more on the bombing of the Saudi aramco oil processing field

This image provided on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, by the U.S. government and DigitalGlobe and annotated by the source, shows damage to the infrastructure at Saudi Aramco’s Abaqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. (click for larger)

Given that gjonsit’s thread from Sept. 15 is still continuing, it may not be necessary to put this up, but I thought I could add a few bits, and you’ll add more.  Needless to say, Iran is getting all the evidence-free blame, Houthi claims of being the authors of the swarm of precision hits notwithstanding, nor are other possibilities.

Bill Van Auken in his 17 September 2019Washington’s rush to indict Iran over Saudi attacks’ notes that most major media coverage follows the same trajectory, but the war crimes KSA has committed in Yemen for four and half years is never mentioned.  He includes the facts that over 100,000 citizens have been killed, 8 million are on the brink of starvarion, and that the US Navy has been helping to blockade ships with food and medicine from arriving.  He reminds us that US warplanes, bombs, missiles and logistical support have contributed to the near genocidal blood bath.
“On Monday night, television news broadcasts quoted unnamed intelligence sources, citing unspecified evidence, claiming Iranian responsibility for the attacks. No doubt this “evidence” will prove just as compelling as that of the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam and “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. These same media outlets have made virtually no mention of Saudi crimes in Yemen.” [snip]

“If what the Yemeni Houthis say is true, that they sent a swarm of 10 weaponized drones to attack the Saudi facilities, then the action was clearly an act of self-defense, far less than proportionate to the slaughter inflicted by the Saudi regime against Yemen.

Meanwhile, Washington’s new ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, repeated the charges against Iran on Monday before a United Nations Security Council meeting on Yemen. Providing no more proof than Pompeo did two days earlier, merely repeating the formulation that “there is no evidence that the attacks came from Yemen,” she described the damage to the Saudi oil installations as “deeply troubling.”

As it turns out, Craft is married to the Kentucky coal baron Joe Craft, a top R donor, which hints at why she’s so utterly cavalier about the massive suffering in Yemen.

“On Saturday night, President Donald Trump made a call to Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, offering his condolences and unqualified support to a man exposed as a cold-blooded murderer. Bin Salman is responsible not only for the grisly assassination and dismemberment of the Washington-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul nearly a year ago, but also the beheadings of at least 134 people in just the first half of this year, 34 of them political activists slaughtered en masse on April 23.” [snip]

“It there is, as Washington claims, “no evidence” that the attacks were launched from Yemen, one could, with equal if not greater justification, observe that there is likewise “no evidence” that they were not launched by the US itself, or by its principal regional ally, Israel.

If one proceeds from the age-old detective maxim of Cui bono? or “Who benefits?” Tehran is the least likely suspect. There is clearly more to Washington’s rush to judgment than meets the eye.

The attack on the Saudi oil facilities provides a casus belli desired by a major section of the US ruling oligarchy and its military and intelligence apparatus, which is determined to prosecute a war for regime change in Iran. Such a war would be the latest installment in Washington’s protracted drive to reverse by military means the decline of US imperialism’s global hegemony, in particular by claiming unfettered US control over the world’s energy reserves and the power to deny them to its rivals.”

The Wall Street Urinal approves on Lindsey Graham’s ‘bomb them back’, says Iran is testing Boss Tweet’s mettle, suggested Trump ‘apologize to John Bolton’, etc.  He makes a case for Bibi’s being at the center as he faces election today.  He (and Likkud and allies) needs at least 61 seats in the Knesset to keep Rule by Bibi alive…for now.

“US strikes against Iran carried out under the pretext of retaliation for the attacks on Saudi Arabia can trigger Iranian counterstrikes, sending US warships to the bottom of the Persian Gulf and wreaking havoc on American military bases throughout the region.”

A fact which Trump’s generals are aware of, so we can hope that reason, not conflagration, carries the day.

b has a third post on the subject up: ‘Damage At Saudi Oil Plant Points To Well Targeted Swarm Attack’, Sept. 16, 2019 with more information, speculation, maps, and US govt. satellite imagery.  He describes the purpose of the stabilization facility as:

‘The stabilization process is a form of partial distillation which sweetens “sour” crude oil (removes the hydrogen sulfide) and reduces vapor pressure, thereby making the crude oil safe for shipment in tankers. Stabilizers maximize production of valuable hydrocarbon liquids, while making the liquids safe for storage and transport, as well as reduce the atmospheric emissions of volatile hydrocarbons. Stabilizer plants are used to reduce the volatility of stored crude oil and condensate.’

Then brings some Twitter language from the Chief US diplomat, Mafia Mike Pompeo:

Secretary Pompeo @SecPompeo – 21:59 UTC · Sep 14, 2019
‘Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.
We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression’

He brings another satellite image of the facility than the one at the top of the OP, but offers these descriptions:

“The pictures show some 17 points of impact. There are cars visible in the second more detailed picture that demonstrate the gigantic size of the place. The targets were carefully selected. At least 11 of those were egg shaped tanks with a diameter of some 30 meter (100 foot). These are likely tanks for pressurized (liquidized) gas that receive the condensate vapor from the stabilization process. They all have now quite neat holes in their upper shells.

Damage to any one tank or group would not stop the production process. The products would be routed to another similar tank or group. But with all tanks of this one special type taken out the production chain is now interrupted.”

“The targeting for this attack was done with detailed knowledge of the process and its dependencies.

The north arrow in those pictures points to the left. The visible shadows confirm the direction. The holes in the tanks are on the western side. They were attacked from the west.

(click Control & + for larger)

“The hits were extremely precise. The Yemeni armed forces claimed it attacked the facility with 10 drones (or cruise missiles). But the hits on these targets look like neither. A total of 17 hits with such precise targeting lets me assume that these were some kind of drones or missiles with man-in-the-loop control. They may have been launched from within Saudi Arabia.”

b’s link above goes to ‘Meet the Quds 1’ by Fabian Hinz, September 15, 2019  Check it out, it’s fascinating and full of speculative and contains actual evidence of the Quds1 v. the Iranian Soumar cruise missile.  I checked, and precision cruise missiles can be launche from submarines, bombers, and even from huge trucks.  This paragraph is blink-worth excerpting:

“What made this attack different from other recorded Houthi drone attacks was not only the unprecedented amount of material damage caused but also lingering doubt about the nature and the attribution of the attack. First, a video allegedly showing flying objects entering Kuwaiti airspace led to speculation that like a previous “Houthi” drone attack this strike might actually have originated in Iraq or even Iran. While the video remains unverified, the fact that the Kuwaiti government launched a probe into the issue lends some credence to the idea that something might have happened over Kuwait that day.

Others claimed it was the Quds 1, a recently unveiled Houthi cruise missile often claimed to be a rebranded Soumar.”

back to b:

“The U.S. and Israel are able to commit such attacks. Iran probably too. Yemen seems unlikely to have this capability without drawing on extensive support from elsewhere. The planning for this operation must have taken months.” [snip]

“Saudi Arabia has no defenses against this kind of attacks. The U.S. has no system that could be used for that purpose. Russia is the only country that can provide the necessary equipment. It would be extremely costly, and still insufficient, to protect all of the Saudi’s vital facilities from similar swarm attacks.”

And right on cue from ‘Putin to Saudi Arabia: Our air defenses can protect you, like they do Turkey and Iran’, 16 Sep, 2019

“Putin cited the Koran to admonish the Saudi coalition’s war on Yemen, saying that the Muslim holy book said the only legitimate form of violence was self-defense and, in that context, spoke of the Russian-made missile systems as a possible solution.

Iran has operated the S-300 missile systems since 2017, and the first batch of the S-400s was delivered to Turkey in July. Ankara’s purchase of the S-400s has caused it significant strife with Washington, which is refusing to deliver Turkey’s F-35 fighters, fearing that their computer systems will be compromised by the Russian weaponry.”

(cross-posted at

7 responses to “more on the bombing of the Saudi aramco oil processing field

  1. Thanks wendye. b’s comments had a link by karlof1 on the second page which went to the press conference of Ruouhani, Erdogan, and Putin after a meeting about the current state of affairs in Syria. That was where the offer by Putin came up, after he had quoted the Koran twice. All were amused, particularly Rouhani.

    The thing is, Iran is proud to claim that it has never acted militarily in an offensive manner but always out of self-defense. True or not, it is at least a point on which he and Putin agree. Putin has even offered to sell Trump his newest defensive weapons, under the same mandate. And that is why it makes no sense for Iran to be the perpetrator but does make sense for Yemen to have done so.

    And noting the harmonious fashion in which the three heads of state conducted this press conference, it is clear that Erdogan also has that ‘self-defense’ claim to proffer, as would even Israel, in spite of its inordinately out of balance reactions whenever Palestinians raise their suffering heads. It is only the US that has offered the crazed assertion of pre-emptory strike, and that since GW Bush made it US doctrine way back when.

    There is no reason for the US to be dropping bombs or even post-it notes in the Middle East. Might does not make right; international law, the good kind, makes right. And at least other nations still pay lip service to international law.

  2. mornin’, juliania. excellent observations including ‘or even post-it notes’… and ‘it is clear that Erdogan also has that ‘self-defense’ claim to proffer, as would even Israel, in spite of its inordinately out of balance reactions whenever Palestinians raise their suffering heads’.

    and and i loved devil outta this:

    ‘Putin has even offered to sell Trump his newest defensive weapons, under the same mandate. a tweak on MAD, instead: Mutually Assured Defense (but for a price). (lol: i’d first typed ‘mutually absurd defense’.)

    as far as i know, iran has only been attacked, and that history started with the CIA/MI6 overthrow of mossadegh in 1953…at the behest of (then) standard oil; mossadegh made oil a public utility; can’t have that, no sir!

    ah, we dug up a whole lot more in comments over yonder, but i never know what if anything to bring over here, given how far the commentariat here has dwindled.

    i’m lazily working on a kinda/sorta israeli election results post, having hoped that it would have been clear that bibi was bye-bye for certain. not so much, depending on which party can form a coalition government. horse-trading, iow.

    hope your garden grows well; ours is, spectacular flowers and tomatoes galore. 19th and no freeze here yet is a blessing.

  3. from FM zarif on twitter:

    he’d forgotten to say ‘or israel’.

  4. Elizabeth Warren goes down in my estimation every time she opens her mouth these days. I was impressed by her back in the day when she was interviewed by Bill Moyers. But bravo on your garden! It still gets blooming hot afternoons here, except for one weird storm that rushed through last weekend. Lightning struck my youngest daughter’s outside tree and then blasted through the wooden fence and totalled the electronics in two cars parked ‘safely’ inside their yard. At least no one was hurt, including their horses! (The cars are a loss though.)

    It’s a small and unusual thing when I can add to your posts, wendye, so I’m glad to have done so. I have the same problem over at MoA, and usually can’t add much there either. Today I grabbed a reference to the Baal Shem Tov (I know him!) Probably a bit OT, but I squeezed in a bit on the latest thread anyway.

    • i hadn’t brought this one cuz it took getting an url shortener:
      Here’s Elizabeth Warren defending Israel’s “right” to bomb hospitals and schools during Operation Protective Edge.

      my stars; what a lightning horror show! and thanks for the reminder of the baal shem tov; i’d looked him up. iirc, some of chaim potok’s great novels had alluded to him (i read them all…at east twice).

      we appreciate it whenever you can stop by, ww. ; ) and yes, karlov1 does a lot of good digging for links, as so many at b’s do.

  5. At the end of that thread comments were still coming in, one of which was to the effect that the Houthis have said they won’t attack further as long as the Saudis do the same. I found that interesting.

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