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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I am pretty sure that derrick like structure in the Satellite picture was actually a refinery flare. Do a search on Saudi refinery flares and you will see the same type structure. When a sudden flaring event happens unburned crude can hit the ground as the whole system goes to flare. That picture of the derrick structure looks exactly like the aftermath of a sudden flaring event.

Countermeasure can be developed and put in place with some time. The damage can be repaired fairly quickly. There will be some space between now and the next attack as there was space between the tanker incidents and this attack. These types of measured responses comes for a State actor. With effective countermeasures in place comes more extreme measures.

If it was a 100% Houthi event they would be pounding away at the Saudis. I would guess the Iranians are supplying the equipment to make this happen in coordination with cruder Houthi drones. The Houthis suppliers would be pouring on the drones to make this happen more regularly if that was an effective strategy. It is not in a continuous term but it is effective in a slow motion form of terrorism that slowly destabilizes the Saudis without drawing in the West. The Houthis may be the foil of the Iranians like the Palestinians were the foil of the Arab world for a long time. The Palestinians have long been abandoned by everyone and I would guess the Iranians would do the same to the Houthis if they were no longer needed.

Notwithstanding false flags, ginned up satellite photos, able intelligence agencies, and cheap oil prices in the realm of possibility, an Iranian strike coordinated with their allies within or near Saudiland is most possible as they have the means, the opportunity and the motive. Their threats are real.

Posted by: dltravers | Sep 18 2019 4:40 utc | 101

I am thinking more along the line of electrical tech, composites- the type of parts that cant be found on soviet era gear. Also parts like servo motors or whatever controls the flight surfaces and so forth would need to be scaled to the size of units they are building. Much could be built from what they have at hand, but many critical parts would still need to be smuggled in.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2019 4:41 utc | 102

Grieved @80 so what you are saying is the warring powers so abused human rights, that the otherwise polarized humans, each with an axe to grind against the other, gathered and depolarized their differences to produce in-sync as fellow victims, a plan to defend their right to survive? That organization of depolarized minds may reach far beyond survival.. the in-sync victims have learned from this forced depolarization, that 10 million human minds are better than one human mind, as long as the 10 million can use the discovery made by the one. (<=exactly the reason for copyright and patent laws <=the law produces monopolies; <=monopolies capture inventions into marketable containers that can be used to gate for profit or deny access or use of the invention to all but a few).

Tolerance of the masses for abuse of authority, abuse of power and government infringement against human rights is limited when privately owned weapons are in the hands of the bulk of the governed masses. I have not found anything else that works?

Thesis: cross border physical conflict between nations are estopped, when every nation is endowed with the same or similar capabilities in weapons and defensive equipment as all of the other nations. No one is defensively less capable than anyone else
and no one is more capable aggressively then anyone else.

Posted by: snake | Sep 18 2019 5:02 utc | 103

Is this part of the Iranian strategy?

Posted by: jiri | Sep 18 2019 5:58 utc | 104

Martin | Sep 18 2019 4:50 utc | 103
I cannot help but notice that the article you linked to doesn't offer a scintilla of proof about Ataturk being a secret jew, nor proof that there were at least 1.5 million closet jews in Turkey at the time Attaturk took over.
No primary sources - or sources of any type, were offered to substantiate the more off the wall claims, which leads anyone with even half a brain to conclude the entire article is nonsense.

Anyone can say anything - until it is supported with evidence it is proof of nothing other than an over-active judeophobic personality.

This is the usual nonsense hasbara encourages its more foolish arseholes to pump out on evidence based sites which demonstrate the true nature of the zionist state in a hopeless attempt to tar the site with the brush of being a purveyor of hysteric racism.

FAIL - must try harder.

Posted by: A User | Sep 18 2019 6:18 utc | 105

Very well written, defense has to have the same importance as offense...

Posted by: mikk | Sep 18 2019 7:17 utc | 106

@6 VK Posted by: vk | Sep 17 2019 20:00 utc | 6

You can have a capitalist economy and regulate the arms industry so that at the very least it produces weapons that work. The US got rid of that under Clinton and Trump is making it worse

Posted by: Cresty | Sep 18 2019 7:44 utc | 107

@85 Don Bacon

Maybe I'm not picking up your subtlety, but the Iranian relationship with the Taliban has always been functional. They didn't want fighting to come over the border, they would prefer if Hazaras aren't genocided, and they don't want drugs to transit through their country. They lost something like 5000 border guards by 2015, starting in 2000.

They've fully militarized that section of the border but it's expensive and a government that would stop rather than promote poppy farming would be very much in their interest.

Russia's relationship is the same, there is some gas in the Uzbek region up north and some trading up north that they don't want to be disrupted, and they don't want chaos spilling over.

I've read your comments a million times so I'm sure you get all that and I just didn't read between the lines

Posted by: Cresty | Sep 18 2019 7:56 utc | 108

This attack on Saudi oil facilities has been perfectly timed for maximum benefit to impact yesterday´s Israeli election result hopefully swaying voters towards the safest pair of hands they know in times of war,poll struggler PM Bibi with his new US mutual defense pact on the table.
10 Houti drones launched from the direction of Yemen plus an unknown number of likely zionist owned cruise missiles adding muscle to guarantee success by piggy backing on that attack. If results differ from polls then it will have been a worthwhile deceptive action. Saudis & US Frackers get the higher oil prices they need for their budget and perhaps Lloyds of London the 9-11 big losers are also on the hook for rebuilding Saudi´s ruined plant.Russia gets to sell Saudis defensive systems and America gets a recession with higher oil prices and Trump´s chances of re-election take a nose dive just days after Bolton resigned.

Posted by: Swift | Sep 18 2019 8:48 utc | 109

Pat Lang won't let me post on his site, so I'll have to point this out here instead.

He has just posted an open letter to Trump regarding a war with Iran, and he points out (correctly) that:
1) Iran can set its proxy forces in Syria and Iraq loose on US troops in those countries
2) Iran will fire every missile in its arsenal at any US troops within range
3) Iran will fire its AA missiles at any and all USAF planes
4) Iran will keep attacking the 5th fleet until they run out of boats

All true, and all well and good as far as it goes.

But Pat seems to have the same blind spot as all other US pundits, in that they apparently have forgotten all about the Iranian Army.

They do have an Army, and can muster half a million fighting men.
Which, indeed, is probably ten times as many ground troops that CENTCOM possesses.

Seems to me that the Iranians can think of several good uses for such an army.
For one thing, they can launch an invasion of Afghanistan with the intention of killing each and every GI who has the misfortune of being in-theatre.

They'll have at least a 10-to-1 advantage of men.
Not so much a fight as a slaughter.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Sep 18 2019 9:12 utc | 110


Once upon a time the USA was a hegemon. All and sundry begin to walk all over the hegemon.

Posted by: Michael B | Sep 18 2019 9:54 utc | 111

Bernhard, excellent article, as usual, thank you. The recent situation in KSA is just a small example of the collapse on classic warfare, we have seen it closely in Vietnam, Lebanon 2006, then Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and for 2,500 years in Afghanistan, time and time again. The supposed richer countries trying to impose their will and military power when facing organized societies with, purpose and means to defend, do exactly that, they fend off the aggressors.
In the case of Yemen, which has not been conquered due to the terrain and its people (similar to Afghanistan), they, as few other cases, had friends that supplied means of defense and attack, this is why Yemen/Houthis, after 5 years of war of aggression against them, they can hit back, in a way that KSA is not able to defend, small drones, flying low and hard to be spotted with a long range, this is the perfect weapon to demoralize arrogant regimes, it creates terror and damages in highly explosive places. Yemen will not back down until KSA leaves its aggressive policy and pay reparations, or Yemen will continue to inflict damages, slowly bleeding KSA and demoralizing its corrupt leadership.
I my view a decision to remove the current royalty from KSA was already taken, I mean, The Resistance will pursue it, slowly, will create situations for an internal coup, internal revolts and so on, KSA's security is mostly done by foreigners, many from Pakistan, Sudan etc...these people are treated as slaves, very badly, a time bomb when an opportunity arises, and KSA is approaching that dangerous zone, few more well placed strikes that put KSA on its knees and expose wide open its vulnerability will be the sign for the large & oppressed Shia population to revolt, with it goes Bahrain as well.
Lets remember that Qatar is a mortal enemy for KSA, and has its own ambitions to expand territory beyond its tiny area, KSA is playing with fire by bending to the US,Uk and Israel, it is risking being retaliated in pieces.

Posted by: Canthama | Sep 18 2019 10:53 utc | 112

Grieved @80 noted that "...these countries... are in fact in a coalition..."

The response to that from imperial loyalists is not unexpected: "Nooo! Primitive sand people cannot put aside the identity politics differences that our empire cultivates in them and unite against us!"

The imperial loyalists, despite considering themselves to be "woke" and "inclusive" and unbigoted and moral, find it inconceivable that any peoples other than those of northern European and anglo descent could unite in the face of an existential threat. To be certain, these empire loyalists cannot even see themselves as being the existential threat that is uniting peoples, despite having literally slaughtered millions of innocents over the last half century or so. Their sense of moral and cultural superiority is an axiom that must remain beyond question lest their all-important identities be exposed as cheap narcissism, so they pour into the forum to promote conspiracy theories about how the stunning successes of the coalition that Grieved notes above are actually convoluted and inscrutably super-sophisticated moves on a Grand Chessboard. To maintain this fiction they must overlook the fact that their empire's best strategists reached the limits of their geostrategic talent playing the board game Risk. Consider that the imperial mass media has begun to refer to pompous Pompeo as "the next Kissinger", and recall that even the former Kissinger was never really that bright but was just ruthless and totally lacking a conscience.

Face reality, imperial loyalists: The Houthis, whom you cannot even credit with being human, have just successfully wounded your lackeys in the Middle East. The Houthis accomplished this with skill, intelligence, and determination.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 18 2019 10:56 utc | 113

The conscientious judges of the European Court of Human Rights published a judgement a fortnight ago which utterly exploded the version of events promulgated by Western governments and media in the case of the late Mr Magnitskiy. Yet I can find no truthful report of the judgement in the mainstream media at all.

The myth is that Magnitskiy was an honest rights campaigner and accountant who discovered corruption by Russian officials and threatened to expose it, and was consequently imprisoned on false charges and then tortured and killed. A campaign over his death was led by his former business partner, hedge fund manager Bill Browder, who wanted massive compensation for Russian assets allegedly swindled from their venture. The campaign led to the passing of the Magnitskiy Act in the United States, providing powers for sanctioning individuals responsible for human rights abuses, and also led to matching sanctions being developed by the EU.

However the European Court of Human Rights has found, in judging a case brought against Russia by the Magnitskiy family, that the very essence of this story is untrue. They find that there was credible evidence that Magnitskiy was indeed engaged in tax fraud, in conspiracy with Browder, and he was rightfully charged. The ECHR also found there was credible evidence that Magnitskiy was indeed a flight risk so he was rightfully detained. And most crucially of all, they find that there was credible evidence of tax fraud by Magnitskiy and action by the authorities “years” before he started to make counter-accusations of corruption against officials investigating his case.

This judgement utterly explodes the accepted narrative, and does it very succinctly:


Posted by: Off Topic | Sep 18 2019 11:07 utc | 114

@113 "Once upon a time the USA was a hegemon. All and sundry begin to walk all over the hegemon."

Well, no, and not really the point I was trying to make.

Which, again, is this: as far as I can tell all US military pundits have a massive blind spot within which the Iranian army simply disappears from their view.

That the Iranian navy will immolate themselves to take out USN ships is viewed as a given.
That the Iranians will keep firing at USAF jets until they run out of missiles is axiomatic.
That the Iranians will expect their proxy allies to fight to the last man is taken for granted.

Yet Iran has an army that numbers half-a-million fighting men and - apparently - this fighting force is completely and totally invisible to western military analysts to the point where those soldiers do not factor into their thinking one iota.

Bizarre. Utterly bizarre.

It is a given that Iran is going to throw everything it has at the Americans, up to and including the kitchen sink, so why would anyone assume that the Iranians are just going to leave 500,000 fighting men laying about doin' nothing?

They won't.

Iran will mobilize every last one of them, arm them to the teeth, and then launch them at each and every US military base that is within marching distance.

And CENTCOM does *not* have the ground troops to stop them.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Sep 18 2019 12:07 utc | 115

Martin #109 nice try in rebutting A User #106 but I am hilariously calling bullshit on your linked stories.

Put up citations and fact based analysis or go try writing for the New Zionist Weekly. They have a truly gullible readership.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 18 2019 12:11 utc | 116

..." because the U.S. does not have such systems."...

Taffyboy banned for irritating thin skinned people!


Posted by: Taffyboy | Sep 18 2019 12:14 utc | 117

The Israelis did it! Way too many intentionally unanswered questions about launch and incoming direction. We have capability to find and examine a knat from outer space. But do not know origin or position of launch? A few reasons for event.
1. Reelect Satanyahu. And keep him out of jail.
2. Continue the Yinon plan--conquer the territory from the brook of Egypt (the Nile River) to the
Euphrates River, and NEVER allow the peace word to be uttered.
3. Every time Iran makes any suggestion of negotiations with the US, create an event that snuffs out any
peace effort.
4. Mollify the criminals of Saudis and Israelis who believe that the iron is hot, and this may be their
last good chance to take out Iran.
The only buffer against the warmongering Israeli Zionist faction that is restraining war now is the overpowering side of Judaism (the Rothschild Group) who do not want war that will blow up their world assets. And they still control most of the Israeli intelligence.

Posted by: Last Day of Grace | Sep 18 2019 12:33 utc | 118

Thank you Yeah, Right #112, my sentiments too. I get the drift that Trump is revelling in this circumstance and will make nice tweets and predictable noises but ultimately will be urging KSA and the clown prince to put up and attack Iran as Israel requests or shut up.

As for Pat Lang site, there are many good reads there but he is too egocentric and precious to lose sleep over him blocking posts. tetchy old windbag.

I took a peek at who buys Saudi oil production: mostly Asia, but Jordan and Bahrain are pretty dependent so that makes for volatile times should KSA let prices rise or retaliate against Iran who would then squeeze all the middle east customers.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 18 2019 12:34 utc | 119

after nearly everybody converges in agreeing the attack came from the ragtag houthis... let s see the overal fall out of the episode.
1- Saudi arabias country is vulnerable, the king s assets are very vulnerable from now on...
2-the US protection, US weapons and promises are close to a monstruous pile of shit;
3-Leaders all along the ME, Africa and else where are learning how to evaluate the American friendship and alliances
4-If and to the extent where the Salmans entourage manages to quickly recover the Saudi oil supply... Iran and Houthis will can quietly and accordingly assess and improve their weapons and strategies for the future.
Clear like sunshine.

Posted by: augusto | Sep 18 2019 12:35 utc | 120

William Gruff says:

To maintain this fiction they must overlook the fact that their empire's best strategists reached the limits of their geostrategic talent playing the board game Risk

hahaha, yeah, a million laughs...all of that brilliant geopolitical strategizing from starched suits bending our ears for the last how many decades turns out to be so much deluded horseshit. Henry Kissenger, Zibigniew Brezinski, James Baker, etc. what a crock!

oh yeah, almost forgot about that other duped asshat...Oded Yinon.

Posted by: john | Sep 18 2019 12:46 utc | 121

USA arms, good enough to attack air-defenseless Afghanistan. USA military, the sequestrator of the American nation. if only the people knew.....

Posted by: nietzsche1510 | Sep 18 2019 12:46 utc | 122

@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 17 2019 22:41 utc | 43

The Houthi never said they attacked Saudi Arabia with only 10 drones, let alone that all their drones were "sucidal". They stated this was "one of the largest operations carried out by our forces in the depth of Saudi Arabia", but they never gave numbers.

Posted by: vk | Sep 18 2019 12:56 utc | 123

Jackrabbit @16

In 2001, drones were just a distant dream.

Not so distant, they had big ones to hit buildings.

Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 18 2019 12:56 utc | 124

Houthi news site.
"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."
"Ansarullah in Yemen claimed the attack, saying that 10 drones had targeted Abiqaiq, as well as the Khurais oilfield."
"Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Yemeni forces said that the air force targeted 10 planes refinery Abqaiq and Khurais in eastern Saudi Arabia."

A number of other articles I have read at the houthi site also state 10 drones.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2019 13:12 utc | 125

I've noticed many commenters here (probably Americans) have some kind of obsession cum admiration with Israel. Like if it was some kind of super-State, a State above the States, which controls the USA from behind the curtains and can never fail. Well, if this Aramco attack was an Israeli deep state false flag operation to get Netanyahu re-elected, then it didn't work out:

After Tight Israeli Election, Netanyahu’s Tenure Appears Perilous

Even if Netanyahu nominally wins, he won't be able to form a government. For all its sui generis history, Israel is still susceptible to the laws that govern the dynamics of the traditional nation-State; it still has contradictions -- both domestic and foreign. It has a demographic bomb, extremely high inequality, a high proportion of Arab population (most of them assimilated Palestinians), etc. etc.

Yes, it punches above its weight thanks to the serendipity of having many Jewish billionaires in -- of all countries -- the USA, who constantly lobby to align both countries national interests. But the same is true for all the Western European countries, which, if not for its colonial past/inheritance, would be insignificant micro-nations nowadays.


And now, an ally that doesn't have a dog in this fight doesn't appear to be that interested in dancing to the American tune:

Japan says Houthis, not Iran, conducted Saudi attacks

“We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday.

“We believe the Houthis carried out the attack based on the statement claiming responsibility,” he added, referring to the Yemeni group incorporated into the armed forces fighting back a Saudi-led war on Yemen.

This is Japan's Defense Minister talking -- not some obscure, anonymous "inside officer" or advisor without any legal power (e.g. Pompeo). The USA will have to negotiate Japan's opinion on the matter. Wouldn't be surprised if some anti-South Korea and harsher measures against North Korea comes from the USA in the next days if it really cares at this point about what the Japanese think.

Posted by: vk | Sep 18 2019 13:16 utc | 126

"Russian air and missile defense proved in Syria that it can defeat mass attacks by drones as well as by cruise missiles. " You mean like the last time, when they wiped out the Syrian Air Force?

Posted by: OTOH/IMHO | Sep 18 2019 13:16 utc | 127

@ Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2019 13:12 utc | 129

You only quote one web site, and the links don't mention all the 10 drones were "suicidal". I think drones can shot more than once.

Posted by: vk | Sep 18 2019 13:20 utc | 128

After traveling 1300k, how many firecrackers will they drop. Oil infrastructure is generally substantial and would take a decent size charge to do any damage. Also the release mechanism would take up weight that could otherwise be used by a warhead. Then there is the targeting of of bomblets, more weight, video linkback to operator and so forth. Much easier to have the drone fly into into a target on coordinates or use a simple image recognition targeting system as has been explained in one of these threads. Weight is critical for long distance flights. Balanced between sufficient fuel and sufficient weight of explosive charge. Weight of any extra gadgetry has to be taken off the weight of explosive.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2019 13:33 utc | 129

JohnH @42:
Not so fishy, I think. Note that oil prices are still in backwardation: that means, the market expects that future oil prices will be significantly lower than they are today.

There is a good reason oil prices are in backwardation: we have already entered the twilight years of industrial civilization. Ultimately, the price of a barrel of oil will be the same as the price of a barrel of radioactive waste, and for the same reason. The price will either be zero, or, more likely, they will both be unavailable on the open market: the reason is that no-one will be able to make a profit out of either of them.

Posted by: GeraldS | Sep 18 2019 13:34 utc | 130

@ Posted by: Cresty | Sep 18 2019 7:44 utc | 108

That's only valid as long as profit rates remain high. Once profits dry up, it takes precedence over utility.

Posted by: vk | Sep 18 2019 13:36 utc | 131

vk re the one web site.

Almasirah Media network is owned by the Ansarullah Movement whichis the Houthi movement.
email address for "the one" website is :

Almasirah TV

It is the place were other websites get their news on houthi statements and press releases.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2019 13:52 utc | 132

"Are the Saudis so stupid or just lazy?"
on looker@117

Neither: the House of Saud does not trust its subjects, so it keeps arms out of their hands and keeps them away from jobs in which they could strike or sabotage. Guest workers, from a variety of countries and cultures, can be treated ruthlessly, deported at will, cheated, raped and abused without fear that they will be able to do anything about it.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 18 2019 13:55 utc | 134

Don @93

[Author of NBC article...]

"Damn autocorrect! Not imagery! I said IMAGINARY!"

Posted by: J Swift | Sep 18 2019 14:11 utc | 135

Great analysis B.
Even the Colonel had to admit you are "A brilliant military analyst".
Must have seriously hurt him to admit that.


One thing though: I dont think Putin was trolling the Saudis. The offer seems real, and part of Putins strategy. He build up good relations with them. And when the Saudis invited the Russian ambassador to talk at the evening of the attack, it may well be also have been about buying those air defenses.
Russia has no more allys or enemies in Putins thinking. He wants good relations with all players, and balance them out.
I bet we will see in the not too distant future serious back channel talks about buying S400s, BUKs and Pantsirs.

And in the end, a US ally like the Saudis also being the top dog in OPEC, may well be more valuable to Putin than Iran. Not to speak of Syria. So their possible objecting against a sale wont matter much anyway.
In the bad economic situation that Russia is in, together with the pressure of the majority of Russians against the neoliberal so called Pension "reforms", making billion dollars sales would be very tempting to Putin, even if diplomatic and geopolitical considerations would suffer on this.
Like with India, where Russias foreign policy establishment (for generations always pro India and against China) always forgive Indian backstabbing in the hope to not let those weapon deals die, that Dehli did not already kill. While antagonizing China and Pakistan, who are at least as important to Russia, when even the US was more balanced.

So it isnt so easy, it depends on many factors. A deal with the Saudis about air defense weapons has been rumored for at least a whole year. So this may well not be trolling, but Putin laying the groundwork to prepare the public and its current partners for a deal.
The Russian-Saudi partnership is on the rise for a long time, and it would only be logical.
The Saudis are pissed now anyway, because of Trumps mafia style of treating them (They are the defenders of Mecca and Medina, as close to the propeht as a mortal can be), and this goes against their self image of being higher than any other human being. Then the Donald recently disclosed the Saudi official who helped the 9/11 terrorists, which the other admins in the US have always prevented.
The are seriously angry, and as they know how important they are for the US (petrodollar, weapon sales, OPEC), they would IMHO have no problem to hit back at the US more or less subtle with buying Russian air defenses.
It all checks out. The geopolitical landscape has changed, so this would be no suprise, and even a logical development.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Sep 18 2019 14:13 utc | 136

Just a desperate hasbarat. Oh those russians, rearming syrians with one hand while wiping out their airforce with the other!

Posted by: WHAT | Sep 18 2019 14:14 utc | 137

@ J Swift 140
Good one. Reminds me of god talking to the monk: "I said celebrate, not celibate!"

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 18 2019 14:14 utc | 138

Someone mentioned the Houthi's striking Mecca as a possibility. This seems highly unlikely and if it did, would be the perfect example of someone cutting their nose off to spite their face.

Posted by: morongobill | Sep 18 2019 14:17 utc | 139

Peter AU 1 @133

First you complain that there is not enough damage to the hydrogen sulfide tanks, now you are suggesting that drones armed with RPG style ordinances wouldn't do the huge amount of damage that is seen.

Which is it? Too much damage or not enough? Or are you just rhetorically flailing to justify the belief that someone else; anybody but the Houthis, gets credit?

I don't see the need to construct such elaborate conspiracies around this event, and I don't see the need to cling to the belief that Yemenis are just hopelessly primitive cave people who can only fight with pointed sticks unless someone else arms them, as is the case with the dirtbags that the empire uses as proxies. The simplest explanation, and the one that most completely answers the issue of motives and opportunity, is that the Yemenis have been industriously building up their domestic capabilities over the last half decade and have used those capabilities to launch an effective counter-attack.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 18 2019 14:19 utc | 140

The U.S. just increased sanctions on Iran again. Bad move.

Trump is stupid. He illegally removed the U.S. from the Iran deal and is now boxed into escalation that has no good outcome.

I'm sorry, but I no longer trust Putin. He's like a double agent and I'm tired and bored trying to guess what game he's playing while he benefits Israel most and Iran is always on the receiving end of the damaging consequences of his indulgence of Netanyahoo's demands. I'm done with it! Done.

Posted by: Circe | Sep 18 2019 14:19 utc | 141

William Gruff
You are starting to come across as a bit of a crank on this one. Do you believe US media as much as you believe the images they put out on the Houthi strike.
Take a look at the drones and ballistic missile in b's pic. Little drones like the one at the front has to carry and explosive charge 1300 km. The much larger ballistic missile can carry a much larger warhead much shorter distance.
Re the numbers of targets struck. You believe with blind faith that images put out by US government are factual and that their stated number of targets hit is factual.
If you can get around your blind faith in US truthfullness, you could probably nut out a little of what occurred.
A feww seem to think there was no strike or it was a complete false flag, then others turn the Houthi's into comic book superheros that can perform any miracle.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2019 14:33 utc | 142

Putin is in this game for Putin. Not to destroy Israel, US, or even saudi. Simple!
And what demands of Bibi`s were indulged, specifically? Perfunctory endorsement in his elections? While hosting leaders of and openly discussing future strategy with both Iran and Turkey, lol? While Shoigu is planning fleet exercises with his Iranian colleagues?

And why does everybody just take these photos at face value? Identical holes in whatever number of spheres is extremely easy to make with handy "clone stamp" tool in Photoshop.

Posted by: WHAT | Sep 18 2019 14:34 utc | 143

Peter AU 1 @147

Some here don't want to consider the possibility that the attack was anticipated and how such an expectation might be used to further various goals/agendas.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 18 2019 14:50 utc | 144

Oil supply is back to what it was before the attack, but we don't know yet who is responsible - Saudi energy minister
Posted by: vk | Sep 18 2019 13:53 utc | 138

As I understand it - based on previous official Saudi announcements - that message is deceptive and really means the following:

1) "Oil supply" means what the Saudi's make available to the market, it does not mean production.

2) They previously announced they would make available 3 million BPD from Aramco reserves both within SA and overseas such as in Rotterdamm.

3) They previously announced the previous production was just under 10 million BPD.

4) Assuming over 50% of production is down for several weeks, they might be producing around 4 million BPD plus 3 million from reserves makes around 7 million BPD which is short of their claims.

5) The Houthis have announced more attacks are coming within a few days, so it looks like by next week the Saudis might not manage even the 7 million BPD.

6) Someone posted news on the previous thread that Saudi are even buying petrol from Iran, for domestic use because of shortages!

Posted by: BM | Sep 18 2019 14:51 utc | 145

Jackrabbit 28

This massive strike makes no sense given the status of the war. The Houthi have already won.
I don't have any insight into the Houthi strategies, but the Saudis walked out of the truce talks, didn't they? With the passage of time, the evidence about Khashoggi's death is no longer a big deal. The Saudis have not been responding to smaller attacks. I'm sure the Houthis are impatient. After all, their wives and children are suffering and dying while the Saudis continue to bomb with American targeting directions.

Posted by: Procopius | Sep 18 2019 15:18 utc | 146

The U.S. just increased sanctions on Iran again. Bad move.
Trump is stupid. He illegally removed the U.S. from the Iran deal and is now boxed into escalation that has no good outcome.
I'm sorry, but I no longer trust Putin. He's like a double agent and I'm tired and bored trying to guess what game he's playing while he benefits Israel most and Iran is always on the receiving end of the damaging consequences of his indulgence of Netanyahoo's demands. I'm done with it! Done.
Posted by: Circe | Sep 18 2019 14:19 utc | 146

I'd miss your pearlers if you suddenly stopped visiting MoA to say funny stuff. Are you unaware that Trump's AmeriKKKa and Putin's Russia have a huge problem with pro-"Israel" oligarchs? They're competing to see which of them can get Bibi to believe the most idiotic crap?
Trump's winning that one, btw.

Anyone waiting to hear Vlad or Trump say something disparaging about Bibi or "Israel" will be covered in cobwebs before that happens. Both Trump and Putin know exactly what they're doing and how to do it.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 18 2019 15:18 utc | 147

The new US National Security Advisor is lawyer Robert C. O'Brien, best known as author of his 2016 book "While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis."
Amazon 2016 blurb:

Robert C. O'Brien's collection of essays on U.S. national security and foreign policy, with a forward by Hugh Hewitt, is a wake up call to the American people. The world has become steadily more dangerous under President Obama's "lead from behind" foreign policy. The Obama Administration's foreign policy has emboldened our adversaries and disheartened our allies. Indeed, Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is a 1938 moment. At the same time, the U.S. military has been cut and risks returning to the hollow force days of the 1970s. O'Brien lays out the challenges and provides the common sense "peace through strength" solutions that will allow the next president to make America great again. . .here

The origin of MAGA? Or merely an update.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 18 2019 15:19 utc | 148

#SaudiArabia Defense Ministry press briefing:

- #Iran is behind the attacks.
- Attacks not originated from #Yemen, but from North.
- The attack involved 25 missiles & drones.
- Iranian “Ya Ali” missiles, & delta-wing drones were used in the attack.
- Iran aims to harm Saudi oil.

Yeah, right..

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 18 2019 15:19 utc | 149

@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 18 2019 14:50 utc | 149

Let's see (again):

1) USA: that would only help if Trump was decided to go to a hot war against Iran. By his declarations since yesterday, we already know that isn't going to happen. He didn't even jump to the "Iran did it!" bandwagon right away. He said he increased sanctions against Iran -- but Iran is already sanctioned to the maximum by the USA, so that's empty rhetoric.

2) Israel: wars in Israel only work as an election boost to the incumbent Prime Minister when Israel emerges with a clear victory. Saudi Arabia is not an enemy of Israel, and Israel is not going to a hot war against Iran (because the USA isn't going to). Netanyahu isn't going to form a government if these election results hold, so I'm not seeing any short term benefits to the Israeli government.

3) Saudi Arabia: it has a 188 billion barrel reserve to cover up for the losses for a couple of days, so they benefited a little bit from the 20% price rise. But so did everybody else -- including enemies of the USA, such as Russia and Venezuela. Besides, the attack dented the image of invincibility of Aramco's infrastructure, and Saudi Arabia's image as a neofascist ideal State.

4) Iran: Iran can block the Hormuz Strait -- a much more benign and cheap way to stop Saudi oil from being exported. If Iran attacks its neighbors' oil infrastructure, then it kind of states it's fair game for its neighbors to attack theirs. This is bad move for Iran from a purely game theory standpoint, let alone from the geopolitical one.

5) Masters of the Universe: yes, the oil price went up 20% in one day. But let's remember that even a USD 100.00 a barrel isn't that impressive from a historical standpoint: when the Iraq invasion happened, the barrel reached USD 300.00. Yes, a selected elite benefited a lot from this, but the USA didn't become a capitalist utopia because of that. We must not overestimate the effects of oil prices on capitalism and, specially, on the USA: the West is in terminal decline for a myriad of factors, not because of one silver bullet. Higher oil prices won't save the West.

My hypothesis is this: the USA/Saudi Arabia are too embarassed to admit their anti-aircraft weapons and systems are useless against puny drones and created a big, subterranean enemy in the form of Iran in order to avoid public embarassment. The Houthis are telling the truth, and they will do more attacks if the Saudis don't stop with theirs and settle for peace.

Posted by: vk | Sep 18 2019 15:22 utc | 150

Thank you, b.

Posted by: beq | Sep 18 2019 15:23 utc | 151

Don Bacon @153

O'Brien, best known as author of his 2016 book "While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis."

Not to be confused with the Inner Party member in 1984. Just a coincidence.

Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 18 2019 15:29 utc | 152

And the number's just changed:

Saudi Military: Attack on Saudi Aramco Facilities Were "Unquestionably Sponsored by Iran"

The headline calls that the Saudi Military stated the Aramco facilites were attacked with 18 missiles and 7 drones. They state cruise missiles were used. However, now they state the attack was simply "backed" by Iran. The weapons were all Iranian design.

That Iran is backing the Houthis we already knew and nobody doubts. But those drones and missiles didn't come from Iranian territory nor were they operated by Iranian personel. It's a free market world, and everybody can buy weapons from anybody.

Posted by: vk | Sep 18 2019 15:31 utc | 153


Posted by: vk | Sep 18 2019 13:16 utc | 130 links the New War Times article about the Israeli election results, but that states it is based on 63% of the votes counted. Wikipedia has an election page that asserts all 120 actual seats won - implying semi-official results, but it does not say specifically what the status of their data is so I assume they are unofficial results. According to that page:

Blue and White coalition 32 seats
Likud 31 seats
Joint list [4 Arab parties] 13 seats
Shas [religious extremists] 9 seats
Beiteinu [demands a unity government] 9 seats
UTJ [religious extremists] 8 seats
Yamina [religious extremists] 7 seats
Labour 6 seats
Democratic Union [socialist] 5 seats

Based on my reading of that wiki page and the NWT article, it looks like Netanyahoo has 55 seats in his pocket. It looks like Blue and White have only 43 in their pocket for a normal coalition, but leader Gantz has called for a broad unity government - on the strict condition of excluding any prime minister who faces indictment i.e. Netanyahoo personally - so it looks like he could have a pretty good chance. Total anti-Netanyahoo votes look to me to be about 65, but I know nothing of Israeli domestic politics so that might be completely wrong. Gantz might get the first chance to try and form a government.

Next step: horse trading. That might take until November, and presumably Netanyahoo will fail to get the immunity he needs before 2nd October.

Posted by: BM | Sep 18 2019 15:34 utc | 154

Peter AU 1 @147 sez: "...turn the Houthi's into comic book superheros that can perform any miracle."

No, clearly it is the Israelis who are "comic book superheros that can perform any miracle". They knew, using their infallible Mossad, precisely when the Yemenis were preparing an attack so that they could use their own cruise missiles (which are super-awesome and can actually work because they are Israeli) to do the real damage while hiding behind Yemen's little hobbyist radio controlled airplane drones.

To accomplish what? Why, to get the nutty yahoo elected, of course! It doesn't matter that the Israeli military denies any involvement since the Israeli population knows that whenever anything blows up in the region it was really an Israeli operation... or the motive was something like that anyway, even if it doesn't make any sense.

And the holes in the hydrogen sulfide tanks are just painted on. Why? Because the Saudis want to raise oil prices for the afternoon and they think they can fool The Market™ (hallowed be Its name) when their production doesn't decline.

Except that is not how the markets work, and the Saudis, as primitive and corrupt as they are, are not so stupid as to think that will work. If output doesn't drop, then prices will quickly return to stability. If Saudi production does drop to keep the prices higher, then so does their income. Lose/lose for Saudi false flag.

American false flag? Sure, Trump cooked up a scheme with multiple layers of misdirection, like in a Russian novel. The plan is for the Americans to pretend that the Houthis pretended to attack so that the Americans could pretend to use that as proof that the Iranians pretended to attack, giving Americans the chance to pretend to attack Iran if the Europeans don't agree to pretend to say bad things about Iran at the UN because America pretends to care so much about what people at the UN pretend to believe.

Yup. Impeccable logic right there.

Or maybe it was an American false flag that was really directed at the Chinese to scare them into kneeling to America's trade war demands?

Or maybe it was a British false flag intended to distract the bad teeth set from BoJo's messy hair? You know those perfidious Albionians are insanely jealous of the Great Orange One's perfect covfefe coiffure.

Or maybe it was a Chinese false flag because... well... they're Chinese and who knows why they do the things they do? Using a couple sticks to eat dogs and things like that? Just weird!

We can cook up off-the-wall nonsense all day long about what could have really happened, but what did happen is that things blew up in the territory of the aggressor in a war and the defenders in that war said they did it and will do it again.

Inflection points can be confusing, and turnaround can sometimes hurt, but history is full of such inflection points. It is better to roll with them than to fight them with denial.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 18 2019 15:43 utc | 155

vk @156

You're chasing your own tail.

US and Saudis say that over 20 missiles and drones were used in the attack. They say that this showed that Iran did the attack or participated in the attack because the Houthi only claim to have used 10 drones.

Peter AU 1 and I have said that it's possible to account for the excess damage as an attempt to exaggerate damage caused by the Houthi attack.

The GOAL of exaggerating the attack could be to simply increase oil prices or to justify war with Iran. Tensions with Iran will be elevated for weeks, if not months. That will mean higher oil prices than otherwise.

The timing is also suspicious because it comes just before the Israeli election and just after John Bolton was dismissed.

And despite Trump's backing away from his asinine "locked and loaded" comment, war with Iran is still very possible. The Iraq War started 18 months after 9-11.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 18 2019 15:47 utc | 156

Norwegian @159

Great catch! Certainly a strange coincidence. LOL.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 18 2019 15:52 utc | 157

@Don Bacon #153
O'Brien was the negotiator who got Burch out of Yemen, and has worked to get American hostages out of Iran.
So it is a little unclear to me if he's really a Bolton successor or simply not unwilling to be in the same circle.
This choice also makes it unclear if the new NSA is going to help Trump go for a foreign policy win before the 2020 election.
I would also note that the book wasn't so much about FSD as it was about not letting the US military lose too much effectiveness - not exactly the same message. While US military spend has continued to increase, actual effectiveness has likely declined. Certainly in the Navy, likely in the Air Force, no idea about Army or Marines.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 18 2019 15:53 utc | 158

clearly iran did this, just like kashoggi walked into a chainsaw.... who needs evidence when you have the best liars in the biz feeding the msm?? controlling the narrative is what this is all about... the goal posts are further down the road, but they haven't changed any, have they? usa-israel want war with iran... twitter kid is locked and loaded, lol... he is going to pull his head out of his ass now that bolton is no longer around, lolol...

Posted by: james | Sep 18 2019 15:54 utc | 159

My Friend Poutin got his answer from the used condom salesman..

– Israel Strikes Al-Bukamal Base In Eastern Syria For Second Time This Month –

The Russian Armed Forces have allegedly given the Syrian military the green light to use their S-300 system against Israeli warplanes that enter their airspace, the Russian aviation publication Avia.Pro reported.

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Sep 18 2019 16:02 utc | 160

Russian oil experts say 3 to 6 months to repair damage from strike as components must come from Europe according to TASS. As the remains of the uavs have been recovered their effective range can be determined. I suspect they were launched from within Saudi territory.

Posted by: the pessimist | Sep 18 2019 16:02 utc | 161

William Gruff @162: inflection points

Like Gulf of Tonkin?

Like 9-11 (the hoped-for/planned-for "new Pearl Harbor")?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 18 2019 16:04 utc | 162

Another official version came up. This time, from the Saudi military itself:

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of sponsoring oil-plant attack, says it ‘couldn’t have originated in Yemen’

Their main argument is that the attacks came "from the north".

If that's true, then the question remains: why didn't the Saudi radars detect it? Either b is lying, or the Saudi military is lying.

It's really hilarious at this point: the attack caught the West so low-guarded and stunned them so much that they can't even come up with a unified official narrative.

Posted by: vk | Sep 18 2019 16:05 utc | 163

Khamenei on Islamic Collective that was clearly the focus of Zarif's recent Shuttle Diplomacy and shows Grieved and myself to be on the right path regarding the Arc of Resistance's Collective Security arrangement being exported to the Ummah:

"If Islamic countries’ capacities are collected, if Iran, Iraq & other countries of West Asia & North Africa get united, then the Islamic ummah will show what #IslamicDignity is, & will show the world the #IslamicCivilization.

"Arbaeen march [honoring Imam Hussein] can be a means of achieving this goal."

The prior attempt to coalesce the Ummah was done using nationalism as the vehicle. I previously argued this was the wrong approach and uniting Islam was the proper pathway, and I still think that's the proper method.

morongobill @144--

No, I've written the Houthi might advance up Western Arabian to capture those holy sites in coordination with a Shia-led/instigated revolt that would oust the al-Sauds and reorder the entire arrangement of government and custodianship over Mecca and Medina. IMO, that's precisely what the Saud's risk by not ending their war on the Houthi.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 16:08 utc | 164

Houthi Armed Forces Spokesman is at this moment tweeting a series of statements explaining how the last attack was done that includes drone capabilities and types of munitions used!!!!!!!!!!! An example:

"Drones have fission heads carrying four precision bombs."

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 16:12 utc | 165

Houthi Armed Forces Spokesman is at this moment tweeting a series of statements explaining how the last attack was done that includes drone capabilities and types of munitions used!!!!!!!!!!! An example:

"Drones have fission heads carrying four precision bombs."

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 16:12 utc | 166

Jackrabbit @169

Sure, and the assassination of Kennedy, the Tet Offensive, and the Iranian Revolution too. Things happen, but not always according to the evil empire's plans.

Well, OK, that bit about Kennedy was part of the plan, at least so far as the CIA is concerned.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 18 2019 16:15 utc | 167

Given that the entire relationship between the USA and the KSA is an elaborate protection racket the failure of all those high priced systems to protect the oil fields against Ansrullah drones is particularly embarrassing.
It is embarrassing to the Saudis because they scarcely bother to unpack the weapons the US sends them-at premium prices- and dare not allow any of their countrymen to learn how to use them. And it is embarrassing to the Americans because they understand all this and ship over arms that don't work simply to ensure that those petrodollars circulate.
Hence the current campaign to convince us that Iran was responsible. Mind you, that propaganda is only effective so long as the American people don't really believe it because, if they did, they might demand war (you can imagine Pelosi, Schumer and Biden insisting on it) and Washington doesn't want that.
Jingoism isn't about fighting it's about threatening.
And, now that 57 varieties of Israeli Fascism are squabbling about whether the Prime Minister goes to jail for theft, even that distraction is no longer useful.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 18 2019 16:19 utc | 168



"It will be hard for the USA to steer the ship towards a "perfect" military industry because it is a capitalist economy, where it is the private sector -- not the public sector -- which decides what will be produced, how, and when."

In the end, high-end R&D intensive programs especially under capitalism serve themselves (think the incestuous military-to-contractor revolving door). The US MIC defends profitability. As such, it is perfectly capable of creating a tin-eared Maginot Line. While the Russian MIC is not immune to corruption, it and other nations still manage to keep national defense front-and-center. This has something to do with having been put on the defensive by an expansionist hegemon. For them, the inbound threat is palpable.

The Department of Defense should rename itself once again to The Department of Empire Power Projection. America doesn't even have the rudiments of a civil defense program, a revealing oversight.

"It will be hard for Saudi Arabia to buy significant quantities of Russian weaponry because that would hurt the Petrodollar scheme...That would put a dent in the Petrodollar recycling system"

The US is falling down on its end of the quid pro quo, i.e. providing a security umbrella for KSA and other Gulf-OPEC nations. Right on cue, the BIC is anticipating the USD's flagging reserve currency status. As a successor, BofE John Carney is floating the synthetic hegemonic currency. This is the follow-on to the USD, the latter being the last in a long line of national currencies conscripted into reserve status (and causing the unbridgeable chasm we suffer under today, the Triffin Paradox).

Posted by: FSD | Sep 18 2019 16:28 utc | 169

Statement from the Iranians "Saudi press confrence shows they are clueless about how attack was executed and know nothing about the military capabilities of their adversary".

Seems about right. Statement by bevin is on target.

Posted by: the pessimist | Sep 18 2019 16:29 utc | 170

Sorry for double post. I hope Houthi Media Website collects all those tweets into a coherent article with better context. And yes, IMO MoA's being read by them.

That Japan has broken with the Outlaw US Empire and Vassal Narrative is very important.

Unrelated yet relative to overall context: "The 5G race is over, and US lost... 6G is next frontier":

"If the US bans Huawei's 5G technologies, Washington's narrow mind will prevent the country from developing 6G. China looks forward to competing with the US in the next round of competition: 6G."

Chinese are seldom condescending, but the author's tone comes close.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 16:32 utc | 171

Getting a bit arrogant: "Saudi bet on US and European weapons is a losing bet; you cannot confront or drop any of our drones."

The best way to taunt/gloat is to repeat your attack and continue to prove your abilities through your actions. Being humble will gain you more friends that way.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 16:47 utc | 172

From the Houthi twitter link Karlof1 just gave:

"Almasirah English
@Almasirah_Eng 15m
#Breaking_News | #Armed_Forces_Spokesman: Drones used jet and ordinary engines, starting from three main points according to the range and route and from different destinations according to the target location #Almasirah"

That doesn't specify whether the drones were launched from within Yemen or within SA, but the reference "according to range" does appear to suggest that maybe some types were launched from Yemen while others were launched from closer to the targets.

They also claim:

"Almasirah English
@Almasirah_Eng 9m
#Breaking_News | #Armed_Forces_Spokesman: During 2nd Operation of Balance Deterrence, Other drones were used to camouflage and jam the enemy's defense systems #Almasirah"

One interpretation that would be logical to me is that they may have launched the bomb drones from Yemen, while some or all of the supporting drones may have been launched from nearby by Saudi Shi'ites. The latter might include jamming drones, surveillance drones, etc, and may have used totally different technology (small quadracopters for example).

The same tweets also claim the damage was far worse than has been publicly admitted. This was also suggested in the last thread. The US alleged photos are probably mostly photoshopped photos of the undamaged site to cover up the real carnage. The tanks with the alleged holes were probably not even targetted as not important enough, but were photoshopped onto the pics to suggest less important damage than the reality. People have been concentrating on the implausibility of the photos to conclude that there was less damage, but the reality was probably more. Look at results - official announcements of months of damage. Official announcement of over 50% production loss. That cannot be an overestimate, but could be an underestimate.

Posted by: BM | Sep 18 2019 16:47 utc | 173

@Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 18 2019 14:19 utc | 145

On motives and opportunities...I just detected one motive and opportunity nobody else, except Finnian Cunningham has done, that is this "event" lowered the price value of Armco to crumbs in face of the next IPO to be launched next year....

Now, I wonder, who is/are accustomed to low the prices of propietries at any dirty means in their "art of the deals" in real state or business acquisition, all the more when they are foreign propietry? Recall the USSR....
Who is/are trying to reconquest their former colonial assets and control all energy sources in the world, in face of cash need due recent developments... Brexit, redirecting of funds to US military refurbishing, coming stoke market and dollar hegemony crashes....

Of course, the Houthies would be idiots if not claimming responsability for such accurate and harmful attack on the heart of KSA main core assets as a propaganda effect...I do not discard that a regime change in KSA could be included amongst the goals ( as it is happening in former colonies of US/UK for different puroposes, but mostly possitioning the US in SouthEast Asia to better harass China, like Hong Kong, or former US controlled governments like Indonesia, where a seccesionist movement in Papua is taking place of which nobody talks...I just recall that one of Lang´s minions was said to be there, months or around a year ago...), apart from the lowering of price of Aramco...

I think this is in the origins of Putin´s trolling...Of course, the Russians know very well where the attacks came from...

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 18 2019 16:51 utc | 174

@172 & 173 karlof1

That is a king-hell tweet stream you've discovered - thank you very much! The Ansarullah military spokesman says: "During 2nd Operation of Balance Deterrence, Other drones were used to camouflage and jam the enemy's defense systems".

The spokesman in this tweet stream points out that Yemen's capabilities have indeed increased beyond what they were and what the enemy expected.

In other words, the Yemeni have fought back in this war in the way that a few commenters here have suggested: they increased their war-fighting capabilities until they were able to take the fight to the enemy's territory. We have seen this happen increasingly over the last 2-3 years, and now we're seeing that the capability has reached the point to end the war - if necessary by ending the enemy.


As for the concept that the US is embarrassed by its lack of protection for KSA, the cover story from US could always be that KSA had no business invading Yemen, that wasn't part of the deal, and so KSA must sue for peace and the "invincible" US umbrella will continue as before to safeguard its regional security.

Of course, imagine the US surprise if Yemeni strategy goes beyond ending the war and actually does contemplate ending the enemy ;)

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 18 2019 16:53 utc | 175

And again, mikk #107 or MikeM (if i remember correctly from a previous thread) posted a tracking link hidden as a broken image. This guy is collecting our IP addresses.

Posted by: Joost | Sep 18 2019 17:01 utc | 176

Well, well, "Saudi Prince in Exile Launches Opposition Movement, Calls for Constitutional Monarchy:"

"'Over the past three years, the Saudi monarch (King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud) has turned into a sacred cow, who commands obedience,' Prince Khaled bin Farhan Al Saud, who escaped Saudi Arabia himself over a decade ago, said in a video posted on YouTube on Monday evening as he announced the formation of the opposition group, dubbed 'the Freedom Movement of the Sons of the Arabian Peninsula,' Arabic-language al-Khaleej Online news website reported."

What a lovely turn of events! I wonder who his sponsors are?

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 17:10 utc | 177

@Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 18 2019 16:04 utc | 169

Not to mention vThe Maine blue-on-blue false flag, as alibi to attack Spanish navy settled in Cuba.

The Cuban massons got a good reward on supporting the US navy by changing the Spanish domination for US one, which would turn them into the heinous brothel Cuba was before the socialist revolution, where nobody except gangsters had any opportunity to prospere or even live a life worth to be called so...

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 18 2019 17:11 utc | 178

@Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 17:10 utc | 184

This comes to add to my suspicions on authorship and Putin ´s trolling...
Who is/has organizing/organized all the pro-democracy color revolutions in the world to take over the others´assets?

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 18 2019 17:15 utc | 179

#Breaking_News | #Armed_Forces_Spokesman: Our Drones, of all kinds, are stealth, can maneuver and can hit the target from several angles

Well, that explains why the Saudi radars didn't detect the drones "from the north": turns out they can maneuver!

Posted by: vk | Sep 18 2019 17:20 utc | 180

@183 joost... i was wondering what was up with that...

b - can you take a look at this? thanks..

@ karlof1 / sasha... ksa is ripe for regime change.. fer sure.. and that is one friggin regime ordinary citizens would largely support, if they didn't risk getting there heads chopped off for saying so..

Posted by: james | Sep 18 2019 17:42 utc | 181

BM @180, Grieved @182, Sasha @186--

Thanks for your replies! If you've followed my writings on Ansarullah over the past several months, you'll know that the recent events don't come as a surprise but as anticipated developments. Now we have the formal (if YouTube can be considered formal) announcement of an opposition group aimed at ousting the current ruling al-Saud faction, but not really changing the overall governmental structure as it keeps a monarch. Yes, although I haven't written my thoughts on the possibility here, I've thought it entirely plausible for the CIA to overthrow the al-Sauds when it deemed them no longer worthy of the support received over the decades. And if I have such thoughts, I'm sure the al-Sauds have them too. However, IMO, the CIA would likely remain prudent to keep the friendly enemy it knows versus embracing another it doesn't--assuming this exiled al-Saud Prince isn't a CIA asset. But just the mere fact that an exiled al-Saud Prince would form a party aimed at regime change points to the dangerous level of internecine war within the al-Saud clan and between other royal houses--like Dune made real. IMO, many will be pleased to watch as a civil war erupts within and between the Royal Houses and a return of the anarchy of 100+ years ago as the Ottomans withdrew and the fight to control Arabia erupted. All sorts of speculation then becomes possible.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 17:47 utc | 182

@ Joost | Sep 18 2019 17:01 utc | 183

Thanks for the warning about the mikk #107 post.

That "page view" graphic has appeared in several previous threads. I wondered about it for two reasons: 1) graphics/images generally don't appear in comments, so I'm under the impression that they're not allowed; 2) this particular graphic is meaningless-- at least it's mystifying to me.

Now I can scroll past without wondering or worrying about it; thanks again.

Posted by: Ort | Sep 18 2019 17:59 utc | 183

The elefant in the room:

Why is the CENTCOM silent in all this case?
Why any asessment of an "attack" from the CENTCOM similar to those of the ruskies in Syria, in an attack so close to some of the biggest US base in the world in one of the hottest area in the globe in recent years?
What about the phased array radars all around the base of Al Udeid that could detect a swallow at 200 Km? the AWACS and P8 flying 24/365 around the Persian Gulf in this area with so many recent incidents? the AEGIS systems of the 5th fleet carrier group always "threatened" by Iran and based 60Km of Abqaiq? nobody could see 25 missiles and drones flying many many hundreds of kilometers from Iran, passing through the south of Irak and also on Kuwait near some big US bases in the area?, and then to KSA? What were doing all the electronic detection operators of the best military hardware in the world? were they all drunk or sleeping?

Well I think Putin was trolling KSA because he knows well what really happened and understand the silence of CENTCOM...

Posted by: DFC | Sep 18 2019 18:09 utc | 184

Same questions could have been and were asked about 9/11 and NORAD.

Posted by: lysias | Sep 18 2019 18:37 utc | 185

Compilation of Anasarullah Military Spokesman's Tweets from earlier today:

1. "2nd Operation of Balanced Deterrence is a good example of the capabilities of our forces in planning and implementation."

2. "Free Yemen will not hesitate to respond to this aggression and will use its legitimate right to target all legitimate targets deep within the countries of aggression."

3. "With the help of God, our forces have reached a high level of efficiency and ability at all levels."

4. "We assure you today that the destruction of the targeted facilities is far greater than has been recognized."

5. "2nd Operation of Balanced Deterrence carried out with several types of drones."

6. "Drones used jet and ordinary engines, starting from three main points according to the range and route and from different destinations according to the target location."

7. "Drones have fission heads carrying four precision bombs."

8. "Our Drones, of all kinds, are stealth, can maneuver and can hit the target from several angles."

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

10. "The Saudi enemy, along with the US, is trying to escape a clear fact in the context of its underestimation of Yemeni capabilities."

11. "More vital installations and targets will be burned if the US-Saudi aggression continues."

12. "To the hypocrites of world, our people are starving but will not starve; will exercise their legitimate right to defend themselves."

13. "Some International positions deserve praise, especially those supporting Yemeni right to respond; including #Iran, #Turkey."

14. "Will not hesitate to respond promptly to the countries of aggression, especially #Saudi_Arabia, #UAE, if this aggression does not stop."

15. "[T]o the UAE regime: Only one operation will cost you a lot, you will regret if our leadership instructs us to carry out an operation in the coming days or weeks."

16. "For the first time, we have dozens of goals within the #UAE, including in #AbuDhabi and #Dubai."

17. "[T]o the US-Saudi aggression: Stop your aggression, lift your hands of #Yemen, then you will have security."

18. "We will do everything we can to end the suffering of our great people, the People of faith."

19. "Saudi bet on US and European weapons is a losing bet; you cannot confront or drop any of our drones."

There you have them--all 19 tweets. All emphasis is mine and done to address those specific points. 7: Drones carry 4 bombs, but no size given, but at least number and type provided. 10: Obvious reference to the refusal to acknowledge Ansarullah's capabilities and legality of its actions. 11: Outlaw US Empire specifically named as aggressor. 14: Warning that Outlaw US Empire assets are legitimate targets as it's been named and proven to be an aggressor.

Altogether, not much intel value, but plenty of political value, particularly naming the Outlaw US Empire as an aggressor and potential targeting of its assets, which has actually already been done as drones have attacked Patriot missile installations--a fact not acknowledged by TrumpCo. Also, there seems to be some attention given to trying to upend the Imperial Narrative that it's all Iran's fault/responsibility as Ansarullah shouts We have our own God-given capabilities, and God willing we will prevail.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 18:41 utc | 186

Grieved @80: ... the whole region is a trap.

USA-Israel-Saudi sees Iran as the central source of opposition to them. That's what's driving the war-mongering against Iran.

Karlof1 @172: Houthi Armed Forces Spokesman ...

The Houthi can jump up and down and waive their hands frantically but it will not deter USA-Israel-Saudi from an attack on Iran.

Houthi claims to have been fully responsible for the attack will be brushed off as an attempt to protect their "Iranian masters" and/or it will be said that they did this with the assistance and approval of Iran (essentially as an Iranian proxy).

The only thing that MIGHT deterred an attack is if USA-Israel-Saudi are found to have participated in a false flag. That would turn public opinion against an attack on Iran.

<> <> <> <> <>

I sense a lack of understand of the Empire's mindset.

They will double-down before allowing Houthi to humiliate them.

With this attack and taking full ownership, the Houthi have almost certainly just brought USA fully into the fight. They will no longer just provide assistance to Saudi forces. Part of that engagement may be the recent appearance of ISIS in Yemen. (Why haven't the Houthi made note of this in their public announcements?)

And Iran is NOT off the hook by any means. This attack only adds to the Empire's inventory of complaints against them. "Manufacturing consent" for war is easy when Iran and it's "proxies" say or do things that allow them to be depicted as the belligerent party.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 18 2019 18:52 utc | 187

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Sep 18 2019 16:02 utc | 167

The Russian Armed Forces have allegedly given the Syrian military the green light to use their S-300 system against Israeli warplanes that enter their airspace, the Russian aviation publication Avia.Pro reported.


Posted by: RST | Sep 18 2019 18:54 utc | 188

DFC @191, lysias @192--

As I wrote previously, Saudi and Outlaw US Empire prefer to us their LOS strategy to try and save face in their utter failure--LOS: Lie, Obfuscate, Spin.

Meanwhile as previously mentioned, Iran to bypass SWIFT & Dollar by joining EAEU Free Trade Zone and using "alternative payment systems" in its transactions. This mounts a very serious challenge to the Outlaw US Empire as Iran was already cut off from SWIFT so it could avoid being illegally sanctioned itself. The precedent's already been made, so will TrumpCo attempt to illegally sanction SWIFT again if it doesn't also cut off all EAEU members from its system, or will something else be done? IMO, this is an action that's not to be overlooked or understated in its importance.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 18:55 utc | 189


Ukrainian officials have acknowledged that a total of 12 Kh-55 medium-range, air-launched cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads were transferred from Ukraine to Iran and China in the last five years. U.S. officials expressed particular concern about the technical information the countries could likely gain as a result of the transaction.

Although the Soviet Union deployed the approximately 3,000-kilometer-range missiles with nuclear warheads, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Dmitry Svistkov told reporters March 30 that the missiles in question were not exported with such warheads.

Ukraine inherited a substantial nuclear arsenal after the breakup of the Soviet Union but later joined the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon state. Kiev completed the return of the Soviet-era nuclear weapons in 1996 and has destroyed all of its bombers capable of delivering the Kh-55.

Yuri Boychenko, an aide to Ukraine’s prosecutor-general, Svyatoslav Piskun, told The Los Angeles Times March 18 that the transaction was “a totally illegal deal carried out by an international criminal group.”

Posted by: RST | Sep 18 2019 19:04 utc | 190

On the issue of the Outlaw US Empire being an active aggressor against Yemen, the short answer is undoubtedly yes, the details being to how deep an extent. We know for a fact that it's supplying terrorists with weapons and munitions in violation of its own laws as usual. Have Imperial pilots manned the controls and dropped bombs as British pilots have?--Most likely. Actively provided logistical and intel support are most certainly yes. So, IMO, the Outlaw US Empire ought to be branded an active participant in the aggressive war being waged on Yemen--Yet another War Crime Feather to stuff in Uncle $cam's cap. What will be the design of the participation pins to adorn the uniforms of those taking part or have they already been issued?

While Ansarullah could attack 5th Fleet assets in Bahrain, IMO, that would be a wastage of resources better used against Saudi hydrocarbon assets as very little would be gained other than a temporary uplifting of morale. Such continued attacks would be the best method for Ansarullah to jump up and down.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 19:20 utc | 191

"Yuri Boychenko, an aide to Ukraine’s prosecutor-general, Svyatoslav Piskun, told The Los Angeles Times March 18 that the transaction was “a totally illegal deal carried out by an international criminal group."

"An international criminal group" quite accurately describes the current gang running Ukraine, but 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.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 18 2019 19:24 utc | 192

On the issue of the Outlaw US Empire being an active aggressor against Yemen, the short answer is undoubtedly yes, the details being to how deep an extent..

@Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2019 19:20 utc | 198

Well, get an idea....reading Serbia Files...

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 18 2019 19:27 utc | 193

Nice to see that the Saudi presser mentioned by vk @ 170 showed photos of the fragments collected.

They're military winged drones, certainly capable of the 1000 km necessary to get from the Najran border of Yemen to the Abqaiq installation, if it's a one-way trip. Only it'll have to be a bit more than 1000km, as they will have had to be launched from an airstrip, or wide highway, if within Saudi.

Yes, it could be that they are Iranian drones. Iran may have supplied them to the Houthis. But the Houthis are hardly under Iranian control. The Houthis are a particularly bolshy, nativist, lot, and will decide for themselves.

I should think they thought, hey we've just got these Iranian drones, let's use them for a big attack. Then there was a lot of planning, because it was a well-planned attack. Maybe there were outside advisors, much like the US advises on the Saudi bombing runs in Yemen.

I think this is why the US is hesitating on retaliating by bombing Iran. You can't be certain who's doing it. Though of course the US might not bother and bomb anyway.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 18 2019 19:29 utc | 194

@Posted by: Sasha | Sep 18 2019 19:27 utc | 200

BTW, to be able to read Serbian Files at @ArmsWatch, you must pick on the site through an VPN, they are under DDOS attack...

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 18 2019 19:31 utc | 195

@Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 18 2019 19:29 utc | 201

The drone market goes far beyond Iranian can always count on AliBaba...or any other source inside the free market economy...talent is widespread worlwide...

Chinese drone giant DJI controls 70% of the global market for civilian drones. DJI founder, a mainland Chinese graduate of HK Univ of Science n Technology, opted to build the company in Shenzhen, after becoming frustrated by the lack of gov't support n funding in HK back in 2006.

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 18 2019 19:38 utc | 196

Press conference of Yemeni Armed Forces and unveiling details of AnsarAllah’s operation in east of Saudi Arabia:

In short, expect more attacks that will dispel any last doubts on who is responsible and put to rest non-sensical pet theories from JR's Watering Hole..

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 18 2019 19:39 utc | 197

@ Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 18 2019 19:29 utc | 201

The Houthis are using Iranian weapons. That was never denied by either part.

You know why they are using Iranian weapons? Because they are the only one willing to help a people that is unjustly being starved to death. The Saudis are using American and British weapons, so the Americans won't sell to the Houthis. Russia is busy with Syria and has a defensive military doctrine and Yemen is outside their sphere of influence. Idem China. That leaves them with Iran.

Iran has every right to sell its weapons to whoever wants to buy it. The same is true for the USA, France, UK, Russia, China, Qatar etc. etc. Doesn't mean they are an Iranian proxy (unless you consider Saudi Arabia an American proxy, but that's pushing the envelope on the definition in my opinion).

Posted by: vk | Sep 18 2019 19:42 utc | 198

This Israeli killer drone

looks a lot like the drone in the 3rd picture from the Saudi presentation which is supposed to be 'material evidence'

Posted by: Norwegian | Sep 18 2019 19:43 utc | 199

21:09 Yemen’s Armed Forces: Dozens of Targets in UAE’s Abu Dhabi and Dubai Will Be Certainly Struck If It Doesn’t Quit Saudi-led Aggression

18:54 Yemen’s Armed Forces: Sammad 3 and Qasef drones were used to attack Saudi oil facility of #Aramco, losses were much more than acknowledged

18:47 Yemen’s Armed Forces: UAE must quit Saudi-led aggression if it wants to save its glass towers

Posted by: t r u t h | Sep 18 2019 19:46 utc | 200

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