The Strike On Saudi Oil Facilities
The Strike On Saudi Oil Facilities
This is going to be a tentative post because there is much that remains unclear. What I am going to do is to make it clear that stories that are being told by US authorities and largely repeated by the MSM with little critical commentary is highly questionable.
As it is, it looks like the economic impact of the knocking out of about 60 percent of Saudi oil processing capacity by an attack by 20 drones will not amount to too much. The Saudis have now announced that they should have 70 percent of their damaged production capacity back in operation within a week or two. While crude oil prices initially surged 20 percent up, they have largely fallen back toward where they were before the attack. This is a massive contrast with how all this used to be back in the 1970s when, for example, crude prices would triple or even quadruple with a supply disruption from the Persian Gulf, with dramatic stagflationary effects on all the oil importing national economies. This does not look remotely likely to happen.
The matter that remains very much in the air, with a threat of war breaking out worse than it is already happening, involves the source of the attack on the facilities in Khurais and Abqaiq. SecState Pompeo outright said the attack came from Iran. Supposedly US intelligence agencies are supporting this, although there seem to be doubts. Buried deep in the press reports are caveats suggesting that maybe not quite all the attacks came from there. Of course, it is essentially impossible to evaluate these claims as we know these agencies have their secret methods and sources they are not leaking. But then we see both the Saudis and President Trump holding back from fully going along with this report.
So why might this be wrong? Well, at least one alternative version appears to have been decisively repudiated. That is that the attack came from Shia militias in Iraq. This theory was put forth by Bibi Netanyahu of Israel, perhaps as a desperate part of his reelection campaign, with it looking like he has not done well in that election, although the full outcome is still not known. But this apparently blatantly ridiculous report may be the beginning of the end of people taking publicly announced Israeli intelligence reports as things to be taken seriously.
However, the more serious alternative to Iran as a source is the Yemeni Houthis. Almost certainly the drones were from Iran, although even that is not definitely certain. In any case several statements have come supposedly from US intel agencies that the Yemeni Houthis could not have done this, even though they themselves have been loudly claiming that they did it, while the Iranians are loudly denying that they did it. Supposedly this all distraction from the role of the Iranians. But Juan Cole has pointed out things that the media are simply not reporting things that suggest that indeed the Yemeni Houthis appear to have the capability. In particular in May the Houthis launched a drone attack on an oil pumping station at al-Duadimi, well over 800 miles from Sana’a. The sites struck in this attack are only another 100 miles further, and the Shehad 129 Iranian drone supposedly can travel a full 1100 miles. Why are we seeing no reports of this in the media?
As it is, it may be that both the Saudis and even Trump may be aware of this matter that has not been well publicized. If so, no wonder they are not fully signing on to saying it was Iran, quite aside from a reluctance to get into a new war there. Whatever has really gone down, let us hope at least there will be no new war.
hard to imagine that this could be over where it stands now…even though they had it coming, this attack on the Saudi infrastructure is like the attack on Pearl Harbor; they can hardly let it go unanswered…
How is this like Pearl Harbor? Do you mean for us or the Saudis? It is not a US facility, and while USA and KSA have long been friendly, we do not have formal agreement to defend them when they are attacked like we do with NATO allies. This is really a KSA problem, not a US one.
And even for the Saudis, if this is reallly from the Houthis, this would not be the same as Pearl. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, we were at peace with them. But the Saudis have been bombing the Houthis for five years solid, with assistance from the US.
No,, this is not remotely equivalent to Pearl Harbor, and certainly not for the US. You are in some kind of gonzo fantasyland on this one.
And, another question that no one seems to be asking,. If the drones and/or missiles were launched from Iran or Iraq, then they had to fly over the Persian/Arabian Gulf, which is full of US Navy vessels from the fifth fleet based in Bahrain. If that is the case, then surely we (The US) would have seen it on radar and there would be no doubt about where they came from. Beyond that, if they came from there, why on earth did we not shoot them down? Did we not see them? If that is the case, that sure is scary, as they could have been aimed at our ships. And, if we did see them, why weren’t we concerned enough to shoot them down? Were we not capable? Just things to think about….
I did not mention this point in my post, but it has been commented on by several observers. As it is, I think there is a high probability that the cruise missiles may not have been fired from Yemen as they have not had those previously. The Saudis are claiming the drones are not ones in Yemen’s arsenal, although it seems that the Yemenis have already fired drones at them that can go that far.
Certainly US forces in the Gulf have egg on their faces no matter what.