 July 2018 after rocket attacks on two Saudi Arabian oil tankers by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement. Saudi Arabia is accusing regional foe Iran of supplying missiles to the Houthis.  Both Iran and the Houthis deny these allegations.  The Bab al-Mandeb strait, where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden in the Arabian Sea, is only 20 km (12 miles) wide, making any ship a potential target.  This is a critical choke point for oil shipping in the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 to restore the internationally recognized government of exiled president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. 

This has caused tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia.  Cyber-attacks on Saudi Arabia have been most targeted on petrochemical companies and on Saudi’s infrastructure as opposed to the government entities.  The Shamoon malware was the primary choice of cyber weapon used for these attacks, which is an Iranian based malware discovered in 2012.  On 9 August 2018, a Saudi-led coalition conducted an air strike in a Houthi, rebel-held area in northern Yemen.  This will no doubt escalate tensions (and cyber-attacks) with Iran and other MENA countries who back the Houthi movement in Yemen. 

 

 

[1] http://gcaptain.com/saudi-arabia-resumes-oil-exports-through-red-sea-shipping-lane/?utm_campaign=twitter&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitter

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Jeff Stutzman

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