The last post he published, on the day after the attack, is titled Moqtada al-Sadr: A long love-hate relationship and features some truly wonderful photos; among them, this one of Mookie being diplomatic with the Saudi crown prince aka MbS:
Most of the members of other ethnic and religious communities (like Shias or Christians) were forced to flee from the area or were murdered by radicals controlling the area.The report concludes with these observations:
Turkey is keen to prevent any possible advances of the government forces in Idlib. Therefore it supports further diplomatic cooperation with Russia and Iran to promote a ‘non-military’ solution of the issue. However, it does not seem to have enough influence with the Idlib militant groups, in particular HTS, to impose a ceasefire on them at the present time. Ankara could take control of the situation, but it would need a year or two that it does not have. Therefore, a new round of military escalation in the Idlib zone should not be very long in coming.
The scenes of quiet panic in Mahra underline the devastating complexity of Yemen, which has foiled so many past attempts by outsiders to control it.
The deeply divided society has been nicknamed the “new graveyard of empires”, winning it comparisons with those who have tried and failed to leash Afghanistan.
For southern Yemenis, it’s morphed into a joke that every four years there is a war in the south. Right now that is overdue.
“I expect the STC to try to take over provinces [east of Aden] like Abyan, Shabwah and they will keep marching east into the desert,” Huraizi continues grimly.
“They think they represent south Yemen – but they don’t. If they come here we will fight them. We are prepared.”
His prediction was eerily correct.
[...]Where is Mahra? Uh, somewhere in south Yemen. Now who is Huraizi? Ali Salem al-Huraizi is a former deputy governor (of Yemen, I guess) and "border chief" in Mahra. More on him from Bel's report:
The controversial but powerful leader, with piercing, chatoyant eyes, is known as “the general” by loyalists who pen pop songs about him. He commands a legion of heavily armed Mahri men who see him as the last bulwark against the encroachment of Saudi Arabia into their province.
His critics, however, call him an anti-Gulf agitator and say he is backed by neighbouring Oman.Chatoyant, a word I'd never come across before, means "of a gem, (especially when cut en cabochon) showing a band of bright reflected light caused by aligned inclusions in the stone." As to what chatoyant eyes look like -- here is Bel's photo of al-Huraizi for her report:
... Instead of undermining Iran’s strategy to create another Lebanon in Yemen, we are now seeing three Lebanons ...
The other message is for President Donald Trump, who alienated UAE officials by showing little interest in maintaining their relationship.
The nearly magisterial welcome Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad received in Washington DC in July reflected badly on US ties with Abu Dhabi. Some in the UAE (not surprisingly in Saudi Arabia too) grumbled about the president’s game to exploit the Gulf States’ feud and play his allies against one another.
Trump’s move rattled the Saudis and the Emiratis and prompted a defiant reaction, with the UAE unleashing the Yemeni southern separatists.
The UAE officials got it right. ...END QUOTES
... But drones may not have been the sole cause of the incident. Last night a Kuwaiti fishermen recorded the noise of a cruise missile or some jet driven manned or unmanned aircraft coming from Iraq. Debris found on the ground in Saudi Arabia seems to be from a Soviet-era KH-55 cruise missile or from a Soumar, an Iranian copy of that design. The Houthi have shown cruise missiles, likely from Iran, with a similar design (see below). After an attack on Saudi oil installations in August, there were accusations that at least some of the attacks came from Iraq. Iran was accused of having been involved in that attack]. While this sounds unlikely it is not inconceivable. ...There's lots more in Bernhard's discussion of reports about the attack, including photos and all kinds of graphics -- and this mention:
Saudi Arabia said that the fires are under control. Video shot this morning shows that they continue.Also, Bernhard is sticking by his prediction, made some days ago, that the Saudis will have to roll over and negotiate with the Houthi to end a war that is getting the better of the kingdom:
That attack in August was the checkmate move against the Saudi war on Yemen. As we wrote at that time:
Saudi Arabia has nothing that could stop mass attacks by these drones. It would require hundreds of Russian made Pantsyr-S1 and BUK air defense systems to protect Saudi oil installations. There would still be no guarantee that they could not be overwhelmed.
Saudi Arabia finally lost the war on Yemen. It has no defenses against the new weapons the Houthis in Yemen acquired. These weapons threaten the Saudis' economic lifelines.But while I dislike repeating the warning I gave about Lavrov's claim that the Syrian War is over, we'll have to see. If the U.S. can definitively implicate Iran in the 9/14 Houthi attack on the Saudi oil facilities, which they might be able to do if a cruise missile was involved, there's no telling what will happen next.
The second target was a processing plant near Khurais 190 km (118 miles) further southwest. It lies within the country's second-largest oil field.As I mentioned last night, two reports on the attacks, one from AP and the other from Oil Price, state that the second attack was on the Khurais oilfield, not the nearby processing plant, and Debkafile is also reporting the strike was against the oilfield. But the attacks are still a fog-of-war situation, which Aramco might clear up in its promised assessment, due in less than 48 hours.
I would think GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO is accurate enough for delivery to within about a 30 feet radius circle. The electronics are nothing special these days.
Launching would probably be via a rail with some sort of rocket booster maybe powered by an rpg motor or some sort of slow burn propellant (maybe from arty or mortar rounds?).
My WAG is that the speed of this thing is maybe no more than 100 - 150 mph and it’s powered by a piston engine burning maybe 10 litres per hour (another WAG) for 6 hours that means about 100 lbs of fuel (60 x .72 x 2.2). if the motor weighs about 25 lb, and allow about the same for a fibreglass airframe, we get a weight less warhead of about 150 - 170 lb for a still air range of about 600 statute miles.
Now add about 50 lb of explosive as a payload with some form of impact fuse and we have about a 220lb drone with a range of 600 miles that is too small and slow to be noticed.
I can’t imagine any precision guidance/armour piercing sophisticated munitions are used; all you would need for a fire is a lucky round to hit one of CBI’s finest tanks and boom - 10 million litres of flaming product.
I would imagine our intelligence services have a much better idea than my guess and would be concerned that other “entrepreneurs “ don’t copy the Houthi.
Our colleague, “Nuff said” suggested the ingredients were smuggled in and the Houthi built them themselves. That suggests they are building and launching in salvos as fast as they can. ...As to what if anything the Israelis are saying about the attacks -- Debkafile claims they were launched from Iraq, which might lend weight to the fisherman's evidence:
DEBKAfile Exclusive: Early Saturday, Sept. 14, Yemeni Houthi rebels fired at least 10 drones against the Saudi Aramco’s biggest oil facility and second largest oil field from Iraq. Our sources report that they used pro-Iranian Shiite militia bases in southern Iraq ...No mention of a cruise missile.
Saudi Arabia confirms about half of Aramco's production interrupted due to drone strikes... Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said the attacks crippled the facilities, forcing Saudi Aramco to partially halt crude and gas production, but the company was working on recovering the lost quantities and would give an update within 48 hours. The decrease in supplies would be partially compensated through the company’s oil reserves, the minister promised. ...From WSJ via SST:
Saudi Arabia is shutting down half of its oil production after drones attacked the world’s largest oil processing facility in the kingdom, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The closure will impact almost five million barrels of crude production a day, about 5% of the world’s daily oil production, the WSJ reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.For background see Houthi Drone Attacks on Saudi Aramco Oil Production Halt 5.7 Million Barrels Daily - Saudi Minister; Sputnik
The group attacked the Abqaiq and Khurais oil refineries with 10 drones, the biggest Houthi operation within Saudi territory to dateThe Abqaiq facility is the largest in the world, but from this Oil Price report, it seems that the other target, Khurais, is an oil field not a processing facility, but we await clarification from the Saudis.
Watch the al-jazeera video linked below. Some time ago, an "expert" on toy UAVs expressed an opinion on my FB page that the Houthis must be trucking these drones up to within a few miles of the target before flying them. This attack would seem to exclude this possibility. The question of the size of the payload also is intriguing because of the amount of damage inflicted, and then there is the matter of the guidance system.