Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 16, 2019

Damage At Saudi Oil Plant Points To Well Targeted Swarm Attack

Saturday's attack on the Saudi oil and gas processing station in Abqaiq hit its stabilization facility:

The stabilization process is a form of partial distillation which sweetens "sour" crude oil (removes the hydrogen sulfide) and reduces vapor pressure, thereby making the crude oil safe for shipment in tankers. Stabilizers maximize production of valuable hydrocarbon liquids, while making the liquids safe for storage and transport, as well as reduce the atmospheric emissions of volatile hydrocarbons. Stabilizer plants are used to reduce the volatility of stored crude oil and condensate.

Soon after the attack U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went into full 'blame Iran' mode:

Secretary Pompeo @SecPompeo - 21:59 UTC · Sep 14, 2019
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.
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

Abqaiq lies at the heart of the Saudi oil infrastructure. It processes more than half of the Saudi oil output.


The U.S. government published two detailed pictures of the attack's result.



The pictures show some 17 points of impact. There are cars visible in the second more detailed picture that demonstrate the gigantic size of the place. The targets were carefully selected. At least 11 of those were egg shaped tanks with a diameter of some 30 meter (100 foot). These are likely tanks for pressurized (liquidized) gas that receive the condensate vapor from the stabilization process. They all have now quite neat holes in their upper shells.

The piping to and from the egg shaped tanks shows that these were configured in groups with double redundancy. Two tanks beside each other share one piping system. Two of such twin tanks are next to each other with lines to their processing train. There are a total of three such groups. Damage to any one tank or group would not stop the production process. The products would be routed to another similar tank or group. But with all tanks of this one special type taken out the production chain is now interrupted.

Two processing areas were hit and show fire damage. At least the control equipment of both was likely completely destroyed:

Consultancy Rapidan Energy Group said images of the Abqaiq facility after the attack showed about five of its stabilization towers appeared to have been destroyed, and would take months to rebuild - something that could curtail output for a prolonged period.

“However Saudi Aramco keeps some redundancy in the system to maintain production during maintenance,” Rapidan added, meaning operations could return to pre-attack levels sooner.

The targeting for this attack was done with detailed knowledge of the process and its dependencies.

The north arrow in those pictures points to the left. The visible shadows confirm the direction. The holes in the tanks are on the western side. They were attacked from the west.

The hits were extremely precise. The Yemeni armed forces claimed it attacked the facility with 10 drones (or cruise missiles). But the hits on these targets look like neither. A total of 17 hits with such precise targeting lets me assume that these were some kind of drones or missiles with man-in-the-loop control. They may have been launched from within Saudi Arabia.

There is no information yet on the damage in Khurais, the second target of the attacks.

The U.S. and Israel are able to commit such attacks. Iran probably too. Yemen seems unlikely to have this capability without drawing on extensive support from elsewhere. The planing for this operation must have taken months.

A Middle-East BBC producer remarks:

Riam Dalati @Dalatrm - 22:44 UTC · Sep 15, 2019
17 points of impact. No Drones or missiles were detected/intercepted. Saudis & Americans still at loss as to where the attack was launched from. #KSA seriously needs to shop elsewhere & replace the Patriot or reinforce it with a web of radar operated AA guns like the Oerlikon.
A source familiar with #Aramco situation told us earlier today that it was a “swarm attack”, a mix of > 20 drones and missiles, at least half of which were "suicide" drones. #USA & #KSA, he said, are 'certain' that attack was launched from #Iraq but 'smoking gun still missing'
They are also 'fairly certain' that #IRGC was behind the operation because, even though the missiles used were identical to those of the #Houthis, an inspection of the debris found in the desert revealed a 'couple of new updates' and a 'distinctly better craftsmanship'

The Wall Street Journal reports of the damage:

The strikes knocked out 5.7 million barrels of daily production, and the officials said they still believe they can fully replace it in coming days. That would require tapping oil inventories and using other facilities to process crude. One of the main targets of the attack was a large crude-processing plant in Abqaiq.
“It is definitely worse than what we expected in the early hours after the attack, but we are making sure that the market won’t experience any shortages until we’re fully back online,” said a Saudi official.
Even if Saudi officials were successful in restoring all or most of the lost production, the attack demonstrates a new vulnerability to supply lines across the oil-rich Gulf.

Tankers have been paying sharply higher insurance premiums, while shipping rates have soared in the region after a series of maritime attacks on oil-laden vessels, which the U.S. has blamed on Iran.
Khurais produces about 1.5 million barrels a day and Abqaiq, the world’s biggest crude-stabilization facility, processes seven million barrels of Saudi oil a day, turning crude into specific grades, such as Arabian Extra Light.

The repairs at Abqaiq will likely take weeks, not days. Brent crude futures rose by 19.5 percent to $71.95 per barrel, the biggest jump since 14 January, 1991:

Aramco gave no timeline for output resumption. A source close to the matter told Reuters the return to full oil capacity could take “weeks, not days”.

Riyadh said it would compensate for the damage at its facilities by drawing on its stocks, which stood at 188 million barrels in June, according to official data.

U.S. President Donald Trump was way more careful in attributing the strike than his Secretary of State.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 0:50 UTC · Sep 16, 2019
Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!

Any direct attack on Iran would result in swarms of missiles hitting U.S. military installations in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Saudi water desalination plants, refineries and ports would also be targets.

It is doubtful that Trump or the Saudis are ready to risk such a response.

The attack on Abqaiq was not the last one and all Saudi installations are extremely vulnerable:

Yemen’s Houthi rebels said oil installations in Saudi Arabia remain among their targets after attacks against two major sites slashed the kingdom’s output by half and triggered a surge in crude prices.

The Iranian-backed rebel group, cited by the Houthi’s television station, said its weapons can reach anywhere in Saudi Arabia. Saturday’s attacks were carried out by “planes” using new engines, the group said, likely referring to drones.

Middle East Eye, a Qatari financed outlet, reported yesterday that the attack was launched from Iraq by Iran aligned forces in revenge for Israeli attacks in Syria. The author, David Hearst, is known for slandered reporting. The report is based on a single anonymous Iraqi intelligence source. Qatar, which is struggling with Saudi Arabia and the UAE over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, would like to see a larger conflict involving its rivals east and west of the Persian Gulf. The report should therefore be disregarded.

Saudi Arabia has no defenses against this kind of attacks. The U.S. has no system that could be used for that purpose. Russia is the only country that can provide the necessary equipment. It would be extremely costly, and still insufficient, to protect all of the Saudi's vital facilities from similar swarm attacks.

Attacks of this kind will only end when Saudi Arabia makes peace with Yemen and when the U.S. ends its sanctions of oil exports from Iran. As Iran's President Rouhani said:

“If one day they want to prevent the export of Iran’s oil, then no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf”

It is high time for hawks like Pompeo to recognize that Iran means what it says and has the tools to fulfill that promise.

Posted by b on September 16, 2019 at 9:48 UTC | Permalink

« previous page | next page »

So many posters looking for things that are not there. The Saudis have been trying to destroy the Houthis and Yemen for 4 or 5 years and lately the Houthis have been attacking back. This was their best effort yet. Why does it have to be other than it looks and the straight up acknowledgement that it was the Houthis with inside help.
If it walks like a duck.

Also, I cannot see how this could possibly help an Aramco IPO.

As to the who gains question--- The Houthis. Any reprisal by the Saudis will be a dangerous gamble.

Posted by: arby | Sep 16 2019 19:06 utc | 101

The accuracy of these strikes on the storage/processing tanks is amazing. Each hit nearly dead center at the same point on the shoulder of the tanks, all strikes apparently coming from due West. A weapon with this accuracy could be directed to strike from any direction no matter where it was launched. Why are all the strikes from the West?

Also there's a lot of confusion about the word drone, people thinking DJI quad-copters. Drone in this case is a far more general concept. Think guided unmanned vehicle, be it an aircraft, cruise middle, even a submarine.

Posted by: noob75 | Sep 16 2019 19:27 utc | 102

@96 Norwegian, this is from Zero Hedge today:

Aramco’s valuation has been a point of contention between Prince Mohammed, who runs the kingdom’s day-to-day affairs, and some bankers. The crown prince and his banking advisers expect the IPO could value the company at roughly $2 trillion and finance an ambitious program to diversify the economy beyond oil. Other bankers and several Aramco executives say the company should be valued at closer to $1.5 trillion. A key metric had long been the price of oil.

Yet while an Aramco delay may be tactical, the strategic victory would be if the market reprice oil notably higher due to the return of geopolitical risk premium. To be sure, while a modest delay may be in the works, Riyadh will be more than happy to accept it if it means going public with Brent at $70, and thus with an Aramco valuation closer to $2 trillion, than Brent at $60 or lower, and the company struggling to make $1.5 trillion.

In other words, if all it takes to boost the company's valuation by $500 billion is a brief delay, then Saudi Arabia will be delighted to take it.Aramco’s valuation has been a point of contention between Prince Mohammed, who runs the kingdom’s day-to-day affairs, and some bankers. The crown prince and his banking advisers expect the IPO could value the company at roughly $2 trillion and finance an ambitious program to diversify the economy beyond oil. Other bankers and several Aramco executives say the company should be valued at closer to $1.5 trillion. A key metric had long been the price of oil.

Yet while an Aramco delay may be tactical, the strategic victory would be if the market reprice oil notably higher due to the return of geopolitical risk premium. To be sure, while a modest delay may be in the works, Riyadh will be more than happy to accept it if it means going public with Brent at $70, and thus with an Aramco valuation closer to $2 trillion, than Brent at $60 or lower, and the company struggling to make $1.5 trillion.

In other words, if all it takes to boost the company's valuation by $500 billion is a brief delay, then Saudi Arabia will be delighted to take it.

It's worth remembering that the Saudis fired their energy minister last week. Khalid al-Falih was reportedly not supportive of the proposed IPO.

Posted by: Phil | Sep 16 2019 19:27 utc | 103

Hey, it takes time to release evidence, with people still working on its preparation.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2019 19:30 utc | 104

Zarif comments on Pompeo's emptiness:

"Having failed at 'max pressure', @SecPompeo's turning to 'max deceit'

"US & its clients are stuck in Yemen because of illusion that weapon superiority will lead to military victory.

"Blaming Iran won't end disaster. Accepting our April '15 proposal to end war & begin talks may."

I take that as 2015, not last April 15, which would've been during JCPOA negotiations.

michaelj72 @99--

Thanks for your vote of confidence! IMO, the Sauds are as much frauds as the Zionists and only rule because they were placed and provided with the means of coercion over the local populace, a similarity not lost on the latter bunch. If you haven't, you'll want to read this briefing by Southfront on what it's calling the Arabian Peninsula's New Cold War.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2019 19:31 utc | 105

Why is Pompeo in a hurry to nominate Iran as perpetrator?

May be they are pushing Trump to act, knowing perfectly well that some hundreds or thousands plastic bags with young american soldiers as consequence of another impopular ME war, and the economic crash after an oil shock, is not the best chance for MAGA 2020.

It could be a good joke of destiny that the president elected promising an end to all of this "useless ME wars" end losing the election due to the biggest, more absurd and more destructive american war in the ME in history.

I do not think this attack was planned or helped by the deep state, the neocon, or the MIC, but anyway "never let a serious crises go to waste"

Posted by: DFC | Sep 16 2019 19:32 utc | 106

@95 Hoarsewhisperer
How does this stunt increase the share value?
Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 16 2019 18:48 utc | 96

It's DW's theory, not mine.
It appealed to me because IF the attack was likely to cause the value of Aramco to fall, then the Saudis could have, and would have (imo), made up a story to cover up their vulnerability (considering the dearth of incontrovertible proof that it really happened the way we're being led to believe).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 16 2019 19:32 utc | 107

@103 Phil
Thanks for that. It makes sense in a twisted way if you close one eye and pretend the attack didn't really occur except for a sudden increase in the oil price.

Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 16 2019 19:34 utc | 108

Phil @103

If Aramco had already IPO'd and was trading how do you suppose their stock price would have faired today compared to other oil stocks?
My guess is it would have been battered while the others rallied.

Posted by: arby | Sep 16 2019 19:40 utc | 109

@89 dfc.... the saudi military said........................ it would help if you provided a link.... otherwise - more conjecture and supposition to add to the moa fire here..... plenty of that to go around already.........

Posted by: james | Sep 16 2019 19:43 utc | 110

@ james

It is everywhere:

Again they do not say the attack was made by Iran, I think they perfectly know where the attack come from

Posted by: DFC | Sep 16 2019 19:48 utc | 111

A few notes:

* There is a pervasive delusion in many of the chicken hawk comments and new stories that the US regime is still able to park a fleet off the coast of any country they choose and casually lob cruise missiles at the country and then send their planes in to leisurely bomb at will. It is as if most of these people want to believe we are thirty years in the past.

* We have seen ample evidence over the past five years in Syria where:

1. Russian AA tech, outdated, has been swatting both US and Israeli regime missiles out of the sky with very high intercept rates.

2. Israeli AA tech utterly failing to stop even the minimal reprisal missile attacks Syria has begun to respond with.

Over the past couple of years we have had parallel videos coming out where Syrians are partying on rooftops in Damascus cheering on the Russian AA take out the junk Israeli missiles. And at the same time people from the Israeli regime scurrying like rats into underground bunkers because the junk Israeli 'Terror Dome' utterly failing to intercept the minimal number of missiles from Syria

* If Syria with its intentionally gimped by Putin AA network has that much of an advantage over the US regime's military tech, it is not hard to imagine how much more effective Iran's is right now after being prepared for exactly the current scenario.

* The time is now to attack for Iran, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon. There is a massive technology imbalance that has not been covered in the legacy western MSM. But both the US and Israeli regimes know this internally and are obviously scrambling to catch up. The US regime has the resources to rapidly close the AA defense gap.

* It is understandable that many of the Middle Eastern countries have been reluctant to take such a bold step has the attack on the Saudi regime given that most of the countries have been over run with Western backed foreign jihadist. But the foreign jihadists are for the most part killed off as a effective force of destruction.

* Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon are going to regret acting with such timidity if they don't act with the same boldness as the attack on the Saudi regime.

* The ability to rain missiles, drones, or cruise missiles down on the Saudi and Israeli regimes is the current trump card against massive US regime attacks on Iran, Syria, and Lebanon.

* Once the US regime recovers from their fumbling their AA parity with Russia, they will still have the massive force project capabilities but combined with the ability to neutralize attacks like the recent one on Saudi Aramco.

* The US and Israeli regimes are the most vulnerable they have been in decades in the Middle East. Now is the time to act. But that window will not remain open.

* The laughably naive Putin strategy of constantly going for the meekest responses to US regime aggression in the ridiculous hope that they will start acting like responsible adults on the world stage should be a stark warning to the Middle East countries.

* Idiotic talk of 'our American partners/friends' is a waste of time. The US and Israeli regimes are active expansionists that are driven by their political and media being completely captured by people who actually believe the US needs to expand its military empire around the entire globe and that nuclear wars are winnable between the US and Russia.

Posted by: Granil | Sep 16 2019 19:51 utc | 112

Found Zarif's reference:

"On 17 April, Iran submitted to the United Nations a four-point peace proposal aimed at ending the conflict. The proposal called for an immediate ceasefire and end of all foreign military attacks, humanitarian assistance, a resumption of broad national dialogue and 'establishment of an inclusive national unity government'. Exiled Yemeni officials later rejected the deal, calling it a political manoeuvre. Russia confirmed its backing of the proposal and said that it would use its full capacity to further the plan."

The exiles were all within Saudi and hadn't been in Yemen for years. The Southfront item I linked to above provides an incomplete picture of the overall situation as the number of actors has increased since Zarif made his 2015 proposal. Note the heavy presence of both al-Ciada and Daesh terrorist organizations. The recent arms revelations I provided had Saudi buying Outlaw US Empire arms for their Daesh partners within Yemen. That evidence is ironclad and needs to be shoved in Pompeo's face.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2019 19:51 utc | 113

I question b's analysis of what the refinery equipment is doing and how. How can one tell by simply by looking at a complex system of chemical refining processes and the equipment used to do it, that there are "redundant" systems/pipes in place, more so 'double redundancy' -

The piping to and from the egg shaped tanks shows that these were configured in groups with double redundancy. Two tanks beside each other share one piping system. Two of such twin tanks are next to each other with lines to their processing train. There are a total of three such groups. Damage to any one tank or group would not stop the production process. The products would be routed to another similar tank or group. But with all tanks of this one special type taken out the production chain is now interrupted.

I could be off-base and maybe b has some expertise in this matter, but that reads to me as a heck of a lot of assumptions without any backing evidence or explanatory material/links. Again, I would have no problem believing there is a certain amount of redundancy built in for fault tolerance, but "double redundancy"? How is b so sure? ?

Posted by: KC | Sep 16 2019 19:59 utc | 114

I have a simple question. Why does there appear to be no evidence in the photos of any firefighting, pools of water from cooling the fires. No evidence of heavy truck traffic disturbed or breached berms. No vehicles still in the immediate area in case of a problem. These look pretty staged. I suppose its probable that they did not roll out any equipment but i would expect more smoke uphill from the penetrations in the tanks

Posted by: Oz | Sep 16 2019 20:02 utc | 115

@11 dfc... thanks for sharing the link... they can say whatever they want to say.. i trust what ksa says even less then what the usa says - and that is saying something for me!!

Posted by: james | Sep 16 2019 20:03 utc | 116

And another comment on the pictures. Look how neatly and precisely those holes in the dome shaped structures align! That is a remarkable degree of accuracy and precision. And as someone else asked, why is there no sign of any explosion or gas/liquid petroleum product leakage from these very symmetrically arrayed holes, all facing the exact same direction?

There is definitely way more to this story that what's contained in the Uncle Scam and Saudi narratives. At this juncture in the life of the United States of America, I automatically doubt anything the State Department (and of course spy agencies or their former employees like Pimpeo - himself searchable on YouTube openly bragging about lying to the world) says or puts out in a press release/Tweet - and most gallingly, repeated ad naseum by the MSM and NYT, WaPo, Fox, etc. I mean I literally have to turn to Russian or Chinese or Venezuelan sources to check these things.

It's gotten quite ridiculous and I seriously doubt most Americans or Western Europeans understand quite how intertwined the U.S. government has become with the news agencies and social media giants. We are approaching full "1984" in that regard, among others.

Posted by: KC | Sep 16 2019 20:05 utc | 117

Granil @112--

Your anti-Russian bias is rather exposed. Russia's AA defense employed in Syria is state-of-the-art, not "outdated," and is the only system proven capable of taking out massed drone swarm attacks of the sort employed by Houthis.

"... the past five years in Syria..." Russia intervened in 2015, which is four years ago and didn't have the density of its Pantsir AA system emplaced until 2017 just in time for the initial attempts by terrorist drones to attack Russia's airbase.

The Outlaw US Empire most likely won't recover from its lack of parity with Russian AA defenses, so the rest of your assertion dies.

And Putin clearly has more intelligence than three of you combined.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2019 20:06 utc | 118

From Gordon Duff:
Israel stages F35 Saudi attack after Putin’s smackdown of Netanyahu over Syria

Posted by: anon | Sep 16 2019 20:07 utc | 119

@ DFC 111
It is everywhere
There you go again.
CNBC headline: "Evidence indicates Iranian arms used in Saudi attack, say Saudis"
But there's no mention of evidence in the article, which you are free to read.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2019 20:07 utc | 120

@118 karlof1

"Your anti-Russian bias is rather exposed"

Oh god...

Grow up kid.

Posted by: Granil | Sep 16 2019 20:08 utc | 121

@Granil currently #112 -

I'm with you on 99% of that, in spirit and by virtue of objective observed reality/history. But I question this:

1. Russian AA tech, outdated, has been swatting both US and Israeli regime missiles out of the sky with very high intercept rates.

2. Israeli AA tech utterly failing to stop even the minimal reprisal missile attacks Syria has begun to respond with...

Israel has operated with what is presented as near impunity in the skies over Syria and Lebanon for the duration of the Obama administration fomented Syrian rebellion. Both missile strikes and sorties have taken out target after target in Assad's territory and have used Lebanese air space to do it. So in the absence of any evidence for your item #1 and proof of #2 (how efficient is Israel's defense against missiles and where have you read that Syria is attacking Israel with reprisal missile launches?!?!).

The closest thing I've come to finding a valid explanation for the seeming impunity granted to Israel in Syria is the following, which would imply a stand down order from the US and Russia to Assad presuming Israel confines its missile/sortie attacks to previouslsy agreed upon Iranian regiments/advisors or insignificant military storage locations or FOBs.

Posted by: KC | Sep 16 2019 20:11 utc | 122

Granil @121--

Unlike you, I'm no "kid." You clearly don't know what you're writing about.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2019 20:14 utc | 123

@karlof1 and Granil - Other than the "debate" about how new or outdated Russia's anti-aircraft (what about missiles?) technology is so far as how it is currently deployed in Syria, I think you're both basically agreeing on everything. So I'm not sure why karlof1 - usually a very gracious and knowledgeable poster seemed to take the perceived slight against Russian AA capabilities (which were said to be very effective against Western planes missiles - so you didn't even disagree on that) so personally. Very strange - again, the way I read both of your OPs, you're on almost exactly the same wavelength.

Posted by: KC | Sep 16 2019 20:15 utc | 124

@Oz 115
my first thought was (as always with ISI & Co. satellite images/imaginary) that the pictures are faked, old PS enhanced pics that have nothing to do with today's reality. I am quite sure the PS version the Mossad & Co. runs has, among others, a function "rubble". The app "targeted refinery" is still an alpha version, this explains why all tanks are hit at the same spot.

Posted by: BG13 | Sep 16 2019 20:16 utc | 125

The BBC in a news broadcast early this morning referenced an attack by "Iranian proxy militias" on Saudi oil facilities.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Sep 16 2019 20:17 utc | 126

It's hard to know what physical security would be like at this place--I'm sure it's taken very seriously, but the sheer size of it would make it impossible to be perfect. All I know is that if I was a guerrilla (whether Houthi or persecuted local Saudi Shia), I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be that hard to arrange for laser or even radio beacons to be placed on the most important targets so as to ensure uncanny accuracy to shake up the golden boys. Hell, for that matter, it might even be possible to plant physical charges, at least on the more important targets, and just fly a few undetectable but loud drones around enough to simulate a drone strike, yet truly panic the US and Saudis because they would be trying to figure out how in the hell you developed such undetectable and effective strike weapons. They would just be laughing and laughing....

I highly doubt the Iranians or Iraqis would be directly involved, other than providing knowledge. I'm a bit surprised to see how many commenters seem to think there is no way the Houthis are crafty enough to pull this off...well the Saudis and US have been underestimating them for years now, so I suppose they have lots of company.

Posted by: J Swift | Sep 16 2019 20:18 utc | 127

@karlof1 -#various

I'll ask you the same thing I asked Granil - considering you guys seem to be having a petty personal squabble but agree on pretty much every important aspect of the conversation - if Russian AA technology in Syria is so effective and state of the art, why are we constantly reading about Israeli air raids and missile attacks on Assad's operations deep within Syria and rarely if ever anything about a shoot-down or reprisal? From what I've gathered, Israel has either been allowed to operate with impunity (I provided a link above as one theory) or Russian AA technology is either 1) not as good as it's cracked up to be or 2) is not being used properly.

Any thoughts?

Posted by: KC | Sep 16 2019 20:18 utc | 128

Why hasn't anyone suggested that this may be another Mossad op?

Who in the mideast wants to see the US at war with Iran the most? I don't think MbS does. It would be very expensive for them.

Posted by: Roger Wilco | Sep 16 2019 20:19 utc | 129

KC @124--

Granil is a newly minted troll. Read its prose closely and it exposes itself as they always do. The Putin smear at the end is the dead giveaway.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2019 20:20 utc | 130

Oh, and while one can't rule out a false flag attack, what with these crazies, I tend to doubt it because I think little details like some of the strikes being on the West side...if they were wanting to frame the Iranians, they would have made sure those were on the East side. Oh, and it would be discovered that one of the builders had carelessly left his Iranian passport inside the drone, which oddly enough survived unsinged.

Posted by: J Swift | Sep 16 2019 20:25 utc | 131

@Karlof1 - re: Granil's dig on Putin.

That wasn't how I read this:

* The laughably naive Putin strategy of constantly going for the meekest responses to US regime aggression in the ridiculous hope that they will start acting like responsible adults on the world stage should be a stark warning to the Middle East countries.

Dunno I may be reading this wrong, but I took that as a mild critique of Putin in that he seems to keep refusing to respond to U.S. Israeli aggression in Syria and hoping that Uncle Scam and Isra-hell begin to behave like adults when clearly "we" never will. But again I might have misread that, Granil was saying that things will continue the way they've been going until Putin (or the Chinese) finally step in and up the stakes for the U.S. and our Israeli and Saudi "allies"....

Posted by: KC | Sep 16 2019 20:32 utc | 132

Houthi launch 10 drones or missiles and achieve an incredible 17 hits.
Trump locked and loaded awaiting KSA response on who dunit.
DUBAI (Reuters) - An attack on Saudi Arabia that triggered the biggest jump in oil prices in almost 30 years was carried out with Iranian weapons, a Saudi-led coalition said on Monday, as President Donald Trump said the United States was “locked and loaded” to hit back.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 20:38 utc | 133

So much discussion about sophisticated drones beyond the Houthis capability. What bullshit. Take a look at what is being assembled in Syria or available through other common market sources.

These can be made in a shed. My guess is they could use simple electronics to operate or even mildly more complex arduino kit from jaycar or wherever. GPS guidance is so easy too. Anyone can sort this out with a basic training in electronics and practice.

War making has changed. Unsophistcated effective weaponry is now in the hands of clever people and patriots. ALL oppressive states should be afraid of the capacity of the oppressed as they might drone on for freedom.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 16 2019 20:41 utc | 134

I agree with KC @132 and before. One can have different opinions on Russian passiveness with regards to Israeli bombardment of Syria. i.e. such as state that it is not Russia's responsibility to protect Syria's airspace etc. but I disagree with labeling anyone a 'newly minted troll' for daring to criticize Putin. A smear to me is an unfounded accusation against a person. However, Russia's reluctance to thwart Israeli attacks in Syria, for as rationale as the motives may be, is no fiction and well portrayed. We should not get carried away by our admiration of Putin and remain objective.

Posted by: Alexander | Sep 16 2019 20:42 utc | 135

This article is interesting. Saudi's are realizing they are just meat in a sandwich when it comes to A US Israeli war against Iran.
“Initial investigations show that Iranian weapons were used in the attacks and work is going on to determine the source of those attacks,” the foreign ministry statement said.
“The kingdom is capable of defending its land and people and responding forcefully to those attacks,” it added.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 20:44 utc | 136

@ Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 20:38 utc | 133

Houthi launch 10 drones or missiles and achieve an incredible 17 hits.

Might that be Houdini? Amazing legerdemain that. Would tend to cut military spending seriously.
Trump is always locked, some question as to how loaded. Tax returns?

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Sep 16 2019 20:53 utc | 137

Trump doesn't want the war with Iran just yet. He wants it eight months from now as a lead up to the elections. That's why he put out the drag shoot on the response. Obviously Iran knows this and is calling his bluff. They basically have several months of open field running to put the squeeze on before Trump feels the timing is right to respond. By then, they will be in a much stronger position and Trump will be in weaker one. They will not negotiate without the sanctions coming off. Trump can't do that or pull the trigger right now. He's so screwed and even he know it.

Posted by: RenoDino | Sep 16 2019 20:55 utc | 138

Putin is one mighty troll, who was in his trolliest mood today.

Flanked by Erdogan (bought S-400) and Rouhani (bought S-300), in Ankara, he offered his advice to the Saudis in his most leisurely manner:

"We are ready to offer Saudi Arabia our relevant assistance.

All it takes is for Saudi Arabia to take the wise and stately decision as, some time ago, the Iranian leadetship did, by purchasing the S-300.

And as president Erdogan did, by purchasing Russia's newest air-defence systems, the S-400 "Triumph".

Those systems will reliably protect any crucial objects of Saudi Arabia's infrastructure."

To which Rouhani (of ALL people - the President of the country accused by the US of launching the attack!) responded by asking:

"Well, which one should they buy?"

To which Putin replied:

"Let them choose..."

Unbelievable... :D

PS. As a reminder - during the initial hype around "Triumph" several years ago, the Saudis showed interest in acquiring it, but were quickly put in place by their "best" ally. If they want to buy it now, they will have to wait in queue after China (almost fully delivered), Turkey (delivered 1/2, but the quantity is small anyway) and India (huge contract for many systems and many hundreds of missiles with deliveries to start in the next few years). And, yes, I know - Pantsir, Tor and Buk are much better for cruise missles and drones).


Posted by: BG | Sep 16 2019 20:59 utc | 139

Trump needs KSA to ask for help before doing anything. I think KSA is beginning to feel like live bait on a line so they are a little wary.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 21:01 utc | 140

This AP article has pics showing all hits. Hit the arrow in right side of article pic to scroll through.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 21:11 utc | 141

Don Bacon @104: "Hey, it takes time to release evidence, with people still working on its preparation."

Good one, and quite possibly accurate.

Posted by: spudski | Sep 16 2019 21:11 utc | 142

I dont think the Sanaa authorities are in the business of claiming responsibility for actions that they are not responsible for. The munitions can explode over the target and the explosions may have caused more scars than the number of drones. The yemeni resistance have developed the expertise considerably, maybe with some technical assistance from iranian advisors, but they have managed attacks far into ksa and uae, including military bases, before and expressed their intention for more such strikes previously.

Posted by: Mephisto | Sep 16 2019 21:16 utc | 143

Putin, Rouhani, Erdogan hold joint presser after initial talks in Ankara:

Rouhani: "Yemeni people are exercising their legitimate right of defense ... the attacks were a reciprocal response to aggression against Yemen for years."

Asked the same question,

"Turkish President Recep Erdogan also pointed out that it was Saudi Arabia who’d started the cycle of attacks."

Putin chided the Saudis, invoked the Koran's provision for only fighting in self defense, and promoted Russian air defense weaponry.

There was likely much more asked and answered, but the about RT report is all I've seen to far.

KC asks why the Zionist's missiles get shot down but not their jets. Clearly that has nothing to do with the ability of the air defense weaponry. It's likely due to a variety of factors--rules of engagement, opportunity and other variables known to military and political leaders but not shared with the public. Yes, I'm perplexed, but not concerned. Many appear to be "political blanks" fired by Nuttyahoo to bolster his electability. Many such attacks are commenced from outside Syrian airspace and thus harder to detect and defend. Yes, a small % of missiles have penetrated, but no large scale attack's been mounted either. Do note that the comparable terrorist drone swarm attacks against Russia's airbase are constantly 100% destroyed mostly by Pantsir. The Zionists are now afraid to attack Lebanon.

Assad has stated on several occasions that Syria will reply to the Zionist aggression at a time of its own choosing, but has also conducted some immediate retaliations, mostly against Golan, but other targets in Occupied Palestine have also been hit. Syria doesn't boast/gloat and the Zionists don't publicize their air defense failings.

Leaving Syria aside, what's most obvious after many months/years of Outlaw US Empire illegalities against Iran is the latter's air defenses are far better than the Empire and independent analysts anticipated. I wrote a short appraisal anticipating the far better than expected results primarily because of Iran's air defense radar network and the commlines it uses being impervious to hacking or normal EW jamming, thus its ability at extreme pinpoint tracking, targeting and shootdown capability. The radar ability is due to Iran's unique geography. Similar placement in Syria wasn't possible until recently because terrorists held the positions needed in the mountains along the Syria/Lebanon border. Iran's also hesitant to share its best tech since its advantages need to remain unknown by its enemies.

Maybe once all is said and done we'll be made privy and all the Whys? will be answered--Maybe.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2019 21:17 utc | 144

the government narrative is that this trike that these drones/drone were coming from Iran

which means that it wasn't coming from Iran!

Posted by: michaelj72 | Sep 16 2019 21:26 utc | 145

reply to
From Gordon Duff:
Posted by: anon | Sep 16 2019 20:07 utc | 119

I am not 100% sure that is Trump in the Duff article after looking at some photos of Trump in the 80's, and if it is he is wearing a Gladiator outfit, so what Duff's reference to "net stockings" is about is anyone's guess.
He admitted some years ago that his website posts false stories, which is why I never bother to read him.

Posted by: frances | Sep 16 2019 21:27 utc | 146

Putin is trolling the clown prince of barbaria and neo-confederates around Chump real hard. Video of Putin quoting the Coran and suggesting to saudis they should buy Russian air defense systems to protect their oil facilities. Unraveling of the Quincy pact is under way, ain't nothing the stormtroopers at Centcom can do about it. So much winning by exceptionals, but sand nigg*rs in Yemen and socialist untermensch in Venezuela are not impressed.

Posted by: Sol Invictus | Sep 16 2019 21:28 utc | 147

My accolades to b. This is the most vital site on the internet.

The surprise attack with no warning and the halt of 50% Saudi oil production is another Pearl Harbor, Desert One, or 9/11 debacle. The similarity with the recent attacks against oil tankers in the area can’t be a coincidence. Whoever did it can do it again. I think this is the ultimate blowback from the neoliberal drive to eliminate nations states (regime change for profit). The Iranian government is contesting sanctions but dare not attack Saudi Arabia itself or risk being destroyed. The Houthis take full credit but they said they fired 10 UAVs but 17-19 hit Abqaiq alone. The sure loser is MbS. Not only did he torture his fellow Saudi Princes, he has now lost millions in income and reconstruction costs with more to come. Heads will roll. As long as his war in Yemen continues no one will invest in his IPO. The other potential loser is Donald Trump. If Iran is attacked or if Saudi Oil is taken out again, gasoline lines will assure he is a one term president and his indictment in NY State. Right now, my best scenario is that this was an attack by non-state proxy forces in Yemen and Iraq with Saudi dissident help who pulled it off together.

Restoration of sovereign nation states at peace is the only way out.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Sep 16 2019 21:28 utc | 148

Trump is not locked and loaded, he is trapped and hostage to his ugly allies in the middle east at one door and the shia resurgence at the other. Perhaps we are all fortunate (for now) that this happened 24 hours after he sacked Bolt-on.

The USA is absolutely waist deep in the big sandy and the pot shots will continue for a long time until they accept their defeat and leave.

Putin, the prince of Russian oligarchs, has played a masterful hand in 'the great game'. That is not an admiring remark, just a statement of geopolitical fact. The FUKUSI are battered and look more and more like they are about to repeat 1842 retreat from Khabul.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 16 2019 21:30 utc | 149

Trilateral Summit Presser vid done with realtime English translation. Vid's @ 40min long.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2019 21:30 utc | 150

@ uncle tungsten | 134
So much discussion about sophisticated drones beyond the Houthis capability. What bullshit.

Right on. The well-to-do often look down on the less fortunate, the beaten, the deprived, and conclude that they must be less capable and dumber than the fortunate are, when often the opposite is true. The less fortunate are motivated to cope with a situation that the more fortunate can't even imagine, particularly when their survival is a stake, and they get 'er done.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2019 21:30 utc | 151

- Why not blame a second generation Osama Bin Laden for this attack ?
- On the east coast on the Persian Gulf (or Arabian Gulf, as the saudis like to call it) the majority of the saudi shias live. And they seem to "unhappy" on how the saudi government treats them.
- Osama Bin Laden had help from several groups inside Saudi Arabia who's ultimate goal was to depose the (corrupt) government in Al Riyad and take control in Sudi Arabia.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 16 2019 21:35 utc | 152

reply to
Houthi launch 10 drones or missiles and achieve an incredible 17 hits.
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 20:38 utc | 133

Possibly because 7 hits are photoshopped to support the Iran did it story:)

Posted by: frances | Sep 16 2019 21:35 utc | 153

@ Peter AU1

If you see the image Nº 8 the thick black smoke is arising aprox 500-700m from the "onion shape" tank farm (the black pond is close to the spheroids-onion tanks in the upper-left part of the image), and this huge black plume does not seem to be a flare or something similar, it was suppose to be a consequence of the blast but this was not in the picture of all the 17 hits

Another strange thing to add

Posted by: DFC | Sep 16 2019 21:36 utc | 154

How do you know, that the U.S. published pictures of the attack's results are genuine?

Posted by: k | Sep 16 2019 21:36 utc | 155

@ uncle tungsten 149
Trump is not locked and loaded, he is trapped ...
Right again.
And one of the trappers is neocon General Jack Keane.
FoxNews headline--
Gen. Keane: US 'holding all the cards,' Iran 'back on their heels' like they've never been before
Which BTW is how he got to be a general, by sucking up. But it's not good advice, and Trump quite possibly might recognize that before it's too late.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2019 21:38 utc | 156

reply to
This article is interesting. Saudi's are realizing they are just meat in a sandwich when it comes to A US Israeli war against Iran.
"Initial investigations show that Iranian weapons were used in the attacks and work is going on to determine the source of those attacks,” the foreign ministry statement said.
“The kingdom is capable of defending its land and people and responding forcefully to those attacks,” it added.
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 20:44 utc | 136

Looks like someone in the Kingdom reads MofA:)

Posted by: frances | Sep 16 2019 21:39 utc | 157

Well that didn't take long. NYT updated its piece at 4:13 EDT to say that Trump is now nearly certain Iran did it!!!

Except that's not *exactly* what's being said.

President Trump said Monday that Iran appeared to be responsible for the weekend attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. But Mr. Trump also said he would “like to avoid” a military conflict with Tehran and reiterated his interest in diplomacy.

Asked at the White House whether Iran was behind the attack, Mr. Trump said, “It’s looking that way.” But he stopped short of a definitive confirmation. “That’s being checked out right now,” he added.

Mr. Trump warned that the United States has fearsome military capabilities and is prepared for war if necessary. “With all that being said, we’d certainly like to avoid it,” he added. “I know they want to make a deal,” he said of Iranian officials, who he has been trying to draw into talks over their nuclear program. “At some point it will work out.”

Mr. Trump’s comments came shortly after a Saudi government statement said that, “Initial investigations have indicated that the weapons used in the attack were Iranian weapons.” But the Saudis stopped short of directly blaming Iran for the attack.

This whole thing is ridiculous. You have the Houthis proactively claiming responsibility, but in this "1984" level bullshit, that simply isn't goig to be accepted. It has to be Iran, and the need to get Iran's name into the story as much and as early as possible so that the minds of the readers/viewers are busy making subconscious associations that will be useful for the inevitable next "Iranian act of aggression" without a realistic cui-bono factor, i.e. false flag.

Posted by: KC | Sep 16 2019 21:39 utc | 158

The picture with the details, strange. Does that not look like armour piercing munition going into an empty tank?

Posted by: ludwig | Sep 16 2019 21:49 utc | 159

I checked on google maps yesterday and believe the black plume is from the other strike to the north. The tanks seen in the upper right, I think, are round oil storage tanks rather than spherical pressure tanks

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 21:50 utc | 160

From Pave Way IV, commenting at SF on the photos shown above, plus the "in color" giant smoke plume to the SE of the plant that's making headlines:

That's the liquified natural gas side of the plant - I believe those tanks are just NG or LNG storage. Spherical separators are a lot smaller and kind of old technology.

I kind of doubt the tanks were even hit. No flames/scorch marks (maybe on one or two). No evidence of water from the fire suppression system. Just a single, conveniently-placed black hole on each one? The drones or missiles were explosive, and these tanks had something flammable inside. Yet nothing blows up or burns? No tanks burst outwards? Seems impossible.

The burnt parts of the production trains are pretty obvious. The smoke plume from Abqaiq sat imagery turns out to be from an emergency liquids burn pit, not from anything inside the plant. Even the gas flare stacks (just above the burn pit in the image, but not visible) were not flaring.

Posted by: zakukommander | Sep 16 2019 21:52 utc | 161

"Houthi launch 10 drones or missiles and achieve an incredible 17 hits."

The magic drones. Reminds one of the magic bullet, eh?

Posted by: Roger Wilco | Sep 16 2019 21:54 utc | 162

After years of people imagining that an attack like the latest attack on two Saudi Aramco sites would lead to WW3, oil is only up about ten percent and there is some impotent posturing.

For the Saudis there is the obvious humiliation of that they appear to have been hit hard and been completely unprepared but that they could be hit just as hard at any moment and they are completely powerless to do anything about it. And of course, with repair estimates now in the weeks to months, the Saudis are looking to lose quite likely tens of billions in oil revenue.

I was going over the Saudi yearly budget numbers and even a middling oil disruption timeline is a massive hit to their ability to function as a state and continue their disgusting attacks against Yemen.

But I believe there is a deeper humiliation. Saudi Arabia and its oil was put forward as the red line for the US. There was always the assumption that anyone daring to interfere would suffer immediate obliteration by the superpower.

Those days are long gone. Saudi Arabia just isn't that important to the US anymore.

The Saudis right now beside crapping their thobes, are realizing they are a bunch of dumb and inbread scum who are desperately trying to hide their only valuable asset is drying up and they have a massive Shia population who are just looking for payback after years of abuse.

I believe we are seeing that realization by Trump along with the massive Saudi/Israeli network in Washington battling it out right now in Trump's twitter posts.

Posted by: Narmin | Sep 16 2019 21:57 utc | 163

a good discussion over at pat's place, and the part of today's that strikes me as most significant is this:

ISL says: "Moon of Alabama links some photos and has discussion that suggests very high precision 5-10 m. That is not easily achievable with commercial GPS absent a lot of additional correction hardware. On the other hand, drones can easily do so. Further, it would be negligent for SA not to have GPS jamming around such facilities.

In addition, the specificity of the targets hit suggests good intel. I would suspect that Houthi's have linked with disaffected groups in SA (lots!) and improved their Humint. It seems highly unlikely that Iran would do something like this AND leave their fingerprints behind - at least based on recent events."

and Pat Lang responds: "Never underestimate the feckless laziness of the Saudis. In my experience they turn off all ATC and air defense systems that require manning or watch keeping when they find them inconvenient as on the weekend. IMO if Ansarallah did this they will do something similar soon to prove they are responsible."

so this suggests it was series of 20+ drones with additional correction hardware, coupled with most excellent human intel from local sympathizers (exactly as the Houthis had maintained)... and the stupid negligent saudis most likely had turned off any gps jamming over the weekend when the place wasn't as fully manned as during the week.

The Houthis likely knew the place in the desert was largely deserted over weekends and had turned off their defensive equipment - Bingo!!
light 'em up

Posted by: michaelj72 | Sep 16 2019 22:02 utc | 164

I agree with arby #101.

There's simply no reason for Iran to attack Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure. They have a policy of "if I can export my oil from the Persian Gulf, everybody can; if I can't export my oil from the Persian Gulf, nobody can". Its modus operandi is to block the Persian Gulf itself, not to destroy its neighbors' infrastructure -- which is a more permanent disruption and would only escalate the conflict further to the detriment of Iranian national interest.

The most likely hypothesis is that everybody but Pompeo is telling the truth (I don't know Israel's official position): the Houthis literally attacked Saudi Arabia with its drones and with help from assets within that country; Trump really don't know who really attacked Saudi Arabia (i.e. he doesn't believe in the Houthis); Iran really didn't help the Houthis any more than it was secularly helping; Saudi Arabia really is helpless against swarm attacks on its refineries and oil ducts because American weapons it buys really are innefective.

Posted by: vk | Sep 16 2019 22:02 utc | 165

Not that I would want to intervene in this maelstrom of conspiracy theories, but if it is true that the Houthis admitted to having had local help, as it seems, the minimum hypothesis is the most likely. The Houthis either fired from the nearest point, close to Najran, or loaded Walmart-style drones, fitted with bombs, into a pickup, crossed the almost undefended Saudi-Yemen border, drove north, met up with their Saudi Shi'a buddies, who included present or former employees of the refinery, close to Abqaiq, and launched from there, with local guidance. I doubted the US imagery with its 17 hits, some with no smoke.

If it is the case, we will see a lot of executions of Shi'a in Saudi in the near future. The Saudis won't admit the truth, which demeans them, but there will be a rage against the Shi'a, which means a lot of head-chopping. It wasn't too bright of the Houthis to admit to having had help. There may be a genocide of the Shi'a, and provoke a schism in the country. There is a lot of opposition to the Najdis, especially in the west in the Hijaz, but they are Sunnis, and won't join with the Shi'a.

The basic point about Saudi is that it is the territory conquered by Ibn Saud from Riyadh in the 1920s and 30s, not more. The princes never bothered with uniting the country into a nation, and the price may yet have to be paid.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 16 2019 22:03 utc | 166

Yemen still saying ten drones.
"Air Force of the Yemeni Army and Popular Committees, Saturday morning carried out a large-scale operation with 10 drones, targeting Abqaiq and Khurais refineries east of Saudi Arabia. The operation is called the 2nd Operation of Balanced Deterrence."

Six good hits for ten drones would be a good strike rate. The six hits that do not include the spheres would have stopped Saudi production for several days as fires were put out and damage assessed, then production resumed perhaps at a little down or perhaps just reserve capacity taken out. A step up in escalation from previous Yemeni strikes.

There is very little or no sooting or scorching on the spheres. Were the contents flared off after an initial strike. This would help explain the scene of widespread fire and smoke in the early pics.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 22:06 utc | 167

I seem to remember it was not so long ago that the US had a monopoly on armed drones weaponry.
Uncle Sam was only too happy to use them widely, with impunity and brag about it afterwards, leaving other nations scrambling to catch up.
Well, now they have caught up and surpassed US/NATO capability and there is going to be some payback.
Of course, the US will be highly familiar with Aramco facilities, having built and owned them for a while. I would not put it past their deep state to have perpetrated these attacks as a casus belli...

Posted by: DomesticExtremist | Sep 16 2019 22:12 utc | 168

So... 11 onion shaped pressure tanks all with identical holes in identical positions - truly amazing. A few more smaller, similar tanks toward the top of the image on the left also hit it is claimed (AP photos). No evidence of explosions or burning on these tanks... I saw it claimed that Patriot batteries' radars were targeted first, then the installation. There seems to be a considerable amount of information missing from the press accounts - preventing clear understanding of what has occurred.

Posted by: the pessimist | Sep 16 2019 22:12 utc | 169

Laguerre, of course there will be retributions. That's what governments do, and nobody does it -- "rage" -- on a grander scale than the U.S. -- think 9/11.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2019 22:15 utc | 170

@the pessimist #169

Only the most important evidentiary information and relevant motive for Iran is missing from the presstitute accounts. Just enough to allow for plausible certainty in Trump's Tweeter activity and Mike Pompeo's (usual) lies and to provide front page material for the New W(y)ar(k) Times.

Posted by: KC | Sep 16 2019 22:16 utc | 171

Tulsi Gabbard proves that she should have been the candidate on top of DNC list, and furthermore prove how corrupt they are for not allowing her to rise.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Sep 16 2019 22:23 utc | 172

If the strikes against the by then empty spheres are genuine rather than photoshopped, the Red Sea would be a likely US or Israeli launch point.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 22:27 utc | 173

Peter AU 1 @173

I think Israel is used to give plausible deniability. US President would have to be informed whenever US forces are engaged, even if its a covert op.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2019 22:35 utc | 174

Karlof1 @ 118:

Granil @ 112 has a point. Although Syria had paid for S-300 anti-aircraft defence systems some time early during the current war, for some reason the Russians delayed sending these over. The Syrians were still using S-200 AA defence systems that they bought from the Soviet Union back in the early 1970s, at least until after this time last year, when a Russian Ilyushin reconnaissance plane carrying Russian military personnel was accidentally shot down by a Syrian missile chasing Israeli fighter jets that then hid in the Ilyushin plane's radar shadow. All people on board the Ilyushin plane died.

After that incident, Russian Defense Minister Dmitri Shoygu ordered the prompt delivery of the S-300s to Syria. This might suggest that for a long time there'd been some friction between Shoygu and Putin (or the factions they represent in the Kremlin) over the delivery of these systems. Operators of these systems do need training and the training apparently takes quite a while. Could Syria have afforded to let some of its S-200 operators train on the S-300s and risk allowing a full-on aerial invasion and mass bombardment of all its major cities by NATO countries with its team of operators at half-strength?

So while you're correct that Syria currently has the most modern AA defence systems, Granil is also right to say that Syria's outdated AA systems have been effective in hitting US and Israeli missiles. The only thing Granil got wrong is that the old S-200 defence systems were Soviet-made, most likely in Ukraine (because that was the centre of the Soviet aerospace industry in the 1960s/70s), not necessarily Russian-made.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 16 2019 22:38 utc | 175

Something not being mentioned is that Saudi Arabia is one of the most well armed countries with state of the art US weapons. So how is it with such advanced weapons the Houthis are able to fly over the whole country ten home made drones to all hit their targets and knock out 60% of its oil export? Making US weapons look worthless.

Putin joked today while at a meeting in Turkey that, Turkey has bought S400 and Iran S300, so maybe the Saudi's should consider one of these for the defense of their country. Turkey must be so happy that the US initially refusing to offer the Patriot lead it to buy the S400 instead.

Posted by: Niels | Sep 16 2019 22:40 utc | 176

so who staged the attack on saudi #Aramco ?
'direction & extent of the attacks cast doubt on Houthi involvement.
One official said attacks came from west and NW - not Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen, which lies to the SWt of Saudi oil facilities.

Posted by: brian | Sep 16 2019 22:40 utc | 177

DFC 154
You are right about pic 8.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 22:41 utc | 178

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2019 22:15 utc | 170

And look what rage led to, US failure over twenty years, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the case of Saudi, it will be more nuanced, as there is a serious danger of splitting the country. The Shi'a live on the oil-fields, so possibly a more serious cut in oil supply, if provoked into a major revolt. Also Isma'ili Shi'a in Najran, who may have facilitated a border crossing for the drone carriers.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 16 2019 22:45 utc | 179

Jackrabbit 174
My thought also. Another thought is that Saudi's would have US radars. Who operates these. Would these radars tell the Saudi's if Israel conducted an aerial strike to enhance the Houthi strike.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 22:53 utc | 180

Have to admit, those hits are pretty precise looking.

Posted by: Josh | Sep 16 2019 23:00 utc | 181

@ karlofi 1

Thanks for your very insightful comments tonight.

For once we have the other side doing the conspiracy theories. That's quite something.

Posted by: Lochearn | Sep 16 2019 23:11 utc | 182

Peter have you looked at prior Houthi missile/drone attacks?

Seems that the Houthi tech advanced is much more than one might expect.

Houthi's would've been happy to get a few hits to make the point that they could threaten oil facilities that are far from Yemen. Instead they got 17 hits from 10 drones and pinpoint accuracy.

Also a more limited 'hit' wouldn't have caused immediate calls for a strike against Iran.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2019 23:12 utc | 183

The veiw from Yemen.
" Pompeo's remarks about the attack on Aramco are encouraging the Saudi regime to open a new front with Iraq or Qatar or harass Iran. The remarks also aim to entangle the kingdom in a new military hostility in the region.

The Saudi regime also preferred to open an investigation into the attack to cover up its failure to subdue the Yemeni people."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 23:12 utc | 184

"US intelligence" now claims that the attacks were fired from Iranian soil. And the Democrats in Congress agree and say that this is correct. There is a suggestion that there is imagery to back this up.

This strikes me as nuts. Iran would have to be out of its mind to launch an attack on Saudi oil from its own soil. Further, I have seen no further corroboration of this from anyone.

The closest is Debka (Mossad) which says that the attack was launched from an Iranian militia base in Iraq. Now that actually makes sense, not that it happened. And it says that the Houthis did it; they just used the base to do so. Also all of the hits came from the west, which indicates a launch from inside Saudi Arabia.

We don't even know if drones or cruise missiles or both were used. There is a photo of cruise missile wreckage in the desert, and people are claiming it was from a cruise missile shot down in the latest attack.

The US and the Saudis are saying that Iranian weapons were used. However, if that burned up cruise missile in the desert was used, it was a Houthi cruise missile, not an Iranian cruise missile. I know because I know what both of them look like. Also cruise missiles would have shown up easily on radar, certainly from the US base in Bahrain. However what we are hearing is that there are no radar signatures at all. Cruise missiles launched from Iraq would surely have been picked up on radar.

However a drone swarm could have easily avoided radar, and if launched from the West, it could have avoided being seen by the US base in Bahrain. Also it makes no sense at all for the Houthis to claim an attack that the Iranians really did. The whole reason for having these proxies is to create deniability for Iran. None of the Iranian proxies have ever taken credit for an attack that Iran really did. And none of them have ever taken credit for an attack that they themselves did not do. Groups don't take responsibility for attacks that they don't do!

This is Iraqi WMD's all over again. The tanker attacks were faked. All of the chemical weapons attacks were faked. The Russian/Syrian attack on the aid convoy was faked. The shootdown of M-17 was faked. Most of the atrocities in the Ukraine War were faked. We don't know who, if anyone, conducted the initial tanker attacks. The drone shootdown was fake in the sense that the US said it was in international waters, when really it was over Iraqi territory. The US reiterated that lie today as an example that "Iran lies all the time" Pretty incredible. Whip out Iran telling the truth and the US lying their heads off as an example of "Iran lies all the time."

I feel like I don't even live in reality. Like in Alice in Wonderland. Nothing's real, nothing's true, everything's fake, everyone's lying, you can hardly believe anything anyone says about anything.


Posted by: Robert Lindsay | Sep 16 2019 23:12 utc | 185

@ Posted by: Jen | Sep 16 2019 22:38 utc | 175

At that point in time, negotiations were still open: Turkey could still opt for not directly send help and jihadists in the north, bloodshed could be avoided in the region (specially, but not only, Idlib). Russia kept the ace in its hand but hinted everybody it had it. Those negotiations were over when Turkey downed a Russian jet, and the S-300 begun to be shipped right away.

S-300 is not the video game you order at Amazon: it is a very complex system, that includes training of national members of the military. This take at least a couple months.

@ Posted by: brian | Sep 16 2019 22:40 utc | 177

So what? Just because the Houthis are responsible for the attack, doesn't mean they launched it from their own territory (which is very well monitored by the enemy, I suppose).

It's not like the Houthi are some kind of Stone Age nomadic group that suddenly learned to wage modern warfare. They inherited the carcass of the old Yemeni State, including its stash of missiles and military-grade weapons. They are in a much superior position than, e.g., the Palestinians.

Posted by: vk | Sep 16 2019 23:15 utc | 186

KC@171 no need to state the obvious, point being that much speculation here and elsewhere is just that.

Are those access ladders ascending the onion tanks to the right of the apparent holes? Need someone from the oil patch to enlighten us.

Posted by: the pessimist | Sep 16 2019 23:16 utc | 187

Bomb Damage Assessment--BDA--These sat pics show 5 locations hit as the smoke plumes prove. Houthis say they used 10 UAVs. I share the doubts of many about the pics being offered as BDA. Furthermore, the following claim's been made:

"Iran launched nearly a dozen cruise missiles and over 20 drones from its territory in the attack on a key Saudi oil facility Saturday, a senior Trump administration official told ABC News Sunday."

As Scott Ritter noted in response to the above:

"There’s a reason no one trusts what we call the 'main stream media' any more—there is the largest concentration of modern air defense radars in the Persian Gulf oriented toward Iran, and not one detected and tracked these launches? It’s called a 'follow up question', ABC. Do it."

Even flying nape-of-the-earth over water, radar would have seen such a launch as that's exactly what such an array's designed to do. There were no Patriot batteries protecting these targets, so none had their radars attacked. That did occur in the attack on Riyadh where Patriots are stationed. The assault came from the rear, from the blind spot. Back to BDA.

Ten UAVs hit five targets. The pics show massive fires at the refinery complex, but no signs of such in the BDA pics released. Paveway IV's comment at Southfront is leery and half-suspects a false flag based on the BDA pics, not the sat or other pics. Given the BigLie Media chorus is similar to those associated with a FF, others think that's a possibility with elections to be held in Occupied Palestine on the 17th. Some credible industry sources have said Saudi estimates to have production back to normal soon is a chimera--many months is what's being said by those experts. But no pics or detailed explanation of just what was damaged. The ground-based pics of the fires are damning that something major was hit, but IMO what we're shown by the BBC pics b provided and are all over the web just don't show that sort of damage.

After the first several Houthi attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure, there were zero accusations against Iran doing the deed, nor when Riyadh was attacked. Why all the accusations and obvious lies this time are valid questions. In reality, the available facts exonerate Iran and allow the most likely explanation of a Houthi counterstrike against Saudi to float by itself. It won't take long for the amount of damage to become known--and currently this is only one of the five targets being discussed. How soon will Houthis relaunch? Perhaps they already have as I type.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2019 23:23 utc | 188

It's going on three days and they haven't come up with the evidence yet. Colin Powell was unavailable. Four Day holiday coming up next weekend in Saudi, National Day, with a full load of fireworks. Nice time for another hit. Or perhaps earlier, Pompeo is headed there.

Trump confirmed that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other officials would travel to Saudi Arabia to discuss the attack and an appropriate response.
He dismissed the notion that he was prepared to start another military conflict in the Middle East
“I don’t want war with anybody,” Trump said, adding that he would look to avoid military conflicts with Iran. “That was an attack on Saudi Arabia, that wasn’t an attack on us.”. .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2019 23:23 utc | 189

Glenn @90:

Will this attack really benefit Netanyahu's election chances?

Yeah, I think so. On the eve of war with Iran, many Israelis might be swayed to vote for the candidate that's been preparing for that war for the last decade and promises that he's got the contacts (in USA, Russia) to make sure that it goes Israel's way.

Of course, the Syrian debacle shows the foolishness of believing that escalation and war bring security, but voters tend to focus on the immediate future.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2019 23:24 utc | 190

Thank you karlof1 for all your links on this thread, and especially for the one at 150, which I will attend to. I have always had a special place in my heart for Yemen as my daughter was part of a medical group that visited way back before all this awfulness came upon the small country.

And for those who suggest some other element may be responsible for this deserved attack, let me suggest you read the following (I am breaking the link so as not to disturb the thread):

If you still don't think the Houthis would be capable of working to use such methods against those attacking them, I have several bridges in New Zealand to sell you (and a few in New Mexico as well).

Posted by: juliania | Sep 16 2019 23:36 utc | 191

The facilities depicted in image 2 appear to be in an almost pristine shape, apart from the little holes in the top. Does this not indicate that they were, perhaps conveniently, emptied out and cleaned before the attacks? Had they been filled, then they would most likely have been destroyed.

(Question to the admin: Is my other email address blocked? I can't post using it.)

Posted by: Roland Heymanns | Sep 16 2019 23:38 utc | 192

I would put the damage, other than the eleven pressure tanks, down to the Houthi strike. It is a logical step in escalation and tech and within the realms of possibility - going off past houthi strikes.
How long would it take to flare off the contents of the pressure tanks. How long would it take the Israelis to mount an opportunistic enhancement strike. I'm guessing it would take the Israeli's long enough for the pressure tanks to be flared off.
There would have been some spectacular fire balls and a massive amount of damage if these tanks were hit when full.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2019 23:42 utc | 193

Looking at the photos B supplies in his post and considering the claim made by the Houthis that 10 drones or missiles they launched made 17 hits, I was reminded of that hilarious scene in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" where Indiana Jones shoots six Nazi soldiers (who all happened to be standing in line) with a single machine gun clip while trying to rescue his father.

Is it possible then that the drones or the missiles were flying fairly close to the ground to achieve the hits that they did? One would think though that on the photos in the post, there would have to be striation marks across the tanks and other targets that show the directions the drones / missiles were travelling in which in turn would show the direction they were coming from.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 16 2019 23:44 utc | 194

Self delusion is a sad thing. One of the most pathetic examples on war junkie blog sites where posters tend to end disappearing up their own arse after exploring particularly convoluted theories, is when the trail which got em examining their own fundament is reliant on the same media which these posters frequently criticise for being lying propaganda outlets of the empire.
You can't have it both ways calling the NYT,Graun, Wapo, msnbc lying toadies whenever they advance stories that don't suit a particular prejudice, then using other information disseminated thru these outlets to support other fantasy theories.

The simple answer is usually the most correct one, since anything else requires the willing complicity of too many frequently psychically fragile humans.

The Houthis have released statements saying that they launched 10 drones at two oil refinery/pumping sites.
No one in the houthi administration has sought to contradict this which supports the fact that is what they believe occurred. Houthi have made thousands of media releases since the wahabist terrorists first attacked them, afaik none have ever been shown to be deliberate deceit.
Believe the Houthis and move on - anything else is just the usual whitefella delusions of grandeur as in "How could those cave-dwelling lower races do that to us?" Contemptible stuff that is unworthy of a decent human being, especially considering that so much of the backwards and forwards stuff here is the usual immature playground attempt at 'proving' "I'm smarter than you" etc.
The Shia of the ME have been oppressed since long before old Mohammed fronted - why? because they tend to be peaceable types devoted to agrarian lifestyles of family and humanity. The englanders and the amerikans side with the sunni precisely because they are established aggressors. Saudi, Yemen, Bahrain & Jordan are all examples of USuk backing a minority of thugs to murder, rape and oppress decent people who make up most of the population. Why? Because it is easier and most importantly cheaper (less palms to grease) Side with their nonsense stories of Iran, 17 projectiles or whatever and you are backing the arseholes just like most worthless whitefellas have always done.

Posted by: A User | Sep 16 2019 23:52 utc | 195

Some have suggested that locally-operated drones could place charges so precisely. However, its very unlikely that local operators would take pains to position each explosive charge or radio beacon at the same spot on each tank.

I'm not an expert, but I'd guess that the targeting that we see is much more likely to be the result of local drones lasing the targets for a missile strike. One drone for each set of tanks?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 17 2019 0:00 utc | 196

The Houthis admit they had insider cooperation of some sort and I earlier opined on how that might evolve. The distance to the oil facilities isn't much farther than Riyadh, so I doubt the cooperation was done to manpack in the drones and fuel then launch to shorten the distance. Given what appears to be better aiming of the attack, I suspect the aid was in targeting support, likely via laser designators as was previously discussed on the initial thread about the attack. If so, that means the attack was planned awhile ago. IMO, a similar set-piece sort of arrangement will happen for the next and subsequent attacks. I expect similar thinking being done by the enemy in an attempt to defend against the next salvo--some mobile radars will be dispatched and deployed followed by the slower missiles. The Houthi commander will also anticipate such a deployment and plan accordingly by staggering the assault to attack the radars first then the main targets as they've already done.

Now alerted to the presence of targeting aid, Saudi will deploy troops to scour the surround to try and capture or at least interfere with the targeting mission. If the target is again a massive refinery complex, such pinpoint targeting won't be as necessary. Other means of providing target acquisition might be used such as homing beacons by facility employees. The Saudi security issue is now very complicated. And as mentioned, there's a wide assortment of very soft high value targets to be aimed at. The accusation of Finian Cunningham I posted earlier still holds--The Outlaw US Empire failed miserably to protect the most vital assets of its supposed ally.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 17 2019 0:01 utc | 197

In one word: that's a false flag attack.

Posted by: fayez chergui | Sep 17 2019 0:03 utc | 198

Posted by: vk | Sep 16 2019 23:15 utc | 186
silly arguement... houthis would launch any attack from their own territory, not for somewhere else

Posted by: brian | Sep 17 2019 0:05 utc | 199

never mind, the mercenary army of the kingdom of trump will happily deploy to aid and assist the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in defeating these darn terrorists. For a good pay of course as nothing in the kingdom of trump is for free.

Move along, nothing to see here.

Posted by: Sabine | Sep 17 2019 0:08 utc | 200

« previous page | next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.