September 16, 2019 Saudi military officials said on Monday that the weekend attacks on Saudi Arabian oil plants was carried out with Iranian weapons and was not launched from Yemen according to preliminary findings.
Reuters‘ reports that Saudi-led Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said an investigation into Saturday’s strikes, which had been claimed by the Iran-aligned Houthi group, was still going on to determine the launch location.
“The preliminary results show that the weapons are Iranian and we are currently working to determine the location … The terrorist attack did not originate from Yemen as the Houthi militia claimed,” Malki told a press conference in Riyadh.
Colonel Malki said authorities would reveal the location from where drones were launched at a future press briefing.
Oil prices jumped on global markets Sunday night after Saturday’s drone attacks instantly erased half of Saudi Arabia ‘s oil production.
Market analysts said Monday President Trump’s statements on Twitter that the U.S. is “locked and loaded” to retaliate against those responsible for the attack on one of the world’s largest oil fields is adding to the dramatic climb in oil prices.
The unprecedented drone attacks targeting the world’s largest oil processing plant Saturday morning were a dramatic escalation in the confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia — no matter who is responsible for the attack. The massive attacks underscore the asymmetric threat posed by drones.
The coordinated attacks on key Saudi Arabian oil facilities have disrupted about half of the kingdom’s oil capacity, or 5% of the daily global oil supply.
Houthi rebels in Yemen, a terrorist group allied with Iran claimed responsibility for the attacks, and said 10 drones had targeted oil installations in Abqaiq and Khurais.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discounted the Houthi rebels claims on Sunday, blaming Iran for the attacks via Twitter. Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded to the allegations in his own tweet.
“Having failed at ‘max pressure’, @SecPompeo’s turning to ‘max deceit’ US & its clients are stuck in Yemen because of illusion that weapon superiority will lead to military victory. Blaming Iran won’t end disaster.”
DRONES—Cheap and Effective
A Wall Street Journal report in May highlighted the evolving threat of cheap unmanned drones packed with explosives in the ongoing civil war in Yemen.
Steve Ganyard, a retired Colonel in the United State Marine Corps and ABC News contributor said on Sunday drones are a very difficult asymmetric threat. Drones are hard to attack.
“These 10-20 thousand dollar drones are defeating air defense systems that cost hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Ganyard added that the United States military is just rolling out the capabilities to take down these drones.
Since 2014, the Islamic State or ISIS has successfully employed drones to carry out attacks in Iraq and Syria. In August, the Israeli military carried out an air strike to thwart a “very imminent” Iranian drone strike.