A Yemeni economic expert from the region contends that French Total’s operations in the Kharkhir region amount to stealing on behalf of Saudi Arabia and ousted president Mansour Hadi – who, as the internationally recognized leader of Yemen, likely believes his actions are within his range of powers.
As the Yemen civil war carries on, Yemen’s oil reserves are becoming a specific point of tension between Yemen’s ousted Sunni leaders and their Saudi backers, and the Shi’ite Houthis and their Iranian backers.
“Saudi Arabia has set up an oil base in collaboration with the French Total company in the Southern parts of Kharkhir region near the Saudi border province of Najran and is exploiting oil from the wells in the region,” Mohammad Abdolrahman Sharafeddin told Fars News Agency of Iran on Tuesday. “Sixty-three percent of Yemen's crude production is being stolen by Saudi Arabia in cooperation with Mansour Hadi, the fugitive Yemeni president, and his mercenaries.”
The US-backed Saudi Arabian war against Yemen is neither about the longstanding sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shiites, nor about the much-discussed military campaign aimed against al-Qaeda in the region.
While Western media outlets usually refer to Yemen as a "small" energy producer, the truth of the matter is the country is sitting on substantial oil and gas reserves, which Saudi Arabia and its allies want to control, Butler notes.
In addition, Yemen lies at the Bab el-Mandab, a key checkpoint for maritime transit of oil, with 3.4 million barrels of oil passing through it each day.
Some 2.2 million children suffer from malnutrition across Yemen, according to the UN children's agency, UNICEF. That includes 462,000 who, like Mohannad, are afflicted with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), which makes them especially vulnerable to otherwise preventable illnesses, such as diarrhoea and pneumonia.
Less than one-third of Yemen's 24 million people have access to health facilities, according to UNICEF, which says at least 1,000 Yemeni children die every week from preventable diseases.
Although we live in a glorious Information Age in which viral cat videos are transmitted across continents in two nanoseconds, there are still plenty of mechanisms in place to ensure that dutiful western news consumers never encounter unappetizing truths.