By Finian Cunningham
September 18, 2019 "Information Clearing House" - Following the devastating airstrikes on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, US Vice President Mike Pence flexed his tough-talking muscles, vowing that his country is “ready to defend our interests and allies… make no mistake about it.”
Don’t you think the assurance is a bit late? Saudi Arabia – a historic and key ally of Washington – had its entire oil production knocked out by 50 per cent last weekend when it came under aerial attack. Global markets were rattled over possible critical fuel shortages as the world’s biggest exporter of crude oil might not recover full production for weeks.
So, Pence’s stern words of being “ready to defend” certainly ring a bit hollow, if not rather farcical. If Washington was indeed on sentry duty for the Middle East, as it has appointed itself to do decades ago, why weren’t the airstrikes on Saudi Arabia’s vital oil industry intercepted to prevent the havoc wreaked?
We are not talking here about some remote oil field or installation. The infrastructure targeted for massive damage was at the very heart of Saudi’s oil industry. The Abqaiq refinery and processing plant is where up to 70 per cent of all Saudi crude is prepared for export. It is said to be the biggest crude oil processing plant in the world. And it is near to other vital refining and shipping facilities in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province adjacent to the Persian Gulf.
The Yemeni Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the air raids last weekend, which also targeted a major oil field at Khurais, located in Eastern Province, not far from the Abqaiq processing plant. The Houthis said the blitz was conducted with 10 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The distance covered from Yemen is nearly 1,000 kms. It is thought that the Yemeni rebels have developed drones capable of reaching up to 1,500 kms. What’s more, they have threatened that all key Saudi oil infrastructure is vulnerable to future attacks.
Potentially, a new wave of airstrikes from Yemen using more sophisticated drone models could bring the Saudi rulers to their knees from their oil economy being decimated.
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