The Abqaiq Attack is a Game Changer
By Todd Strandberg
The September 14th attack on a key Saudi oil facility has exposed a massive vulnerability of the kingdom to drone strikes and underscores how traditional air defenses can be breached by new low-cost technology.
The scale of the attack was stunning. The hit on Aramco’s Abqaiq processing plant and the Khurais oil field knocked 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) off production, over half of the OPEC kingpin’s output.
It had been long believed that the military could handle an attack on its oil facilities. Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s biggest buyers of weapons and spent an estimated $65 billion on arms last year, mostly from the United States, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
These cheap drones with improvised explosives can travel huge distances. In May, there was a drone strike on a major pipeline in the oil-rich Eastern Province to the Red Sea, forcing it to be shut down temporarily. In June, the Huthis launched at least 20 missiles and drone attacks into Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional foe, some resulting in casualties and damage. Also, in June, two oil tankers were damaged by some type of explosive set by Iranian forces.
Footage distributed by the Huthis showed models of at least 15 unmanned drones and various sizes of missiles of different ranges. The newest of these weapons were long-range cruise missiles, dubbed “Al-Quds,” and explosives-laden “Sammad 3” drones that can hit targets as far as 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) away, according to the Huthis.
Saudi Arabia says the attack will only delay production for a few weeks. It will probably seek to maintain export levels as much as possible by supplying customers from stockpiles. It holds crude in storage tanks in the kingdom, as well as at sites in Egypt, Japan and the Netherlands. But it has run its crude hoard down since the beginning of 2016, and it is now back at levels not seen since 2008, according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative. That means the kingdom has gone from 350 million barrels to a current stock of 190 million barrels.
President Vladimir Putin has enjoyed himself at the expense of US military suppliers. He said while meeting with the presidents of Iran and Turkey in Ankara that the “smart decision” for the Saudis would be to purchase Russia’s most advanced anti-air defense system, the S-400 Triumph.
“Saudi Arabia needs to make a smart decision, as Iran did by buying our S-300, and as Mr. Erdogan did by deciding to buy the most advanced S-400 Triumph air defense systems from Russia,” Putin told reporters in Ankara. “These kinds of systems are capable of defending any kind of infrastructure in Saudi Arabia from any kind of attack.”
President Donald Trump has declared that, once it has been verified that Iran was indeed responsible for last weekend’s attack on major Saudi Arabian oil facilities, the U.S. is “locked and loaded.” To do what, exactly, is unclear.
It is very unlikely that Trump will bomb Iranian oil facilities. The Saudi Arabia attack alone added around $500 million to the daily value of oil production. Iran has made a multifold profit on its bold move. If we bomb anything in Iran, the price of oil is going to soar.
Iran is not going to stop with its monkey business. It’s a nation run by terrorists that would love to set the whole Persian Gulf on fire. If Iran had secretly developed a nuclear weapon that they used to vaporize the Abqaiq facility, I think our leaders would be battled over what to do.
Thanks to fracking, the U.S. is no longer dependent on Middle East oil. Europe and China, on the other hand, are heavily addicted to oil produced by Arab nations. If Iran or its Yemen rebel allies were able to disrupt production over a long period of time, various nations will deploy their military forces to maintain order.
The Bible does not mention oil as a reason for why the Last Day wars will be fought in the Middle East. For decades, many prophecy scholars have predicted that the control of black gold will be the reason why massive arms will soon march toward this region. The upward trend in these drone attacks and their devastating impact is just one more indication of how close we are to the tribulation hour.
“For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22).