Saudi Oil Attack: Is this the Big One? If it is, who is it the "big one" for? ARAMACO's Pending Stock Offering?
There is stringent security present around these facilities! How did they not see the drones?This story gets more and more interesting. One wonders if the attack could serve to encourage additional arms purchases from Israel or the US? After all Saudi Arabia had considered purchasing the S-400 from Russia. Competition, being competitive and all that.
How did the American military miss the drones flying in from more then 1000 kms away? The American military is based in Saudi Arabia alongside Saudi forces. Possibly near the oil facilities? How did the drones get past them?
Previous coverage regarding Saudi consideration of S-400 purchase from last year
Talks for Saudi Arabia to acquire the Russian S-400 SAM system are continuing..."
“Although Saudi Arabia once flirted with the idea of buying the S-400 system, it was probably aware that doing so would have a disastrous effect on its relationship with the Trump administration.”And if Saudi Arabia wasn't aware or concerned then. They surely are now
"Saturday’s attack would have been exponentially harder to neutralize than the 2017 strike. Both drones and cruise missiles appeared to have been used, with some suggestions that the weapons were launched from multiple locations.Good thing for the ARAMACO offering eh? Lots of money for military purchases.
Knight said Saudi Arabia’s missile defense system was developed in the 1990s after watching the Iran-Iraq war and the subsequent Gulf War, where airplanes and ballistic missiles were the main threat and could be spotted with radar easily, to be targeted by defense systems at a distance.
However, cruise missiles and drones fly far closer to the ground, making them harder for radar to detect. Given the low altitude, shooting one down carries greater risk, especially when detected late. “If you are wrong, you just blew up a British Airways flight,” Knight said.
Saudi Arabia has several missile defense systems that can target a low-altitude flight. Thomas Karako, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that in theory the Patriot system could protect against such a threat, although it is primarily designed for ballistic missiles.
However, it would depend where it was placed. “The defended area for a Patriot battery is relatively small,” Karako said. “There are real limits, even if you have a ton of Patriots, on what you can defend.”
It is unclear ( or it won't be stated?) whether the targeted oil facilities, in the districts of Khurais and Abqaiq, were defended by Patriot batteries or other systems.
Becca Wasser, a senior policy analyst at Rand Corp., said responsibility for protecting Saudi Arabia’s critical infrastructure was split between the Interior Ministry and the domestically focused Saudi Arabian National Guard, rather than the military.
“These overlapping structures, rules and responsibilities are really a vestige of coup-proofing practices,” Wasser said, designed to prevent any one wing of power from posing a threat to the ruling family.
Saudi Arabia is planning military reforms to address such problems, she added, part of society-wide changes being pushed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The kingdom, aware of the technical threat posed by Iran to key facilities, may also seek to purchase new weapons that could combat the threat better.
The Iron Dome missile-defense system, co-designed by the Israeli defense firm Rafael and Raytheon, may be one possibility, Karako said. The system is best known for its use in Israel, where it is used to shoot down rockets from Gaza and southern Lebanon. “The Saudis want to get something like Iron Dome, but they probably won’t call it Iron Dome,” Karako said.
Saudi Arabia may also seek to improve its radar capabilities with the use of elevated sensors that can detect threats from farther away.
For the time being, however, Saudi Arabia may have to learn to make better use of what it has already. New purchases from the United States could take years to go through, especially given a Congress increasingly suspicious of Saudi Arabia and export restrictions in place on some of the more advanced U.S. technology.
There may not be any handouts from the White House. Though Trump pushed the Saudi military to make more purchases, he suggested Monday that the United States did not have an obligation to protect the kingdom — and that if there was a conflict, Riyadh would again foot the bill.
“The fact is that the Saudis are going to have a lot of involvement in this if we decide to do something. They’ll be very much involved, and that includes payment,” Trump said."