Saudi Oilfield Attack: By Yemen, Iraq, or Iran? Israel? Production Back Up When?

-edited

Despite growing pressure from hawks to attack Iran, huge questions go unanswered.

From the North (Iraq or Iran) or the South (Yemen)?

Saudi, U.S. officials are investigating possibility that cruise missiles fired from Iraq or Iran hit the Saudi petroleum facilities.

What about Israel or Lebanon?

Cruise Missiles or Drones?

As the rush to judgement unfolds, a huge number of questions go unanswered.

No one knows yet if the attack came from the North or the South or whether it was by drone or by cruise missile.

Suspicions Rise That Saudi Oil Attack Came From Outside Yemen

Please consider Suspicions Rise That Saudi Oil Attack Came From Outside Yemen

Saudi and American officials are investigating the possibility that attacks on Saudi oil facilities Saturday involved cruise missiles launched from Iraq or Iran, questioning Yemeni rebel claims of responsibility, people familiar with the matter said.

Leaders of the Houthis, the Yemeni rebels whom Saudi Arabia is trying to dislodge from the country’s capital, claimed they sent a squad of drones hundreds of miles into the heart of Saudi Arabia to carry out coordinated attacks on two of the country’s vital energy sites. If true, the attacks marked the most effective and far-reaching drone strikes carried out by outgunned Houthi forces in neighboring Yemen.

But officials around the globe investigating the attack questioned the Houthi claims and suggested the strike may have come from Iraq or Iran, to the north, rather than Yemen, to the south. Iran supports a host of Shiite militias in Iraq.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said Saturday that the facilities were hit by a drone attack, an account confirmed by people familiar with the strikes. But Persian Gulf officials said experts were examining the possibility that the attackers used cruise missiles, either instead of or along with drones.

A strike on Saudi facilities from Iraq isn’t without recent precedent. Earlier this summer, U.S. officials concluded that a May 14 drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s pipeline was launched from Iraq, not Yemen.

And the use of cruise missiles rather than drones would suggest an escalation in the conflict beyond drones. In recent months, Houthi forces have used a new type of cruise missile to hit Saudi Arabia at least three times, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Supply Risk

Conflicting Reports of Production Restoration

No Doubt

I have no doubts either.

But my position is a bit different. I have no doubt this is another rush to judgment.

Three Birds With One Strike

Israel certainly has the most to gain from this. Three birds with one strike:

  1. Saudi Oil Production Hit
  2. Iran Blamed
  3. Weapons to Saudi Arabia to Fight Yemen

I do not rule out anything, including an attack from or sponsored by Israel, Iran, Iraq, or Yemen.

I do not suggest Israel did this, only that Israel had the most to gain regardless of who is directly responsible.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (83)
No. 1-31
numike
numike

"Trust those who seek the truth. Doubt those who find it" André Gide

abend237-04
abend237-04

A few weeks of metallurgist grunt work should resolve origin of the weapons' build kit materials. I hope it's not some little shade tree job shops in Tehran. If so, prepare for a redo of the following scene from Unforgiven:

William Janes
William Janes

U.S. would be most unhappy with Israel doing that . NYT had excellent Sunday Magazine article on Sept. 8 on U.S./Israeli policy debates in regards to Iranian threat. Why would Israel be interested in hitting Saudi Oil Production? Saudi Arabia can buy all the weapons that it wants around the world. It does not need Israeli weapons, and would be loathe to associate with Israel other than in dire circumstances.

Tengen
Tengen

The rush to judgment we saw from Graham, Pompeo, and others is no accident. The whole thing looks suspect just after Bolton's departure, when Trump signaled he does not want war with Iran. There is a coordinated effort underway to disabuse Trump of this position.

I know some people get annoyed with open skepticism of the US or Israel, but sorry, they've earned it by lying far too much over the years. Whenever an attack like this happens and government officials make a beeline toward the nearest microphones, "cui bono?" should be our first question.

Maximus_Minimus
Maximus_Minimus

The real story is that in the area highly protected with latest weaponry and on alert, no one seems to ascertain where the attack originated from.

2banana
2banana

Hmmm....

"DUBAI (Reuters) - The attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities on Saturday that has threatened global oil supplies came from the direction of Iran, and cruise missiles may have been used, according to a senior U.S. official."

lol
lol

Who stands to gain?China,they want those oilfields,could this be a dry run before Iran/China/Iraq/Russian full invasion to seize the fields?Trump will pay his usual lip service but the Sauds know they're on their own and no ones got there back plus they're surrounded.....just a matter of time!

seanot
seanot

I'm not sure I'd include Iran in your list of beneficiaries. It's hardly a secret that Iran would like to capture Abqaiq and the entire eastern side of Saudi Arabia. The region is home not only to SA's entire supply of crude but also a sizable population of Iran-friendly Shia. But Iran won't take a strike at SA until it is capable of winning the war.

Iran has strength on the ground but no way to move that strength into position. SA has an airforce capable of pummeling Tehran -- at least they have nice airplanes if not the pilots to capably of flying them in combat. I think it's five years minimum before Iran is capable of fighting SA on terms that might bring them victory.

I think the unmentioned beneficiary is SA themselves. They have no qualms about production cuts if such cuts bring about higher prices. If they can suck the US into war with Iran, my five year timeline for Iranian war preparation goes out the window.

Augustthegreat
Augustthegreat

The brain behind this attack is the neo-cons like Bolton, who can no longer tolerate Trump’s unwillingness to start new wars

Sechel
Sechel

Why Israel? Why not Germany? Why not Martians. If you have an accusation you need basis, otherwise you are spreading hate.

HubbaBuba
HubbaBuba

OMG, Trump is rushing judgement on this faster than we (WRONGLY!) did so on Iraq on 9/11. What gets me is Trump saying 'depending on who the Saudi's say"! CRAP! As Iran is the Saudi's nemesis that's like asking 'if the ski is blue'. WT#, ZERO discretion exhibited by Sr US Officials and Trump.
Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!

18.4K 5:50 PM - Sep 15, 2019

shamrock
shamrock

Even if it was Iran why would the onus be on the United States to strike? Saudi Arabia was attacked, not us, and they are perfectly capable of defending themselves.

HubbaBuba
HubbaBuba

Go ahead Childman Trump, be bipolar emotionally contemptuous - send us down a rabbit hole and help ensure your 2020 loss.

Country Bob
Country Bob

The attack came from the UAW and anti-oil groups... they need to artificially create demand for the garbage pickup trucks Government Motors makes but can't sell

Country Bob
Country Bob

It was Professor Plum, in the reading room, with the candlestick.

Professor Plum hates oil companies, and was triggered when the Saudi Crown Prince used a gender specific pronoun and violated his safe space.

Mish
Mish

Editor

Stupidest Comment of the Day, perhaps Year

"Why Israel? Why not Germany? Why not Martians. If you have an accusation you need basis, otherwise you are spreading hate."

  1. I explicitly stated I was accusing no one
  2. I explicitly stated Israel had the most to gain.
  3. Germany had nothing to gain
  4. Martians? Really?

When you overstate your case, you look like an ass

Webej
Webej

Cui bono? Clearly this is a publicity stunt by the federated drone manufacturers...

What a bunch of speculation and imputed motives in all this speculation. Virtually nothing is known, and there is every chance that this will remain. Convincing and verifiable evidence may yet be presented, but don't count on it.

Harbour
Harbour

US officials are as reliable as CNN

Augustthegreat
Augustthegreat

It shouldn’t be too difficult for the people working in those oilfields to determine the direction from which the missiles or the bombs came from. The fact that the Saudis still have not published the direction smell intensive discussions/ coordinations and calculations behind the scene. The neo-cons and warmongers are probably very busy now (after Bolton’s departure)

Augustthegreat
Augustthegreat

Somebody really wants the US to launch a war against Iran. Iran certainly does not want such a war. Thus Iran cannot be behind this bombing.

Ted R
Ted R

Maybe Netanyahu has his hand somewhere in this mess? He is certainly desperate right now. Look at Bush in 1991.

KidHorn
KidHorn

My guess is the CIA is involved.

Irondoor
Irondoor

Check the debris of the drones/cruise missiles/guidance systems for Chinese fingerprints. Drones of some levels of sophistication are in most countries' arsenals these days. Doubtful the Houtis'. But, the capability of multiple, simultaneous very precise strikes against these targets takes highly developed systems. These are designed and produced in just a few countries (US, Russia, China) for sure, probably S Korea and Japan. Who has the most to gain from stretching Trump to make a foolish move? One could say it's the Russians who will benefit from higher crude prices. But, China and Iran have become fast friends and China is funding Iran and the IRGC against the American sanctions. Also, China has accumulated a 650 day oil reserve. Hedged against a supply disruption out of S.A. as they are S.A.'s largest customer, buying 25% of S.A.'s daily production.

vboring
vboring

US should be on the list of potential attackers. Popular wars win elections. The ban on Iran oil exports isn't working well enough. Iran accelerating nuclear weapon development. Attack Saudi infrastructure to justify US escalations against Iran.

Sechel
Sechel

How is it that 10 drones in a coordinated attack could not be detected and stopped by Saudi Arabia’s defenses? This is strange

Herkie
Herkie

One thing that comes to mind, the calls in the US house and senate to put the breaks on arms sales to SA will now temporarily be silenced, or toned down to the point where they are no longer a credible threat to the purchases.

EddyD
EddyD

This was an inside job by someone or some entity that has a Saudi/Aramaco connection. No way a state actor sent [UNDETECTED] drones or missiles 500-1000miles through Saudi airspace and/or over the Persian Gulf fleet withone Saudi's seeing it.

Saudi's were worried about US-Iran relations warming. They've seen crude price fall 20% in their face since earlier this year despite talking cuts for over a year now, so they were done with the talk; they needed action. If they have to suffer a few weeks of production loss, they accomplish three things: 1) higher immediate flat prices; 2) long-term $10-15 new risk premium factored into the crude markets going forward; 3) renewed American aggression/suspicion of Iran.

Trump/Pompeo are both dumb enough to play along.

Mission accomplished, right.

FloydVanPeter
FloydVanPeter

"Israel had the most to gain"?

Mish, this begs an explanation. Could you please? (Or, it is baseless).

Thoughts:

"most" is a question of value judgement. Seems rather subjective in the post.

For example:

Iran might gain due to weakening Saudi. Any Shia regime/org might gain (bc Saudi is a Suni dominated power). Saudi has a large unhappy Shia minority. They arguably gain. Any party threatened by Iran might possibly gain (if one buys into the "false flag" narrative). Israel is only one of them. Most are Suni countries and orgs. China might gain a foothold due to the mess. Isn't that "most"? Major oil suppliers gain from oil prices increase. This could be "most", too. Isn't it? :) Etc.

The attack seems to have huge negative ramifications. This rules out false-flags by any regime/org that might worry of whiplash. Doesn't this reduce the odds Israel is involved?

Lookdeeper$
Lookdeeper$

Jamal Kashoggi murdered in Istanbul by Saudi specialists...then they lied about it for months when confronted...#Lookdeeper - like 911 there are smoke and mirrors all around us😣

thubten
thubten

I think Israeli Mossad arranged this attack. They want America to bomb Iran.

Malik Mansoob
Malik Mansoob

as reference your cover story regarding attack on saudi arabia either from iran, iraq or yeman by hoties. My opinion is very clear about this incident due to history of middle east. The America is very behind either he can use to Israel, Iran, Iraq or Yamen. The America and Israel never ever attack on Iran but they use its name for wealth of Saudi's and other Arab (small) countries by threatening of Iran but do not take any action against him. They are internally on same page. He attacked iraq but iran was threat, same as libya but did not on iran. And now they will support to sirya because presence of iran.