Scorpion

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you don’t have to worry about me being in support of such strikes!

Not only major oil fields in KSA would be easy targets but desalination plants by the Persian Gulf... I believe that was the signal Iran sent via the Houthis with their attack on the desalination plant a few days ago.

KSA has a lot to lose in any US attack against Iran, which is why I am surprised they take such a vocal hardline against Iran. They should call for de-escalation and stay out of it rather than risk being attacked as you mention

Houthis don't have an advanced military capability come on now. Do you think they would be able to disturb water supply or cause noticeable damage to desalination?

Desalination plants of Saudi Arabia lie on the other side of the country, mostly on the red sea.

charts-WIF-english14.jpg


Have you heard of the SSSP Saudi Strategic Storage Program? It started in 1988 and completed in 2008.


This means an abundance of water and fuel in case of war for years to come.

here is a video of the project


I don't think Saudi Arabia will be a sitting duck. I think you should not underestimate Saudi Arabia military capability, the most advanced Airforce in the middle east and the second largest F-15 fleet operator after the United States (F-15SA/C/D/S), Eurofighter Typhoon, Tornados, AWACS, aerial refueling capabilities, Apaches and Blackhawks. Not to mention Saudi very sophisticated air defense operating both THAAD and Patriot.

The United States also has the F-22/F-35 and the B-52 all in large numbers stationed in the United Arab Emirates. The US also has the fifth fleet stationed in Bahrain and the largest US base outside the US is located in Qatar. We can go on and on about US bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, the UK bases in Oman, France navy in the Gulf. Not a chance for Iran to penetrate the Saudi missile shield. Iran might be able to score a few hits but soon will be turned into ashes. Truth hurts my friend. All those countries stationed there are to ensure oil is kept flowing. Saudi might call a few "Arab and Islamic" countries as well.

My question to you now is, can Iran handle it?
 

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The ISR Flight path and grid plots for the RQ-4A shot down by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz. “This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset that had not violated Iranian airspace at any time …” – Lt Gen Joseph Guastella, @USAFCENT

 

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Putin acknowledges presence of Russian mercenaries in Syria
Friday, June 21, 2019

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There are contractors from private military companies (PMCs) in Syria, but they do not represent the Russian government, said Russian President Vladimir Putin in an episode of the TV show “Direct Line”, when asked why combat veteran status is not given to Russians who work as mercenaries abroad.

“They are really there,” Putin said, referring to the private military contractors. However, he continued, this is “not the state”, and these people are technically not combat veterans. They deal with “matters of an economic nature”, including oil production, the president remarked.

Putin even admitted that, as part of their work, the mercenaries “risk their lives” and fight against terrorism, because the resource deposits have to be taken back from militants. “But it is not the Russian army,” he emphasized.

In autumn last year, Bloomberg reported that a paramilitary organization believed to be affiliated with the St. Petersburg catering tycoon Yevgeny “Putin’s Chef” Prigozhin has been attempting to spread Russia’s influence in 10 African countries. According to its sources, the PMC is operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Libya, Madagascar, Angola, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and the Central African Republic. Prigozhin himself declined to comment.

Around the same time, news came out that a lawsuit had been filed at the International Criminal Court in the Hague against the organizers of the Russian PMCs. The suit was filed by a number of Russian military and veteran organizations, who claim that Russian citizens are being deceived and taken to “hotspots” as mercenaries, even though mercenary activity is prohibited by Russia’s Criminal Code. When the Russians are killed there, nothing can be proven, because officially they are there as “volunteers”. According to the claimants, the deaths number in the thousands.

 

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Trump warned Tehran a U.S. attack was imminent, called for talks: Iranian officials
June 20, 2019 / Updated 17 minutes ago

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FILE PHOTO - U.S. President Donald Trump listens to questions from reporters during a meeting with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian officials told Reuters on Friday that Tehran had received a message from U.S. President Donald Trump warning that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent but saying he was against war and wanted talks on a range of issues.

News of the message, delivered through Oman overnight, came shortly after the New York Times said Trump had approved military strikes against Iran on Friday over the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, but called them off at the last minute.
“In his message, Trump said he was against any war with Iran and wanted to talk to Tehran about various issues,” one of the officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“He gave a short period of time to get our response but Iran’s immediate response was that it is up to Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei to decide about this issue,” the source said.

A second Iranian official said: “We made it clear that the leader is against any talks, but the message will be conveyed to him to make a decision.
“However, we told the Omani official that any attack against Iran will have regional and international consequences.”

After weeks of rising tension following a spate of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf region, Iran said on Thursday it had shot down an unmanned U.S. military surveillance drone with a surface-to-air missile.

Trump indicated after the drone’s downing that he was not eager to escalate a stand-off with Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile activities and support for proxies in various Middle East conflicts.

He said the unmanned drone may have been shot down in error by someone who was acting “loose and stupid”, though added: “This country will not stand for it.”
The incident aggravated global fears of direct military confrontation between the longtime foes, and oil prices rose a further $1 per barrel to above $65.50 on Friday due to worries about possible disruptions to crude exports from the Gulf.

STOKING TENSIONS
The New York Times quoted a senior administration official as saying U.S. warplanes took to the air and ships were put in position for a retaliatory attack on Iran, only for an order to come to stand down without any weapons being fired.

Targets had included Iranian radar and missile batteries, the paper cited senior administration officials involved in, or briefed on, the deliberations, as saying.
The strikes were set for early in the day to minimize risk to the Iranian military or to civilians, the Times added. It was unclear if attacks on Iran might go ahead later, it said.

Russia accused the United States of deliberately stoking dangerous tensions around Iran and pushing the situation to the brink of war, and urged all sides to show restraint.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called on Washington to weigh the possible consequences of conflict and said the Times report showed the situation was extremely dangerous.

Some global airlines re-routed flights to avoid Iran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration barred U.S. carriers from the area until further notice.

Tensions with Iran have increased since Trump’s withdrawal last year from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, signed by six world powers including the United States. Trump has denounced it as flawed to Tehran’s advantage.

Washington then imposed fresh sanctions to throttle Iran’s vital oil trade and Iran retaliated earlier this week by threatening to breach limits on its uranium enrichment program set by the nuclear deal.

The sanctions have pounded Iran’s economy, scuttled its vital oil exports and barred it from the dollar-dominated global finance system, dimming the promise of a trade bonanza for Tehran for having curbed its nuclear capabilities under U.N. monitoring.

IRAN FIRES BACK
Iran said it shot down the unarmed Global Hawk surveillance drone while it was spying over part of its coastal territory, and state television on Friday showed what it said were retrieved sections of the aircraft.

Washington said the drone was downed over international airspace in the Strait of Hormuz. Independent confirmation of the drone’s location when it was brought down was not immediately available.

The drone’s destruction exacerbated tensions in the Gulf, a critical artery for global oil supplies where six tankers have been damaged by explosions in the past six weeks.
Iran has denied U.S. and Saudi accusations it was behind the tanker attacks and accused Washington of “warmongering”.

“The U.S. wants the current Iranian regime to come to the negotiating table and to stop their support for terrorism, pursuit of ballistic missiles, nuclear program cover-ups and human rights abuses,” tweeted U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. “Our European partners share these goals.”

European powers - fellow signatories of the nuclear deal with Iran - say more evidence is needed to pinpoint responsibility for the tanker strikes.

They have sought to keep the nuclear deal alive despite the U.S. exit, but Tehran has told them and other world powers who signed the accord that they must rein in Trump’s aggressive stance toward Iran or it too will bow out of the deal.

Additional reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh in Geneva, Jamie Freed in Singapore, David Shepardson in Washington and Tom Westbrook in Sydney, Tom Balmforth in Moscow, Roberta Rampton and Phil Stewart in Washington; Writing by Mark Heinrich; Editing by Jon Boyle

 

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Iran says it refrained from shooting down U.S. plane with 35 on board: Tasnim news
June 21, 2019 / Updated 23 minutes ago


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LONDON (Reuters) - Iran refrained from shooting down a U.S. plane with 35 people on board that was accompanying the downed drone in the Gulf, a Revolutionary Guards commander said on Friday.

Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards aerospace division, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency: “With the U.S. drone in the region there was also an American P-8 plane with 35 people on board. This plane also entered our airspace and we could have shot it down, but we did not.”

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; editing by John Stonestreet

 

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U.N. chief Guterres calls for 'nerves of steel' in the Gulf
June 21, 2019 / Updated an hour ago
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FILE PHOTO: U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia June 7, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

GENEVA (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, commenting on Friday on the situation in the Gulf, said “I have only one strong recommendation: nerves of steel”, U.N. spokeswoman in Geneva Alessandra Vellucci said.

Iranian officials told Reuters on Friday that Tehran had received a message from U.S. President Donald Trump warning that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent but saying he was against war and wanted talks on a range of issues. The New York Times said Trump had ordered air strikes but then called them off.

Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Kevin Liffey

 

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U.S. envoy says important to de-escalate tension with Iran
June 21, 2019 / Updated 2 hours ago

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FILE PHOTO: Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, speaks about potential threats posed by Iran, during a news conference at a military base in Washington, U.S., November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Al Drago/File Photo

RIYADH (Reuters) - The United States envoy on Iran, Brian Hook, said on Friday it was “important we do everything” to de-escalate tensions with Iran.

“Our diplomacy does not give Iran the right to respond with military force, Iran needs to meet our diplomacy with diplomacy and not military force,” he told a news conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh. “It’s important we do everything we can to de-escalate.”

Reporting by Stephen Kalin; writing by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Kevin Liffey

 

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Russia accuses U.S. of pushing Iran situation to brink of war: RIA
June 21, 2019 / Updated 2 hours ago
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FILE PHOTO: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and head of delegation Sergey Ryabkov attend a Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) conference in Beijing of the UN Security Council's five permanent members (P5) China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, China, January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Pool


MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia accused the United States on Friday of deliberately stoking dangerous tensions around Iran and pushing the situation to the brink of war, the RIA news agency reported.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called on Washington to weigh the possible consequences of conflict with Iran and said a report in the New York Times showed the situation was extremely dangerous.

U.S. President Donald Trump approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, but called off the attacks at the last minute, the report said.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Janet Lawrence


 

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EU concerned over Gulf developments, but sees no need to intervene
June 21, 2019 / Updated 9 minutes ago
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders are very concerned about the tensions between Iran and the United State in the Gulf, but see no reason to intervene with a specific statement of their own, their chairman Donald Tusk said on Friday after an EU summit.

After weeks of rising tension following a spate of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf region, Iran said on Thursday it had shot down an unmanned U.S. military surveillance drone with a surface-to-air missile.

Iranian officials told Reuters on Friday that Tehran had received a message from U.S. President Donald Trump warning that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent but saying he was against war and wanted talks on a range of issues.

“I think that sometimes it is better not to intervene,” Tusk told a news conference in response to a question on whether the EU discussed the situation in the Gulf.
“The biggest problems in our history were always provoked by too active a policy not too passive,” he said.

“Of course we following the situation closely and we are very concerned about the developments in the Gulf region, but pragmatically there was no reason to prepare a specific European statement. I think our position is quite responsible,” he said.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski

 

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Airlines avoid parts of Iran-controlled airspace after U.S. regulator's order
June 21, 2019
by Jamie Freed, David Shepardson

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FILE PHOTO: A vehicle of the airport rescue and firefighting services stands in front as a Boeing 767-400ER aircraft of United Airlines takes off from Zurich airport, April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann


(Reuters) - Some global airlines are re-routing flights to avoid Iran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman, they said on Friday, after the U.S. aviation regulator barred its carriers from the area until further notice.

Thursday’s emergency order from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) came after Iran shot down a high-altitude U.S. drone with a surface-to-air missile, sparking concerns about a threat to the safety of commercial airlines.

The downing of the unarmed Global Hawk drone, which can fly up to 60,000 ft (18,300 m), was the latest in a series of incidents in the Gulf region, a critical artery for global oil supplies, that included explosive strikes on six oil tankers.

According to flight tracking applications, the FAA said, the nearest civil aircraft was operating within about 45 nautical miles of the unmanned aircraft when it was shot down.
“There were numerous civil aviation aircraft operating in the area at the time of the intercept,” the FFA said, adding that its prohibition would stay in place until further notice.

Hours earlier, United Airlines suspended flights between New Jersey’s Newark airport and India’s financial capital of Mumbai following a safety review.

Emirates Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd, Singapore Airlines Ltd, Germany’s Lufthansa, British Airways and KLM of the Netherlands said they were re-routing flights to avoid the area.

‘THREAT IS REAL’
The FAA said it remained concerned about the escalation of tension and military activity in close proximity to high-volume civil aircraft routes as well as Iran’s willingness to use long-range missiles in international airspace with little or no warning.

In July 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a missile over Ukraine, killing all 298 on board, prompting carriers to take more steps to uncover threats to their planes.

But concerns persist over inadequate government intelligence sharing and a reluctance by countries involved in conflicts to divulge information or sacrifice overflight fees by closing their skies, according to safety experts.

The U.S. ban does not apply to airlines from other countries, but OPSGROUP, which provides guidance to operators, said carriers globally would take it into consideration.

“Since MH17, all countries rely on advice from the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany to highlight airspace risk,” it said.
“The threat of a civil aircraft shootdown in southern Iran is real,” it added.
Restricting airspace complicates airline efforts to keep routes running in a region where airspace is already congested, in part due to ongoing conflicts which have made it unsafe to fly over some countries.

At 0820 GMT on Friday, flight tracking website Flightradar24 showed Qatar Airways flights in the area barred to U.S. carriers.

On Monday, before the drone was shot down, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker told Reuters the airline “has a very robust plan B for any eventualities, including if there is a conflict in our region.”

Qatar Airways did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Friday on whether it had introduced new measures since the drone was shot down.

Etihad Airways, which was flying over the area earlier, according to FlightRadar24, said it was monitoring the situation and had adopted contingency plans.

“We will decide what further action is required after carefully evaluating the FAA directive,” the Abu Dhabi-based airline said. “We are working closely with the United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority.”

Emirates, which was also flying over the area earlier on Friday, did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

FLIGHTS SUSPENDED
United said it had suspended its flights to India through Iran airspace after a “thorough safety and security review,” but did not say how long the suspension would last.

A United spokesman said customers flying from Mumbai to Newark would be booked on alternative flights back to the United States.
“We continue to explore all our options and remain in close contact with relevant government authorities,” he added.

A Lufthansa spokesman said the company’s planes had been avoiding the Strait of Hormuz since Thursday. He added that Lufthansa had extended the no-fly zone over Iran on Friday, without being more specific. The airline is still serving Iran’s capital, Tehran.

Netherlands flag carrier KLM was no longer flying over the Strait of Hormuz, a spokesman said on Friday, while British Airways said it would adhere to the FAA guidance and use alternative routes.

Malaysia Airlines said it was avoiding the airspace, which it had previously used on flights between Kuala Lumpur and London, Jeddah and Medina.
“The airline is closely monitoring the situation and is guided by various assessments, including security reports and notices to airmen,” it added.

Qantas said it was adjusting flight paths to avoid the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman until further notice. Singapore Airlines said some flights might require longer routings to avoid the area.

On Thursday, two other U.S. carriers, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, said they did not fly over Iran. Japanese carriers Japan Airlines Co Ltd and ANA Holdings Inc also said they did not fly over the area.


Reporting by Jamie Freed in Singapore and David Shepardson in Washington; Additional reporting by Alexander Cornwell in Dubai, Tracy Rucinski in Chicago, Toby Sterling in Amsterdam, Kathrin Jones and Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt, Liz Lee in Kuala Lumpur, Tim Kelly in Tokyo, Tom Westbrook in Sydney and Alistair Smout in London; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Nick Macfie, Darren Schuettler and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

 

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Top U.S. House Republicans call for 'measured response' to Iran
June 21, 2019


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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Several top U.S. House Republicans, including leader Kevin McCarthy, said on Thursday the United States must undertake a “measured response” to Iran after Washington accused Tehran of shooting down a drone and attacking oil tankers.

“Iran directly attacked a United States asset over international waters. This provocation comes a week after they attacked and destroyed two commercial tankers in international waters,” McCarthy and Representatives Michael McCaul, Mac Thornberry and Devin Nunes said in a statement.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham

 

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House Speaker Pelosi calls on U.S. to de-escalate tensions with Iran
June 21, 2019

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called for the United States to de-escalate tensions with Iran, after top lawmakers attended a White House briefing on the downing of an American drone by Tehran.

“It is essential that we remain fully engaged with our allies, recognize that we are not dealing with a responsible adversary and do everything in our power to de-escalate,” Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, said in a statement.

“This is a dangerous, high-tension situation that requires a strong, smart and strategic, not reckless, approach,” she added.


Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Tim Ahmann

 

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Trump says he aborted retaliatory strike to spare Iranian lives
June 21, 2019 / Updated 8 minutes ago
by Susan Heavey, David Alexander

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he had aborted a military strike on Iran because such a response to Tehran’s downing of an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone would have caused a disproportionate loss of life.

In a series of early morning tweets, Trump said U.S. economic sanctions against Iran were having an impact and more were imposed late on Thursday following the destruction of the U.S. drone by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.

Trump said the plan was to hit three different sites in response to the drone’s downing, and that he was told 150 people would have died.
“Ten minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world,” Trump tweeted.

Earlier on Friday, Iranian officials told Reuters that Tehran had received a message from Trump warning that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent but saying that he was against war and wanted talks on a range of issues.

News of that message, delivered through Oman overnight, came shortly after the New York Times reported that Trump had called off air strikes targeting Iranian radar and missile batteries at the last minute.

“In his message, Trump said he was against any war with Iran and wanted to talk to Tehran about various issues,” one of the officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“He gave a short period of time to get our response but Iran’s immediate response was that it is up to Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei to decide about this issue.”

A second Iranian official said: “We made it clear that the leader is against any talks, but the message will be conveyed to him to make a decision.

“However, we told the Omani official that any attack against Iran will have regional and international consequences.”

Khamenei has the last say on all state matters and has ruled out any talks with Washington while Tehran is under sanctions.

Iran shot down the drone after weeks of festering tension amidst a spate of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf region.

In his initial response on Thursday, Trump said he was not eager to escalate a stand-off with Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile activities and support for proxies in various Middle East conflicts.

He said the unmanned drone might have been shot down in error by someone who was acting “loose and stupid”, though added: “This country will not stand for it.”
The incident aggravated global fears of direct military confrontation between the longtime foes, and oil prices rose a further $1 per barrel to above $65.50 on Friday due to worries about possible disruptions to crude exports from the Gulf.

Additional reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh in Geneva, Jamie Freed in Singapore, David Shepardson in Washington and Tom Westbrook in Sydney, Tom Balmforth in Moscow, Roberta Rampton and Phil Stewart in Washington, Sabine Siebold in Brussels; Writing by Mark Heinrich; Editing by Jon Boyle and Bill Rigby


 

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