September 21, 2019

The Mideast has its own variety of crazy humor. The Saudis have been blasting and bombing wretched Yemen, one of this world’s poorest nations, since 2015.

These US-supported attacks and a naval blockade of Yemen imposed by Saudi Arabia and its sidekick ally, the United Arab Emirates, have caused mass starvation. No one knows how many Yemenis have died or are currently starving. Estimates run from 250,000 to one million.

The black humor? The Saudis just claimed they were victims of Iranian `aggression’ this past week after the kingdom’s leading oil treatment facility at Abqaiq was hit by a flight of armed drones or cruise missiles. The usual American militarists, now led by State Secretary Mike Pompeo after the demented warmonger, John Bolton, was finally fired, are calling for military retaliation against Iran even though the attack was claimed by Yemen’s Shia Houthi movement.

This drama came at roughly the same time that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of US president Donald Trump, vowed to annex Palestine’s entire Jordan Valley if elected. Not a peep of protest came from the US, which recently blessed Netanyahu’s annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights while scourging Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, for annexing Crimea – a Russian possession for over 300 years.

I studied US photos of the damaged Saudi oil installations. Its oil tanks appear to be precisely hit at the same place. After the attack, the Saudis claimed half of their oil production was knocked out; but a day later, they vowed production would be resumed within a week. Parts of so-called drones were shown that appeared way beyond the technological capabilities of Yemen or even Iran. The missiles may have been supplied by Ukraine.

The Saudis, like their patron in Washington, have a poor record for truthfulness. Remember the Saudi denials about the murder of journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi? More important, we have been waiting for more false flag attacks in the Gulf designed to justify a US attack on Iran.

The pattern of so-called drone attacks against the Saudi oil installations is just too neat and symmetrical. The Israelis have a strong interest in promoting a US-Saudi War. The attacks in Saudi came ironically right after the anniversary of 9/11 that plunged the US into war against large parts of the Muslim world.

As a long-time military observer, I find it very hard to believe that drones could be guided over such long distances and so accurately without aircraft or satellites to guide them. In Yemen, which is just creeping into the 12th century, changing a flat tire is a major technological achievement. To date, Iran’s missile arsenal has poor reliability and major guidance problems.

Adding to the questions, the Saudis have spent billions on US-made air defense systems. They failed to protect the oil installations. The Saudis would have been better off buying air defenses from the Russians, at a quarter of the US selling price.

Trump at least showed some wisdom by so far rejecting demands from the neocons that surround him to launch major attacks on Iran. Blasting Iran would not serve much purpose and would expose US forces in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Somalia, and Syria to Iranian guerrilla attacks. Saudi oil installations – after what we saw last week – are vulnerable.

Attacking Iran, even if just from the air, risks a much wider Mideast war just as the Trump administration – which originally campaigned against ‘stupid’ Mideast wars – faces next year’s elections. But the administration is under intense pressure from its pro-Israel base to go after Iran.

Bombing Iran’s oil infrastructure would be relatively easy and has been intensively planned since early 2002. But what next? So-called ‘regime change’ (Washington’s favorite euphemism for overthrowing disobedient foreign governments) rarely works as planned and can get the US into horribly messy situations. The CIA overthrew Iran’s democratic government in 1953 and look where we are today.

Perhaps the attacks on Abqaiq may cause the reckless Saudi leaders to stop devastating Yemen and throttle back on their proxy war against Iran which has gone on since 1979. But don’t count on it.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2019

This post is in: Iran, Saudi Arabia


  1. Within weeks of 9/11, the US came out with WAR PLANS to remake the Middle East in the US/Israeli image and interests. The US WAR PLAN called for changing the regimes of Iraq, Libya, Syria and at THE END, Iran was the target.

    IF Iran did this, it is concrete proof, if push comes to shove, Iran has the ability to destroy Saudi Arabia’s entire oil production, and if that happens, the Global Economy will come to a complete standstill. Prices of $20/gallon at the pump might be underestimating.
    Americans will no longer be exceptional avoiding the dire consequences.
    With all the guns in US hands, the US will have to deal with the worst of the worst craziest consequences.
    Who will stand on Guard for CanaDa when there will be a flood of Americans seeking Refugee Status to escape Domestic American Terrorism unleashed?

    Trump is responding with increased Economic Warfare against Iran when the sanctions already put in place are designed to collapse the Iranian Economy supporting it’s 83 Million population, leaving no money in the hands of the People surviving in the ensuing chaos.
    Coming soon to America if the US push comes to shove.
    That’s entirely possible when the America 1ster Neo-cons, like Lindsey Graham, already calling for the US to bomb Iran.

    At this point, Iran has nothing to lose.
    The US Economic War is an existential threat to Iran without the bombs.
    They are more resilient than Americans and will endure as Americans would become much angrier than they already are with extreme polarization setting in when they are subjected to a tightening Economic straitjacket like they are imposing on Iran..
    Iran has it’s own version of Israel’s “Samson Doctrine.”
    Iran will take out Middle East oil production, collapsing the World Economy, knowing the US is already attempting to destroy Iran Economically as the other Nations dither.
    Iran has all the Trump cards to play in their own region of this World where the US is so far from the US, acting as the Sawdi/Israeli proxy in the Middle East.

  2. There is something happening in the ‘background’; why would these nations make a statement like they did. From the BBC:
    “”It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation. We support ongoing investigations to establish further details,” they said.
    “The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear programme as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles programme and other means of delivery,” the statement added.”
    It looks like somebody has put the thumbscrews to the Europeans.

  3. I am not surprised the SA oil installation wasn’t damaged as badly as initially believed. They come with all kinds of “safety measures” to protect them in case of an industrial accident. Historically, the allied attacks on Ploiesti in Romania during WWII did not fully succeed after the first attack.
    It would be interesting to see if the American SEC has noted any unusual trading in oil equities from just before the attack and just before the SA assessment of the damage.
    Personally, I’m believe Iran to be behind the attack. I wouldn’t be shocked if they had “technical assistance” from another party. Russia, maybe China come to mind.
    Meanwhile, Iran seems to be of the mind that they can launch these kinds of attacks and get away with it. I would expect another some day soon…

  4. It would seem that the United States wants to start World War III.
    They are doing nothing to stabilise the world, and in fact, are doing nearly everything to de-stabilise it. They are in conflict with many nations, some of which were their allies. The rest of the world is complicit by doing and/or saying nothing. They are the bullies on the block and have been for decades.
    As Eric notes, it is not know, at this point who lodged the attack against Saudi Arabia. Give or take a few years, only in the last century, has the Middle East had borders. The ‘tribes’ were largely nomadic and had no need for boundaries. I do not know, moreover, how the concept of borders is treated by the general masses in that region.
    It may be known who manufactured the drone. This has little meaning since numerous countries manufacture weapons that are used outside of their borders with little or no control. This includes the Americans as well as the French. It is not known, that I’m aware, of who manufactured the weapons, either. The origin of the actual missiles/bombs does not indicate ‘whodunit’.
    It is not known, yet, where the weapon was fired from. The Saudis state it was fired from Iran. This may be correct, but has little significance. As noted above, the concept of borders may be superfluous. If I have ‘loose’ borders it is possible for a group to cross a part of a dessert and fire a weapon from someone else’s territory.
    The Saudis leadership, at least, are not known for their honesty. As an example look at how the Khashoggi incident was handled or directed. Trump is the only one alive that, in my opinion, is less trustworthy. The Saudis, however, have stipulated that the Iranians did the deed. Would you believe this statement, when another group has stipulated that they were the perpetrators. Even if the Saudis were honest, it’s hard to improve on a confession. There have likely been countless people executed for confessions… who to believe?
    If the Arabs weren’t so ‘tribal’ they could have been a great power. With their financial resources, the entire Middle East could have been a Mecca. This was not in the interests of the ‘oil greedy’ West and everything has been done to destabilise the area with great success.
    Iran has shown it wants to come to an agreement about their nuclear program, but is hampered by the Americans. The Americans are now sending more troops to the Middle East. The recent statement in the ‘BBC’, “They had been hoping that a plan by French President Emmanuel Macron to offer a $15bn line of credit to Iran, in return for its compliance with the nuclear deal and a halt to its destabilising activities in the region, would come to fruition. But the plan has not been approved by Mr Trump.”, speaks volumes. Because Trump is on the sidelines and not the originator, he will not approve this. Why do they need American approval?
    The Israelis are sitting back, maybe throwing the odd ‘log into the fire’, waiting to pick up the pieces they can.
    With climate change, there will be an abrupt change in the demand for fossil fuels. We’ll have to wait and see how this turns out. With ultra rich regimes losing their ‘cash cow’, this will put added stress on the Middle East.
    The UN, aka ‘the rest of the world’ is helping the Americans precipitate another global conflict by saying and doing nothing. The UN needs to be changed so it can function in a manner to save the world and not cause conflicts. It needs its own space… not American space, it needs to act in the best interests of the global ‘tribe’.
    Journalists are not helping the matter. By failing to raise doubts in the statements made by politicians, the rest of the world is failing to be critical. They are doing a great disservice to their profession.

  5. Interesting article and it leaves me wondering how and why Iran would want to attack Saudi Arabia’s oil refineries in the first place. Leaving that aside, it remains my belief that the US has not attacked Iran so far and likely will not do so, because Vladimir Putin has probably warned Trump not to let the US forces launch air or naval attacks against that country. Remember some weeks ago when the US was poised to strike Iran, but backed off at the last minute? Trump said he was concerned about the possible loss of Iranian civilians’ lives, but that certainly doesn’t wash with me or with most other people (Since when does Trump feel any real compassion for the lives of Muslim people?) A more logical explanation is that Trump backed down in the face of warnings or threats from Moscow, and the US cannot risk a direct military confrontation with Russia. Another possibility is that Putin has blackmailed Trump himself, in which case we can only speculate as to what the Russian leader is hanging over the US president’s neck like a Damocles sword.

  6. The drone could be shown on TV covered in markings of the Israeli military and stamped MADE IN AMERICA in letters visible from twenty feet away and America and the obedient corporate media would still be screaming the attack came from Iran.
    Isn’t it amazing how the media tells about how Trump has lied over 11,000 times but when his government is trying to take America to war with Iran he is suddenly the most trustworthy man on Earth?

    Do you need more proof the American media is totally owned by the war manufacturers?

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