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Oiling for War: The Houthi Attack on Abqaiq

Binoy Kampmark

The attack on the world’s largest oil processing facility at Abqaiq in Saudi Arabia southwest of Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran had a few predictable responses.  Given that the facility has a daily output of some 5.7 million barrels, damaging it was bound to cause a spike in the price of oil.

The question troubling the security chatterers was whether the party claiming responsibility – in this case, the Yemen-based Houthi rebels – had managed to engineer the feat.  Drones, it is claimed, were used, striking at some 17 points. But such copyright is being denied to the rebels.

For one, Riyadh is considering the possibility that the attack might have come from Iraqi soil, involving another group armed with cruise missiles. The direction of the attack, it is claimed by US sources, was from the north or northwest, suggesting the direction of the Persian Gulf, Iran or Iraq.

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has decided to pour cold water on any suggestion that the Houthis were competently responsible.  Having displaced John Bolton as hawk-in-chief, he is preparing the ground for possible retaliation. In his view, there is only one state responsible for the attacks.

We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”

In another tweet posted on Saturday, the convinced Pompeo accused Iran of being behind some 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia “while [Hassan] Rouhani and [Iranian Foreign Minister Javad] Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy.”

He ruled out Yemen as a base for the assault. Iran had “launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

President Donald Trump, for his part, is venting and waiting

There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we should proceed!”

The more immediate concerns for the president are economic: releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and expediting “approvals of the oil pipelines currently in the permitting process in Texas and various States.”  Many thanks to be had, it seems, for such strikes.

The machinery behind a military strike on Iran is being put in motion, one that was already being readied with claims of Iranian attacks on maritime shipping in the Persian Gulf and the shooting down of a US drone. (The latter led to a flirtation with the use of force by Trump.)

Generally speaking, the legal basis of any such attack is questionable, despite Pompeo’s airy contention that, “We have always had the authorisation to defend American interests”.

Trump, however, has been briefed by a few warring enthusiasts in Congress suggesting that any assault on Iran can be brought within the purview of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is not troubled by legal niceties, happy to entertain the prospect of a regional apocalypse in the name of punishing the mullahs. 

Having called the attacks “yet another example of how Iran is wreaking havoc in the Middle East” he considered it important “to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocations or increase nuclear enrichment.”

Like a delinquent of international relations, Iran, he tweeted over the weekend, “will not stop their misbehaviour till the consequences become more real, like attacking their refineries, which will break the regime’s back.”

Accepting Iranian responsibility for such attacks has been an easy matter for many on the Hill. 

There are those, like Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, US Representative Adam Schiff, who are already satisfied that Tehran’s less than subtle hand is heavily involved. 

I think it’s safe to say that the Houthis don’t have the capability to do a strike like this without Iranian assistance.”

Speculation and invention remain a foreign policy stable in Middle Eastern politics.  The region still labours with legacy of a US-led invasion of Iraq inspired by fictional Weapons of Mass Destruction supposedly harboured by Saddam Hussein.

It involved grotesquely extravagant assessments of Iraq’s destructive prowess; it involved intelligence failures, bureaucratic bungling and venal manipulation of the record in Washington, London and Canberra.

Zarif, for his part, is convinced that Pompeo, having failed in exerting maximum pressure on Iran, has now turned to a program of maximum deceit.  The US and its allies, he tweeted, “are stuck in Yemen because of illusion that weapon superiority will lead to military victory. Blaming Iran won’t end disaster.”

The question, however, is bigger than Yemen, and bigger than oil.  The sole question here is whether Trump takes of the root of madness held out by Graham, or holds out for a meeting with Rouhani at the UN General Assembly.

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vexarb
vexarb

Mailman here. A parable according to the Gospel of BigB:

“Saudi Arabia has demonstrated that it didn’t take much for it to suffer. This opens the question; how many such disruptions can Saudi Arabia weather before it totally capitulates? Seemingly, not many.

Up until recently, people of Arabia were used to drought, brackish water and searing heat. They lived in and around oases and adopted a lifestyle that used little water. But, the new generation of Saudis and millions of expats are used to daily showers, potable water and climate control in their households. During wars, people normally go back to nature to find food and water. They hunt, they fish, they collect local berries and edible wild plants, they fill jars from running rivers and streams, they grow their own vegetables in their allotments and backyards, but in Saudi Arabia, in the kingdom of searing sand, such alternatives do not exist at all.

Furthermore, with a population that has swelled from a few million in the 1950’s, the current population of Saudi Arabia stands at 33 million…”

vexarb
vexarb

PS more from The Sermon on the Oil Desert, according to the gospel of BigB:

“But let us face it, the glass skyscrapers of Dubai and other thriving metropolises of the Oil Empire are predestined to morph into ghost towns. It is only a question of time before they run out of their current charm and their fake onion skin deep glitter. After all, there is nothing in those fantasy cities that is real, substantial and self-sustaining. If anything, a war has the potential to fast-track the decay process and leave foreign investors and expat workers running for the exit in droves; if not running for their lives.”

https://thesaker.is/iran-vs-saudi-arabia-its-game-over/

vexarb
vexarb

PPS another little sermon on a BigB theme, Entropy of Investment:

U$ Fracking Empire — a house built on sand.

https://journal-neo.org/2019/09/11/the-new-american-oil-empire-built-on-sand/

U$ fracking oil increasingly difficult to extract, may need to import sand from Arabian desert.

“That’s a lot of sand”. — F.Wm Engdahl, best-selling author on oil and geopolitics.

vexarb
vexarb

Mailman here. From the horse’s mouth:

“Houthis Reveal New Details About 2019 Abqaiq–Khurais attack

https://southfront.org/houthis-reveal-new-details-about-2019-abqaiq-khurais-attack/

“We assure you today that the destruction of the targeted facilities is far greater than what was acknowledged … ,” the spokesman said.

As for the operation details, the spokesman revealed that the attack was launched from three different positions within Yemen. New Qasef-3 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) took off from the first position, the long-range Samad-3 UAVs took off from the second and what he described as “jet-powered UAVs” were launched from the last position.

The spokesman said that other UAVs were used as decoys to distract and jam Saudi air-defense systems and radars.

The Samad-3 UAV was revealed during the recent Martyr Saleh al-Samad Exhibition for Yemeni Military Industries. However, Qasef-3 and the mysterious jet-powered UAVs have not been presented, so far.”

vexarb
vexarb

Mailman here. Nice little sermon BTL Saker on ME Crisis:

” sherlock_holmes on September 19, 2019 · at 1:55 am EST/EDT

Text: So David prevailed over Goliath with a sling and a stone

I hope that Saudi Arabia and UAE will make peace with Houthis, stop buying useless weapons from US or Europe and invest that money in economy,infrastructure,science,culture,education,peaceful religion,health…all the good things that really matter.”

vexarb
vexarb

Mailman here. The real scoop by Pepe Escobar – posted on Saker Wine with permission:

How the Resistance overturned Brezinski’s Grand Chessboard

https://thesaker.is/how-the-houthis-overturned-the-chessboard/

vexarb
vexarb

Mailman here. Orthodox version cogently summarized by the Saker:

“…could Houthis have done it themselves? Absolutely yes. Iran did not have to strike directly, precisely because the Houthis were capable of doing it themselves. Check out this official exhibit of Houthi ballistic missiles and drones and see for yourself here and here. Furthermore, the Houthis are becoming very similar to Hezbollah and they have clearly learned advanced missile and drone capabilities (from Iran, which is why the Israelis and the US are so angry).

Now I am not, repeat, NOT saying that Iran did not help or that this strike would have been as successful had Iran not provided intelligence, targeting, technical expertise, etc. But if there is any evidence of direct Iranian involvement, let this “malevolent manatee” (which is how Fred Reed referred to Pompeo) show it to the world, and it had better be better than the crap they showed for Skripal.”

Gezzah Potts

Yep, read that on The Saker couple hours ago. But the vile presstitutes will still scream Iran Dit It, or Putin Did It, or similar nonsense.

vexarb
vexarb

Gezzah, further MSM nonsense is countered by Pepe’s argument above. Clip:

“Orientalism strikes again

The US intel refrain that the Houthis are incapable of such a sophisticated attack betrays the worst strands of orientalism and White Man’s Burden Superiority Complex.

The only missile parts shown by the Saudis so far come from a Yemeni Quds 1 cruise missile. According to Brigadier General Yahya Saree, spokesman for the Sana’a-based Yemeni Armed Forces, “the Quds system proved its great ability to hit its targets and to bypass enemy interceptor systems.”

To which Vexard adds, note the name of the Yemeni missile: Quds, ie The Holy City. Anglo Zio Capitalists have stirred up a hornets nest by letting loose 300,000 ISIS terrorists into Syria (Israeli army called them hornets, and Syria the Death of a Thousand Stings). Now hornets are flying as far afield as Yemen — and their stings are not aimed as the AZC hoped when they started this war against Islam (notorious Clash of Civilizations war cry) on 911 2001.

Gezzah Potts

Thanks Vexarb – only just read Pepe Escobar’s excellent article then. Am monitoring numerous sites including here, The Saker, SouthFront, Moon Of Alabama, WSWS regards up to date info on Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and any possible action taken. I took note of the last few paragraphs in the PE story. Sometimes get a bit of information overload, espec given the potentially disastrous consequences for all of us.

vexarb
vexarb

Mailman here. A fresh angle, Aramco price:

“Muslim_Dude BTL SyrPer #301397

Hi guys. Spoke to someone today who has just returned from Saudi (work stuff) and knows about the region. He said that the recent attacks on the Saudi installations were the work of the Americans.

Apparently the Saudis want to float Aramco for $4 trillion, but the Americans carried out these attacks so the floatation might be $1 trillion or so.

I’m just throwing it out so others can be aware of this idea and research in to this if they wish.”

falcemartello

CUI PODESTA? It is simple question one must ask . Aramco is in the process of floating the Suadi owned company to the public. Oil supply is exceeding demand and has been for some time. World fracking il industry principally the US shale industry is virtually bust and has been since pax -amaericana went all out to reduce Russian economic gains bye flooding the market with oil hence 2014 the price hit all time lows of TCI @ circa 20 US fiat dollars a barrel. We have statement from retired general Wesley Clarke “Invade seven countries in five years statement. We have the recent economic indicators from Tbond inversion rates where the 2 and 3 month notes have higher returns than the 10 year yield. The repo rate hit 5 percent which is the price of of fiat money that the bank loan to each other that the fed and the ECC rolled out the printing press that with in 24 hours the fed flooded the market with 54 billion dollars.
Post Scriptum: War is a racket and the impending economic down turn can no longer be avoided hence distract ,obfuscate and voila the sheeple will follow.
The paradigm shift is a sure end to the western oligarchs. China has just made a deal with Iran with regards to oil refineries and modern rail systems connecting all the way to China via Pakistan no wonder the Kashmir and India /Pakistan hostilities.
Docius in Fundem: The crude price will be higher for the time being which allows more price manipulation and profit taking and just think for one moment CUI PODESTA?

vexarb
vexarb

Good one BTL South Front on Saker Vineyard:

“Tom Welsh on September 17, 2019 · at 6:35 am EST/EDT

I find it hugely amusing that the first thing the Houthi drones destroyed was the Patriot system!”

vexarb
vexarb

PS Golnar MotevalliVerified account @ golnarM (Bloomberg Iran correspondent) twitters videos of the tittering at Putin’s joke:

https://twitter.com/golnarM

Michael McNulty
Michael McNulty

Paul Craig Roberts suggested quite directly it was an Israeli false flag, and the north west is the direction of Israel. No MSM mentions that fact of course.

Antonym
Antonym

Is there anything that is not blamed on Israel over here by x, y or z?

vexarb
vexarb

PCR’s assertion is too ridiculous even for the MSM. Why would Israel damage property belonging to Anglo Zio Capitalist oil companies?

mark
mark

The same reason for USS Liberty, attacks on western embassies, and 9/11. Provide a pretext for war. Get the dumb goys to fight their wars for them again.

vexarb
vexarb

Mark the crucial difference: USS Liberty was U$ property, totally expendible. Saudi oil installations are Anglo Zio Capitalist property, sacred. Loss of Capital Equipment and Interruption of Cash Flow in their KSA oil company is causing unbearable pain among the worshippers of Mammon.

I guess our Leaders will soon be receiving their instructions to back off from Yemen.

Tutisicecream

Just a few things strike me about this.

The Saudis have the 3rd largest military budget in the world – all weapons bought from the US. So big fail for Amerika in terms of defence capability. Unless it is another false flag. As with 9/11 Amerika’s defences were found to be totally lacking that day too – a situation which not coincidentally led to the last major war in the Middle East.

It is quite possible Bolton with Pompeo as the pious front man having a hand or three in this latest attempt to create the World at War for US Profit scenario – so desperately needed by the worlds leading sociopaths.

With contracts at risk for Boeing aircraft and military hardware and Trump unable to deliver on bringing all those jobs back from China. With the Fracking industry companies steaming headlong to bankruptcy and US banks leveraged to the hilt with them. A spike in oil price and a war to write off government debts with would seem a strategic plan worth considering for all the bloated criminals up on the hill -whatever their so-called political persuasion.

So yes, Trump is locked and loaded as it were, hoisted as he is by his own petard of conniving advisers and political sidekicks. The only thing that might stop him gun-slinging terminally into tombstone alley, adding his name to that already ignominious hall of presidential fame, is his own vanity linked as it appears to be, to his re-election prospects.

Antonym
Antonym

With all that oil, ca$h and military hardware the Saudis were not able to detect of shoot down 10 drones/ missiles over such an obvious tatget?
Fail.

KSA has also a substantial Shia minority (totally ~ 15%) living around there…

lundiel
lundiel

Lindsey Graham’s always had a thing about Iran. I recall back in the days of The Atlantic Bridge, he told his long-suffering constituents that “Iran was developing a suitcase-sized nuke which they would smuggle into Charleston Navy Yard”.

vexarb
vexarb

Yet another of Uncle $cam’s Canned Lies, claims the missiles came from Iran.

“Scott Ritter @ RealScottRitter

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

Gezzah Potts

But doing follow up questions would spoil the narrative of ‘Iran is guilty, Iran is guilty’. It might even lead to viewers questioning the ‘official narrative’ as dutifully reported by these contemptible slime bags.

mark
mark

I was surprised by the extent and effectiveness of the damage.
The Yemenis put on a display of their drone arsenal recently and it was quite sophisticated, not things you knock up in a garden shed. But they carry a quite limited warhead, 30,66,100 lbs.
An oil refinery must be the most vulnerable target in the world apart from a glass house.
But during the war, it took about 5 months to destroy the German oil industry in 1944. A protracted series of heavy bombing raids each dropping hundreds of tons of very large bombs. The Germans were very successful at repairing damage, but they were gradually overwhelmed and output was reduced to a fraction of capacity. There are things you can do, like surrounding oil tanks with protective concrete walls and they did this very quickly. But these are vast sprawling installations that will always be vulnerable.
Precision strikes from Yemen about 600 miles away represent a very impressive capability, effectively putting the entire oil industry out of action temporarily with just a limited number of relatively cheap and unsophisticated drones.
If this is what the Houthis can do, imagine what Iran could do in an all out attack and general war.
As usual, Iran will be scapegoated. During the occupation of Iraq, Iran was blamed for crude improvised bombs that were used with simple shaped metal cones to increase their effectiveness. Apparently, the Iraqis were incapable of knocking out a few simple copper cones in a small workshop. Though the pretext for invading the country was that they had or were developing the most sophisticated and powerful weapons in existence, nuclear weapons.
This can only be viewed as a legitimate response and reprisal to the 4 year genocidal Saudi campaign in Yemen. What are the figures? Quarter of a million dead, including over 100,000 children? Who knows? A million plus cases of cholera? 20 million people starving? What would we do if someone did that to us? A lot more than blow up a couple of oil targets. There wouldn’t be a single human being or a single camel left alive in the country.
The Saudis and their UK, US, Pakistani, Sudanese mercenaries like to dish it out but listen to the squealing as they are forced to take it. Bonesaw Bin Salman thought it was going to be a 2 week bombing campaign at zero cost to burnish his credentials as a great leader.
Long may the Houthis continue. More power to their elbow.

Antonym
Antonym

An other possibility would be an Iraki Shia group raining drones on nearby KSA. Minimum half the distance from Yemen. Qatar is even closer…

Tim Jenkins
Tim Jenkins

& An-other possibility would be an Israeli splinter group, raining drones on nearby KSA. Minimum half that nation is fervently discussing elections and voting is ‘Hung’ . . .
It’s ‘n’ ole’ trick, Ant. ! But, I guess the elections in Israel, escaped your notice, remarkably 🙂
Political Publicity Stunts, factions & fractions, not your speciality ?
Rather like proximity ?

nottheonly1
nottheonly1

My apologies for having lost track about which installment of the ham theater this constitutes.

Just one point, I would like to make.

Am I being told that there are no means to monitor the air space above any square inch of earth? Watching fancy videos about people in Afghanistan blown into pieces from a satellite, images with terapixel quality showing how many cigarettes are left in a package on a table, live tracking of flying objects – albeit not the hypersonic ones allegedly – and radar sensitive enough to lock onto drones the size of my younger years model aircraft.

Right. Makes as much sense as anything else nowadays – zero. What does however makes real sense is to ask who is to benefit from this event. There are a number of beneficiaries that come to mind.

Asides from the speculation, I like to say that the modern Joseph Goebbels is quite the psychopath in his railing about Iran. Sttangely though, he could never bring himself to display his pathetic hypocrisy when his axis of genocide bombed innocent civilians in Yemen.

An oil refinery? The blashemy and evilness of such a godless attack! Innocent mothers and children? They are always worth the ammo. Of course it is wishful thinking, but Pompeo and his ilk belong behind bars for everyone to see.

vexarb
vexarb

notheonlyone: “An oil refinery? The blasphemy and evilness of such a godless attack!”

Precisely — if one’s god is Mammon, interrupting the cash flow of AZC oil company KSA is the ultimate blasphemy.

Gezzah Potts

Holding our breath. Yet again. And don’t expect the truth to be told by the presstitute slime masquerading as journalists in the media. Last night the wonderfully unbiased ABC, (not) reported verbatim that Iran was responsible for the attacks on the Abqaiq refinery. And topped it off with a wonderfully unbiased interview (not) with Martin Indyk – former US ambassador to Israel.
At least he had the honesty to say the Saudi aerial bombardment of Yemen had caused a humanitarian disaster. Although he kept his mouth shut as to who had been fully supporting and selling weapons to Saudi Arabia to cause such a ‘humanitarian disaster’ in the first place.
Thank god for various independent news sites. Eric Zuesse provided a whole list of these invaluable sites a few days ago.
How much longer before this Empire crashes and implodes?

AnneR
AnneR

Not soon enough.

One hopes, though, that no more innocent peoples have to die from its psychopathic struggles to remain top dog.

Gezzah Potts

Sadly Anne, there will be a lot more innocent victims before this Empire goes the way of all others before it. At least Trump seems to be backing away from military strikes on Iran. For now.

AnneR
AnneR

True enough, Gezzah. One despairs, in all honesty, and even more so over here where there is more concern about which of the deplorable Demrat candidates is smooth enough, least objectionable (they are all pretty much objectionable, many of them more than one or two others). And *none* of the concerns seem to include – ever – what the MIC is doing to other peoples far from its own shores. All over there, other peoples (mainly of darker skin), not “our” concern….

The Strumpet is a grotesquery – but for once he has (by accident?) revealed the truly ugly face of the nation’s really existing political power structure. However, the bourgeois Demrat electorate, along with tippling on the Kool Aid and remaining high from it, loathe that aspect as much as the man himself. They want a smooth-talker with a glossy patina – s/he can be a psychopath (as most have been) eager to get their jollies from compiling a daily kill list, chuckle at the deaths of tens of thousands or more from the MIC’s weaponry, dismiss deaths by starvation as prices worth paying, just do it “nicely.”

MASTER OF UNIVE
MASTER OF UNIVE

The USA stock market has an inverted yield curve that reliably predicts recession in October 2019. The Duck will take Americans en masse to kinetic World War Three in order to boost the stock market enough so that it is not deflating but the only way to do that is via False Flag Event and attack on competitor nations like Saudi Arabia for their supplies of oil. Destroying Saudi oil and infrastructure will only benefit US oil sales volume and US oil stocks on the NYSE.

If anyone believes that the USA was not responsible for the Saudi refinery sabotage I have a bridge I would like to sell dirt cheap to the first qualified buyer with a certified cheque.

MOU

Foxbat

As soon as I saw the traditional Yemeni dagger, I knew the Houthis were going to win, and I knew that every modern was going to underestimate them until that finally became impossible. Are we there yet?
I hope not. I hope they are misunderestimated all the way to Mecca.

mark
mark

I spoke to soldiers who fought in Yemen in the 1960s when it was a British colony. They said the Yemenis were incredibly tough warrior people and there were about 4 guns per human being in the country. Just like Texas. They said a Yemeni would no sooner go out without his gun than he would without his clothes on. They are a lot tougher than the Shady Wahabians.

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum

‘Locked and loaded’
What’s new?
The Empire $$$$$$$$$$trikes.

Loverat
Loverat

The world is looking rather close to war yet again. Mostly unnoticed but fairly obvious to anyone with a functioning brain who can join up a few dots.

Elements with the Deep State and ‘ liberal media’ yet again, determined to push us to the brink.

Highly unlikely the missiles were fired by Iran. And if we accept the Houthis have closer links to Iran than the evidence shows and used Iranian supplied missiles or know – how against oil assets, by the same logic all states where UK supplied arms used against their innocent civilians have at least equal right to bomb London. In the UK goverment,the rage was plenty when oil is attacked but absent where Yemeni and Syrian citizens are murdered by our weapons and terrorists funded by us.

For me and I’m sure others, the absurdity compounded by the self indulgent celebrity meltdowns recently on Twitter by the likes of Rachel Riley and others. Easy to despair of humanity lately.But you never know – the world might pull back from the brink once more – and Riley might stay off Twitter for good and spend time with her baby. We can only hope.