Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 14, 2019

Attacks On Major Saudi Oil Installations Show Urgent Need For Peace With Yemen

Ten drones controlled by Yemeni Houthi forces hit two major Saudi oil installations last night and caused several large fires.

bigger - video

The Abqaiq (also Babqaiq) oil processing facility is 60 km (37 miles) southwest of Aramco’s Dhahran headquarters.

The oil processing plant handles crude from the world’s largest conventional oilfield, the supergiant Ghawar, and for export to terminals Ras Tanura - the world’s biggest offshore oil loading facility - and Juaymah. It also pumps westwards across the kingdom to Red Sea export terminals.

The oil and gas conditioning plant in Abqaiq is the largest of the world. It sits at the center of Saudi Arabia's oil and gas infrastructure.


Abqaiq processes 6.8 million barrels of crude oil each day. More than two thirds of all Saudi oil and gas production runs through it. It is not clear yet how much of the widespread facility was destroyed.


The second target was a processing plant near Khurais 190 km (118 miles) further southwest. It lies within the countries second largest oil field. Both installations are more than 1,000 km (600 miles) from Yemen.

Saudi Arabia does not have air defenses that protect its oil facilities from attacks from the south.

Aᴍɪʀ @AmirIGM - 11:34 UTC · Sep 14, 2019

This graphic shows Saudi Air Defences around the Abqaiq oil facilities that were struck early Saturday. The drones were well within PAC-2 range, but outside Hawk range. It's possible that the low-flying or the drones' small size and composite materials helped it avoid detection.

PAC-2 are older U.S. made air defense systems which can not 'see' small drones or cruise missiles.

Satellite images show significant smoke coming from Abqaiq.


There is smoke coming from four additional oil facilities but it may be from emergency oil flaring that is now necessary because the processing facilities further downstream are blocked or destroyed.

Saudi Arabia said that the fires are under control. Video shot this morning shows that they continue.

In one video taken last night on the ground near the facility one can hear the high pitched noise of a drone motor and then an explosion. In other videos automatic gunfire can be heard. These were probably attempts by guardsmen to take down drones.

But drones may not have been the sole cause of the incident. Last night a Kuwaiti fishermen recorded the noise of a cruise missile or some jet driven manned or unmanned aircraft coming from Iraq. Debris found on the ground in Saudi Arabia seems to be from an Soviet era KH-55 cruise missile or from a Soumar, an Iranian copy of that design. The Houthi have shown cruise missiles, likely from Iran, with a similar design (see below). After an attack on Saudi oil installations in August there were accusations that at least some of the attacks came from Iraq. Iran was accused of having been involved in that attack. While this sounds unlikely it is not inconceivable.

That attack in August was the checkmate move against the Saudi war on Yemen. As we wrote at that time:

Saudi Arabia finally lost the war on Yemen. It has no defenses against the new weapons the Houthis in Yemen acquired. These weapons threaten the Saudis' economic lifelines.

Saudi Arabia has nothing that could stop mass attacks by these drones. It would require hundreds of Russian made Pantsyr-S1 and BUK air defense systems to protect Saudi oil installations. There would still be no guarantee that they could not be overwhelmed.

New drones and missiles displayed in July 2019 by Yemen’s Houthi-allied armed forces


The Houthi armed forces spokesman claimed responsibility for today's attack:

This operation is one of the largest operations carried out by our forces in the depth of Saudi Arabia and came after a accurate intelligence operation and advance monitoring and cooperation of honorable and free men within the Kingdom.

The claim of cooperation by people in Saudi Arabia will make the Saudi rulers even more paranoid than they usually are. It may well be that the drones were launched from inside Saudi Arabia and that their launch point was far nearer to the target than is publicly assumed.

The spokesman continued:

We promise the Saudi regime that our future operations will expand further and be more painful than ever as long as it continues its aggression and siege.

We affirm that our goals bank is expanding day by day and that there is no solution for the Saudi regime except to stop the aggression and siege on our country.

The war on Yemen, launched by the Saudi clown prince Mohammad bin Salman in 2015, cost Saudi Arabia several billion dollar per month. The Saudi budget deficit again increased this year and is expected to reach 7% of its GDP.  The country needs fresh money or much higher oil prices.

Saudi Arabia recently renewed plans to sell a share of its state owned oil conglomerate Aramco. Earlier this month the long time Saudi Energy Minister Kalid al-Falih was first demoted and then removed from his position and replaced by Abdulaziz bin Salman, a half-brother of the clown prince:

"The long tradition of the oil minister as a technocrat non-royal has been broken, and the best theory is that departing minister Khalid Al Falih was too resistant to the pace of change pursued by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman," wrote Paul Sankey, energy analyst with Mizuho.

The removal of Kalid al-Falih ended the nationalist resistance against the selloff of Aramco and the countries wealth.

But who will buy a share of the company when its major installations are not secure but under severe attacks?

The Saudi clown prince will have to make peace with Yemen before he can sell Aramco shares for a decent price. He will have to cough up many billions in reparation payments to Yemen and its people before the Houthi will be willing to make peace.

First Saudi attempts to sue for peace were made two weeks ago. It seems that they asked the Trump administration to work out an agreement with the Houthi:

The Trump administration is preparing to initiate negotiations with Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in an effort to bring the four-year civil war in Yemen to an end, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The effort is reportedly aimed at convincing Saudi Arabia to take part in secret talks with the rebels in Oman to help broker a cease-fire in the conflict, which has emerged as a front line in the regional proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran.

Nothing has been heard of the initiative since. The Saudis need to move fast to end the war. Unless that happens soon we can expect further escalations and more attacks like the ones earlier today.

Posted by b on September 14, 2019 at 15:56 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Bravo, Houthis.

Posted by: Russ | Sep 14 2019 16:09 utc | 1

and then,

..."U.S. Ambassador John #Abizaid: “The U.S. strongly condemns today’s drone attacks against oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais. These attacks against critical infrastructure endanger civilians, are unacceptable, and sooner or later will result in innocent lives being lost.”...

Right again Captain Obvious, a string of pearls from a vomiting dog. We know who the aggressors have been. The Houtis, are following through, like a prize fighter knowing your opponent is doomed and making sure he goes down for the count. Start counting Captain, your man is finished.

Posted by: Taffyboy | Sep 14 2019 16:15 utc | 2

The sooner my countrymen(US) find out the real cost/value of oil the better.
Time for a healthy dose of reality for the west. Of course we can always continue to destroy our water supply by fracking for a few more years.

Posted by: so | Sep 14 2019 16:24 utc | 3

Thanks for the reporting b

I fear Trump will use this as an excuse to send more troops to the ME to defend US interests there. I hope that driving the US military out of the ME is also part of the overall plan of the axis against empire.

I read somewhere a claim that this will drive oil prices up which will increase the "value/price" of the coming SA Aramco share sale and so SA should be thanking the Houthi forces.......

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 14 2019 16:24 utc | 4

i so wish for the kingdom of ksa led by fanatical monkeys, to come tumbling down... keep going houthis.. these freaks only know the sound of money and are incapable of hearing anything else..

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2019 16:30 utc | 5

Holy smokes! If Ansarullah can manage do this, imagine what the IRGC can do to KSA infrastructure. Am surprised at the allegations of Iraqi involvement though, seems risky for the PMU to retaliate for the recent air strikes near Abu Kamal, if that is the motive..

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 14 2019 16:34 utc | 6

Thanks b.

I found the following @Brasco_Aad, which You-*b* have named as a source You use:
The Abqaiq oil facility was featured in this CSIS tweet only 4 days ago!"
And, especially this:

Could it be another 'cohenincidence' ?
Thought everyone here should know.
Cheers X-

Posted by: Veritas X- | Sep 14 2019 16:41 utc | 7

@so #3
The US imports almost zero Saudi oil. The amount being imported is on par with the Oil Embargo era (1970s) and Volcker shock (early 1980s) - between 650K and 775K barrels per day - vs. 20.46M barrels per day consumption. Canada exports twice as much as Saudi Arabia, while Mexico is roughly comparable although a lot lower than in the relatively recent past.
Moreover, the US is projected to be a net exporter of oil in October 2019.
The reality is that US banks and corporations benefit from high oil prices because of the amount of oil being pumped by frackers.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 14 2019 16:41 utc | 8

Greatest strength, greatest weakness. All the Saudi Royalty had to do with its vast wealth is figure out a way to spread it around. Instead, in their malice and delusion, they wanted to become an imperial power. With less success than Italy. It could have become the Denmark of its neighborhood. Competent, modern, instead it painted bull's eyes on its back by exporting religious bigotry. Saudi Arabia, the last home of Idi Amin.

Posted by: stevelaudig | Sep 14 2019 16:43 utc | 9

A very successful attack, to judge from the videos. The Houthis have become much more effective recently.

From what I can judge, the south of Yemen - Aden, Hadramawt and Mahra - is now in complete confusion, and there's no longer a base for Saudi/Emirati ground operations to work from. However the San'a and Aden staff of an NGO I know were able to get out this week for a meeting outside the country with their organisation. It turns out that people from San'a just get the bus to Aden, and whichever airport is functioning. The journey is just not very secure, but lots of people do it.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 14 2019 16:48 utc | 10

I'm so sad that the Saudi's oil refineries were damaged, where will ISIS and al-Qaeda get their funding now? in possibly related news Trump and Israel have started talks to sign a formal mutual defense treaty, if that gets signed I expect American soldiers will shortly end up fighting Israel's next invasion of Lebanon. The middle east seems destine for another major war in the next 3 or 4 years

Posted by: Kadath | Sep 14 2019 16:49 utc | 11

This attack comes at the same time that the Russians have finally told Nuttyahoo there will be no more air attacks on Syria and Lebanon, according to this story .

The chess board is changing rapidly. I am sad for all the pawns about to be sacrificed for the egos of psychopathic Dear Leaders.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Sep 14 2019 16:58 utc | 12

Excellent article, B! I've been checking your site since I learned of the Houthis latest attack.
Should oil prices rise as a result of this attack, would that not be a big boon to the Saudis anyway? If this shoots up oil prices, maybe the Saudis wouldn't need to sell shares.
I would be interested in your thoughts on that.

Posted by: Kelli | Sep 14 2019 16:58 utc | 13

Ten drones flown by Goldman Sachs...

Fixed it for ya.

Posted by: Fixer | Sep 14 2019 17:05 utc | 14

I posted a comment and then it disappeared?
Anyway, great article, B! But wouldn't this attack benefit the Saudis with a potential rise in oil prices? If oil rises to 100/barrel, the Saudis may not need to sell their shares after all.
Good for the Houthis though! I hope that more of these attacks brings an END to the war on Yemen

Posted by: Kelli | Sep 14 2019 17:08 utc | 15

The Bolton Effect, herstorians will write. Remember Operation Outside the Box. This is Operation Inside the Maze. How the NeoCons saved a flailing Netanyahu, and drove Trump from the White House. Coming in October to theatres near you!

AFA any 'Peace for Yemen!', fahged abahd et. A US petroleum geology research firm found recoverable fracking oil and gas in Yemen were 5x higher than CIA's own estimate.

Posted by: Jack Martin | Sep 14 2019 17:17 utc | 16

Typically a "fire under control" under these conditions is allowed to burn out. You do not try to put the fire out, you place the water on equipment around the fire to keep it cool.

It does seen like a long distance for drones to fly from Northern Yemen to Eastern Saudi land. I would guess it is way out of their range. An attack from Iraq by pro Iranian forces allied with the Houthis may be more likely. Iraq itself may have looked the other way as higher oil prices benefit them as well.

I suspect that things will quiet down again after this attack. Too many attacks like this may force the West into coming back into Saudi land to protect their sorry asses. These large petrochemical installations are built with flexibility in mind. In a month or so things will be back up and running near capacity again. There is a pool of contractors that are expert at putting things back together in short order but at high cost.

That being said this may be the new norm to keep oil prices up as they nave been sagging. Even Russia said last week prices may hit $25 a barrel. Do some damage but not enough to provoke a massive response from the West. Oil prices get raised making the other producers happy and engagement is forced with Iran through their proxies ability to smash things up a bit.

Recycle and repeat the process in a few months. There is always more involved than meets the eye.

Posted by: dltravers | Sep 14 2019 17:28 utc | 17

In 2018, Saudi Arabia was the largest buyer of weapons in the world, much of it from the world-leader in military force U.S. which has 50,000 troops, several air squadrons and a carrier fleet in the Gulf area. They are all useless against a type of aircraft one can buy at the local Verizon store and possibly a missile which any partisan force can obtain. We are witnessing a revolution in warfare, extremely damaging to the air of superiority that the U.S. and its allies regularly project (despite their failures).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2019 17:36 utc | 18

@Kelli - Should oil prices rise as a result of this attack, would that not be a big boon to the Saudis anyway? If this shoots up oil prices, maybe the Saudis wouldn't need to sell shares.

If the price of oil doubles because the Saudis can export only half of their usual amount how is that supposed to help them?

It would only help other producers like the loss making fracking companies in the U.S. and of course Russia and Iran.

Posted by: b | Sep 14 2019 17:39 utc | 19

@ Posted by: c1ue | Sep 14 2019 16:41 utc | 8

Maybe, but you forgot Saudi Arabia is Petrodollar's cornerstone: with its oil revenue, it buys American weapons and large amounts of American debt (Treasury bonds). Without this recycling system, the USD loses much of its proeminence.

Posted by: vk | Sep 14 2019 17:58 utc | 20

There is smoke coming from four additional oil facilities but it may be from emergency oil flaring that is now necessary because the processing facilities further downstream are blocked or destroyed.

If so, I would count that as 4 virtual hits, in addition to the physical hits!

Posted by: BM | Sep 14 2019 18:08 utc | 21

The thing I find most interesting about this is that all that American hardware in the area satellites, AWACS, drones, ships, fighters etc didn't see any thing. This should be a learning moment Israelis and all their new Arab buddies.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Sep 14 2019 18:15 utc | 22

@vk #20
Agree on the Saudis role in petrodollar.
However, Saudi Arabia's largest customer is now China. Will they keep to the petrodollar, when they're not actually taking many dollars from American any more?

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 14 2019 18:19 utc | 23

CNN, Apr 1, 2019:
Saudi Aramco is (was?) the world's most profitable company

New York (CNN Business)Saudi Aramco, divulging its finances for the first time, revealed that it is the world's most profitable company.
The Saudi oil company made $111 billion last year, according to a note from Moody's. The rating agency based that on a prospectus for a massive bond offering Aramco expects to use to help finance the purchase 70% of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation. Aramco hopes to buy that stake in the state-owned petrochemical company for $69.1 billion.
Aramco planned to go public last year. It would have put 5% of the company up for sale in what might have been the largest initial public offering ever. The Saudis were reportedly looking to raise $100 billion in the offering, which would value the company at $2 trillion, or twice as much as Microsoft (MSFT), the most valuable public company with a market value of $904.8 billion.
But the offering never came to pass. . . here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2019 18:20 utc | 24
"Two sources close to the matter said 5 million barrels per day of crude production had been impacted — close to half of the kingdom’s output or 5% of global oil supply."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 14 2019 18:21 utc | 25

another Empire, and its lackeys, starts to bite the dust. this is asymmetrical warfare at its most daring and cost effective - a few tens of thousands of dollars in drones to knock out 5% or more of the world's oil production (if only for a few days/weeks, who knows..)

& the world economy may be in for a big shock starting on Monday...

Saudi Oil Attack: This Is the Big One
The technological sophistication and audacity of Saturday’s attack will linger over the energy market

"...While the outage may not last long given redundancies in Saudi oil infrastructure, the attack may build in a premium to oil prices that has long been absent due to complacency. Indeed, traders may now need to factor in new risks that threaten to take not hundreds of thousands but millions of barrels off the market at a time. U.S. shale production may have upended the world energy market with nimble output, but the market’s reaction time is several months, not days or weeks, and nowhere near enough to replace several million barrels...."

Posted by: michaelj72 | Sep 14 2019 18:31 utc | 26

Just 10 minutes ago Trump tweeted that US is already in conversation with Netanyahu to sign a Mutual Defense Treaty II, ...and maybe this time, Israel won't refuse to sign it. IS's original refusal, of course, is lost in a Perpetual Eternal Now of the Sunshine Hive Mind, preparing the sheep for Snowden's controlled hangout NSA autobiography, then Biden's Patriot Act 4.

Posted by: Jack Martin | Sep 14 2019 18:36 utc | 27

Iran is no doubt hoping to reverse recent oil shipment trends that have seen Saudi shipments to China double to 1.8 million BPD while Iran shipments to China have halved to 200,000 BPD (barrels per day).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2019 18:40 utc | 28

Posted by: dltravers | Sep 14 2019 17:28 utc | 17

It does seen like a long distance for drones to fly from Northern Yemen to Eastern Saudi land. I would guess it is way out of their range. An attack from Iraq by pro Iranian forces allied with the Houthis may be more likely.
550 km from the Iraqi border, 1000 km from North Yemen. The latter not too far for a military drone. The drone didn't have to make the return journey, ditch in the Gulf would have been the best choice, if they didn't do a kamikaze attack and dive into their targets. According to b, there are missiles facing Iran.

I have some political difficulties with the idea of an attack from Iraq. Basra is not pure Shi'a-land. There were riots against the government last year, and the Iranian consulate was burnt down. No doubt stimulated from Saudi. Not a great environment from which to launch an attack, even if the Iraqi Shi'a were subordinate to Iran, which they are not.

This was a very well planned attack, which hit its target, and took out half Saudi oil production, although they claim the fires were quickly brought under control. They weren't, according to the videos. The Saudis are scrambling to play the affair down, but it looks to have had a disastrous effect, not like the odd missile over Riyadh.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 14 2019 18:48 utc | 29

The United States surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world's largest crude oil producer in 2018. . .but

news: After years of improvements in drilling techniques and impressive “efficiency gains,” there is now evidence that the U.S. shale industry is reaching the end of the road on well productivity.//
So less production in Saudi with a higher oil price may help sustain US shale oil. or not.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2019 18:49 utc | 30

@ Laguerre 29
Not a great environment from which to launch an attack
Come on, I could launch a drone attack from my bedroom window.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2019 18:52 utc | 31

Don Bacon

From what I can make of it, US shale is the biggest beneficiary of the hit on Saudi oil.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 14 2019 18:53 utc | 32

According to the latest Beeb report, the attacks have cost the Saudis 50% of their oil output. Another, similar attack, and the Saudi economy will go into meltdown.

Posted by: Tony | Sep 14 2019 18:59 utc | 33

Listening to radio news in America's heartland just now I was bemused to note the complete absence of reporting on the Saudi situation. The distractions were more rain in the Bahamas, the death (probably months ago) of bin Laden's son, and a potential mutual defense treaty with Israel (the last two, obviously from the White House).

Posted by: zakukommander | Sep 14 2019 19:00 utc | 34

@ Peter AU
US shale will benefit if more money means more oil, but there must be more oil (at a higher price).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2019 19:00 utc | 35

The Saudis are disgusting. Few humans beings who are aware of what is going on in yemen would oppose this.

This is going to hurt Trump (and his boss Bibi).

Posted by: alaric | Sep 14 2019 19:04 utc | 36

@ : zakukommander 34
Listening to radio news in America's heartland just now . ..
The strategy of the profit-oriented US MSM is to focus on petty political frivolities and good news, and to never never mention that US bombs are dropping on other poor countries and other US-caused problems abroad. The MSM is not in the "news" business it is an entertainment source selling advertising, which of course suits the profit-oriented government when citizens can't focus on important matters.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2019 19:08 utc | 37

If you see a map of where the shia population lives, it is clear KSA has a huge internal problem, because the Gawar and all the oil mega-fields and mega oil infraestructures are in a region of the Shia Crescent, where the shia population is close to 20 millions of people.

I do not rule out that the drones come from the shia areas inside KSA very close to the refinery and so close they cannot be detected by the air defenses which should be oriented to shot down threats from long distances.

Others advantages of an "inside job" (from the close shia population/workers in the refinery) is that they perfectly know which are the weaks points of the refinery and where they could suffer devastating damages if hit, and this is very difficult to know for an outsider, and very difficult to carry on from far away (> 1000 Km) without very sofisticated drone or missile technology

This is another problem for the KSA not very easy to solve

Posted by: DFC | Sep 14 2019 19:29 utc | 38

The partnership of Iran and China looks promising, China is investing billions into the South Pars gas field with a total investment of $280bn over 25 years in the Iranian oil, gas and petchems sector, this together with the belt and road initiative of which Iran is a crucial part will ensure Iran’s hegemony together with the ‘arc of resistance’ for many years to come. Must read... Good shooting Houtis, keep it up.

Posted by: Harry Law | Sep 14 2019 19:30 utc | 39

My thought is that, depending on how high oil prices may go, lower grade deposits may become profitable. Most mineral extraction seems to work like this. Low prices means only high grade deposits can be worked, high prices mean lower grade deposits can be worked.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 14 2019 19:33 utc | 40

Come on, I could launch a drone attack from my bedroom window.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2019 18:52 utc | 31

Yes, of course it's possible. From the desert to the west, for example, where there is no-one. Though I doubt that a military drone with bombs could get out of your bedroom window. Again a difference between winged military drones and helicopter style drones you can buy in Walmart.

Actually I have no idea from where the drones were launched. It could have been Iran itself, which again is nearer to the target than Iraq. Or, let us not forget, the Saudi frontier with Yemen is scarcely defended, the Saudi troops not being willing to fight. The Houthis could have just chucked their drones in a pickup, covered them with a tarpaulin, crossed the border with some argument in the case of check-points, driven north till they were within range, and then launched.

The important point is how well planned it all was. Of the level of 911.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 14 2019 19:35 utc | 41

That attack may have come from Yemen, but it was not only about Yemen. The risk is also from the hostility to Iran. War and/or economic warfare against one side will bring replies in kind. Blow back. Counter attack. Call it what you will, there is no one-sided warfare.

Posted by: Mark Thomason | Sep 14 2019 19:37 utc | 42

This story stinks to hi heaven: just like the one with box cutters?...
The timing : not far from 9/11 anniversary: payback? not far from bibi elections
The means: 1000 Km range drones ?? needs heavy birds & Sat Link no ?
The Aramco IPO : what impact finaly ? cheaper or higher shares prices if critical production damaged severely ??

Posted by: go figure | Sep 14 2019 19:44 utc | 43

Map showing Shia zone in KSA

Complete article

I suspect the drones were launched from somewhere near the targets.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 14 2019 19:47 utc | 44

@ 44 peter... i am leaning that way too.. b's quote "While this sounds unlikely it is not inconceivable."

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2019 19:58 utc | 45

Sounds like Saudi drone catchers are not ready yet.

Detecting small. low altitude drones is a challenge for traditional radar systems, especially as drones are becoming available with stealth material. Systems are likely to include a huge array of specialized radars, visible light and infrared sensors, and serious computer power to separate large birds and other moving objects from drones.

This requires major computing power as well as sophisticated "friend or foe" systems.

DroneShield offers radio jammers and GPS destructors, as well as dedicated munitions.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 14 2019 20:05 utc | 46

@ Posted by: Kelli | Sep 14 2019 16:58 utc | 13

Oil prices' rise would be the resultant of Saudi reduced output (thus, reduced Saudi market share). It would benefit the competition (e.g. Russia, USA, Venezuela), not the Saudis themselves.

Posted by: vk | Sep 14 2019 20:08 utc | 47

"Saudi Arabia does not have air defenses that protect its oil facilities from attacks from the south."

fucking amateurs, dude. one might think that with brights like Tony Blair negotiating multi-billion dollar arms deals with S.A. every other weekend, they'd get some protection for their oil. or not do things that incite attacks on vulnerable targets with nigh-infinite value. & get advice and aid for the same from the oil barons at the White House.

amateurs. hopefully the much desired collapse, overthrow, of the S.A. will herald similar collapses, overthrows, esp in Tel Aviv, London, Paris & above all D.C.

Posted by: j | Sep 14 2019 20:09 utc | 48

@ Posted by: c1ue | Sep 14 2019 18:19 utc | 23

It doesn't matter to the Petrodollar scheme because the Saudis buy US Treasury bonds with US Dollars, not oil barrels. The more China imports from the Saudis, the more USDs go the Americans.

That's why there's a schism in the American elite right now: those who want to single out Russia as "the enemy" (the "moderates") and those who want to rip up the band aid with one move and right now and go to war with China while the USA still has the economic means to do so (Trump, the "far-right"). Many American capitalists got rich and can only still be rich because of China -- China doesn't need MAD to deter the USA (as was the case with the USSR and now the Russian Federation).

Posted by: vk | Sep 14 2019 20:13 utc | 49

How in hell some small drones, with a few kilograms of explosives each could make this kind of damages and shut-down 5 millions barrel per day of production?

Or may be there were some drones to make "noise" but the real/devastating destruction was made by others means (internal sabotage from shia workers). May be the shia/houthis have learned from the 911 conspiracy theories and have applied it, this time really

The areas in all the refinery are very isolated to avoid an explosion damages another critical parts, and the fires are "too" wide

I more than doubt these damaged have been made by drones of missiles, it is an "internal job" masquerading as a drone attack. The saudi official sai.....drones, he sound not too convinced at all.

This is a shia revolt, and all the oil facilities in KSA are at risk right now

May be oil at 150$ sound not so absurd

Posted by: DFC | Sep 14 2019 20:22 utc | 50

Finally some good news!

Posted by: Mina | Sep 14 2019 20:27 utc | 51

Posted by: Mark Thomason | Sep 14 2019 19:37 utc | 42

The risk is also from the hostility to Iran. War and/or economic warfare against one side will bring replies in kind.
The error here is to think that it's a two way war. It's in fact one-way hostility of the Saudis against Iran and the Shi'a. I haven't seen any signs that the Iranians have any interest in war with Saudi, other than helping their buddies in Yemen.

The basic interest, as I've always said, is that the Saudi Shi'a are sitting on the oil-fields, all of them. In any circumstances, think the Saudi princes, the Shi'a must be prevented from declaring independence, or the Saudi princes will be reduced to the camel herders they originally were. The idea is to defeat any power which might help the Saudi Shi'a. Thus the war against the Houthis, which is not going too well, and supporting Netanyahu's hostility to Iran.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 14 2019 20:27 utc | 52

Posted by: DFC | Sep 14 2019 20:22 utc | 52

If they hit oil the blast would be huge. There were ten drones, each with warheads presumably carrying up to 30 kg maybe more.

Smart drones are a technological game changer.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 14 2019 20:44 utc | 53

Posted by: Sergei | Sep 14 2019 20:13 utc | 51

Muqtada al-Sadr may have made a show of submitting to Khamenei, but he is not a major power in Iraq. Nor was he necessarily sincere, if Iraqi interests went elsewhere.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 14 2019 20:45 utc | 54

Yeah now after Bolton left, the neocons push on for war,

Pompeo blames Iran for drone attack on Saudi oil facilities, Senator Graham urges US to strike it

Question is if Trump will take the bait, I would not hold my breath these days.

Posted by: Zanon | Sep 14 2019 20:50 utc | 55

In the Operation Tidal Wave on Ploiesti, 162 B24 bombers flew over the romanian refineries in 1 august 1943; the mission resulted in "no curtailment of overall product output." after the lost of 53 US planes and 660 american crew members lost.

But now, some few drones with few kilograms each shut-down the biggest oil refinery in the world, much much bigger than Ploiesti or anyother in human history...Something stinks in Denmark

Posted by: DFC | Sep 14 2019 20:50 utc | 56

Trump doesn't want war, though the neo-cons do. He wouldn't have sacked Bolton if he were open to it.

I'm surprised nobody is examining the different interests in the US, which are no more united than in the time of Obama.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 14 2019 21:11 utc | 57

Pompeo tweet: "We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression. . .Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen."
--Seems mild to me.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2019 21:12 utc | 58

That airstrike by the Houthis is quite a feat...and it goes to show just how much can be done by what one might call fairly primitive aeronautical engineering.

The picture of that Houthi cruise missile in B's article is intriguing.

Looking at that small turbojet engine mounted on top, I would say it bears a very strong resemblance to a readily available small Czech-made turbojet engine from a company called PBS, shown here...

The specs on this engine can be found on the company website.

The engine is the hardest part of this, and this is a very simple little jet engine that could be easily bought [USD $60,000] or even replicated by a knowledgeable individual with a good machine shop.

Now I've crunched some numbers for the Tomahawk cruise missile, which uses a small Williams turbofan of about 600 lbs static thrust. At a flight speed of Mach 0.7 [463 knots; 533 mph] at sea level altitude [0 feet MSL] the Williams engine puts out 464 lbs of thrust.

The air resistance [dynamic pressure] at that speed and altitude is about 726 lbs per square foot, which means the 'drag area' of a T-Hawk is 464/726 = 0.64 square feet. This means that a flat plate of that area being pushed [vertically oriented] at that speed through the air is going to require a thrust force of 464 pounds to maintain that speed of 533 mph.

Now the Houthi missile shown here is obviously smaller in diameter than a T-Hawk, which is about 20 inches. If this Houthi cruise missile is indeed powered by that Czech engine [or a knockoff] the engine diameter is only 11 inches, which would put the fuselage diameter at about 15 to 16 inches.

This will result in lower drag of course since the cross sectional area will be considerably smaller than a T-Hawk.

The Czech engine puts out 292 lbs static thrust [about half that of the Williams] and we could expect it to put out about 220 lbs of thrust cruising at a speed of let's say M 0.6, which is 397 knots, or 457 mph at SL standard conditions.

Since dynamic pressure increases with the square of speed, our air resistance at this speed is 533 lbs/ft^2, nearly 200 less than at M0.7 as with the T-Hawk. But 450 mph is still a formidable speed at low altitude.

The drag area of that Houthi missile would then work out to about 220/533 = 0.4 square feet, about one third less than a T-Hawk, which is right in line with its one third smaller cross sectional area.

Burning about 1.2 pounds of fuel for each pound of thrust per hour, it would require ~265 pounds of fuel per flight hour, so 500 lbs of fuel would provide nearly two flight hours, which is nearly 900 miles of range, over 1,400 km.

Incidentally people are putting these little Czech jet engines on single seat, home-assembled kitplanes.

Then there is the guidance system. This too is as doable as the engine with off the shelf technology. The advent of MEMS [micro electro-mechanical systems] has resulted in aircraft grade gyroscopes for basically peanuts. This kind of hardware can be turned into a poor man's INS system [inertial navigation system, which is what is used on real cruise missiles, passenger jets etc...]

An autopilot that runs off that gyro system [also readily available off the shelf] with GPS and you have what is close enough in capability to a Raytheon Tomahawk missile that costs over one million per copy.

Looking at that picture, it seems that those wings do not fold. There is also a solid-fuel rocket at the back that is designed to fall off once it has accelerated the vehicle to a speed where the turbojet can take over.

So my guess is it would be launched on some kind of rail device. Again, not a huge technical challenge. The solid rocket motor is also a simple device. There are certainly hobby rockets of this size, and folks would be surprised what DIYers are capable of putting together.

So a very intriguing weapon that has been fielded by the Houthis. A cruise missile like this is actually difficult to stop due to its small size and its ability to fly low, both of which make it difficult to pick up on radar and target by air defense systems.

Combined with its high speed of over 400 mph, this is going to be difficult to stop.

This is certainly manufacturable in Yemen with Iranian technical assistance. Keeping in mind that Iranians are quite technically advanced and had no problem taking down a 200 million dollar topline US drone flying at 65,000 ft with their own indigenous anti-aircraft missile.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 14 2019 21:13 utc | 59

Posted by: DFC | Sep 14 2019 20:50 utc | 58

Yep. That was an attack by old fashioned planes and German Romanian air defenses worked.

Air defenses are tuned so that they don't mistake a bird for a missile. Deep in Saudi Arabia air defenses are probably not expecting any danger coming from Yemen.

UN on Houthi drone technology

The UN’s panel of experts on Yemen is probing whether “foreign experts” helped the rebels assemble and upgrade their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which can now hit targets some 1,500 km away. ... Long-distance drone strikes would represent a breakthrough for the Houthis, who have no air force and achieved most of their military gains in Yemen with assault rifles, missiles, off-roaders and rocket launchers.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 14 2019 21:15 utc | 60

I believe that the US military, aware of its vulnerable Gulf bases, with their 50,000 troops and some civilians, a result of "forward basing" (as in Korea), also with easily-targeted ships, I believe the military would resist any military moves against Iran. An indicator: The USS Lincoln carrier group has been in the area (in the North Arabian Sea) since May 12 and has not entered the Gulf, which is a first. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2019 21:20 utc | 61

Pompeo's next tweet was a little less mild.
"We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression"

'Held accountable' is a US term for bombing the crap out of a country.

Iran has been building up its air defences since the US pulled out of the nuke deal. Reading Tasnim I have the impression Russia and China have been helping out in that regard.
That the major attack on KSA installations has happened may mean Iran is ready to ward of any US attack.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 14 2019 21:21 utc | 62

Pompeo: ". . . condemn Iran’s attacks. . .There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen"

These dumbos are good at painting themselves into a corner. Is there any evidence of the "Iran attacks?" It's probably (w/o any evidence to the contrary) the baseless freighter bomb charges again, which went nowhere. Pompeo, the little boy who called "'wolf" because he was bored.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2019 21:30 utc | 63

Re small engines. This article was in Tasnim not long back.
"TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An Iranian private-sector company signed a contract to export mini jet engines to Russia."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 14 2019 21:32 utc | 64

from Iran GeoMil, May 16:
In a time of high tensions, Saudi Arabia's air defences are at their weakest in decades. . .The current Saudi posture makes them extremely vulnerable to Iranian ballistic missiles . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2019 21:39 utc | 65

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 14 2019 21:21 utc | 66

Trump has just realized that higher oil price equals world wide recession.

I am with Don Bacon. US military will not dare to start a war it cannot win within a week. But you never know how crazy decision makers can get. Trump will have to find a way to talk to Iran - fast.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 14 2019 21:40 utc | 66

Flanker...those specs are not very far from V1 specs...particularly the thrusts are comparable. NCAA did some tests on V1's and I read them somewhere's. The V1 made more thrust at flight speed than at static.

Then there's the guy in NZ...the 5000 dollar cruise missile...

Of course the PJ engine is far less nifty or frugal...

Posted by: Walter | Sep 14 2019 21:42 utc | 67

Who is a major power in Iraq?

Posted by: Sergei | Sep 14 2019 21:17 utc | 64

The answer is nobody. The US decides who is to be allowed into power in agreement with the hawza in Najaf. The hawza is the religious establishment in Najaf. Muqtada al-Sadr is considered a maverick. The hawza has declared itself outside politics, but still Sistani's opinion is taken as decisive by Iraqis.

There's a movement among parliamentarians to push through a new expulsion of the US, but I don't know whether it will succeed against US resistance.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 14 2019 21:50 utc | 68

Mehr News, Sep 1
Iran unveils homegrown drone 'Kian' with pinpoint accuracy. . .here

And as Magnier says:
The #US is trying to hide its inadequate inefficient military equipment (i.e. Patriot and its own radars in Saudi) because #Yemen drones flew 1200 km for many hours above #SaudiArabia to hit their objectives without being intercepted. . .Too embarrassing . .here

So it must have been an "Iran attack." The US has no evidence that the attack came from Yemen. They admit it!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 14 2019 21:51 utc | 69

Wall St. Journal & other outlets are now reporting the over 50% of Saudi oil productions has been taken offline, but the Saudi's "hope" to have it restored by Monday.

Posted by: beta | Sep 14 2019 21:52 utc | 70

somebody 70

I would agree with that. They face reality and are starting to realise the cost. Iran has set up defences to ensure those cost are very high, and is now starting to turn the screws.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 14 2019 21:53 utc | 71

Why the immediate need for peace? The Houti deserve some payback. The Saudis tried to wipe out Yemen and starve the people.

Posted by: Jerry | Sep 14 2019 22:02 utc | 72

Elijah M. makes a good point over at his twitter account:

"The #US is trying to hide its inadequate inefficient military equipment (i.e. Patriot and its own radars in Saudi) because #Yemen drones flew 1200 km for many hours above #SaudiArabia to hit their objectives without being intercepted. Too embarrassing..."

"Easy to try and insinuate: "drones came from #Iran or #Iraq. Rubbish. These were 10 drones even if they flew from Timbuktu. They were not intercepted by #US interception missiles and #US radars despite the presence of US Air Force base in #SaudiArabia ..."

also, I would note that as always with sociopathic leaders, they project the cause/s of a particular act of violence or destruction onto other people and groups/nations, thereby absolving themselves of any responsibility for all the crimes against humanity which motivates people like the Houthis to blow saudi things up - when of course the root causes of these drone attacks is the barbaric acts of war waged on all of poor Yemen by the savage saudis, with full support from the US and UK

Posted by: michaelj72 | Sep 14 2019 22:04 utc | 73

if the Houthis want this war to end immediately, they should just drone attack selected oil tankers coming to the two to three ports for this reason. as no amount of iron dome or pantsirs or whatever can stop drone attacks on tankers near coastal waters. hitting the refineries could push oil prices to too high a price, and affect all of humankind including themselves. i am quite sure that is what Iran and yemen were speaking over, as their locations are similar in a strategic sense.

Posted by: jason | Aug 18 2019 23:48 utc | 149

the negotiations broke down, the yemenis had a backup plan, this attack. now it is time for saudi and their coalition to respond. more war (till they crumple into dust) or negotiate a humiliating withdraw from yemen (at least save their own rears)? i suspect they will pick a third option, to negotiate more willingly next round but expect them to respond also with more war. learning from the best... in afghanistan. keep it up ur only short a decade or two.

Posted by: jason | Sep 14 2019 22:18 utc | 74

Cheap Off The Shelf Drone Navigation Guidance for less than US$2500 micro Inertial Navigation systems Inertial Sense would enable long range missions.

Just like a real Inertial system, the longer it is deprived of GPS updates the more its accuracy would drift. GPS jamming close to the target would be less ineffective as it has heading and altitude data that can be used instead. Not hard to engineer a second system for final targeting in event of loss of GPS signal.

Claimed accuracy 2.5m, but without a GPS signal that would move higher. Realistically, how accurate do you have to be once you are within a 10nm or so of your target and you are trying to hit an oil installation? If you have been computing the en-route wind and magnetic track for several hours you are going to be close enough.
This module is available right now.

Software documentation

The µINS GPS aided Inertial Navigation System, µAHRS Attitude Heading Reference System, and the µIMU Inertial Measurement Unit monitor many different types of measurements including rotation, acceleration, GPS position, magnetic flux density, pressure and velocity. The Inertial Sense SDK provides a software interface to allow communication with the device including setting configuration options, retrieving specific data, and listening for data broadcasts. μIMU, μAHRS, and μINS Description

The μIMU™ is a miniature calibrated sensor module consisting of an Inertial
Measurement Unit (IMU), magnetometer, barometer, and L1 GPS (GNSS)
receiver. Data out includes angular rate, linear acceleration, magnetic field,
barometric altitude, and GPS WGS84 geo-position. All systems include a
comprehensive sensor calibration for bias, scale-factor, and cross-axis
alignment, minimizing manufacturing variation and maximizing system

The μAHRS™ is an Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) that includes all
functionality of the μIMU™ and fuses IMU and magnetometer data to estimate
roll, pitch, and heading.
The μINS™ is a GPS (GNSS) aided inertial navigation system (GPS-INS) module
that includes all functionality of the μIMU™ and provides orientation, velocity, and
position. Sensor data from MEMs gyros, accelerometers, magnetometers,
barometric pressure, and GPS/GNSS is fused to provide optimal measurement

The patent-pending package is smaller than 3 stacked dimes and fits into most
industrial and commercial application designs

Posted by: SHRAGS | Sep 14 2019 22:40 utc | 75

flankerbandit @62:

A cruise missile like this is actually difficult to stop due to its small size and its ability to fly low

Making it to the facility is only part of the puzzle.

How much explosive could they have delivered?

They might've used GPS navigation to get there, but how did their targeting of the facility work?

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

DFC @52:

How in hell some small drones, with a few kilograms of explosives each could make this kind of damages

Don Bacon @67:

Is there any evidence of the "Iran attacks?" It's probably (w/o any evidence to the contrary) the baseless freighter bomb charges again

Mysterious attacks:

FIRST, on tankers .....

THEN, warehouses in Iraq .....
NOW, a drone attack on the biggest Saudi oil installation that cause damage that seems too great for a few long-range drones to cause.

Netanyahu acknowledged the warehouse attacks. And the tanker attacks were preliminary - no one would go to war because a few tankers were disabled.

But we all know that Israel and neocons want USA to war with Iran. So I'm suspicious of any major attack that makes war much more likely.

The Houthies acknowledged that their oil processing facility attack had local help. How much do they really know about those locals? Exactly what role did those locals play?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 14 2019 22:43 utc | 76

> Debris found on the ground in Saudi Arabia seems to be from an Soviet era KH-55

And immediately an ukromaidanian deopped into tgw twitter thread to claim it was Putin's missile sent from Syria. Talk about obsession :-D

Well, it is obviously easier to launch Iranian drones from Iran ( with fly-around of known Hawk installations ) or even from Qatar than smuggle them into Yemen and then launch from there...

Posted by: Arioch | Sep 14 2019 22:50 utc | 77

Another reason to be suspicious: Bolton's departure.

I noted at the Bolton thread that Trump is made to look like a peace-maker before a new round of aggression.

Trump's seeking talks with Iran and then firing Bolton is the perfect propganda to a major false flag.

We saw this exact scenario play out in December 2018 when Defense Secretary Mattis resigned because Trump insisted that he would leave Syria. Trump was lauded for his determination to "follow his instincts" and 'America First' campaign promises. But, days later on Christmas Eve, the Israeli's attacked Damascus airport in what appears to have been an attempt to get the SAA to down a civilian airliner. This was essentially an attempt to repeat the SAA mistaken downing of a Russia military plane weeks before.

If the SAA had downed a civilian airliner with many Christians flying to be with their families, it is highly likely that Trump would be forced FORCED! to respond with massive military action: bombing Syria, sending more troops, etc.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 14 2019 23:04 utc | 78

If the drones don't lack precision and the operators know what to hit then a few kilograms + a couple of pounds of added incendiary composition may be quite efficient. Use a enhanced effect shaped charge that creates a burning jet to punch through storage tanks and such followed by more incendiaries going off might do the trick quite well. If there is air saturated with hydrocarbons in any such container this kind of device in all likelihood will start a serious fire. About such a device: nothing special, 'state of the art' long since. Is hydrocarbon-saturated atmosphere allowed in tanks/storage containers/pipelines I do not know.

Posted by: Hmpf | Sep 14 2019 23:10 utc | 79

From an Aussie perspective this event reinforces the utter stupidity of not having a sizable strategic reserve of economically critical oil products sitting on Australian soil right now.

It also demonstrates the imbecility of sending a frigate into the Straits of Hormez when the real issue is not protecting oil transport but the very production facilities that supply those tankers.

How did we get to be so f...n stupid?

Posted by: eagle eye | Sep 14 2019 23:10 utc | 80

@ jackrabbit #80

'They might've used GPS navigation to get there, but how did their targeting of the facility work?'

Aircraft grade GPS is pretty accurate...we're talking under 10 fact the satnav receivers use a combination of GPS/Glonass to improve accuracy.

Also the gyro-based INS system...this would use regular satnav updates during the en route phase of flight because the gyros tend to have drift error over time.

One of the posters upthread just mentioned a budget INS system, but I think you could put something better together if you know what you are doing and want to spend a bit more on higher grade gyros.

I should also mention that a radio altimeter would be required. This is basically a small radar pointing down. Commercial aircraft use these, and they are available even for small planes.

The reason is you don't want to plow into terrain or obstacles like bridges when flying low.

The targeting works with ordinary aeronautical maps that are programmed into the nav system. All of this is off the shelf technology for private aviation. You simply set the geographical coordinates of the target [degrees, minutes, seconds etc] and launch. Just as you would set your route into the nav computer when flying an aircraft.

That's exactly how programming a target is done on a T-Hawk. There are a few additional high tech wrinkles that have come about lately such as optical sensors that correct your INS based on matching your digital terrain map to what's 'outside the window' [Tercom]...but none of this high tech and expensive stuff is really a game changer.

A basic but functional cruise missile is actually buildable even by a determined, knowledgeable individual.

How much explosive could be carried? Well the T-Hawk carries a massive 1,000 lb high explosive warhead. Considering that we've scaled down the engine power and vehicle mass by about one half, I would say a 500 lb [230 kg] warhead would be perfectly feasible.

That's actually a lot of firepower...If we use the UN's Kingery-Bulmash overpressure calculator, we find that even 50 meters away that blast will be more than enough to destroy buildings and cause fatalities...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 14 2019 23:32 utc | 81

> Smart drones are a technological game changer.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 14 2019 20:44 utc

You quote openly pro-Saudi source and i don't know if i trust it much. But this piece was interesting. I don't think i heard such a claim in MSM.
May be kind of face saving gesture towards either Raytheon or KSA Air Defense failures.

The Houthis used also suicide drones for the tasks ....

Actually, just reads words right to left. it is a hassle to reverse phrases on phone manually

defense Patriot the Targeting
has Arabia Saudi that systems
to order in borders on deployed
missiles ballistic for way the open
the against launch Houthis the

Posted by: Arioch | Sep 14 2019 23:41 utc | 82

some gunshots, Kalashnikov kind, were heard from a local Saudi cellphone video. it is not only drone attacks if any, some ground "event" quite likely took place.

Posted by: nietzsche1510 | Sep 14 2019 23:46 utc | 83

They might've used GPS navigation to get there, but how did their targeting of the facility work?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 14 2019 22:43 utc

Not hard to engineer a second system for final targeting in event of loss of GPS signal.

Posted by: SHRAGS | Sep 14 2019 22:40 utc

USSR and USA rockets used different homing/guiding heads: IR-based, optical imagery-based, radar-based.

The question is to select proper radiation range, that gives clearly distinguishable image. A sequence of such "ideal" images, after some processing to highlight anchor features, is downloaded into the rocket. Which during the flight observes underlying surface, applies some of the same preprocessing, then matches the current image against the library of ideal ones. When good enough match is found, the rocket "knows" where it is. Not that different from a human, walking around semi-familiar street peeping around for visual cues memorized.

Typical industrial installation, full of rectangular metallic buildings, might produce good sharp radio-reflection, with unique set of easy to detect anchor features. And some 3D models of world buildings are widely available, even in Google Earth.

Also, petrochemical plants probably use thermal-based processes, so IR observation perhaps can give away distinguishing features. Especially at nights, when sun irradiation gone and building cooled down by night breeze.

So the navigation system quite may be 3 staged:

1. Use satellite navigation in friendly/neutral area
2. Use inertial system when GPS gets jammed or altered
3. Use imagery + ideal maps library on the final approach

P.S. there is still one more navigational option in clear-sky nights: looking at the stars and horizons :-D

Posted by: Arioch | Sep 15 2019 0:12 utc | 84

flankerbandit @85, Arioch @88

Well, to the extent that it's easy (which I have some trouble believing) there is a concern of complicity. Just as many believe that 9-11 was allowed to happen to initiate the GWOT.

Trump really, really, really, really, really, really, REALLY! doesn't want war. He fired Bolton! But the Iranians are just so mischievous and evil that now we HAVE to go to war. Damn them!

I smell a set-up.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 15 2019 0:40 utc | 85

I'd would be championing for the theory the bankers are trying to get a higher oil price. But the Houthis are durable, resourceful people who are fighting extinction, and hell yea they have sympathisers not just in the rest of the world but in Saudi Barbaria too. So I think it's the Empire's worst nightmare. Collusion between Houthis, Shia in SA, and maybe a bit of help from the cunning Persians. All told, Karma is a bitch and Pompeo et al can stop whining when they get burned when playing with fire. Good on the Houthis for sticking it to the Islamo-crypto-Sabbateans

Posted by: Jezabeel | Sep 15 2019 0:47 utc | 86

I just do not think Saudi Barbaria will bend the knee yet, though KSA should be concern from lack of global support to them, it seems most countries understand Yemen has the right to retaliate, of course the US and Occupied Palestine will voice support to their vassals in Saudi Barbaria.

The point is, the Houthis will have to inflict more damages to KSA's oil infrastructure until it has no alternative but to capitulate, there are way more facilites inside KSA, large petrochemical assets that have huge value in the market, these are very expensive facilities and can not be fixed by diverting pipelines they can do with oil and gas pipelines. This is an area that hurt the most for KSA, long term manufacturing sites placed out of work.

Posted by: Canthama | Sep 15 2019 0:58 utc | 87

This is in PressTV's homepage, as the main news:

Attacks on Saudi oil make waivers on Iran necessary: Experts


As for the shale oil/USA sufficiency thing that some here have brought up.

It seems this shale gas/oil thing is a bubble.

The thing is the "market" (i.e. Wall Street and the USG) is telling the USA will, in the long term, be not only self-sufficient but also the main exporter of shale gas and oil in the world.

But, aparently, these estimates are based on extrapolations from the traditional oil well productivity curve.

A traditional oil well begins with a very weak output but with a steep and linear growth. It then reaches a peak in some years and do a suave fall as the oil begins to dry up. It's graphic is like a rollercoaster.

Shale reserves spike right up at the beginning of its exploration. Based on this, Wall Street "experts" begun to pressupose this is still its "floor", as a traditional oil well usually takes up to 5-10 years to reach its rollercoaster peak.

But it seems the shale "wells" deplete fast, in a boom-bust output movement. Its graphic must be more like a an upwards arrow followed by a depression and then a flat line. They give all they have in the short term, probably in less than 3 years.

Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2019 1:06 utc | 88

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of folks.

Posted by: Ian | Sep 15 2019 1:14 utc | 89

The latest attacks have cost the Saudis 50% of their oil output. Another similar attack, and the Saudi economy will be finished. The upcoming IPO is an exit strategy for the Saudi family.

Posted by: Roland Heymanns | Sep 15 2019 1:15 utc | 90

Roland Heymanns | Sep 15 2019 1:15 utc
The upcoming IPO WAS an exit strategy for the Saudi family.

There is no exit strategy with the Aramco float now. Game over.

Posted by: SHRAGS | Sep 15 2019 1:24 utc | 91

Lindsay Graham is already calling for strikes on Iranian oil fields, i'd be more concern if Graham wasn't already a well known as a loud mouth blow hard. If he's leading the way calling for attacks then the decision has already been made not to attack Iran and he's just posturing

Posted by: Kadath | Sep 15 2019 1:27 utc | 92

This is an astonishing failure of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of weapons. Total incompetence by everyone. What a scam. If the satellite pictures aren’t photoshopped, the Saudis are in real trouble. There is the real possibility that their opponents can do it again, stop 100% of the production, repeatedly. Escalation will crash the global economy. The only good alternative is peace. But the scam depends on endless war. A drawdown would be a total pivot by the West. However, last month the seizure by the British Special Forces of the Iranian tanker did not escalate and it eventually delivered its oil to Syria. This could be a Guns of September moment or not.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Sep 15 2019 1:28 utc | 93

flankerbandit @ 62 & 85; thanks for the tec synopsis, informative...

Posted by: ben | Sep 15 2019 1:33 utc | 94

“So if you are the big tree, we are the small axe.
Ready to cut you down, to cut you down.”
― Bob Marley, Small Axe

there's a lot of trees in the house of saud deserts... and I assume the Houthis are going to keep on chopping those big trees down with their little axes

we haven't seen the end of this year.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Sep 15 2019 1:36 utc | 95

eagle eye 84 "How did we get to be so f...n stupid?"

The product of fabled democracy that is free of accurate information. Democracy plus MSM propaganda produces what we have now.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 15 2019 1:43 utc | 96


Which is why the Empire loves exporting their weapons to the Saudis: They may be complete pieces of shit in reality, but the Empire can always blame Saudi incompetence for their non-performance.

Posted by: JW | Sep 15 2019 1:48 utc | 97

Kadath @96:

Lindsay Graham is already calling for strikes on Iranian oil fields ... he's just posturing

Graham? It's MbS that I'm worried about.

His war on Yemen is a failure. Now USA has given him reason to retaliate against Iran. He almost HAS to do so or risk further loss of face and possible coup.

He KNOWS USA will support him against Iran. But if he ignores Iran's "responsibility" in supplying Houthi with advanced weapons, then USA may just stand by while he's replaced.

A Saudi small-scale attack to "punish Iran" will quickly escalate. USA will back the Saudis to the hilt.

Thus, it's not USA or Israel starting the war. It's the evil Iranians who forced MbS's hand.

For the Western public, it's a "just war" as Trump tried everything to make peace!/sarc

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 15 2019 1:52 utc | 98

Autonomous technology has now progressed to the point that virtually anyone with relatively limited resources can produce a weapon of mass economic destruction.

The biggest challenge for these types of long range drones is the assumption of GPS jamming & spoofing to interfere with flight planning and targeting. Inertial overcomes most problems but as others have posted the final targeting technologies can now be overcome with public data.

The same sorts of technology - sensors, data and computers that powers autonomous cars and our cell phones, can now be repurposed as a weapon at minimal cost off the shelf. How many engineers would it take? Not many. You could probably even up a github project to get others to unwittingly contribute the bulk of the work for the project under another guise.

These technologies are now ubiquitous, so powerful and so cheap we are totally dependant upon them, that Genie can't be put back in the bottle. This technology was heavily pushed by the elite to eliminate or reduce humans to cut costs to the point of nearly autonomous drones, just follow a procedure. In doing so, minimum skill was required to do the bulk of tasks in society to suppress wages.

The elites did, however have a failure of imagination, they assumed the rest of us were too stupid to adapt the technology. In exactly the same way the media has been decimated by the internet, military tech has now gone local. Welcome to the asymmetry world.

Posted by: SHRAGS | Sep 15 2019 2:00 utc | 99

The Saudis would do well to get russian AD system which have proven decisive in stopping terrorist drone attack on russian base in syria.

They have the money to buy and hire russia contractors to maintain effective air defense around their oil facilities

the hurdle would be US pressuring saudis to stop buying russia gear even if US gear proven ineffective

nothing is more cost effective than russian AD system complex combining EW & Pantsyr to stop drones and PGMs..

the ball in saudi's court , get russian gear and be safe , or obey US overlords and get hammered by itty bitty drones

Posted by: milomilo | Sep 15 2019 2:05 utc | 100

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