Geopolitical Futures this morning:
Threats to halt the flow of oil through Middle Eastern waterways are starting to feel more like promises. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia suspended oil shipments through part of the Red Sea after Houthi fighters attacked two tankers, one of which, they claim, was a Saudi warship. (The Houthis are Yemeni rebels that have fought, through the support of Iran, the Saudi-aligned government in the capital of Sanaa.) In coded language, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, appeared to confirm the attack, saying the presence of U.S. forces in the Red Sea is what led to the attacks. The same day, the U.S., Egypt and Gulf states began demining exercises in the Red Sea – these kinds of exercises would immediately be put to use in the event of an oil blockade.