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STRATFOR Yemeni terror threat analysis and advise: do nothing, just pray and hope

STRATFOR the leader in Geopolitical Analysis (taken from their website) published an article on terror threat in Bab el-Mandeb waters. The core points are as follows:

- Armed guards can do little against anti-ship missiles or small boats laden with explosives, and regional naval patrols cannot respond quickly enough to stop such attacks.
- With the type of attacks coming from Yemen more potent, the security measures shipping companies have long relied on will no longer work as well as they once did.
- Mitigating the piracy and militant maritime threats will come down to control over land. Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia were able to wipe out piracy in the Strait of Malacca by overrunning pirates' onshore bases.
- If allowed to continue, Yemeni militants will eventually hit a tanker carrying LNG or crude, causing a shock to international shippers that rely on the Bab el-Mandeb, as well as to the energy markets they service.

STRATFOR analysis mix together anti-ship missiles and small boats attacks, describing them both as almost impossible to thwart. By now we know, that two or three missile attacks in Red Sea were aimed at UAE supply ship (which was taking part in military operations against Houthi rebels, according to Houthi statement), and US Navy ships, for latter though, nobody claimed responsibility, including Houthi. As for suicidal attacks of small boats laden with explosives, we know only one, attempted attack on LNG tanker Galicia Spirit in Bab el-Mandeb on Oct 25.
The attack was thwarted, and boat destroyed, thanks to armed guards on board.

Not much can be said about protection from anti-ship missiles attacks, it seems to be very difficult, but yet not impossible, if say, applying hiding measures. Terrorists are after big LNG and crude oil carriers, agreed? They have to figure out their target, trace them and target them, agreed? Well, there are a number of measures which may make it real difficult for terrorists.
LNG tanker Galicia Spirit was rescued from terror strike, for all we know, thanks to exactly those armed guards, whom STRATFOR found so utterly incompetent and defenceless. Shortly after attack some analysis materials were published, in which security experts went into details of protecting vessels from terrorists, of difference between pirates and terrorists, and new tactics required for terror protection. Even an observer without arms and protection expertise can figure out, that any boat, fast speed or whatever, can be stopped or eliminated at safe enough distance, by well-trained security team, armed with sophisticated enough weapons. Security experts didnt estimate security teams as useless, when talking about terrorists.

Did STRATFOR offer alternatives? Actually, no. All they offer or advise, is to accept the threat as say, severe storm or other force-majeure, and wait until it somehow disappears. Until somebody will manage to control the land, which control is, accidentally, rather ineffective in terror case, in general. There is a big difference between pirates bases and terrorists, in case STRATFOR missed that difference.
According to STRATFOR logics, there is no use of protection against terrorists at all. Lets all wait and pray they will miss us. Interested parties, such as States, should do something about it, leave our safety to them, and do nothing, its of no use anyway. Thats the idea of STRATFOR, or maybe I got it wrong? Whatever are the aims STRATFOR is pursuing, they surely arent aimed at gaining reputation of a reliable security expertise and intelligence source.

Voytenko Mikhail
November 22, 2016

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