Iranian hand in attacks on Saudi Oil installations; a continued legacy of meddling in other countries | Page 2 | World Defense

Iranian hand in attacks on Saudi Oil installations; a continued legacy of meddling in other countries

Khafee

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Attacks in Saudi Arabia expose a battle for asymmetry
By: Kelsey D. Atherton   12 hours ago

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This is what the Khurais Oil Refinery looked like two and a half years before the attack on September 14, 2019. (Planet Labs, Inc. (CC BY-SA 4.0))


The plume of smoke spills south on the satellite image, the shadow it casts almost doubling the size of the image.

Photos released by the U.S. government and taken by the satellite imagery company DigitalGlobe, show a series of punctures and ruptures in refinery equipment. Days out from the Sept. 14 attack on the Abqaiq refinery and the Khurais oilfield in Saudi Arabia, the known unknowns are abound.

What is clear, however, at this early juncture, is that whether the attack came from a guided missile, loitering munition or modified drone, the interception technology that was deployed is not yet a viable solution to such attacks.

As Saudi Arabia wages war in Yemen, it has suffered drone and missile attacks in retaliation from the Houthi faction in that war. The presence and mobility of non-state actors in neighboring Iraq does not rule out an attack launched from Iraq. The Trump administration and Saudi foreign ministry have placed blame directly on Iran, the Saudis erstwhile ally and present rival. Open source analysis has yet to provide a clear answer.

What is known is that an array of weapons are capable of causing the damage seen in the Abqaiq strike and that these weapons are available to actors ranging from small insurgent groups to regularly supplied nonstate or substate actors, and to nations themselves.

Military planners looking to defend infrastructure against the plethora of possibilities will need to understand the possible vectors and the limitations of the available systems to guard against all of them.

Missiles or drones?
It is possible that assessments from intelligence agencies will reveal the specific kind of weapon used to cause the 17 points of impacts. Houthi forces claimed credit for the attack and said somewhere between 10 and 20 drones were used. Other evidence points to cruise missiles as the weapon of choice.


“The direction of impact should not be significant given the fact that the weapons described—drones or cruise missiles—are steerable weapons,” wrote Dina Esfandiary, a Century Foundation fellow.

Houthi forces have used steerable drones and missiles for attacks before, though the site is likely beyond the reach of the longest-range Houthi cruise missile, if fired from within Houthi-held territory.

Fabian Hinz, writing at Arms Control Wonk, provides an overview of the Quds-1 cruise missile displayed by Houthi forces in July 2019. The Quds-1 has many similarities to the Iranian-made Soumar, and Hinz parses the differences and the implications of what a missile might mean.

Consider the Houthis themselves claimed the attack was done by drone. Houthi forces have used drones laden with explosives as a weapon somewhere between a cruise missile and a guided munition before. Some Iranian-made Arabil-1 drones, rebranded as Qasef-1s, were interdicted by UAE special forces in November 2016 en route to Houthi forces and examined by Conflict Armament Research. Drones like the interdicted models were used to specifically attack Saudi-used Patriot missile defense systems.

Much of what makes these drone strikes successful is open source tools and parts available on the commercial market. Satellite footage, in particular, is useful for attacks against fixed, static points, like infrastructure and refineries.

“The result is the Houthis are using drones in ways reminiscent of precision-guided-munitions, over far greater distances than other insurgent groups in the Middle East,” wrote Aaron Stein, director of the Middle East Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, after a Houthi drone strike in January 2019.

“[The Houthis-used Qasef-1 drone] has decades-old technology derived from target drones designed to be used for target practice,” Stein wrote. “It’s cheap, easy to manufacture, easily transportable, and requires relatively little supporting logistics to operate.”


The range of the Qasef-1 is roughly 62 miles, so it would have to be smuggled close and fired in Saudi Arabia to hit its target. Waypoint navigation, common on commercial drones to allow them to follow preset routes of GPS coordinates, would allow a drone used as a munition like this to reorient itself and hit a specific side of a target.

Notable, too, is that these weapons are not limited to state or non-state actors, and many can be set up and launched against a fixed target by a small team of people.

The arc of interception
Missile defense is a hard problem. It is hard when the stakes are high, like with nuclear payloads, and it is hard when the stakes are a lower kind of lethality, like conventional missiles. Tools are available that offer some defense against flying objects designed to explode on impact.

Intercepting a projectile with a projectile requires a nimble interceptor, powerful sensors, and rapid target tracking and acquisition, and is a problem scientists and military designers have tried to solve for decades.

Patriot missile systems, initially designed for anti-air and adapted to a missile defense role, spectacularly failed against targets in Saudi Arabia. Skepticism of the system’s effectiveness against cruise missiles and smaller targets abounds. Even when Patriot missiles do have a clear hit against smaller targets, the asymmetry involved between a cheap quadcopter and an expensive missile make it a poor fit for the targets assigned.

Further compounding these limitations is that Patriot missiles systems, at present, lack a full 360 degree radar view, and so have blind spots that can be exploited through missile maneuvers.

One possible alternative is two-tiered interception systems, like Russia has fielded against irregular forces in Syria. Russia has paired its powerful (and alliance-straining) S-400 air defense system with a Pantsir-S1, allowing the S-400 to focus on big expense threats and the Pantsir to tackle smaller interceptions, like drones. The Pantsir has proven somewhat effective in action, and it’s possible Saudi Arabia could reach out to Russia for the system, though the geopolitics involved might confound such a purchase.

This provides an opportunity for companies looking to fit a layered defense component into Riyadh’s Patriot-heavy defense commitment.

Already, companies are marketing counter-drone measures as a possible add-on solution.

Citadel Defense announced on Sept. 17 a contract with the Air Force for its Titan C-UAS system. The Titan system, launched in March, emphasizes drone disruption through AI-powered and targeted jamming, sidestepping the tricky interceptions of missile defense by simply disabling the electromagnetic space drones need to operate.

It is unlikely that Citadel will be the last or only company to see the lack of drone and cruise missile mitigation options as an opportunity their product can uniquely fix. As the refinery at Abqaiq is repaired, the market of infrastructure protection is likely to roar back into full production, too, to meet the new demands of the third-largest military spender in the world.

 

Mangus Ortus Novem

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@Khafee brother... thanks for sharing the above article!

This again proves my thesis about EconomicTerrorism against KSA. Please, take note that Pakistan was/is subjected to same... somehow, we can see the same mondus operandi and I am sure investigations will find the same fingerprints...
 

BATMAN

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That is my point exactly.

I see it as EconomicTerroristAttack and not conventioal TerrorAttack. Hence, KSA needs to craft a counter strategy that hurts the economic viability of sponors/planners of such attacks.

Otherwise, it is going to be EconomicTerrorAttacks leading to war of atrition...which is going to cost more to the Kingdom and have adverse effects on Pak National Security as well.

It is in Pakistan's Strategic Interests that KSA and UAE remain economically strong and stable.

Anyhow, looking at the response from KSA so far they are trying to find the sponsors as well.. hence the annoucement of having the EconomicTerrorAttack to be investigated by UN....
Well you know what, Saudi Arabia has been working on these lines.
They managed to break India from Iran as an oil customer, remember India had special exemption from US to buy Iranian oil!
Now perhaps the only buyer of Iranian oil is China.
 

Mangus Ortus Novem

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Well you know what, Saudi Arabia has been working on these lines.
They managed to break India from Iran as an oil customer, remember India had special exemption from US to buy Iranian oil!
Now perhaps the only buyer of Iranian oil is China.

Not enough!

Pakistan must stop subsiding Persia at the cost of OurChilderen.

Stop the blackmarket and smuggling.. and export of our CashDollar by the certain curriers...

I wish that OurLand becomes Ours again... we need to stop being a SoftState. Our economic revival and growth is linked with GCC and we need to come out strong to protect Our National Interests.

Time to crush SecterianBlackmailers.
 

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Saudi Arabia resume oil output to pre-attack level, oil prices fall. There will be an announcement tomorrow regarding the attack., it origin, the dornes/missiles used.
Good news....Saudi Govt should share facts about the attacks with the international media ASAP. I think the attack looked more like it was done with cruise missiles rather then drones.
 

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Saudi Arabia: We Have A Lot of Evidence of Iran Guards Involvement in Aramco Attack
Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

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Remains of the missiles which were used to attack an Aramco oil facility, are displayed during a news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 18, 2019. (Reuters)

Asharq Al-Awsat

The Saudi Defense Ministry revealed on Wednesday that it has a lot of evidence against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards that implicates it in the attack against Aramco oil facilities last week.

Ministry spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki told a press conference in Riyadh that the attack was intentionally used to destroy civilian infrastructure.

He presented debris of drones and Cruise missiles that were collected from the site of the attacks on the Abqaiq and Khurais facilities. Eighteen UAVs and seven Cruise missiles were used in the attack.

The attack did not and “could not” originate from Yemen, but from the north, he stressed, dismissing the claim of responsibility by the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen.

“The use of Cruise missiles is beyond the capabilities of the Iran proxy in Yemen,” he explained.

Evidence collected from the attack will be shared with the United Nations and investigators, he added.

The next step, he said, lies in determining the point from where the missiles and drones were launched.

“There are several ways to determine the launch point and we cannot disclose further details for security reasons,” Maliki stated. “We are working together with the United States to preserve security in the region.”

“Those behind the attacks will be held accountable,” he vowed.

“The threat we are all facing, not just in Saudi Arabia, is the Iranian regime and its support for terrorism throughout the world,” he warned. “The entire international community must hold Iran to account.”

 

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Pics from today's Press conference

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Not enough!

Pakistan must stop subsiding Persia at the cost of OurChilderen.

Stop the blackmarket and smuggling.. and export of our CashDollar by the certain curriers...

I wish that OurLand becomes Ours again... we need to stop being a SoftState. Our economic revival and growth is linked with GCC and we need to come out strong to protect Our National Interests.

Time to crush SecterianBlackmailers.
This continued meddling in other countries by Iran takes me back a few years as I recall what some of my colleagues shared with myself that stunned me at that time. Further digging along the lines uncovered what was already in plain sight for anyone interested in asking average Pakistanis who have become part of some thing I am about to discuss in some detail.

Back in 2003, one of my quiet liberal work colleague surprisingly told me while discussing upcoming general elections that he is going to vote for MMA. I was stunned because MMA was mostly a sunni religious political party alliance and my friend was a zealous PPP supporter.

Upon judging my surprised look, my colleague retorted that the Imam of the Shia Mosque he attends has instructed the Juma congregation that we must all vote for MMA in the next elections no matter who the candidate is. Another colleague who was more zealous, nudged him and they both changed the subject.

I checked another friend in my neighborhood who attended a prominent Shia Mosque in the area which happens to be about 30 Km away from my work and at the other end of the city. He too revealed that MMA is what he is going to vote for too since that's the "general trend". I lied to him that the Imam of my Masjid has asked people to vote for MMA, he replied that's what the Imam of his Mosque told the congregation too, lol.

I checked the news papers and found out that the Shia alliance, Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen MWM, was supporting MMA in those elections.

I then noticed my colleagues talk more and more about their Mosques they attended over the years. The liberal one disclosed that the Imam is a very good and learned man who got his religious education from Qom in Iran. At another time he told me that the Shia mosque Imams are appointed directly from Qom. Once during HisbAllah attacks on Israel the zealous one started bragging that the Imam of his mosque had a lot of information to disclose about the events in Lebanon and he also disclosed that the Juma and other shia event sermon guidelines come directly from Iran.

Guess who the Shia political alliance supported in the 2018 elections???

This may all sounds very innocuous and innocent for average person on the street but this is nothing but due to Pakistan becoming a Soft State. It is appalling to say the least when you consider that it is a neighboring country effectively interfering with the affairs of another sovereign country and continuously undermining its political, social and strategic fabric by indoctrinating a segment of the populous with its propaganda by guidelines coming directly from Iran.

Indeed the average Shias and Sunnis in Pakistan have largely not heeded the sectarian divide instigation over the years. But slowly and continuously, there has been a persistent drive to brain wash the shia population of Pakistan into looking towards Iran for their loyalty and allegiance instead of loyalty towards Pakistan and Pakistani interests.

More and more militancy has been encouraged by Iran among Pakistani Shia population by using their influence developed through virtually controlling Shia Mosques across the country by this regular bombardment of Iranian propaganda intermixed with its own brand of religious doctrine that reeks with designs and pipe dreams to conquer Makkah and Madina. This brain washing has affected the shia youth and has resulted in their joining as mercenaries to fight for Iran as cannon fodder in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and regional conflicts.

The militant Iranian influence buildup in Pakistan increased more and more since PPP government of 2008-20013 and still in Provence of Sind to date, is beginning to hold the Pakistani state hostage to Iranian interests over Pakistan's as the politicians have started arguing in favor of letting go of Pakistani interests to keep the Nation united and avoid sectarian fault-lines from widening. What a joke! have the Iranian ever taken into account the Sunni population of Iran when going after its interests in regional conflicts???

The politicians need some hard schooling. When is the Pakistani State going to wake up and smell the coffee that when it comes to Muslims of Pakistan and their National Interest, they must be united without any sectarian divide for the National Interest of Pakistan but not at the cost of it.

It is not about sects. It is about National Interest. Again, let me emphasize, Sects must be united towards National Interests not at the cost of it - otherwise it nullifies the very concept of unity.

The reaction of Sunnis of Iran have never been a consideration for Iran when they make any decisions in their National Interest - nor did the shia of Kashmir make any difference to Iran viz a viz their National Interest in supporting India.

Pakistan is up against a daunting task of fighting many a battles on internal front, rebuilding the economy and regional military stalemate with India, while the US is breathing down our neck on Afghanistan. Getting rid of the Soft State posture should be the logical first step on the internal front. Postponing the inevitable or looking the other way is no longer an option.

Pakistan has to pull its socks up first and then instead of covertly as of now, we need to get back to standing openly and unequivocally with the GCC as has been our historic stance since independence. If it happens to go against the interests of another country, SO BE IT. PERIOD.
 

Mangus Ortus Novem

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This continued meddling in other countries by Iran takes me back a few years as I recall what some of my colleagues shared with myself that stunned me at that time. Further digging along the lines uncovered what was already in plain sight for anyone interested in asking average Pakistanis who have become part of some thing I am about to discuss in some detail.

Back in 2003, one of my quiet liberal work colleague surprisingly told me while discussing upcoming general elections that he is going to vote for MMA. I was stunned because MMA was mostly a sunni religious political party alliance and my friend was a zealous PPP supporter.

Upon judging my surprised look, my colleague retorted that the Imam of the Shia Mosque he attends has instructed the Juma congregation that we must all vote for MMA in the next elections no matter who the candidate is. Another colleague who was more zealous, nudged him and they both changed the subject.

I checked another friend in my neighborhood who attended a prominent Shia Mosque in the area which happens to be about 30 Km away from my work and at the other end of the city. He too revealed that MMA is what he is going to vote for too since that's the "general trend". I lied to him that the Imam of my Masjid has asked people to vote for MMA, he replied that's what the Imam of his Mosque told the congregation too, lol.

I checked the news papers and found out that the Shia alliance, Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen MWM, was supporting MMA in those elections.

I then noticed my colleagues talk more and more about their Mosques they attended over the years. The liberal one disclosed that the Imam is a very good and learned man who got his religious education from Qom in Iran. At another time he told me that the Shia mosque Imams are appointed directly from Qom. Once during HisbAllah attacks on Israel the zealous one started bragging that the Imam of his mosque had a lot of information to disclose about the events in Lebanon and he also disclosed that the Juma and other shia event sermon guidelines come directly from Iran.

Guess who the Shia political alliance supported in the 2018 elections???

This may all sounds very innocuous and innocent for average person on the street but this is nothing but due to Pakistan becoming a Soft State. It is appalling to say the least when you consider that it is a neighboring country effectively interfering with the affairs of another sovereign country and continuously undermining its political, social and strategic fabric by indoctrinating a segment of the populous with its propaganda by guidelines coming directly from Iran.

Indeed the average Shias and Sunnis in Pakistan have largely not heeded the sectarian divide instigation over the years. But slowly and continuously, there has been a persistent drive to brain wash the shia population of Pakistan into looking towards Iran for their loyalty and allegiance instead of loyalty towards Pakistan and Pakistani interests.

More and more militancy has been encouraged by Iran among Pakistani Shia population by using their influence developed through virtually controlling Shia Mosques across the country by this regular bombardment of Iranian propaganda intermixed with its own brand of religious doctrine that reeks with designs and pipe dreams to conquer Makkah and Madina. This brain washing has affected the shia youth and has resulted in their joining as mercenaries to fight for Iran as cannon fodder in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and regional conflicts.

The militant Iranian influence buildup in Pakistan increased more and more since PPP government of 2008-20013 and still in Provence of Sind to date, is beginning to hold the Pakistani state hostage to Iranian interests over Pakistan's as the politicians have started arguing in favor of letting go of Pakistani interests to keep the Nation united and avoid sectarian fault-lines from widening. What a joke! have the Iranian ever taken into account the Sunni population of Iran when going after its interests in regional conflicts???

The politicians need some hard schooling. When is the Pakistani State going to wake up and smell the coffee that when it comes to Muslims of Pakistan and their National Interest, they must be united without any sectarian divide for the National Interest of Pakistan but not at the cost of it.

It is not about sects. It is about National Interest. Again, let me emphasize, Sects must be united towards National Interests not at the cost of it - otherwise it nullifies the very concept of unity.

The reaction of Sunnis of Iran have never been a consideration for Iran when they make any decisions in their National Interest - nor did the shia of Kashmir make any difference to Iran viz a viz their National Interest in supporting India.

Pakistan is up against a daunting task of fighting many a battles on internal front, rebuilding the economy and regional military stalemate with India, while the US is breathing down our neck on Afghanistan. Getting rid of the Soft State posture should be the logical first step on the internal front. Postponing the inevitable or looking the other way is no longer an option.

Hybridwar... one vector you have found!

Now if/when you have time... please see ...quantify how many Trillions of PKR have been going to Persia .. for last 15 years....

We must stop being a colony of Persia and more importantly stop subsidising the PersianEmpire at the cost of our own childeren... healthcare and schools included.
 

Scorpion

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Well done.... this is a slap on the face of script writers of sabotage, it's supporters, cheerleaders and propagandists.
May the goodness prevail and axis of evil find themselves in the hole dig by themselves.

So guys... How did enemy reach Abqaiq? My doubts are on Hofuf public!
No one knows so far, head of Saudi led- coalition said the drones and three cruise missiles came from the north. He did not specify where exactly but Saudi Air Force launched series air strikes on Syrian city of Al Bukamal last night. I don't think he will tell where about exactly.
 

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BREAKING: Kuwait Armed Forces raise the state of combat readiness aiming to maintain the safety and security of the country considering what is happening in the region.
 

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No one knows so far, head of Saudi led- coalition said the drones and three cruise missiles came from the north. He did not specify where exactly but Saudi Air Force launched series air strikes on Syrian city of Al Bukamal last night. I don't think he will tell where about exactly.
Iran's militias in Al-#Mayadeen and Al-Bukamal cities left all their headquarters and went into the civilian neighborhoods. Saudi Air Force destroyed their bases.
 

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Scorpion

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