A Few Thoughts on the Attack on the Saudi Oil Facility

While we all wait to actually see something that resembles actual evidence, as opposed to speculation and assertions, of who is responsible for Saturday’s attack on the Saudi oil facility, I think there are several things to keep in mind. The first is that the administration in general and the President, the Secretary of State, and the US Special Representative for Iran do not have any real credibility in any of their public statements. You will undoubtedly remember that all three of them went all in on Iran being responsible for the two rounds of tanker attacks in port in the UAE and just underway off the UAE’s coasts earlier in the summer. You’ll notice that those assertions were not only quickly contested by the ship owners and the UAE. And you have also probably noticed that all three stopped talking about them shortly after the initial round of public bluster. So until or unless someone with some credibility comes out and provides some verification that the Iranians actually conducted Saturday’s attack on the Saudi refinery, all assertions from the administration should be taken with a very large grain of salt. And this goes even more for anything the Saudis state publicly, as well as the Israelis. Both Muhammad bin Salman and Bibi Netanyahu have their own reasons for wanting to place the blame for this on Iran. And both would really like the US to fight Iran for them to the last American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, DOD and Service civilian, and contractor. Is it possible that Iran is responsible? Yes it is. What we don’t know right now is how plausible or probably it is.

What I think is going to happen here is that the President will bluster a bit more on Twitter or in press gaggles about Iran, though, apparently, the Special Representative has told Congressional staffers that the President is still open to engagement with Iran. So I expect that we’ll see a replay of what happened with the two rounds of tanker attacks from this past summer. Several days of Presidential bluster on Twitter and in press gaggles about Iran being responsible and what the US could do, followed by the Secretary of State and the US Special Representatives trying to both back up the tough talk, while doing whatever it is they’re doing. If no evidence is actually ever presented, or contrary evidence comes out, then the whole thing will just be dropped.

I do not think we’re going to see a US military response. A one off strike, either lobbing a couple of missiles or a US Air Force or Naval aviation strike, would be both tactically and strategically pointless. All it would do is rally the just attacked Iranian populace to support the Iranian government. As I’ve written about here, as well as in more professional publications, an invasion of Iran would be strategic malpractice. Moreover, as I’ve written about here and elsewhere, we simply do not have the military resources right now to actually increase our military operational tempo, let alone add a third theater of war to the Afghan and Iraqi ones we are already operating in. And there’s another reason an American response is unlikely: this wasn’t an attack on Americans or American infrastructure. As far as we know so far from the reporting, no Saudis were hurt or killed. Certainly no Americans were. So any attack on Iran here would not be justifiable, it would be preemptory. Not that I think the President or the Secretary of State actually care about such things as Just War Theory. It is also hard to convince Americans to support going to war to protect Saudi oil refineries, so even the domestic politics of this would be a very difficult needle to thread.

There’s a final dynamic at work here that I think is very important, which is that the Iranians are in control of this situation, not the President, not the Secretary of State, not Muhammad bin Salman, and not Bibi Netanyahu. They also have the President’s number. They know he doesn’t want to actually get into any more wars in the Middle East and Central Asia and, in fact, wants to get out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible. They also don’t give a damn about the Trump Doctrine. The Iranians have no desire to treat the President fairly and from their perspective they’ve gotten nothing but “or else” from the US for over 40 years, with, perhaps, the exception of how President Obama treated them in the run up to and during the JCPOA negotiations. The open ended “or else” threat of the Trump Doctrine is a hollow threat for Iran. As a result, the Iranians are actually calling the shots here, not the President or anyone else. Whether the President, Secretary Pompeo, the Special Representative for Iran, or anyone else advising them recognizes this reality is something I cannot speak to.

Finally, for those looking for other resources, both subject matter experts and reporters, on the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Iran, I recommend the following.

Open thread!






70 replies
  1. 1
    Jeffro says:

    It’s just kind of weird for me to reflexively want to come to the defense of the Iranians.

    Ok, very weird.

    But that is where we are at.

  2. 2
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jeffro: I don’t think it is so much coming to their defense as to recognizing that what actually happened may not actually be what is being presented as what happened.

  3. 3
    Origuy says:

    More comforting news.

    A gas explosion has sparked a fire at a Russian lab that houses viruses ranging from smallpox to Ebola, authorities have said.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @David Anderson: You are quite welcome!

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    American intelligence indicates that the attack on a major Saudi oil facility originated from Iran, three people familiar with the intelligence told NBC News — an assessment that is likely to escalate tensions between Washington and Tehran.

    A congressional source says Democrats familiar with the details do not dispute that the attack was carried out by Iran — an important signal of bipartisan agreement amid great uncertainty about claims made by the Trump administration.

    No named sources, so take this with a grain of salt.

  7. 7
    Mandalay says:

    @Baud:

    A congressional source says Democrats familiar with the details do not dispute that the attack was carried out by Iran…

    Soooo…..an anonymous source says other anonymous sources are not disputing some uncorroborated claim.

    Good enough for me. Based on that, we should turn Iran into a parking lot.

  8. 8
    Another Scott says:

    Dunno if you saw this:

    Russia is ready to help Saudi Arabia following attacks on the Saudi oil industry if needed, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with leaders of Turkey and Iran in Ankara, and proposed Russian weapons for purchase.

    “We are ready to provide respective assistance to Saudi Arabia, and it would be enough for the political leadership of Saudi Arabia to make a wise government decision – as the leaders of Iran did in their time by purchasing S-300 and as (Turkish) President (Tayyip) Erdogan did by purchasing the latest S-400 ‘Triumph’ air defence systems from Russia,” Putin said.

    These Russian weapons would protect any infrastructure facilities of Saudi Arabia, he added.

    I joked downstairs that maybe Vlad was behind the attack. It’s kinda crazy, but higher oil price[s] help him, arms sales help him, and throwing [gravel in the] gears in US power in the middle east helps him.

    I wonder….

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  9. 9
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Mandalay:

    Based on that, we should turn Iran into a parking lot.

    If that’s the standard of evidence, Riyadh should be a still-smoking crater (right after 9/11).

  10. 10
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Baud:
    The US and Saudis have less that zero credibility at the moment. (How many times did the Saudi story about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi transform?) I’m waiting for actual evidence.
    Wall Street Journal, was open access earlier today but is now paywalled:
    Strikes in Saudi Arabia Chill Diplomacy—Perhaps by Design – Timing of attacks is deeply suspicious, with plenty of actors who don’t want an outbreak of diplomacy (Gerald F. Seib, Sept. 16, 2019)
    Focuses on 3 possible actors:
    – “hard-liners in the Iranian government.”
    – “Houthi forces in Yemen have similar interest in escalating tensions.”
    – “there is another Iranian proxy force, the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, with similar motivation to strike out. The PMF holds territory within Iraq and operates there with the implicit acquiescence of the Iraqi government, and with the active assistance of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards”

    Also, at armscontrolwonk yesterday (and I think still valid, as far as it goes):
    Meet the Quds 1 (Fabian Hinz, September 15, 2019)

    Differences between the Quds 1 and the Soumar include the entire booster design, the wing position, the Quds 1’s fixed wings, the shape of the nose cone, the shape of the aft fuselage, the position of the stabilizers and the shape of the engine cover and exhaust.

  11. 11
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: Also makes it harder to believe that Iran, which is aligned with Russia, would have conducted the attack and then had their representatives sit their while Putin offers to sell the Saudis weapons.

  12. 12
    Another Scott says:

    Twitter:

    Dan Trombly @stcolumbia

    I don’t know who needs to hear this but if it takes you days to conclusively demonstrate the point of origin of a multi-dozen munition missile raid fighting a war against the people who launched that raid might not go super well for you.

    4:27 PM – 16 Sep 2019

    Yup.

    (via Cheryl’s twitter feed)

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  13. 13
    Butter Emails says:

    @Baud:

    A congressional source says Democrats familiar with the details do not dispute that the attack was carried out by Iran — an important signal of bipartisan agreement amid great uncertainty about claims made by the Trump administration.

    I especially like this part. Given the phrasing it looks like the reporter is taking the statement of a Republican Congressperson or aide about what Democrats think as gospel. This is just lazy. Single source, probably from the opposing party. Oh yes, the Democrats totally agree with us Republicans.

  14. 14
    Another Scott says:

    @Butter Emails: On All Things Considered on NPR this evening, the host was interviewing some expert and asked her what she thought and she said something very measured and diplomatic, “… if Iran did this then it would be a dramatic escalation from their previous actions…”

    The host then said something like,

    Well, given the sophistication of the attack, all signs are pointing toward Iran, right?

    I wanted to strangle my radio…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  15. 15
    Bill Arnold says:

    Riffing on the Onward Christian Soldiers thread last night, I’m wondering if the DJ Trump administration might be convinced that it’s a good idea to negotiate a cease fire between SA and the Houthi forces in Yemen. Given that providing refueling, targeting, etc support to the Saudis, with insufficient effort spent on brokering a peace, was a big foreign policy failure of the Obama administration, success negotiating a cease fire would (a) be a win over Obama, yay Trump! (unironically, if it’s a good agreement. Blessed are the peacemakers.), (b) would make it more risky for parties other than the Houthi to attempt deniable attacks.

  16. 16
    Fair Economist says:

    @Origuy: That fire in the top Russian biohazard lab is very concerning because smallpox is a very tough virus. Dried samples can be infectious for years. I hope the cleanup workers all have smallpox vaccinations, but with Russia I rather doubt it.

  17. 17
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Which…is a defense? Of just this one instance?

  18. 18
    LivinginExile says:

    I started reading Informed Comment in the run up to the Iraq war. A lot of information there, one of my favorite blogs.
    Back then it was mostly about the Middle East, and since then he has expanded the subject matter to include renewable energy stories, politics, etc.

  19. 19
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman: All three countries benefit from chaos and confusion here, although each with their own special ‘bonus’ motives. All three benefit in some way from the perception of instability (ok, more than the usual instability).

    As does Bibi.

  20. 20
    Chip Daniels says:

    I’m open to being persuaded otherwise, but I don’t see any reason to favor the Saudi Kingdom over Iran, other than for decades the Saudis were thought of as the “good” (read: controllable) Arabs, which seems increasingly doubtful.

  21. 21
    NotMax says:

    Is it possible the weapon used used were of Iranian manufacture? Certainly.

    Is it credible they were launched from Iran? Not very.

  22. 22
    NotMax says:

    @Fair Economist

    Early reporting yet but so far no evidence the storage vaults were impacted in any way.

  23. 23
    Brachiator says:

    So, are there any more sanctions that Trump can impose on Iran, presuming that he is going to back away from military action?

  24. 24
    Bill Arnold says:

    @NotMax:
    One of the rare times I’m relieved to be old enough to have a smallpox scar. (right arm. :-)
    I will hope that they did not save samples of some ghastly engineered chimera. But Russians are not to be trusted with bioweapons.

  25. 25
    barbequebob says:

    @Another Scott:

    Not really news here, but on this, and a story this morning on Kavanaugh, NPR seems to be going further in the direction of “Fox News Without the Shouting”. I know about “Nice Polite Republicans”, but I seems worse to me now than it was a year or two ago.

  26. 26
    Another Scott says:

    @Chip Daniels: We’ve protected the Saudis since the FDR days because of the huge, cheap, high-quality oil reserves there.

    Saudi Aramco – the world’s most profitable company.

    Remember the Carter Doctrine?

    The quicker we get off oil (and simply being a large producer and even a large exporter doesn’t protect us from Saudi Arabia’s influence because oil is a global commodity), the more secure we and the world will be. Our military budget will likely be a lot smaller, too. But until then, we do have national interests in the oil fields not turning into smoldering craters. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we can’t and shouldn’t do what we can to get their government out of the early 1700s…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  27. 27
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jeffro: I’m not following.

  28. 28
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator: He can take away their smart phones and tablets and send them to bed without desert. Those are pretty much the only ones we haven’t used.

  29. 29
    Felanius Kootea says:

    Adam@ top: Are there good reasons to disbelieve the Yemeni Houthi rebels who have claimed responsibility for the Saudi attacks multiple times now?

  30. 30
    Mike in NC says:

    Fantastic post. Thank you, Adam.

  31. 31
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Felanius Kootea: While they’ve claimed responsibility, which I think is an important, but not definitive indicator, we’ve seen nothing from anyone that would allow us to conclusively state who did it.

  32. 32
    Brachiator says:

    From Politico. Beltway Hawks are going nuts over Trump’s reaction to the oil facility attacks, one of the few times they appear willing to criticize him.

    In a series of tweets this weekend, Trump indicated that Iran is behind the recent attack on Saudi oil facilities and that the United States will respond after hearing from the Saudi government “under what terms we would proceed.”

    His implication — that the royal family in Riyadh will dictate U.S. actions — prompted fury in Washington, where the Saudis have faced an increasingly hostile climate in recent years, especially in Congress and even among some of Trump’s fellow Republicans.

    “Trump awaits instructions from his Saudi masters. Having our country act as Saudi Arabia’s bitch is not ‘America First,’” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president, tweeted on Sunday night.

    Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican-turned-independent, noted that Congress is the body empowered to “commence war.” “We don’t take orders from foreign powers,” he tweeted.

    It’s too bad that we don’t have a wise, judicious president who could deal with this political hysteria.

  33. 33
    Jay says:

    All of this leaves the question of just who developed and built the Quds 1. The idea that impoverished war-torn Yemen would be able to develop a cruise missile without any outside assistance seems far-fetched. Iran’s previous supply of missiles to the Houthis and the fact that the country uses TJ100 engines in its drone program do imply that the Iran could be behind the Quds 1.

    Prior to the “Civil War”, ( it’s not, it a Proxy War on Yemen by the Sawdi’s and the UAE), Yemen had the largest Rocket Force in the entire Middle East, as both the US and the Soviets/Russians were just giving them away to “The Yemens” to curry favour for decades.

    The Yemeni Rocket Forces not only managed to keep a huge array of missile systems in service for decades, but with some outside technical help, ( NORKs) and local innovation, modernized and upgraded many of their older, more obsolete systems.

    When Hadi overthrew Saleh, over 90% of the Yemeni Military joined up with the Houthi Movement, to create the Ansruallah Movement, including the former Yemeni Rocket Forces. The former Yemeni Military also owned an array of various drones, given to them to “fight” al Quida in the Arabian Pennisula, as part of the War of Terror, which they mostly used against the Houthi Movement. The Drones were operated by the Yemeni Airforce, which also sided with the Houthis.

    Amongst other innovations, ( remote control bomb boats) the Ansruallah Movement have modified obsolete SAM-3 Surface to Air Missiles, into precision short(ish) range Ballistic Missiles. That required a completely new warhead, fuse, guidance system, flight profile and modified thrust to do the job. A couple of weeks ago they dropped one dead center into a Graduation Parade for Sawdi “Trained” New Army Graduates in Aden.

    The Ansruallah Movement claims “they did it”, with the assistance of “friends” in Sawdi Arabia.

    At this point in time, I have no reason not to believe them. It’s not like any of their past claims were proven to be false.

  34. 34
    trollhattan says:

    Having only my own ill-informed ideas re. who supplied the weapons, who supplied the intel and who conducted the attack, will acknowledge that the attack itself was very well researched and orchestrated. They knew what to hit and how, for maximum effect.

    Hope the Saudis are scouring the desert for bands of malevolent Roombas.

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike in NC: You’re welcome.

  36. 36
    Central Planning says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    And both would really like the US to fight Iran for them to the last American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, DOD and Service civilian, and contractor.

    Don’t forget the Space Force astronauts!

  37. 37
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Central Planning: And Rake Force!

  38. 38
    rikyrah says:

    Thanks for the post.
    I don’t believe anything our government has to say about the incident… period 😒😒

  39. 39
    Yarrow says:

    @Origuy: @Fair Economist:

    A gas explosion has sparked a fire at a Russian lab that houses viruses ranging from smallpox to Ebola,

    So what happens if smallpox gets out? I guess older folks have been vaccinated but since it’s considered eradicated younger people don’t get that vaccination, right?

  40. 40
    JWR says:

    @barbequebob:

    NPR seems to be going further in the direction of “Fox News Without the Shouting”.

    Tell me about it! This morning they had Kamala Harris on and the interviewer sounded hostile, very aggressive and stupid, to boot. Asked her why she (Harris) was calling for the impeachment of dear ol’ Brett now, but not back then, (during his freakin’ confirmation hearings!) Harris paused for a moment, then informed the reporter that Kavanaugh hadn’t yet been confirmed “back then”, and besides, she voted against his confirmation. (Maybe the reporter was talking about impeaching him from the 10th? circuit, but I don’t think so.)

  41. 41
    Jay says:

    @trollhattan:

    All the Sawdi oil infrastructure, happens to be in Shia minority areas, where they are brutally repressed and the Sawdi Hack Class really doesn’t care if the Shia die of cancer.

    The Shia form the lowest form of “grunt worker” in the Sawdi Oil Industry, despite being some of the most talented and hardest working.

    It’s not that difficult to get precised, detailed targetting information from an underclass that are almost slaves, when they run the refinery.

  42. 42
    Another Scott says:

    Something that I haven’t seen discussed yet is the Houthi spokesman said something about attacking in coordination with locals. We know that there are many restless Shia in KSA who do not like the government there, at all. The reporting that divides all the possible actors into – Iran / Not Iran – is doing us all a disservice.

    And the Houthisthey’ve been attacking inside Saudi Arabia with missiles and drones for years.

    I assume that the Donnie is not going to start a war with Iran, but these are increasingly dangerous times.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  43. 43
    Jay says:

    @Yarrow:

    Don’t google Soviet Weaponized Smallpox.

  44. 44

    @Another Scott: So Vlad’s saying, “I’d be a shame if anything happened to your’s there oil refinery…”.

  45. 45
    sdhays says:

    If the strike came from Iran, that is an act of war on Saudi Arabia. So, Saudi Arabia can respond however it wants. I’d like to wait for the Saudi declaration of war and Saudi’s own soldiers heading off to fight Iran before figuring out the US response to Iran.

    And the US should not have anything to do with the Saudi war in Yemen.

  46. 46
    Jay says:

    @Another Scott:

    Ansruallah Movement Spokesperson, not “Houthi”.

    Over 90% of the Yemeni Military and over 70% of the Yemeni Security Forces sided with the Houthi’s against the Sawdi/Hadi Coup.

    Now that the Yemeni Navy no longer exists, there’s a crapload of Naval Officers and ranks who spend their whole working days figuring out various ways to sink the Sawdi/Petty Kingdoms blockaide with jury rigged weapons.

    The “Houthi’s” do the raids into stolen Sawdi Provinces. The remains of the various Yemeni Armed Forces, do the other strikes and hold the line against the various “Armed Islamic Radical Terrorists”.

  47. 47
    Another Scott says:

    @Jay: Just for completeness, the tweet I cited says:

    3) Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree says attack “one of the largest executed by our forces” in #SaudiArabia, claiming it came after “thorough intelligence and monitoring” as well as coordination with locals, threatening: “upcoming operations will expand more” https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Energy-Critical-Infrastructure/houthi-rebels-claim-responsibility-for-aramco-attacks-threaten-more-upcoming-operations.html

    I admit I’m not an expert on all the factions in Yemen, and who’s doing what where, but just about everyone talking about this is calling them “the Houthis” so keeping to that nomenclature (at least when taking a bird’s eye view) probably reduces confusion.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  48. 48

    Trump has covered both sides of whether there is to be a war against Iran today, starting with being at MBS’s beck and call for whatever, whereupon the Saudis said they didn’t know who was responsible for the attack. Trump then moved on to being very very sure about who mounted the attack and really liking the Iranians a lot (I’m exaggerating that) and we’ll see, which is what he says when he has no idea what he is doing.

    My corner of Twitter is currently kicking around a Wall Street Journal characterization of the attack as including a dozen or so ballistic missiles, which is, let’s see, how do I stop just short of saying impossible. WSJ has gotten stuff like that wrong before.

    Trump didn’t mention Iran at his rally in Rio Rancho, maybe 30 miles from my house as the crow flies, further by road. He did mention that poor General Mattis and the military were all out of ammunition when the country had the good sense to elect him president, and he fixed it. Also pretty much every lie he’s ever made at a campaign rally. The golden oldies, including Pocahontas and telling a Hispanic man he looked like a WASP, both of which should go over well with New Mexico voters (not).

    I can take a hint and will post something on the Vektor explosion tomorrow. Here’s my total output on it for tonight:

  49. 49
    Ken says:

    It is also hard to convince Americans to support going to war to protect Saudi oil refineries

    Imagine how much harder it would be if the President had repeatedly tweeted that the US wouldn’t go to war for Saudi Arabia.

  50. 50
    Ken says:

    @Brachiator:

    are there any more sanctions that Trump can impose on Iran

    He could refuse to loan them $15 billion.

  51. 51
    Ken says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    If Russia protects such things the way we do

    How much heavy lifting is that “if” doing?

  52. 52
    Jay says:

    Cy Vance appears to be exactly that crooked DA that every journo of note nails and then slithers off to do his next dirty deed. Strauss-Kahn, Manafort, Trumps, Weinstein and… GRAVITY KNIVES ! There is no such thing as a gravity knife so they invented it. https://t.co/92pSqSvrWx— Robert Young Pelton (@RYP__) September 16, 2019

  53. 53
    Mandalay says:

    @Another Scott:

    Well, given the sophistication of the attack, all signs are pointing toward Iran, right?

    Ugh. I heard something very similar from Wolf Blitzer on CNN at 5 p.m. : “So it looks like Iran is responsible…“.

    It’s hard to understand why Trump treats CNN as his enemy when they constantly carry water for him.

  54. 54
  55. 55
    Jay says:

    @Another Scott:

    When people cite “Houthi”, they are deliberately trying to minority Shia factionalize the broad based Yemeni resistance to the Sawdi/Hadi coup.

    Houthi Movenent fighters amount to about 40% or less, of the Yemeni’s fighting against the Sawdi/UAE/Jihadi/ merc alliance that is trying to take over Yemen.

  56. 56
    Jay says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    Yeah, but Russia builds Government buildings out of recycled WWII UXO and obsolete Ammo.

  57. 57
    Another Scott says:

    @Jay: You’ll have to be more specific in your criticism.

    For example, is this Al Jazeera section somehow misleading or incorrect?

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  58. 58
    Leto says:

    It’s an OT, it’s related to that region, and I won’t post it in the thread above:

    U.S. officials knew bomb-sniffing dogs were dying from neglect in Jordan. They sent more.

  59. 59
    prostratedragon says:

    @Origuy: Some people misinterpret my giggles.

  60. 60
    Barbara says:

    Thanks Adam.

  61. 61
    J R in WV says:

    Thanks, Adam.

    I greatly appreciate your expertise and background in the Middle East and your willingness to help keep us informed about the events in the area. It helps keep me centered and a little calmer than otherwise would be the case.

  62. 62
    Jay says:

    @Another Scott:

    Incorrect.

    The Houthi Movement is one ethic/religious/non-religious group in the Ansruallah Movement. They do not act alone.

    All the missile/drone strikes against the Sawdi Hacking Up People Coalition are conducted by the Yemeni Rocket Forces and the Yemeni Airforce members who joined with the Houthi Movement, to form the Anrusallah Movement.

    There is a broad based co-elition of former Yemeni Military, Security Forces and Yardzi, Shia 5’vers and Sunni allied against the Sawdi/Hadi coup.

    The “Houthi’s” don’t have “Rocket Forces”, they were barred for decades from military service, and were tor about 2 decades, the targets of those “Rocket Forces”.

    Anybody who is selling “The Houthi’s” is buying into, or selling the idea that this is a Sawdi/Iranian proxy fight. 60% of the Yemeni’s fighting against the Sawdi/Hadi Coup, are Sunni, not Shia.

    The “Houthi’s” have no Scuds, no Tanks, no artillary, no drones. They are barefoot mountain people with AK’s, RPG’s and Kornet missiles.

    So it’s who is firing the missiles, manning the drones, firing the artillary, launching the boat drones and sea ekimming missiles?

    Over 90% of the former Yemeni Military.

    It’s a cynical, manipulative way of debasing and minimizing the broad based resistance to the Sawdi/Hadi coup.

  63. 63
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Jay:

    the broad based resistance to the Sawdi/Hadi coup.

    Jay, do you have some places we might read about this? I mean, we’re exposed to the MSM, which has portrayed this as Houthis -vs- Sawdis …..

  64. 64
  65. 65
    Jay says:

    @Chetan Murthy:

    I’ll have to do some googling,

    Since Saleh’s military joined with the Houthi Movement, I have mostly been fixed on Houthi Vids. Barefoot guys walking into Narigan Province, id’ing the Sawdi/merc outposts by the garbage littered about, then smoking them. 8 guys against 80 with armoured vehicles.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houthi_movement

    https://mobile.almasdarnews.com/article/yemens-ansarallah-forces-release-first-video-of-new-long-range-missile-that-hit-saudi-arabia/

    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/intpolicydigest.org/2017/05/11/houthi-saleh-alliance-convenience/amp/

    https://www.cgai.ca/inthemediadecember92017b

    https://www.cgai.ca/inthemediadecember92017b

  66. 66
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @My Side of Town: where “provocative” means “fucking moronic”. Inviting Iran to meet in France is the same as someone bombing Saudi oil rigs?

    Fucking moronic.

  67. 67
    Ken_L says:

    So let’s see … the Houthis had opportunity, motive and they’ve confessed.

    As anyone who watches Hollywood crime shows knows, this means it couldn’t possibly have been them.

    But since Saudi Arabia spends more on armaments than any other country in the world except China and the good ol’ USA, let them sort it all out. Conscript all their Filipino nannies into an invasion force and rip into the bastard ayatollahs. Asking for American assistance would be humiliating.

  68. 68
    Zach says:

    What do we sell all those weapons to Saudi Arabia for if they can’t defend themselves in so-far small scale regional conflicts?

  69. 69
    Dave says:

    @Central Planning: Definitely not the 101st Chairborne. They will fight until the first signs of carpal tunnel. I wonder if they ever miss the glory days.

  70. 70
    Boris, Rasputin's Evil Twin says:

    Dear Cheryl and Adam,

    Would this air strike, however it was done and whomever it was done by, make the US Navy think that much more about the Iranian tactic of swarming US ships with fast small craft and everything they could possibly throw at the USN? It seems to me that drones make the scenario that much nastier.

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