Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 17, 2019

How Russia And Iran Beat Their Opponents' Strategies

Over the last decades Russia and Iran both needed to develop means to protect themselves against an ever growing threat from the United States and its allies. Both found unique ways to build deterrence that fit their situation.

Neither the U.S. nor its allies reacted to those developments by adopting their strategies or military means. It is only recently that the U.S. has woken up to the real situation. The loss of half its oil export capacity may finally wake up Saudi Arabia. Most other U.S. allies are still asleep.

When NATO extended into east Europe and the U.S. left the Anti-Ballistic-Missile Treaty Russia announced that it would develop countermeasures to keep the U.S. deterred from attacking it. Ten years later Russia delivered on its promise.

It had developed a number of new weapons that can defeat the ballistic missile defense the U.S. installed. It also put emphasis on its own air and missile defense as well as on radar and on electronic countermeasures that are so good that a U.S. general described them as "eye-watering".

All this allowed Putin to troll Trump by offering him Russian hypersonic missiles. As we analyzed:

Trump is wrong in claiming that the U.S. makes its own hypersonic weapons. While the U.S. has some in development none will be ready before 2022 and likely only much later. Hypersonic weapons are a Soviet/Russian invention. The ones Russia now puts into service are already the third generation. U.S. development of such missiles is at least two generations behind Russia's.

That Russian radar can 'see' stealth aircraft has been known since 1999 when a Yugoslav army unit shot down a U.S. F-117 Nighthawk stealth aircraft. Russian air and missile defense proved in Syria that it can defeat mass attacks by drones as well as by cruise missiles. U.S.-made air and missile defense in Saudi Arabia fails to take down even the primitive missiles Houthi forces fire against it.

Yesterday, during a press conference in Ankara with his Turkish and Iranian colleagues, Putin trolled Saudi Arabia (video @38:20) with a similar offer as he had made to Trump:

Q: Does Russia intend to provide Saudi Arabia with any help or support in restoring its infrastructure?

Putin: As for assisting Saudi Arabia, it is also written in the Quran that violence of any kind is illegitimate except when protecting one’s people. In order to protect them and the country, we are ready to provide the necessary assistance to Saudi Arabia. All the political leaders of Saudi Arabia have to do is take a wise decision, as Iran did by buying the S-300 missile system, and as President Erdogan did when he bought Russia’s latest S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft system. They would offer reliable protection for any Saudi infrastructure facilities.

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani: So do they need to buy the S-300 or the S-400?

Vladimir Putin: It is up to them to decide.

Erdogan, Rouhani and Putin all laughed over this exchange.

U.S. allies, who have to buy U.S. weapons, have followed a similar defense investment strategy as the U.S. itself. They bought weapon systems that are most useful for wars of aggression but did not invest in defensive weapon systems that are needed when their enemies prove capable of hitting back.

That is the reason why Saudi Arabia has more than 350 modern fighter planes but only relatively few medium and long range air defense systems that date back to the 1970s.

The Saudi air defense is only able to protect certain economic and social centers. Most of its borders and its military bases are not covered.

[T]he point-defense layout of the network leaves large portions of the nation undefended by strategic SAM assets. While aircraft can be called upon to defend these areas if required, the presence of large gaps in the nationwide air defense picture leaves numerous vulnerabilities open to exploitation by a foreign aggressor.
Saudi air defense as documented by Amir at Iran GeoMil.


Moreover the protection it has in place is unidirectional. The red circles designate the theoretical reach of the U.S. made PAC-2 air defense systems installed at their center. But the real reach of these systems only cover less than a half-circle. The PAC-2 and PAC-3 systems are sector defenses as their radars do not rotate. They can only see an arc of 120°. In the case of the Saudis those radars only look towards the east to Iran which is the most likely axis of attack. That left the crude oil processing plant in Abqaiq completely unprotected against attacks from any other direction. Neither Saudi Arabia nor the U.S. know where the attack really came from.


The Russian experience against the U.S. directed drone swarm attacks against its airbase Hmeymim in Syria showed that short range air defenses and electronic countermeasures are the best defense against mass drone and cruise missile attacks.

Saudi Arabia does not have short range air defenses against drones and cruise missiles because the U.S. does not have such systems. It also does not have sophisticated electronic countermeasures because the U.S. can not provide any decent ones.

What the Saudis need are the Russian Pantsyr-S1 short range air defense, dozens of them, and the Krasukha-4 electronic warfare system. The Russian may well offer at least the first item. But would the U.S. allow the Saudis to buy them?

Saudi Arabia, like the U.S., never took its opponents seriously. It bombed Yemen to smithereens and never expected to be hit back. It long rallied the U.S. to wage war on Iran but took few measures to protect itself from an Iranian counterreaction.

After the long range attack from Yemen in August it was warned that the Houthi's missile reach had increased. Saudi Arabia ignored the warning and it took zero notable measures to protect Abqaiq processing center which is a choke point for half its income.

Iran, in contrast, developed its weapons along an asymmetric strategy just as Russia did.

Iran does not have a modern airforce. It does not need one because it is not aggressive. It has long developed other means to deter the U.S., Saudi Arabia and other opponents in the Middle East. It has a large number of self developed medium range ballistic missiles and a whole zoo of short to medium range drones and cruise missiles. It can hit any economic or military target within their 2,000 kilometer reach.

It also makes its own air defenses which recently enabled it to take down an expensive U.S. drone. Here is General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of IRGC's Aerospace Force, explaining how that was done (video, engl. subs).

Iran developed relations with friendly population groups in other countries and trained and equipped them with the necessary defensive means. These are Hizbullah in Lebanon, various groups in the Syria, the PMG/Hashd in Iraq, the Houthi in Yemen and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

None of these groups is a full proxy for Iran. They all have their own local politics and will at times disagree with their big partner. But they are also willing to act on Iran's behalf should the need arise.

Iran developed a number of weapons exclusively for its allies that differ from the ones it itself uses. It enables its partners to build those weapons themselves. The cruise missile and drones that the Houti in Yemen use are different from the one Iran uses for its own forces.

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


Iran has thereby plausible deniability when attacks like the recent one on Abquiq happen. That Iran supplied drones with 1,500 kilometer reach to its allies in Yemen means that its allies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq and elsewhere have access to similar means.

The Saudis have long failed to take Iran's counter strategy into their considerations just as the U.S. has failed to consider the Russian's. Both will have to change their aggressive strategies. Both are now going have to (re-)develop real defensive means.

Posted by b on September 17, 2019 at 19:19 UTC | Permalink

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Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 18 2019 19:24 utc | 199

I am not sure what that has to do with Yemen's counter-attack on Saudi Arabia. Is the suggestion that Kh-55s were used in the counter-attack? If so I would expect that those hydrogen sulfide tanks that many people seem worked up over would be entirely gone rather than just having modest holes punched in them.

Babak Taghvaee:

As I said before, satellite images prove that all targets in #Aramco's oil facilities at #Abqaiq & #Khurais are hit from one direction which is Northwest (#Iraq) and it is proving that Quds-1 cruise missiles of #IRGC were used in this attack not Shahed-129 UCAVs! --

Quds-1 is a miniaturized variant of Soumar cruise missile, an Iranian copy of Russian Kh-55. Its small size is helping it to remain undetected to most of the #SaudiArabia's Early Warning radar sites. But this small size causes a big problem which reduces size of its warhead! --

And there is not a single video or picture released as an evidence to prove use of #IRGC armed drones in this attack. This is while we have pictures of one of Quds-1 cruise missiles which crashed and didn't reach its target at #Abqaiq. --

Posted by: RST | Sep 18 2019 20:02 utc | 201

Lozion @204--

Thanks for posting that link as I was about to do same. The info supplied differs just a tad from the list of tweets I compiled from same event. One that stands out is the use of "planes" to conduct surveillance prior to the attack and to use as decoys during attack as tweet said drones (of course, nomenclature might be lost in translation). Presumably, those planes made a roundtrip flight thus exhibiting even greater range and overall capability. The drone types were also elaborated:

"[W]e used drones Sammad-3 with flying range of 1500-1700 km, third generation of Qasif and another drone with jet engine which has not been introduced publicly yet."

For future reference, Islamic World News English Twitter.

Now, what will be said about this:

"Yemeni army targets 2 ballistic missiles with KSA forces inside Jizan."

Ah... It was the Elbonians!! not Houthis! Had to be as Houthis are inferior to Elbonians! Or so screams the Saudis and their Outlaw US Empire lackeys.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 20:13 utc | 202


a) The weapons and tecnology are iranian in origin (as the F15 and F16 using by KSA to bomb Yemen are from USA). No secret, no problem for nobody with that.

b) The drones did not come from Iran, also they did not come from Yemen, they came from inside KSA, and they were 10 or less and of small size; they cannot fire multiple ammo, they are "normal" suicide drones with an small amount of explosives. Probably only few of them made any damage. The attack was launched from the North but near the factories (from few kilometers), nearly impossible to detect or shut-down before to reach the factory, and manually controlled by radio (low tech).

c) The Houthi spokesman is trying to protect the people inside KSA that made the attack talking about all those incredible capabilities of their miraculous drones that never miss any target and with multiple warheads each of them with a pinpoint precision after flying thousands kilometers. Of course they protect also Iran, but everybody knows the drones were not sent from iranian soil (iranians are not so stupid to appear as aggressors and corner the USA to a war)

d) The damages were much smaller than what have been said by KSA and a lot of photos of the attack have been photoshoped to make the consequences of the attack bigger and attract the USA to justify an attack on Iran (the holes in the onion shape tanks are fake). A big part of the fires in the night of the attack and the next day were emergency flares using to emptying tanks and installations as prevention measures. There were not a big deployment of emergency firefighters, police, army, ambulance, contain the fire, and in the next day all was cleared: no hoses, no foam, no puddles of water, no firefighter's trucks around, etc... as could be seen in the satellite photos.

e) The Abqaiq factory will be in fully operation in few days, they probably are doing now normal preventive maintenance to mask that they could produce almost the same quantity of oil than before the attack inmediatelly, just to give more relevance to the attack.

f) The dream of the KSA is to have USA involved in the Yemen war, carpet bombing the huthies guerrilla with B52 and a, if it is possible, to have some rangers or marines batallions "crushing" the huthies warriors; because the saudis are too cowards and lazy and they need foreign mercenaries to fight, but it is better to have well trained americans (mercenary) troops that think they are fighting against "terror", to "protect their country", for "freedom" and "human rights". Stormtroopers from the Empire are always better... and if it is against Iran their sacrifice will not be in vain but for the sake of the sacred petrodollar.

Trump is not so stupid and he wants to be reelected, so no war with Yemen nor with Iran; he perfectly knows this is a trap

Posted by: DFC | Sep 18 2019 20:16 utc | 203

What is important is that Yemen is attempting to defend itself against SA aggression and more importantly, China and Russia have made it very clear that they will help defend Iran if attacked.

Dying empire is trying to lie itself and gain other nations support for having some moral reason to attack Iran and they can lie and bring in Iranian drone samples from wherever but it will not change the fact that empire has troops in very vulnerable places that will face obliteration if they attack Iran

Empire has NO high ground to stand on and its continued lying about everything just shows to all that they keep digging themselves into a deeper hole.....if they could attack Iran, they would have done so before now and continue to just make themselves look worse in the world's eyes as the ongoing aggressor of continued private finance hegemony.

Keep it up Houthi!!!!

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 18 2019 20:16 utc | 204

RST @208--

IMO, it's been fairly well established that the sat shots used to do BDA were altered. Ansurallah claims more damage done than sat pics portray. How would they know? They said they use surveillance planes. Implication: Ansurallah penetrated Saudi airspace all the way to oil installations three times without being detected, and they'll be able to do so again with their next attack.

The combined bullshit put forth by the Outlaw US Empire and Saudis could float an aircraft carrier. Ah-ha! There's an idea for TrumpCo: Move the aircraft carrier stationed in theatre to Yemini waters so it can take a more active roll in bombing Yemenis than what the Outlaw US Empire's already doing. Or maybe USN people don't see Ansurallah as more primitive than Elbonians.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 20:30 utc | 205

I'm no finance wonk, but where does this leave the Aramco IPO? One could say that MbS's plans have been ruined, but one could also argue that the opening share price has been lowered to a more attractive level. In the end the oil will keep flowing from the region whoever runs the place, it's just that future profits will flow to Aramco shareholders. Why wouldn't you risk short-term price instability for a cheap ground-floor buy-in to a long-term sure bet? Whoever posted that Goldman Sachs flew in the drones may not have been far off the mark.

Posted by: Patroklos | Sep 18 2019 20:40 utc | 206

Addendum: reading the Sydney Morning Herald ( this morning (Sep 19 6.45am AEST) the headline is a large hyperbolic rant about "undeniable Iranian responsibility". On previous days the KSA drone attack was almost impossible to find on their website. I sense the MSM are being wound up to run a relentless narrative that will support retaliatory attacks on Iran.

Posted by: Patroklos | Sep 18 2019 20:48 utc | 207

Posted by: vk | Sep 18 2019 19:42 utc | 205

I don't think anyone, except the US, would deny the right of the Houthis to defend themselves, by any means available. I was simply trying trying to suggest how it could happen, and not necessarily by direct Iranian act.

I happen to have a contact who is obliged to work on liberating people from Houthi arrest from time to time. They're not that nice. I wouldn't expect a people under such pressure to be so. Everybody's been released so far, so that's good. That was why I described them as 'a particularly bolshy, nativist, lot, who will decide for themselves'.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 18 2019 20:48 utc | 208

@ RST | Sep 18 2019 20:02 utc | 208

'...and it is proving that Quds-1 cruise missiles of #IRGC were used...'

Proof? How so? Because he says so? Hmm

'But this small size causes a big problem which reduces size of its warhead!'

That's a meaningless statement. Actual size, weight and type of warhead, please? What's the warhead's fill?

Most likely, none of these tanks were hit by a cruise missile no matter of what size. If that Quds-1 missile has been downsized to ~1/4 (diameter ~0.38m, length ~3.5m) in volume of the original Kh-55 it would still be capable of carrying a warhead in the 100-200 pounds range . The damage done would be looking differently. Poster 'Refinery worker' brought up a couple of valid points in regards of these tanks, if these indeed are hydrogen sulfide tanks even a dud with engine still running would set it ablaze. Hydrogen sulfide is highly flammable and even more toxic to humans than hydrogen cyanide is. Also, H2S has higher density than air meaning if tanks were perforated the gas released would be sticking around for quite some time making it all the harder for ground crews to deal with the incident.

Posted by: Hmpf | Sep 18 2019 20:54 utc | 209

So here is the situation in the Unites States. The neocons want to start some sort of shooting war with Iran. Their counter parts in Israel want the same--for the US to get into a shooting war. Hey, include the Saudis also.

Another situation is that national polling indicates that for right now, all the major democratic party candidates are beating Trump. If a democrat wins, then no war with Iran (Maybe Russia and Syria, but not Iran). If the deep state neocons see Trump losing, then imperative for them to start a war before the elections next year. Start a war that a democrat cannot retreat from.

The drone strike presents an opportunity to start that war before the election based on blaming the drone attack on Iran. At this point it is immaterial who actually launched the drone attack--only that it can be used to justify a war before the election. Will it harm Trump domestically. Don't know. When Bush invaded Iraq the American people approved of the invasion by 72%.

Posted by: Erelis | Sep 18 2019 21:03 utc | 210

- I don't believe for one moment that Russia has "supersonic" or "hypersonic" weapons. Those have been developed in the US and they still have MAJOR problems.
- However I DO believe that both Russia and/or Iran (could) have developed (electronic) countermeasures for US missiles. That's much more likely than those "supersonic" weapons.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 18 2019 21:08 utc | 211

In 1990, most Americans still believed their media.

Posted by: lysias | Sep 18 2019 21:43 utc | 212

And that was still true in 2003

Posted by: lysias | Sep 18 2019 21:45 utc | 213

Posted by: Erelis | Sep 18 2019 21:03 utc | 217

The world has changed today. In the event of war, the question will arise whether the United States and its NATO allies have enough diapers, not body bags.

Posted by: observer | Sep 18 2019 21:48 utc | 214

Honest, Pepe Escobar and I are not corresponding, although we seem to think the same:

"How the Houthis overturned the chessboard: The Yemeni Shiite group’s spectacular attack on Abqaiq raises the distinct possibility of a push to drive the House of Saud from power."

Pepe recommends Tribes and Politics in Yemen: A History of the Houthi Conflict to understand the Why behind the Houthi and Wahhabi being at each other’s throats for generations. And where have I read the following before:

"The situation has now reached a point where there’s plenty of chatter across the Persian Gulf about a spectacular scenario: the Houthis investing in a mad dash across the Arabian desert to capture Mecca and Medina in conjunction with a mass Shiite uprising in the Eastern oil belt. That’s not far-fetched anymore. Stranger things have happened in the Middle East. After all, the Saudis can’t even win a bar brawl – that’s why they rely on mercenaries."

Pepe links to this vid interview with General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force. At @35min, it definitely seems worthy of the time spent.

On Iran's subterfuge in exporting its oil:

"Of course, the Trump administration knows it. But the fact is they are looking the other way. To state it as concisely as possible: they are caught in a trap by the absolute folly of ditching the JCPOA, and they are looking for a face-saving way out. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned the administration in so many words: the US should return to the agreement it reneged on before it’s too late."

After relating Putin's trolling at Ankara, Pepe writes:

"In The Transformation of War, Martin van Creveld actually predicted that the whole industrial-military-security complex would come crumbling down when it was exposed that most of its weapons are useless against fourth-generation asymmetrical opponents. There’s no question the whole Global South is watching – and will have gotten the message."

As I concluded quite sometime ago, Trump's stuck inside a box of his own creation and is searching for a way out. Or if you like, there's this metaphor: Trump continues to climb higher into the tree he chose to ascend and is now stuck precariously on the thin, weak branches at the top that are groaning under his weight.

The only fault in his essay is his swallowing the faked sat pics issued by BBC that also fooled b and many others.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 21:58 utc | 215

The Quds-1 is an indigenous Houthi Cruise Missile. It is NOT Iranian. It is NOT a derivative of the Soviet KHr-55, nor the Iranian Soumar. It has unique identifiers given its design & dimensions, that even a noob should be able to recognise & acknowledge.

The Saudi briefing is utter disinfo non factual bullshit. Probably manufactured and gifted to them for presentation by Pompous 'lying' Pompeo & Co.s lackeys.

Quds-1 Cruise Missile

The ignorant rantings & conspiracy theories ad nauseum are really getting to be a bit much. And the racist patronizing views re Houthi established, demonstrable capabilities, too.

Darwinism of the battlefield by the inheritors of the resources of a State actor. Houthi.

Those who serially read & 'discuss' primarily mainstream MSM lies & disinfo in order to generate FUD in utter ignorance need to have a good long look in the mirror, IMHO.

The weapons used were Houthi, this & other attacks were planned co-ordinated & conducted by Houthi, long independently established & verified and they openly claim them.

Could also link to factual studies by the UN, CSIS, Arms control experts, hell, even a Study by West Point on Houthi arms & capabilities ... but ignorant FUD is as Eyes Wide Shut.

Good Day. Out.

Posted by: IrritatedArmsWonk | Sep 18 2019 22:14 utc | 216

When reading articles on the strike at the Almasirah web site, I was also looking for exaggerations on the houthi side. In those articles though, there was only the claiming the strike and a constant 10 drones.
The string of tweets though move into a new area of claims and I find no articles on these claims at the website.
This tweet.. " During 2nd Operation of Balance Deterrence, Other drones were used to camouflage and jam the enemy's defense systems".. b has laid out Saudi defence systems and their orientation. If b is correct, and checking on patriot systems, he seems be, unless Saudi's also have standalone radar capable of 360 degree coverage then no jamming required. Unless of course the patriot systems can use a stand alone radar for targeting and at long ranges (Patriot missiles from what I have read were designed for ballistic type missiles coming in a high angles).

This tweet.. "Drones have fission heads carrying four precision bombs.".. Hitting the Aramco facilities with 10 suicide drones would be a linear progression of Houthi capabilities in range (depth inside KSA) and damage and numbers of hits. A UAV capable of carrying four provision bombs large enough to inflict damage on oil infrastructure is a step in magnitude greater than previous capabilities.
Time will tell as to how much is in a few of the claims, but at the moment Houthi's are more likely to be playing mind games on the Wahhabi's.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2019 22:17 utc | 217

ZH has an article up on the possibility of an Israeli attack on Gaza as a consequence of the election. The link karlof1 @222 posted to Pepe's article on the Houthi attack suggesting the possibility of larger objectives is interesting. There would seem to be a window of vulnerability before a new Israeli government is formed and before KSA and patrons figure out what to do about their newly discovered weaknesses. If the Israelis attack Gaza would the conflict spread? Would others overtly come to the Palestinians aid? If the Houthis go for territory instead of just a peace deal what would be the reaction of neighboring states and patrons? Add in Syria and Libya and the next few months seem a little fraught with more uncertainty than usual.

Posted by: the pessimist | Sep 18 2019 22:30 utc | 218

@223 IrritatedArmsWonk

You're not the only one frustrated by the sheer volume of stupidity we have had to put up with throughout these recent threads. Thanks for stopping by. Hope to hear from you again.

When the world changes dramatically, it takes the denialists a while to catch up. And as for the trolls and the moles, they are all suddenly left without a narrative.

I kind of preferred it when they knew their talking points. Watching them spin it frantically from their own imaginations, just to keep it spun, is painful.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 18 2019 22:34 utc | 219

Willy2 218

S-300 and onwards use hypersonic missiles. Some of them are just under hypersonic mach 6.5 ect but a number of the missile types run at above mach 7.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2019 22:34 utc | 220

Article has pic and video of Saudi's presenting remnants of what they say are the drones that attacked the aramco facilities. Several larger cruise missile type drones plus a number of small airplane type drones. (Most likely a few remnants from the attack, but likely a proportion pulled out of a hat)

As for size, the drones can be compared to the size ifther presenter.
If the smaller drones were in fact used, then they would need to be launched close to the facility and even then could only carry a small warhead.
The larger cruise missile type drones in the background are relatively small in size as faras cruise missiles go, but most likely launched from Houthi held territory. To gain 1300km range, they would not be able to carry a large warhead.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2019 22:49 utc | 221

Peter AU 1 @224--

Yes, I read all their stuff with a critical eye, too. What I posted was the raw stuff making it easier for others to sift. The tweets don't match the text as reported by IWN, and there's the bit of boasting I cautioned against. Bottom line, the actual numbers of drones/planes/UAVs isn't as important as the attack itself and its outcome. As for decoys, as The Saker points out, there are a whole slew of ground, water and air-based radar platforms working constantly in the region, yet none of them detected the attack, which is the point Finian Cunningham and I made once the attack was known--the utter failure of the Outlaw US Empire to protect its vassal from people deemed lower than Elbonians. How much of that failure was due to EW and/or decoys is unknown--were they actually employed; were they even needed.

There's only one way to prove this attack and its precursor weren't flukes--repeat the drill as advertised. Initially, Ansurallah gave Saudi 48 hrs to initiate a genuine peace offer prior to its next attack. That 48 hrs has now expired with no offer given. The only differing factor presumably is Saudi and company will be on a greater alert level. But supposedly they were on alert the first two times.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 22:58 utc | 222

@223 IrritatedArmsWonk

As a bit of an arms cognoscente, I also find myself feeling some irritation to the explanations given as to why it wasn't the Houthi which hit the refinery.

Who really knows? It could have been Iran, or Israel or whoever, it is all conjecture without inside knowledge...

...but...The Houthi have shown the capability to mount such an attack, and all the evidence I have seen point to the Houthi. There is nothing in any of the evidence presented that would suggest they didn't. From what I have seen, the damage looks exactly like what I would expect from Houthi weaponry.

So, Israel, with the permission of the Saudis and the foreknowledge of USA, hit the refinery with weapons that have a much lower explosive yield than anything they have in their inventory? And Russia wasn't able to determine this? Perhaps this makes sense if you are one of those Putin=Bibi=Trump=Xi=Gabbard=Modi=Assad=Che=Lincoln=Genghis Khan=Sanders=Stalin=Bush=Clinton=Everybody=...people.

Don't take the "10 Drone" number as literal truth. War strategy only requires literal honesty when it is beneficial tactically. 10ish drones and a handful of Quds-1 would be my guess.

Posted by: Hassaan | Sep 18 2019 22:59 utc | 223

Peter AU 1 @224

Good points Peter.

Too many believe that "question everything" doesn't apply to their side.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 18 2019 22:59 utc | 224

@Grieved 226
Agree a hundred percent. Last time b ran a request for opinions on comments, my principal response was that there are two many comments with opinions and not enough with facts, which means too many comments in general. Opinions are a dime a dozen, whereas facts are precious. And some of what we've read here, reflecting some MSM articles quoting "experts," is shear racism and classism.

"Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, til we come to hard bottom and rocks in place, which we call reality, and say, This is, and no mistake. . "-- Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 18 2019 23:04 utc | 225

Behind this attack is an underlying theme aroma - whatever. US change in attitude towards KSA. KSA have been trying to downplay the attack, US has been enhancing the attack to the Saudi's cost.
Dislike of the Saudi's in US political circles seems to have been growing perhaps since 9 11.
Trump has been running cover for MBS in the US, yet at the same time milking him dry and publicly humiliating him. This is the game I find intriguing.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2019 23:21 utc | 226

Hassaan @230:

The Houthi have shown the capability to mount such an attack ...

I don't think they've previously shown the precision targeting that we see in this attack.

And Peter AU 1 @224 points out that:

A UAV capable of carrying four provision bombs large enough to inflict damage on oil infrastructure is a step in magnitude greater than previous capabilities.

Don't take the "10 Drone" number as literal truth. War strategy only requires literal honesty when it is beneficial ...

Well, some here have stressed to us that the Houthi have been very honest about attacks they perform and thus we should trust them when the Houthi say that they (not Iran) are fully responsible for the attack. I have tended to believe this because Houthi is winning the war so there's no reason to be dishonest.

So when they repeatedly say "10 drones" - without mentioning any other delivery system - we have believed them.

However, if they would lie about key attack information, as you suggest, then why should we trust them when they say that the attack was done solely by Houthi?

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

Oddly, ZH reports that today Pompeo:

... called the Houthis "liars" and emphasized they are not independent from Iran but should be viewed as Tehran's direct proxy:

“Whenever you report about them, and you say, ‘The Houthis said,’ you should say ‘The well known frequently lying Houthis have said the following.’ This is important because you ought not report them as if these truth-tellers, as if these are people who aren’t completely under the boot of the Iranians ...

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 18 2019 23:22 utc | 227

Oddly, ZH reports that today Pompeo:

... called the Houthis "liars" and emphasized they are not independent from Iran but should be viewed as Tehran's direct proxy:

“Whenever you report about them, and you say, ‘The Houthis said,’ you should say ‘The well known frequently lying Houthis have said the following.’ This is important because you ought not report them as if these truth-tellers, as if these are people who aren’t completely under the boot of the Iranians .

@Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 18 2019 23:22 utc | 234

And this is to be trusted since stated by the very same man who admitted in prime time TV "we cheated, we lied, we stole...and received special courses on these capabilities"....

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 18 2019 23:30 utc | 228

"IrritatedArmsWonk @223

Good post.

Way too many speculative posts that are useless diversions. Starting to wonder if a lot of them are intentional and most if not all lead to nowheresville.

Posted by: arby | Sep 18 2019 23:32 utc | 229

Something to keep in mind when looking at the recent attack is the strength and wall thickness of the steel that goes into these type of facilities. Akin to light and sometimes heavy armour. Vastly different to the odd ISIS videos that came out of quadcopters dropping miniature bombs onto personnel and light skinned vehicles.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2019 23:37 utc | 230

The plan has been to destroy Iran Iraq Syria Lebanon Afghanistan Libya and Yemen - it is almost complete. There is no stopping destiny. Sit back eat some popcorn and wait for the end credits (for the next endgame)

Posted by: SOB | Sep 18 2019 23:40 utc | 231

Using camel trains to move drones closer would be possible if such trains normally traverse the desert region of the areas North of Yemen and Oman. I just looked at a terrain map set and it's dotted with oases and tracks, but no roads, and there's a reason why that corner of Arabia's called the Empty Quarter--it's extremely inhospitable. IR Sats would have no problem tracking anything trying to traverse the area. Plus, the Eastern region of Yemen is supposedly controlled by Saudi forces according to maps at Southfront. IMO, shortening the distance isn't an easy task; easier to increase the range.

Payload--Hypothetically, the new jet powered UAV could be bigger for greater fuel load and payload size, and of course swifter to target. IMO, a jet engine is easier to mass produce than an ICE and the fuel is simpler--easily refined kerosene. From the recent articles, it's said that Hezbollah technicians are actively aiding Ansurallah. Your point about specialized materials is well taken, but plastics will work just as well as more sophisticated composites, abound in the bombing debris, and can easily be remolded.

The bits and pieces of drones displayed by Saudis could have come from many earlier attacks as there have been many, none of which were ascribed to Iran.

Bet the next attack comes this Friday before morning prayers.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 23:45 utc | 232

Grieved @ 226

" for the trolls and the moles ...".

Maybe one or two but the majority of them are just ignorant American half-wits.

A classic illustration of this is the "onion shape" reference from 'Damage at Saudi Oil Plant...'.
"I don't know what they are called, I don't know what they are, I don't know what they do, but I am American, so I am going to tell you, with all the authority of a blowhard, just what happened".

That was fucking painful.
It took until comment 279 (Refinery Worker) to actually inject some sanity into the discussion.

Why does the American feel the need to comment on everything they know fuck all about?

The number of experts here is staggering, maybe one or two of you could develop an app to track the human shit that gets deposited daily on the pavements of major American cities .....

Critical mass of American commentators - peak stupidity reigns supreme.

Posted by: ted01 | Sep 18 2019 23:45 utc | 233

SOB @ 238

In case you may not have noticed a wrench or 4 have been thrown into the works of that plan. That plan was supposed to be fait accompli several years ago already.

Posted by: arby | Sep 18 2019 23:46 utc | 234

SOB 238

They are now tough nuts to crack and becoming tougher by the day. I suspect US attention has turned to easier pickings.

Saudi Arabia and its oil will be looking like easy pickings.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2019 23:46 utc | 235

Sasha @235

Yes. Pompeo can't be trusted either.

But Haassan is the first commenter at MoA (as far as I know) to say that the Houthi can't be trusted. On the same day that Pompeo makes the same point.

That's why I said it was "Odd".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 18 2019 23:46 utc | 236

Re the small jet engines. Houthi have stated a mix of piston and jet engines were used. (b's link in his original piece to the sound of one of the drones was a piston engine) Leading edge miniature jet engine, I take it, will have a thrust to fuel consumption ratio as good as or perhaps better than piston engine. Plenty of people are capable of knocking up a jet engine that produces thrust, but getting good fuel economy moves up a long way in tech and precision manufacturing equipment.
That Houthi were using a mix could mean that the weight of jet engine plus fuel and piston engine plus fuel were comparable, or that the jet engines were difficult to obtain.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 19 2019 0:04 utc | 237

Jackrabbit | Sep 18 2019 23:22 utc | 234
I really cannot comprehend how it is that a squirming blatantly racist & classist trump apologist has lasted so long on this site, especially considering the bunny's claim to be a leftie. A worm is a more accurate description - a worm short on facts but long on utter bullsh1t.
I fully expect the hail fellow well met spineless types to reel back in horror, but there is nothing new there.

Posted by: A User | Sep 19 2019 0:18 utc | 238

What some are not understanding is that the Americans are going to tie the attack to the Iran. Even if the Houthi could and did mount the attack and are 100% responsible. This headline in a major US paper expresses what Americans are being led to believe: Iran will keep escalating until Trump hits back — or folds.

What ties the attack to Iran is damage that appears to be beyond the capabilities of the Houthi.

This damage is the mystery. Yet one of the possible sources for this damage is being steadfastly ignored by the accusers of Iran and the defenders of both the Houthi and Iran: false-flag ops that create damage that is beyond Houthi capabilities via setting explosive charges or photoshopping images. Note: photoshopping is unlikely because other countries have satellites too.

The mystery of the Houthi drone/missile tech is all the more disturbing because it follows the mysterious tanker attacks and the mysterious Iraqi warehouse attacks (which Israel eventually acknowledged!). Anyone that thought the tanker attacks were suspicious (likely a false-flag because it made no sense for Iran to risk being discovered to be the terrorists that her enemies said she was) would question the damage that the Houthi attack is supposed to have caused.

Then there's the timing: just before the Israeli elections; just after Bolton is dismissed. Bolton's departure before a possible false-flag is reminiscent of the likely false-flag attempt after Mattis resigned because Trump pretended that he wanted to 'pull out' all the troops from Syria. Days after his resignation, Israel attacked Damascus airport in what appeared to be an attempt to trick the Syrians into downing a civilian airliner (similar to how they tricked them into downing a Russian military plane weeks before).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 19 2019 0:23 utc | 239

It's very difficult to recognize a 'false-flag' in the heat of the moment and even more difficult to prove it. It's generally only recognized years later after governments release information, witnesses become more willing to talk, and well-researched books are written.

For this reason, those who want to avoid a war might want to focus on Houthi claims instead of sketchy 'false-flag' suspicions.

But attacking those who cite possible evidence of a false-flag is not something that I expect to see at MoA.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 19 2019 0:38 utc | 240

..."Riyadh “will invite UN and International experts to view the situation on the ground and to participate in the investigations” "

right... like how riyadh has allowed UN and international experts into yemen to view the murder and mayhem they are directly responsible for... it amazes me how these monkeys think the world can be conned so easily into thinking they aren't responsible for what they bring on themselves..

jackrabbit... it is possible the addition of work on the part of interested parties to pile on an anticipated event.. i am not closing the door on this possibility, but like all false flags - there are generally very hard to confirm even way after the fact... thus it becomes an exercise in speculation with the odds of confirmation likely to be almost nil.. thus many of us aren't given over to spending a lot of time dwelling on it..

Posted by: james | Sep 19 2019 1:28 utc | 241

the other really rich element to the clowns in riyadh here is how they processed the kashoggi event... mums the word on that.. meanwhile the bozo in office in the usa was a okay with all of that... of course the hypocrisy coming out of the ksa-usa-israel has always been exceptional...

Posted by: james | Sep 19 2019 1:31 utc | 242

james "thus it becomes an exercise in speculation with the odds of confirmation likely to be almost nil"

Linear progression of Houthi capabilities, under these conditions, seems to me the safest bet.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 19 2019 1:34 utc | 243

peter - definitely... a betting person would go with the houthis having done this for a multitude of reasons..

a warmonger would go with the concept iran did this.. thus pomass, trump and a few other bimbos response to it..

Posted by: james | Sep 19 2019 1:36 utc | 244

SOB @ 238
WHAT @ 148

Nice try, but no cigar...
This ain't the NYT... you're up against geopolitical titans here (present company excluded)

Posted by: xLemming | Sep 19 2019 1:58 utc | 245

This last episode should be the eye opener the KSA/US/UAE nexus needs to come to grips with.
Ansarullah's new capabilities on the Western side of the Gulf plus Iran's IRGC's missile & AAD on the Eastern side make it impossible for KSA/UAE to survive an on offensive on both fronts. Thus, no war with Iran in the short term..

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 19 2019 2:14 utc | 246


Correct. The drones and cruise missiles are made from Iranian prototypes and then modified somewhat in the final product. The initial models are built with the assistance of Hezbollah engineers who work alongside Houthis to make these weapons. For subsequent weapons perhaps they just follow a schematic. Keep in mind that 70% of the Yemeni Army went over to the Houthis and they have stayed with them. The Yemeni Army had its own Missile Forces Division. The idea that these are just dumb-ass Arab tards in caves is quite mistaken.

As an aside, I have met quite a few Yemenis. The ones I met were very, very smart and very civilized. One of the ones I knew had a 155 IQ and had just gotten a degree from Georgetown University of Spies, something I teased him about.

Like all Arabs the Yemenis are also crafty, devious, scheming, underhanded, deceptive, and especially adaptive. They are especially good at jerry-rigging things using cheap and accessible parts to manufacture complex devices, like sophisticated weapons. These people are NOT stupid.

Like the Afghans and Viets, they are pretty much undefeatable on the battlefield. The Egyptian Army invaded Yemen for some insane reason and ended up staying a very long time and losing 150,000 men. The Yemenis hole up in those rugged mountains in the north and it's almost impossible to get them out of there. There are endless ambushes in mountain passes.


Posted by: Robert Lindsay | Sep 19 2019 2:30 utc | 247

Also the Houthis are quite honest and straightforward in their press releases. The one exception may be in claiming enemy losses where there were none and in not reporting their own casualties, but all militaries do that.

The main thing is that the Houthis have never taken credit for an attack that someone else did. In fact none of these Iranian proxy forces have ever claimed an attack that the other one did. And they have never claimed an attack that Iran did to shield Iran from blame. In fact almost no groups ever claim responsibility for attacks that someone else does!

The Houthis almost immediately claimed responsibility for this attack and later released deep details about how they did it. There is no way on Earth that Iran really did this attack, and the Houthis simply claimed it to cover up for them. The Houthis don't work like that, and neither does Iran.

Within maybe an hour Pompouseo was up there insisting that Iran did it, producing absolutely zero evidence. Generally when the US is going to frame a party for attack (which we do all the time), you can tell because that party is blamed almost immediately after the attack before any evidence has surfaced and before any investigations have been undertaken. 10 cruise missiles flew over the heads of 50 US radar stations and countless other Saudi radars, and no one saw a thing? Forget it.

But no one had radars turned to the desert west of the oil fields. Also the stupid Saudis are in the habit of turning off their radars every night for a few hours because they are lazy and incompetent spoiled rich brats. The Houthis may have attacked in this window.

I am still trying to figure out how the missile swarm came in from the desert to the west of the refinery though.

Posted by: Robert Lindsay | Sep 19 2019 2:41 utc | 248

Robert Lindsay

Any idea about precision machining capabilities in north Yemen pre war. Five axis CNC milling, that type of thing. Much of it about.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 19 2019 2:46 utc | 249

In some respects we are living in Orwell's 1984 where up is down, black is white and aggressors have the right to defend themselves as shown by this Reuters quote
CAIRO (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States supports Saudi Arabia’s “right to defend itself” and said Iran’s behavior would “not be tolerated” in a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a statement on his official Twitter account on Thursday.
If you tell a lie big enough and often enough it becomes fact, correct?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 19 2019 3:57 utc | 251

james 254:

I think that when Peter talks of the linear progression of Houthi capabilities ... he's referencing his remark @224:

Hitting the Aramco facilities with 10 suicide drones would be a linear progression of Houthi capabilities in range (depth inside KSA) and damage and numbers of hits. A UAV capable of carrying four provision bombs large enough to inflict damage on oil infrastructure is a step in magnitude greater than previous capabilities.

Then there's the high precision targeting (think of the four tanks, each hit at the same spot) - an enviable level of precision that wasn't necessary for "sending a message" to US-Saudi. I would've thought that some kind of cluster bombing would occur before multiple warheads with independent, highly accurate target guidance.

Even if the drones were guided to their target using video, there would be no reason to guide them each to the same spot on the tank. So the guidance was probably programmatic. Or charges were set to make it look that way.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 19 2019 4:07 utc | 252

Robert Lindsay @257 & 258--

Thanks very much for your replies! Your observations and commentary confirm much of what I've written as I've watched the evolution of Ansarullah's capabilities since this war began. Yes, we all have questions related to their technical capabilities, many of which would be classified by Western militaries. Microprocessor interaction with GPS/Glonass guidance could easily allow for maneuvering to attack from multiple directions. What's most interesting is their UAV's relative invisibility to all the various radars and other detection radiation used in theatre until atop the target. Obviously, much isn't being said by Outlaw US Empire military regarding their failures to detect or anything else other than bellowing Iran Did It while providing zero evidence. Lots of developments on other fronts in our Multidimensional Hybrid Third World War to examine while we await Ansarullah's next attack.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 19 2019 4:13 utc | 253

So, help me understand this. A country can go to war on behalf of its deposed proxy using aircraft, cluster munitions, and other advanced weapons, targeting intelligence, etc provided by foreign powers, blockade and starve the civilian population, bomb school children and wedding parties, and it's all good, but when the citizens of said country being bombed and srarved use imported technical assistence and arms to fight back its a whole different kettle of fish and against all 'normal rules' and an 'act of war', not just against the agressor nation, but against the foreign powers profiting by selling arms to the agressor. Have I got that right?

Posted by: the pessimist | Sep 19 2019 4:18 utc | 254

Oh, and the arms sellers should feel justified in bombing the nation that provided assistance to the bombed and starved nation because that's just not playing fair.

Posted by: the pessimist | Sep 19 2019 4:21 utc | 255

A bit of a typo in my comment. Should have read 'precision bombs'.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 19 2019 4:35 utc | 256

@262 jackrabbit.. thanks.. i am mystified by the precision hit on those 4 tanks... i don't know why it would have to be that way, so i have no answer for that and not sure if the photo was manipulated or not.. i think the photo was released from the usa... i might need help on the details, but it is a mystery to me on that front...

@264 the pessimist... you read that exactly correct according to usa ideology... everything is fine in one direction, but completely unacceptable and an act of war in the opposite direction, lol.. you can starve a nation like madeleine albright, and smile justify it while doing so, but that is not a war crime..however, if the role is reversed - it's a war crime of gigantic proportions... again, it's called hypocrisy and some nations really excel at it..

Posted by: james | Sep 19 2019 4:36 utc | 257

I disagree with much of what he writes (like 'globalists' using 9-11 and Trump to engineer the fall of USA geopolitical influence via unwinnable wars), but in this snipet from "Who Really Benefits From The "Iran Attacked Saudi Arabia" Narrative?" Brandon Smith makes some of the same points that I have:

But the real point here is that it does not matter if the Houthis are legitimate, or that they have real grievances against Saudi Arabia, or that they take full credit for the attack on Saudi Aramco – The establishment is going to rewrite the narrative to fit their agenda anyway.

Currently, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has named Iran directly as being the culprit behind the strikes on Saudi Arabia (still no hard evidence available to verify this). Even though the Saudis stated right after the attack that 10 drones were used, and this corroborates what the Houthis have stated, the story is being quickly “adjusted”. Now, US officials claim that the attack was accomplished with 17 or more “cruise missiles” that originated from the direction of Iran. How the Saudis were able to confuse cruise missiles for drones remains a mystery.

The new official story is being tweaked everyday to counter any predictable skepticism. For example, the new claim of "terrain hugging" cruise missiles helps to counter anyone who asks how the attack could have thwarted the billions in American Patriot missile systems on Saudi soil? Patriots are not specifically designed to stop low flying missiles.

However, the Saudis have also purchased AN/TPQ-53 Quick Reaction Capability Radar systems from the US. This is next gen radar technology that is able to track low flying missiles, aircraft and drones [and has 360 degree capability!]. But still, the Saudi radar net was somehow defeated? If this is the case and the accusations are true, then one would have to conclude that Iran has military hardware capable of slipping past some of the best defense technology the US has to offer.

The bottom line is, a Houthi drone attack just doesn't do it for the establishment. Even if they could substantiate hard military ties between Iran and the insurgents in Yemen, they would not be able to justify war based on the relationship alone. They have to connect Iran to the attack directly.

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

After the Houthi demonstrated their capabilities in previous drone attacks and threatened oil infrastructure, why wasn't AN/TPQ-53 radar systems used to protect major oil facilities?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 19 2019 4:44 utc | 258

@ the pessimist who got it right and wrote
Oh, and the arms sellers should feel justified in bombing the nation that provided assistance to the bombed and starved nation because that's just not playing fair.
The only context you are missing is that the aggressors are defending their assumed right to have a unipolar world where all are subjects under the God of Mammon cult of global private finance.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 19 2019 4:45 utc | 259

james 267
The sat pics were released by the US government. I believe AP were first to report on them. Zero Hedge has it that they were released just before market opening. Although I have not researched when media first made public the sat pics, the zero hedge claim seems close to the mark.
There is one earlier sat pic in the media that just showed a column of smoke.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 19 2019 4:50 utc | 260

@268 jr.. it's a good question that feeds into the usa-israel false flag scenario... and as peter mentions the info coming out before market opening might also factor into the manipulation of the markets for some players in the know to profit... some folks mysteriously profited off put options after the 9-11 event too, but i don't believe that was ever examined closely... same deal here.. reams of speculation are possible in these types of events..

thanks peter..

Posted by: james | Sep 19 2019 4:57 utc | 261

karlof1 @193:

9. "During 2nd Operation of Balance Deterrence, Other drones were used to camouflage and jam the enemy's defense systems."

Does "camouflage and jam" refer to a weakness of the AN/TPQ-53 like inability to track more than a certain (low) number of targets? Overwhelming the system with target drones allowed other drones/missiles to proceed without detection?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 19 2019 5:03 utc | 262

O o ... rotfl: MissingOperatorsError

... During 2nd Operation of Balance Deterrence, O



Posted by: Laurence | Sep 19 2019 6:31 utc | 263

Abqaiq short range air defence.

This checks out at wikipedia "Saudi Arabia: 128 GDF-005 modified units. Used with Skyguard FC radars."
and google maps satellite veiw.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 19 2019 6:39 utc | 264

Job for b.

"The system uses twin autocannons, firing 35×228mm NATO-standard ammunition. ...
... Saudi Arabia: 128 GDF-005 modified units. Used with Skyguard FC radars.

Posted by: Laurence | Sep 19 2019 6:57 utc | 265

Thanks Jackrabbit #262, I have difficulty with the perfect symmetry of the tanks. They may well have had charges set but so exactly the same?? and not observed at the time the charges were set? difficult to believe that.
But then these holes could well be safety valves that blow out if there is a pressure wave or heat alarm from a neighboring tank and the image we see is the aftermath of a domino effect.

They might be photoshopped as part of the USA disinformation game.

Some detailed views of similar undamaged tanks might shed some light.

I find it very hard to accept such pin point accuracy from each munition dropped or launched from a drone or missile. Independently targettable explosives with precise gps locators in each? WOW

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 19 2019 7:09 utc | 266

"Some detailed views of similar undamaged tanks might shed some light."

google maps satellite veiw. zoom in and out and whatever at the link.,49.6847241,124m/data=!3m1!1e3

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 19 2019 7:28 utc | 267

The spoilt brat KSA calls ambassador to Germany. Looks like pompeo included the Trump bolton "everything is on the table" when giving this clown his lines.

"Asked about the possibility of a military strike against Iran, he said: “Of course everything is on the table but you have to discuss that well,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud told Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio.

“We’re still working on where they were launched from but wherever they came from, Iran is certainly behind them as Iran built them and they could only be launched with Iranian help,” he said."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 19 2019 7:34 utc | 268

Storage Tank (CIA-controlled Wikipedia)

Take a close look at the image of a tank farm in the Wikipedia article and try to imagine you were in a team of commandos infiltrating with satchel charges to disable the tanks. Perhaps you want to try to make it look like a missile strike so you don't want to put the charge at the bottom. Where do you put your satchel charges?

Note how the tanks have access stairways for maintenance on the outside. Note how the tanks that are identical and were likely installed at the same time have the stairways oriented the same way.

I am not arguing for this scenario as I don't see any rational reason to nurture the belief that the Houthis could not have staged the attack exactly as claimed, but it might be easier for the racists to wrap their heads around. Furthermore, if radio beacons or laser targeting reflectors were installed on the tanks by local partisans then they, like our hypothetical satchel charges, would most likely be placed within arms reach of the stairways.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 19 2019 11:15 utc | 269

@275 Some Saudi dimwit: "We’re still working on where they were launched from but wherever they came from, Iran is certainly behind them as Iran built them and they could only be launched with Iranian help,"


By that criteria the USA is "behind" every Saudi air strike in Yemen, just and the Americans would be "behind" every bombing run by the IAF against the helpless people trapped in Gaza.

Indeed, the list is endless: the USA is by far and away the biggest arms exporter in the world and is boastful about how it is willing to "help" their client maintain those weapons at peak readiness.

Honestly, are the Saudi's really that stupid?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Sep 19 2019 11:35 utc | 270

Practically an admission by the enemy that the hypothesis of American and Saudi inneficiency is the correct one:

The End of Saudi Arabia’s Illusion

For decades, the leaders of the Gulf seemed to believe their close ties with the United States (and the billions of dollars spent on American weapons) made them almost invulnerable. They regularly urged American diplomats and generals to get tougher with their Iranian neighbor or even to “cut off the head of the snake,” as Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah put it in 2008 in encouraging the United States to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites. Saudi confidence was bolstered by memories of the 1991 Gulf war, when an American-led military coalition reversed Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

But the faith in American power always blinked away some inconvenient facts. Iran’s population and military strength dwarf those of the Gulf countries, and the United States is nearly 10,000 miles away. In any conceivable war, the Gulf’s cities would be among the first targets. And unlike Iran, those cities are intensely vulnerable: A single bomb could shatter the status of Dubai as a safe hub for trade, transport and tourism.

Posted by: vk | Sep 19 2019 12:55 utc | 271

On gains and opportunities....

Do you remember nobody attending the call from the US to join them in military patrolling the Persian Gulf?

The United Arab Emirates announces its incorporation into the United States-led naval coalition in the Gulf.

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 19 2019 13:14 utc | 272

@Posted by: Sasha | Sep 19 2019 13:14 utc | 279


Saudi Arabia has announced that it joins the United States naval coalition in the Gulf. This increases the list of participants to 5: United States, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Australia and Bahrain.

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 19 2019 13:22 utc | 273

The Saudis, not really known by their effectiveness and who lated several weeks in offering a reasonable explanation on Kashoggi´s killing and dissapearance into their own consulate in Turkey, changing minds 180º several times during that period and offering strambotic theories, definitely have the conclusions on the Aramco attack only 4 days after it happened, all that before the international experts they have invited to investigate the attack arrive...One would say they have overpassed a rare combination of the brains of both, Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes, in a unknown act of hypersonic rational thinking....

Statements from the Saudi press conference: · The attack clearly came from the north. · The attack was unequivocally orchestrated by Iran. · 18 drones and 7 cruise missiles have been used in the attack.

Yeah...I have some bridges to sell around here.....

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 19 2019 13:32 utc | 274

I got to know Bibi will not go to the next UNGA, first time since 2010...
Oh, no! What a loss for humanity and the "international community"...
We will be missing his "elaborated" drawings and powerpoints blaming Iran for all...

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 19 2019 13:36 utc | 275

In this graphic you can test that the attack on Aramco has provoked the major disruption on oil production in history....

Notice at the same time that the major disruptions to date were produced also by wars started by the tandem US/Israel....

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 19 2019 13:42 utc | 276

If this was a false flag why would the yemenis be so adamant that they are the responsible party?
And while I love a good conspiracy theory and false flags are a common tool it seems that in this situation it was an actual attack.

I don't see why they couldn't launch these drones from Little Fishing boats along the coast within close range

Posted by: Sungaia | Sep 19 2019 14:03 utc | 277

@Posted by: Sasha | Sep 19 2019 13:22 utc | 280

Yo add to this line of events....recall that they are trying to prove that the attack came or from Iraq or from Iran or both.....

Iraq will not join anti-Iran maritime mission, rejects Israel’s involvement

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 19 2019 14:09 utc | 278

@275 peter @277 yeah, right...

here, i fixed it for ya!

the Houthis commander Nasser Shabani was quoted -

“We’re still working on where they were launched from but wherever they came from, USA is certainly behind them as USA built them and they could only be launched with USA help,” he said."

Posted by: james | Sep 19 2019 14:19 utc | 279

Pompeo is currently meeting with bin Salman in Jeddah, over on the Red Sea coast, and not in Riyadh. Next will be Dubai. Remote Jeddah seems odd to me, actually closer to Yemen than Riyadh. Why Jeddah?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 19 2019 14:20 utc | 280

@Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 19 2019 14:20 utc | 287

Why Jeddah?

To mislead the Houthies...because Pompeo is wetting his pants...?

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 19 2019 14:47 utc | 281

Jeddah is a major entry point for pilgrims on the Haj, considering it's the big harbour city close to Mecca (well, close nowadays with modern transportation between them). Hitting the city might cause more collateral damages - as in casualties - among innocent non-Saudi bystanders, specially pilgrims. Pompeo and MBS might expect the Houthis to think twice before hitting that target, as opposed to military airport, oil facilities or even Ryadh.
Or it's totally unrelated.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Sep 19 2019 15:01 utc | 282

Curiously, or not so, Vanessa Neumann´s Asymmetrica´s Twitter account retwitted this news in the first days of August....

Saudi Arabia may cut crude oil prices to Asia in September

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 19 2019 15:03 utc | 283

Jeddah @287: I have read that MbS keeps his yacht in Jeddah and likes to sleep there, considering it is safer there with his security staff. Of course, this is all hearsay from Twitter. Given his observed behavior, it's difficult for me to guess what he might do next. Something stupid for sure. From what I read of Pompeo's visit with him, they intend to blather loudly and do not much. Still MbS must find it imperative to protect himself from further Houthi attacks, and yet he seems to lack good options. Hire Eric Prince to take on the Houthis perhaps? A real conumdrum.

Posted by: Bemildred | Sep 19 2019 15:13 utc | 284

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 19 2019 14:20 utc | 287

Why Jeddah?
Because, perhaps, Jeddah is considered a more liberal city, easier for poor Westerners than austere Riyadh.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 19 2019 15:24 utc | 285

Paveway IV offers the following comment at Southfront in answer to missiles overflying Bahrain:

"Navy AN/SPY-1D can detect a golf ball-sized target at ranges in excess of 165 km. 360° coverage. Should be an Aegis-equipped Ticonderoga class cruiser or Arleigh Burke class destroyer bobbing around somewhere near 5th Fleet HQ in Bahrain. They should have even been able to see anything attacking Khurais - well within the 310 km missile detection range. AN/SPY-6 isn't due out until 2023. Hope nobody starts shooting golf balls at the Lincoln, or is that busy protecting Israel today?"

The Outlaw US Empire has no proof to offer showing Iran as the culprit because none exists.

Russian military source cited by RT provides the following disposition of Saudi air defences:

"Nowadays, there are 88 Patriot launchers – 52 of which are the newest PAC-3 version – shielding Saudi Arabia’s northern border, he said. In addition to that, three guided missile destroyers, armed with 100 SM-2 missiles, are traversing Persian Gulf waters off Saudi shores." [My Emphasis]

All have radars and none saw anything because there was nothing for them to see.

Then there's Pompeo's latest and lamest, which I'm not going to bother linking to where he said, paraphrasing: "We have the best air defense systems in the world but such systems fail all the time"! Yes, I'm not making that up!

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 19 2019 15:26 utc | 286

Aside from Pepe Escobar's occasional articles, IMO Asia Times has become a worthless informational website as it joins the Iran Did It BigLie Media chorus with this pile of crap by a presstitute named Stephen Bryen that's nothing but conjecture mixed with an assortment of Outlaw US Empire and Saudi lies about the attack and previous ones. Just one question: How did all those air defense radars fail to see any of the attacking UAVs as they flew over them?

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 19 2019 15:50 utc | 287

Craig Murray Goes Off on Saudis in a rant I'd like to see more people write. It seems he's channeling Ansarullah, as like them he sees the Saudis as cowards:

"Saudi will always remain a firm US and Israeli ally, because the biggest coward always hides behind the biggest bully..."

Short and to the point. He's not fooled by the propaganda:

"The British government, having armed, supplied, trained and lent special forces to the enduring Saudi massacre of Houthi civilians in Yemen, is horrified and full of condemnation that the Houthis have the temerity to hit back at an oil facility. The attack by drones was a brilliant bit of assymetric warfare that shows money is not everything in war."

It's somewhat a mirror of the Global Class War--the massively rich bombing the poor to teach them who's boss. But the poor have fought back and won, albeit at great cost; yet the rich refuse to learn or perhaps mature.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 19 2019 16:07 utc | 288

Again about the satellite images of the onion shape tanks with "holes" a lot of things puzzle me, and one of them is:

How the images can have so low angle of vision if it is a satellite images?, because all the satellites I have seen are "flat" (2D), and you cannot see clearly the details in 3D, but in this case we can see the details of the onion tanks as they were photographed by a drone or plane instead of a satellite, but it was a satellite after all...

These are the images:

I have seen the web page of the company that provide the satellite images (DigitalGlobe), and there is an interesting explanation of how this company "build" the 3D models, and I think it is very complicate to reproduce the shape of the holes in 3D when they are close to the "ecuador" of a round shape form:

I think in this case there is too "creativity" in how the images were built, I do not believe in them

Why not sending a drone or an helycopter to take the photos? were not there any police or emergency helycopter flying around? why use a "private" satellite company to "make" the photos instead of the military satellites in an area close to Iran where for sure there were some of them? OK, few public workers now want to be caught red handed after the amazing exhibition of Collin Powell, but a corporation well paid...

Posted by: DFC | Sep 19 2019 16:19 utc | 289

Yet another rant today, this one by Mohammed Al-Houthi "Comments on International Community’s Disregard for Yemenis Blood" with which IMO we'll all agree with. Just some of what he said:

"'Secretary-General of the United Nations: experts from the United Nations left for Saudi Arabia to investigate the attack on Aramco!' Al-Houthi said in his Twitter account on Wednesday, 'but they (the experts) did not leave to investigate the crimes and massacres committed against the Yemeni people, they did not leave for human rights in Yemen and for the greatest humanitarian tragedy made by aggression.'

"'They did not leave for the children of Yemen, who are killed by the US-British-French weapons in Yemen, did not leave in order to lift the siege and end the famine made by aggression,' he added.

"'They did not leave for five years to see the prohibited weapons being bombed on Yemen. They did not leave to protect the child whose school was destroyed....'

"'Do the Yemenis need to replace their bodies with barrels of oil and their shreds with gas, so that the world realizes the exaggeration, meanness, servility, criminality and terrorism done by the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE along with their alliance in Yemen?!'" [My Emphasis]

That pretty well seals the Class War aspect of the slaughter in Yemen: Hydrocarbons and the wealth ascribed to them are more important than humans. And we see that with the Boeing debacle, the Climate Crisis, denial of universal healthcare for billions along with the ongoing maldistribution of foodstuffs that causes hunger to persist despite the plenty that's grown.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 19 2019 16:28 utc | 290

@karlof1 #293
According to the internet, Khurais is 210 miles from Bahrain island. That's 300+ kilometers.
As for golf ball: sounds like bullshit, unless the golf ball is made of steel.
I can just see the radar display for such a system: completely over-run with tracks of birds, flying trash bags, etc.
Would also be really amusing with golf ranges.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 19 2019 16:31 utc | 291

And here we have a huge howler:

"Saudia claims that IRGC missiles experts, among them General Mahmud Bagheri Kazemabad (On a US Treasury sanctions list), arrived in Yemen in the past week to help Houthis fire missiles & launch drones into Saudia. They arrived on a UN flight impersonating doctors | Al Arabiya"

The theatre of the absurd is quickly degenerating, only to be topped by this:

"Saudi Arabia has also asked Iraq’s national oil company, the State Organization for Marketing of Oil, or SOMO, for as much as 20 million barrels of crude to supply Saudi’s domestic refineries, two people familiar with the matter said."

It would seem the damage inflicted is significant after all, just not in the ways displayed in the doctored sat pics. Both Brent and WTI are up today, perhaps in response to the above article.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 19 2019 16:45 utc | 292

More evidence mounts against the hypothesis of a false flag. This time, the info comes from "a high-ranking source in the Russian Defence Ministry":

US Patriots Couldn’t Repel Attack on Saudi Oil Facilities Due to Low Efficiency – Russian MoD Source

Posted by: vk | Sep 19 2019 16:48 utc | 293

And there's more:

Saudi-led Coalition Foiled Attack by Yemeni Houthis in Red Sea - Report

Al Arabiya TV reported Thursday that the Saudi-led coalition had destroyed an explosives-laden vessel launched by the Houthi movement from Yemen's port of Hodeidah.

The Houthi movement hasn't confirmed the reports yet.

So, all of a sudden, the Houthis have also have ships? Bu... but weren't they cave people? Weren't they just an Iranian façade?

Either the report is real and Saudi Arabia involuntarily admitted the Houthis are in a much better position than was propagandized (so they could also send drones), or they are lying and kind of admitting they really have a shitty defensive military (and therefore, that the American anti-aircraft systems are also shitty).

Posted by: vk | Sep 19 2019 16:53 utc | 294

Zarif appeared on CNN earlier this morning and tweeted this:

"On @CNN, I emphasized that here's no such thing as a 'limited strike'. Iran does NOT want war, but we will NOT hesitate to defend ourselves.

"Also, Yemenis, under brutal attack for yrs, have powerful motivation to build what it takes to defend themselves."

There's also a 90sec clip from interview on thread.

IMO, the weight of global opinion sides with Iran and Houthis. It also appears the Outlaw US Empire is trying to keep world leaders away from this year's UNGA by not issuing visas.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 19 2019 16:55 utc | 295

vk @301--

Al Arabiya is the source of the Howler I posted @299. It's veracity is to always be intensely questioned.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 19 2019 16:58 utc | 296

I don't know who started it, but the rising counter-narrative being employed was also echoed by Magnier:

"Main stream media ignored this war since years and, to the west, the destruction of oil facilities is more important than human lives."

The bolded text is mine and forms the core of the counter-narrative for which there's ample proof, unlike the claims that Iran Did It. Will global social media be able to overwhelm BigLie Media's narrative? Only if people participate as best they can.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 19 2019 17:08 utc | 297

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 19 2019 16:58 utc | 303

I also don't believe it is true. But every lie also reveals a bit of the underlying truth -- in this case, that Saudi Arabia is militarily inept, and that one of the reasons for this is the inneficiency of American weapons it buys to order of billions.

Posted by: vk | Sep 19 2019 17:09 utc | 298

"More evidence mounts" ...

Posted by: vk | Sep 19 2019 16:48 utc | 300

"Evidence". Where was the "evidence" in that Sputnik piece?

Poor Iranians. Russia is their "friend". Oy vey!

Your "evidence" was Russian military _confirming_ unsubstantiated allegations regarding a swarm attack from North. That is your "evidence".

Are you stupid or are you just paid to be here 24/7 pushing Russian propaganda?

Posted by: FKA-Realist | Sep 19 2019 17:23 utc | 299

@306 FKA-Realist

Jeez - here comes a new guy on shift. "Step aside fellers, I'll show you how to troll this forum!"

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 19 2019 17:40 utc | 300

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