Meet the Quds1 cruise missile. Made in Yemen?


"On September 14, several explosions rocked the Khurais oilfield as well as the Abqaiq refinery, one of Saudi Arabia’s most vital petrochemical installations. Several hours later, the Houthis claimed that they had targeted both facilities with ten drones as part of their “Balance of Deterrence” campaign.

What made this attack different from other recorded Houthi drone attacks was not only the unprecedented amount of material damage caused but also lingering doubt about the nature and the attribution of the attack. First, a video allegedly showing flying objects entering Kuwaiti airspace led to speculation that like a previous “Houthi” drone attack this strike might actually have originated in Iraq or even Iran. While the video remains unverified, the fact that the Kuwaiti government launched a probe into the issue lends some credence to the idea that something might have happened over Kuwait that day. Speculation about the origins of the attack was further fueled by a tweet by Mike Pompeo in which he claimed that there was no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.

Then the question arose whether drones had been used at all, or whether the attack might in fact have been a missile strike. Previous Houthi drone strikes against oil facilities tended to result in quite limited damage which could be an indication that a different weapons system was used this time. Indeed, Aramco came to the conclusion that its facilities were attacked by missiles. Even more curious, several pictures began to emerge on social media purportedly showing the wreckage of a missile in the Saudi desert. While the images appear real, neither the date the photos were taken nor their location can be verified. Social media users quickly claimed the images showed a crashed Iranian-made Soumar cruise missile. The Soumar and its updated version, the Hoveyzeh, are Iran’s attempts at reverse-engineering the Soviet-designed KH-55 cruise missile, several of which the country illegally imported from Ukraine in the early 2000s. Others claimed it was the Quds 1, a recently unveiled Houthi cruise missile often claimed to be a rebranded Soumar."  armscontrolwonl


TTG raised the issue of whether or not this wave of strikes was done by UAVs or cruise missiles.  IMO this cruise missile could be built in Yemen with Iranian assistance.   I am very interested in the question of what the actual vector of the attacks was in this case.  pl


This entry was posted in Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, weapons, Yemen. Bookmark the permalink.

84 Responses to Meet the Quds1 cruise missile. Made in Yemen?

  1. Nuff Sed says:

    The accuracy of the strikes in the spherical pressurized gas storage containers all being in the same place relative to each target is the place to start for those who, unlike me, are capable of analyzing these things.
    But regardless, the game has escalated up one more rung up the ladder. How many more will it take for the world to put its interests ahead of Israel’s?
    Next escalation rung: a loading dock for supertankers: either the port of Yanbu or Ra’s Tanura. Followed by desalination facilities, if Western politicians still pretend to turn a blind eye and prefer to follow the dictates of their Israeli masters. Nuff Sed.

  2. jonst says:

    Could the Committee speculate on possible ‘steps of retaliation’ operating, for theoretical purposes, at the moment, on the assumption that regardless of where the ‘bullets’ were fired from, or from what ‘gun’ they were fired, Iran paid for deed. What steps are open for action? I am assuming, myself, personally, this action was taken to prevent a meeting in NYC between Trump and the President of Iran. That is my guess.

  3. turcopolier says:

    So, you believe that the damage was self inflicted?


    There was never going to be a meeting between Rouhani and Trump.
    I expect to be dead of old age before there would be any substantive meetings between Iran and the United States.

  5. The Quds-1 cruise missile is a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). The remotely piloted aerial vehicles, which are more commonly referred to as drones are also UAVs. The difference is in the degree of autonomy in flight control. On board autonomous flight control negates the need for LOS radio or satellite communications with the cruise missile. Cruise missiles, with their autonomous control, were always characterized by their high degree of accuracy. I’ve started looking a little closer at the Arduino/RasberryPi and model aircraft hobbyist groups. With the availability of affordable microcontrollers and sensors, along with the massive library of open source software, I am convinced a hobbyist could put together a guidance system in his garage workshop capable of doing what the Quds-1 just did in SA. I also agree with Colonel Lang that an airframe like the Quds-1 could easily be built in war-torn Yemen. A cave would make an outstanding workshop.

  6. JohnH says:

    In asking the question, qui bono, you do have to include Netanyahu, who is up for reelection tomorrow. There’s nothing like striking fear into the heart of the electorate on the eve of an election for firming up support for a proven incumbent. And if the US attacks Iran before tomorrow, so much the better for Netanyahu.
    That said, I don’t think that Netanyahu’s buddies in Riyadh would be amused if this were proven. However, poking a friend in the eye never seemed to stop Israel before … think USS Liberty.

  7. JP Billen says:

    “neither the date the photos were taken nor their location can be verified.”
    Bingo! Interesting that bin Salman has put a press blackout on both Khurais and Buqaiq.

  8. Amir says:

    I tend to have a distant memory of a chart showing that the Yemeni missile range was way lobed that the Iranian, almost embryonal arsenal, in the 80’s. I think they are well capable of developing/upgrading better missile:
    Even if Iran exported dual use components or even blue prints; it should be counted as part of the unfortunate world weapons market & wouldn’t be illegal.

  9. Erwin says:

    We know Yemen has the Quds-1 and has surprised us before with their technical capability. Combine that with the video of Yahya Sari claiming full responsibility for the attack and I’m not sure there is any reason to speculate about conspiracies involving other actors.
    The Houthis are not an Iranian “proxy” and I highly doubt they would accept responsibility for something they didn’t do.

  10. jonst says:

    No, sorry for lack of clarity. I believe Iran was behind it.

  11. jonst says:

    Who said anything about a “substantive meeting? I said a meeting. Both sides want it. The so called moderates in Iran and Trump. In any event that horse, to the extent it has ever existed has left the barn. I will stay with my guess however, a meeting was a possibility. Aske Bolton.

  12. Amir says:

    Nassim Nicolaas Taleb, author of “Black Swan”:
    It’s not just Yemen. People forget there is an oppressed Shiite minority near the Aramco HQ (dispossessed of the oil fields, located in their ancestral area & treated like sub-sub-citizens); they get periodically beheaded”
    The Al Saud gang, under the Clown Prince Muhammad Bone Saw, can not count on those Shiite inhabitants of the oil rich region, not necessarily because of the latter’s sympathy for Iran but because they were brutalized for almost a century.

  13. JohnH says:

    “The Israeli military is armed with the latest fast jets and precision weaponry, yet it has turned to its fleet of drones to hit targets in Iraq. Deniability has played a big factor – the ability of drones to elude radar and therefore keep targets guessing about who actually bombed them is playing well for Israeli leaders who are trying to prevent an increasingly lethal shadow war with Iran from developing into an open conflict.”
    Israel has the means, plus the motive (Bib’s reelection), and might have taken the opportunity to attribute the attack to Iran and force Trump’s hand.

  14. Thirdeye says:

    Neat holes on the western sides of the tanks. Shape charges? Wonder what the required payload would be.

  15. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    Moon of Alabama links some photos and has discussion that suggests very high precision 5-10 m. That is not easily achievable with commercial GPS absent a lot of additional correction hardware. On the other hand, drones can easily do so. Further, it would be negligent for SA not to have GPS jamming around such facilities.
    In addition, the specificity of the targets hit suggests good intel. I would suspect that Houthi’s have linked with disaffected groups in SA (lots!) and improved their Humint. It seems highly unlikely that Iran would do something like this AND leave their fingerprints behind – at least based on recent events.


    “The so called moderates in Iran” have no legs to stand on any longer.
    And they cannot have a meeting without authorization from the Office of the Supreme Juris-Consul.
    And no, Rouhani was never going to meet with Trump and be impeached and removed from office.

  17. catherine says:

    ”I believe Iran was behind it.”
    Why would Iran have done it? Just to show they can or to provoke a attack on Iran?
    One to benefit from it that I see so far is Saudi’s Aramco IPO which is critical to Saudi . According to WSJ they were considering delaying it because of low oil prices, they needed oil to reach $80 barrel to make it viable. The attack sent prices up but now market is talking about risk if there are ‘on going attacks’. What could we deduce if there are no on going attacks and the IPO proceeds?
    Only other beneficiary would be Israel if the attack actually does and likely has killed any Trump-Iran meeting.
    Yemenis claimed credit for it, Iran and Iraq said they didn’t do it. First word out of US mouth is Iran did it. The mouth I am least likely to believe is the US. I remember Iraq has WMDs propaganda….and those it came from.

  18. turcopolier says:

    ISL et al
    Never underestimate the feckless laziness of the Saudis. In my experience they turn off all ATC and air defense systems that require manning or watch keeping when they find them inconvenient as on the weekend. IMO if Ansarallah did this they will do something similar soon to prove they are responsible.

  19. ted richard says:

    imo, the saudi’s and washington are going to have to take one for the team. the team being the global oil based world economy and all the notional value FOR THE present ONLY oil derivatives and interest rate derivatives burdening the western banking system…. think the insolvent deutsche bank et al.
    a war on iran will do every bit as much damage or MORE to the west as it does to iran which both russia and china can not.. will not allow to die.
    israel gets a lot of press and speculation on this board as well as everywhere else for all their conspiracies and supposed omnipotent power and control but in this writers opinion THEY have been punching way above their actual weight for years and current reality has exposed how feckless and puny they really are in the scheme of things.
    i suspect the whole ‘jew’ thing regarding israel is what animates people so much. if israel were all zoroastrians i doubt the world would credit them with all the machinations israel is viewed as responsible for.

  20. catherine says:

    ”i suspect the whole ‘jew’ thing regarding israel is what animates people so much. if israel were all zoroastrians i doubt the world would credit them with all the machinations israel is viewed as responsible for.”
    A Cult is a Cult regardless of it members makeup.
    And Israel is looking more like a Jim Jones farm every day.

  21. JP Billen says:

    Babak, I value your input here. However, I hope you are wrong and that a meeting or meetings (substantive or not) will start as soon as the dealbreaker is out of office, and the sanctions are called off.
    But I would never wisg you an early death. May you live a hundred years.

  22. Peter AU 1 says:

    Only one tank appears to have minor sooting or scorching. As though they were emptied after an initial strike then targeted in a second strike, but no reports of a second strike.
    In the sat pic showing targets in red boxes, top square, the target appears to be smaller spheres which do look darkened.

  23. Amir says:

    “Arms Control Wonk” describing the difference/similarities between the Iranian missiles and the Yemeni cruise missiles, used to give MBS a taste of his own medicine:

  24. Several correspondents here, including Adrestia and b, seem to lack faith in an autonomous navigation and terminal guidance system for these cruise missiles. They do not need a radio or cell phone communication link. This could have been even without a GPS signal. Given that the strikes appear to come from the west, the smartest route would be to fly north to the pipelines and then east to the targets. Once the missiles are close to the target either a visual terminal guidance system could take over or the targets are marked and the missiles’ terminal guidance systems just home in on the marked targets. The marks could be laser illumination, small IR strobes or offset targeting devices. These offset targeting devices are emplaced with the exact azimuth and distance to the desired target programmed into the missiles’ terminal guidance system. As I said before, we did this in the early 80s. In the 90s, I used the IR strobes. These were tiny lights snapped to the top of a 9V battery. You could carry a dozen in your pocket. I personally like the idea of emplacing small IR strobes on target or a set distance and azimuth from the target. The missiles could home on a spot say due east and 100 meters from the strobe. I’m sure there are other methods I haven’t thought of yet. My educated guess is that this strike was well thought out with both intelligence and operational support on and near the target site. Anyone who thinks the Houthi and their Yemeni allies are incapable of planning and executing this is magnificently ignorant.

  25. walrus says:

    I’m reading the manual for an FY41AP autopilot right now. About $250, made in china.
    As for optical guidance, the attacks happened about 0400 – night or dawn?
    This autopilot has a video link as well as autonomous and ground based control modes I think. If the Yemenis had a guy with a transceiver near abqaiq, then maybe they could send these things over from yemen using gps and a guy with transceiver provided terminal guidance. If that were to happen the drones would need to be launched at set intervals.

  26. Antoinetta III says:

    Your last sentence is true enough as far as it goes, but also, if Israel were all Zoroastrians (or any other group) the world would have dealt with their paranoid and psychopathic behavior decades ago. The only reason they get away with everything is because they are Jewish.
    Antoinetta III

  27. Anonymous says:

    No missiles or flying objects.Just goop shots.Package placed weeks ago and ignited by laser.not shoot and scoot but goop and loop.All the tank surfaces will need to checked

  28. JamesT says:

    This drone discussion board is interesting:

  29. oldman22 says:

    Bacevich in NYT op ed
    behind a paywall, here is a copy
    please do not post if it is too long or off topic
    Iran Might Be America’s Enemy, but Saudi Arabia Is No Friend
    After last week’s refinery attack, Trump should be careful about throwing America’s weight behind an unreliable “ally.”
    By Andrew J. Bacevich
    Mr. Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.
    Sept. 16, 2019
    Image The American frigate Stark, which was hit by two missiles fired from an Iraqi fighter plane during the Iran-Iraq war in 1987.
    The American frigate Stark, which was hit by two missiles fired from an Iraqi fighter plane during the Iran-Iraq war in 1987.CreditCreditMike Nelson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
    In 1987, an Iraqi warplane attacked an American Navy frigate, the Stark, on patrol in the Persian Gulf. Accepting Saddam Hussein’s explanation that the attack, which killed 37 sailors, had been an accident, American officials promptly used the incident, which came at the height of the Iran-Iraq war, to ratchet up pressure on Tehran. The incident provided the impetus for what became a brief, and all but forgotten, maritime war between the United States and Iran.
    Last week, someone — precisely who remains to be determined — attacked two oil refineries in Saudi Arabia. American authorities have been quick to blame Iran, and the possibility of a violent confrontation between the two countries is once again growing. Before making a decision on whether to pull the trigger, President Trump would do well to reflect on that 1987 episode and its legacy.
    Back then, the United States had become involved in the very bloody and seemingly interminable Iran-Iraq war, which Hussein had instigated in 1980 by invading Iran. As that war turned into a brutal stalemate, President Ronald Reagan and his advisers persuaded themselves that it was in America’s interests to come to Iraq’s aid. Iran was the “enemy” so Iraq became America’s “friend.”
    After the Stark episode, American and Iranian naval forces in the Gulf began jousting, an uneven contest that culminated in April 1988 with the virtual destruction of the Iranian Navy.
    Yet the United States gained little from this tidy victory. The principal beneficiary was Hussein, who wasted no time in repaying Washington by invading and annexing Kuwait soon after his war with Iran ground to a halt. Thus did America’s “friend” become America’s “enemy.”
    The encounter with Iran became a precedent-setting event and a font of illusions. Since then, a series of administrations have indulged the fantasy that the direct or indirect application of military power can somehow restore stability to the Gulf.
    In fact, just the reverse has occurred. Instability has become chronic, with the relationship between military policy and actual American interests in the region becoming ever more difficult to discern.
    In 2019, this now well-established penchant for armed intervention finds the United States once more involved in a proxy conflict, this time a civil war that has ravaged Yemen since 2015. Saudi Arabia supports one side in this bloody and interminable conflict, and Iran the other.
    Under President Barack Obama and now President Trump, the United States has thrown in its lot with Saudi Arabia, providing support comparable to what the Reagan administration gave Saddam Hussein back in the 1980s. But American-assisted Saudi forces have exhibited no more competence today than did American-assisted Iraqi forces back then. So the war in Yemen drags on.
    ImageSmoke billowing from one of the oil facilities hit by drone attacks on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq, in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province, on Saturday.
    Smoke billowing from one of the oil facilities hit by drone attacks on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq, in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province, on Saturday.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images
    Concrete American interests in this conflict, which has already claimed an estimated 70,000 lives while confronting as many as 18 million with the prospect of starvation, are negligible. Once more, as in the 1980s, the demonization of Iran has contributed to a policy that is ill advised and arguably immoral.
    I am not suggesting that Washington is supporting the wrong side in Yemen. I am suggesting, however, that neither side deserves support. Iran may well qualify as America’s “enemy.” But Saudi Arabia is not a “friend,” regardless of how many billions Riyadh spends purchasing American-manufactured weaponry and how much effort Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invests in courting President Trump and members of his family.
    The conviction, apparently widespread in American policy circles, that in the Persian Gulf (and elsewhere) the United States is compelled to take sides, has been a source of recurring mischief. No doubt the escalating rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran poses a danger of further destabilizing the Gulf. But the United States is under no obligation to underwrite the folly of one side or the other.
    Supporting Iraq in its foolhardy war with Iran in the 1980s proved to be strategically shortsighted in the extreme. It yielded vastly more problems than it solved. It set in train a series of costly wars that have produced negligible benefits. Supporting Saudi Arabia today in its misbegotten war in Yemen is no less shortsighted.
    Power confers choice, and the United States should exercise it. We can begin to do so by recognizing that Saudi Arabia’s folly need not be our problem.
    Andrew J. Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the author of the forthcoming “The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory.”

  30. Christian Chuba says:

    “a war on iran will do every bit as much damage or MORE to the west as it does to iran”

    And Iran has demonstrated that they can cause months worth of damage on the KSA, the UAE, and Kuwait. I can’t believe the number of Congressman who simultaneously believe that Iran was able to glide over U.S. made air defenses without detection and also believe that we can simply carpet bomb their refineries without any repercussion. How can one believe both things at the same time? That Iran is reponsble for a sophisticated ghost attack and that they are incapable of retaliating in a target rich environment.
    Not only did Graham say this but the loon from Maryland repeated it. These people are insane but MSM hosts encourage it, just saw Cavuto snear at Ron Paul because he actually made sense. We are so messed up.

  31. Matt says:

    I found those gas domes on google maps using the satellite view,
    I tagged the co-ordinates as: 25°55’37.3″N 49°41’00.8″E
    or in digital format: 25.927015, 49.683559
    here’s a link that should take you straight there:'37.3%22N+49%C2%B041'00.8%22E/@25.927015,49.6813703,702m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d25.927015!4d49.683559
    use the pic released by USG of the damage to get an idea of the orientation of the incoming projectiles, I used that rectangularish pond behind as an aid,
    then progressively zoom out looking to see which country they ‘could’ have come from?
    oy vey!

  32. Foxbat says:

    Everyone keeps misunderestimating the Yemenis.
    The Houthis are fighting as part of a coalition that includes a large part of the Yemeni military and intelligence services. This coalition is carrying out a war under guerrilla conditions, but that war is led by professional military men. Yemen had a serious air force consisting mostly of missile systems before the war. Much of it was destroyed by the bombing campaign carried out for Saudi Arabia, but the military organization survived. They have now reconstituted the Yemeni air forces under fire and in the midst of famine, blockade and invasion.
    Stock up on popcorn, the show has only just begun.

  33. elkern says:

    I’d have more confidence in the reporting if I could match it up better with what I can see in Google Maps/Earth.
    The only two satellite pictures I’ve seen of “burning oil plants” disticntly show a large plume of black smoke centered a little ways away from the actual refinery area, in some kind of rectangular area outside the actual “plant”. Are those wellheads burning? or adjacent underground storage? or what?
    And the pictured of a burning plant labeled “Haradh Gas Plant” is actually (according to Google Maps & my eyeballs) the Hawiyah Gas Plant, about 60 miles NNE of Haradh.
    In Google Maps/Earth, the Abqaiq facility is on the East side of the city/town of Buquaiq, and the details match the recent pix. The plume lines up with an empty square patch of desert at the end of a pipeline running SSE out of the plant.
    I’ve looked all around Khurais, and haven’t found anything which could possibly be the “Oil/Gas Infrastructure at Khurais”, as the pictures of the damaged facility there are labeled.
    Google Earth is big fun.

  34. Johnb says:

    There is a huge sea water desalination plant not far away that provides all the treated water via pipeline for injection into the oil reservoirs to improve recovery of oil. Target that and not only have you already impacted the processing of the oil produced but would then impact the total volume of oil available for processing. I can see no happy ending short of negotiation between interested parties. MBZ looks to have already reached that conclusion in respect of the UAE. what will be the self preservation response for the House of Saud

  35. Johnb says:

    Your point TTG was nicely illustrated in b’s video of the Russian guy building in his workshopa turbofan engine that flew . Providing there is a set of plans it can be constructed and it only has to have a one time reliability.
    Evidence for what delivered the strike will be found within the complex and there will be a lot of skills on the ground looking for those answers. The projectiles that struck the spheres looked to have had penetrating qualities rather than high explosive, putting a hole in a pressure vessel is sufficient to destroy its usefulness. I would be interested to know if the projectiles that struck the train were explosive to maximise damage there. Do we need to be considering what could deliver multiple targeted projectiles or were there simply multiple independent units or some combination as there were more strikes logged over two target complexes than the ten delivery platforms mentioned in the Al Ansar press release. Was there a flight controller and if so where were they located also comes to mind.

  36. Robert Waddell says:

    Using my CAD and graphic tools and Google Earth along with the photo showing the four perforated pressure tanks, I have estimated the four vectors as:
    E1 280W. E2 279W, E3 281W and E4 273W. I have numbered the tanks from the most eastwards (the furthermost away in the photo). Angles from true north (0/360 deg). This averages as 278N with a STDEV of 3 degrees. Its almost due west. Must be very difficult for autopilots (or real pilots) could perform more than one group-turning maneuver and still maintain final-run accuracy to what was achieved.
    p.s. I’m not specialist in this field apart from terrestrial navigation and drafting experience.

  37. Robert Waddell says:

    Using my CAD and graphic tools and Google Earth along with the photo showing the four perforated pressure tanks, I have estimated the four vectors as:
    E1 280W. E2 279W, E3 281W and E4 273W. I have numbered the tanks from the most eastwards (the furthermost away in the photo). Angles from true north (0/360 deg). This averages as 278N with a STDEV of 3 degrees. Its almost due west. Must be very difficult for autopilots (or real pilots) could perform more than one group-turning maneuver and still maintain final-run accuracy to what was achieved.
    p.s. I’m not specialist in this field apart from terrestrial navigation and drafting experience.

  38. Adrestia says:

    I was looking at the engine. The Quds 1 is powered by a TJ100 built in the Czech republic.
    There is also the TJ200 built bij Polaris from Brazil with the following description:
    “Turbine TJ200
    TJ200 was specially designed to be used in either small cruise missiles or small high performance UAVs. The most important advantage of TJ200 engine is small diameter and a relatively low SFC (Specific Fuel Consumption) when compared to other engines of the same thrust, what makes TJ200 perfect to be used in long range small missiles.”
    That’s a pretty specific description. So there are a number of COTS engines out there.

  39. Adrestia says:

    The Czech company which produces the TJ100 does have strong links with Iran.
    “2005 TPP Iranshahr Iran, the largest project in the company’s history, a turnkey project – four power plant units.”
    But then again. Creating a crash site in the desert with some COTS components in it is also easy to do. I would be surprised if Iran is launching missiles now. That would be pretty stupid to do.

  40. jonst says:

    Frankly, I never thought the “so called moderates” had a leg to stand on. I always thought it was a good cop/bad cop game, seriously played, in so far as one could play a farce” for the trusting souls in Norway, Denmark, the UK, et al. And it works, too.
    Look, there are times when even the Supreme Juris-Counsl has to ‘drink poison’ from the golden chalice. This thing will never get settled without an initial meeting. It will come soon enough.

  41. jonst says:

    Oh well, if Iran says they did not do it…….the US govt lies. The Iranian govt lies, the Saudis surely lie. This is not about innocents. That search is for children and mighty young ones at that.

  42. CK says:

    If those benighted peoples of the desert can do this just think what highly motivated Antifa types could build in the warehouses of Portland.

  43. turcopolier says:

    CK There is nothing “benighted” about them. that is a lesson the perfumed fops in Ryadh ae learning.

  44. Procopius says:

    I found this interesting report on a display of Houthi missiles and drones from June.
    I have seen articles over the last month or so (sorry, no links) saying that because they are not able to send large amounts of material aid through the Saudi and U.S. Navy blockade of Yemen, the Iranians sent blueprints and a few engineers and the Ansar Allah have been building them in Yemen.

  45. Procopius says:

    The Samad 3 is laden with explosives that allow it to detonate a shaped charge which explodes downwards towards its target. Footage provided to MintPress by Yemen’s Operations Command Center shows the Samad landing on an asphalt runway, confirming that the drone is now capable of conducting operations and then returning to base.

    from Mint Press, Jul 9, 2019.

  46. Procopius says:

    Supreme Ayatollah Khamenei has said there will be no meeting until the U.S.ends sanctions. I do not for a moment believe Bolton would have stood for it, and even though he’s gone, neither will Pompeo or Pence. Both appear to be fanatically devoted to Israel. There may be meetings between low level functionaries, and Trump seems to want one very much, but Rouhani has said there is no way to trust America, so no point to talking. The situation may change if Netanyahu loses the election, although I have no reason to believe Avigdor will be any better.

  47. turcopolier says:

    Robert Waddell
    So, the sheaf of attacks on those tanks was from due west to east?

  48. CK says:

    I know. I was attempting a comparison between the way most Americans perceive the desert peoples and the way most Americans fail to extrapolate from their beliefs of one groups capabilities and motivations and another group closer to home. The perfumed fops in Ryadh and the Perfumed Princes in DC are very similar under the perfume.
    I remember in the mid sixties how the “benighted” Vietnamese and VC were on their last legs, unable to do anything militarily significant, that the war would be over in 67. This was that generations perfumed princes attitude towards a people who had been fighting against invaders since the 1850s. I remember 68 and the most unexpectedly successful operational and strategic level victory by the NVA and the VC that was TET. From an infotainment/Cronkite perspective the important thing was that the Saigon embassy was broached. From and operational perspective a “defeated” enemy launched several hundred simultaneous attacks all over South Vietnam while holding down as a diversion the Dien Bien Phu look alike that was Khe San. 51 years 2 and 1/2 generations and today we make the exact same mistakes in evaluating the current situation.
    It is the benefit of being a perfumed prince or fop or neo-con that history has no meaning because history ended sometime in the 90’s. Somehow I hear the voice of a Rove lecturing:
    “That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” He continued “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

  49. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There is no this in this.
    I have regrettably, come to the conclusions that the differences between Iran and the United States are irresolvable.

  50. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Even then discussion were to be in 5+1 forum.
    US is in an economic, legal, political, and religious war with Iran. I should think that you would need a cease fire deal before anything else.

  51. Dave Good says:

    My guess,
    What looks like missile hits at identical positions on those spherical tanks are not.
    They are the locations of pressure relief valvaes that blew when the towers hit, venting gas up out and away.

  52. turcopolier says:

    The train? What train?

  53. jonst says:

    Oh, nothing is “irresolvable”…its just that some options are better than others.

  54. jonst says:

    With all due respect, I think one of us fails to grasp the true nature of Trump. If he puts his mind to it, and thinks it will benefit him, nobody, not Bolton, not Pompeo, not the whole Neocon cabal, Israeli govt, the present one or the next one, will stop him if he is President and alive. He will do what is best for Trump.
    And trust has nothing to do with this. Why in the hell should I trust Iran? Hell, why should I trust the UK? I trust that people and nations have interests. That’s all I trust. But that does mean I could not reach a deal with them. Now, as to whether that deals holds…that is another question. However, if Trump DOES cut a deal, he will not try and fluff it off as an “Executive Agreement”….if Trump cuts a deal he knows he will have to bring it to Congress. Thee Lobby may kill it there…or not. We’ll see.

  55. turcopolier says:

    I buy the idea of HUMINT assets having collected target informatoin but the idea of mini-strobes, etc. seems to me to be too difficult to do given the separation of the missile force and the HUMINT assets. Very hard to coordinate.


    Thank you very kindly.
    I would like to ask the following questions:
    Will the United States restore sovereign immunity to Iran?
    Will the United States Congress rescind all the laws against Iran that form the basis of economic war against Iran?
    Will the United States rescind the sanctions against Ayatollah Khamenei, Dr. Zarif, General Soleimani, etc., etc. etc.?
    Will the Protestant Christians in the United States ever tire of their unrequited love for all things Old Testament?
    In my opinion, the answer to all of these are “no”.
    Unfortunately, even if a man with the caliber of an FDR or a Nixon is elected to the US Presidency, he will not be able to accomplish much because of the difficulty, nay the impossibility, of untangling the rules and regulations that US has woven against Iran.
    In my opinion, all of that was predicated on the strategic defeat of Iran and her surrender.

  57. I have a video most likely from a drone damage assessment, that shows entry holes on 4 semispheres -probably gas containers on the very same spot on all of them. Looks like cruise missile to me.

  58. JP Billen says:

    I am in full agreement with your assessment Dave. I don’t see any penetrations on those 11 spherical tanks. Look at the complete devastation on the three smaller spherical pressure tanks.
    Unless we get higher resolution pics that definitely show those tanks were pierced there is no way I am going to believe those tiny scorch marks are UAV or missile hits. Much too symmetrical! No amount of geometrical explaining of drone tracks will account for that symmetry.

  59. JP Billen says:

    Night. Dawn at Riyadh was approximately 5:38 AM. But those facilities would have been well lit up with hundreds of floodlights.

  60. JP Billen says:

    Elkern, I was referring to the pictures of the cruise missile parts in the sand. Seems to me they are old from previous attacks.
    As far as I can tell the pics of damage at Buqaiq and Khurais are valid. With the exception of the eleven spherical tanks, which I believe were NOT hit. But I’ve been wrong before and am no expert on imagery analysis.

  61. Harper says:

    Houthis have every reason to utilize their advanced weapons systems against Saudi targets to bring the war to an end. As for Iran, seems they have been on a semi-successful diplomatic campaign to counter US maximum pressure with their own maximum pressure on Europeans, Russia and China to deliver on the economic benefits that are as important in JCPOA as the curtailing of Iran’s nuclear program. Trump talking about meeting Rouhani in New York, Zarif in China getting at least $50-100 billion in pledged economic support, Russia suggesting $10 billion investment in the Iranian energy sector: Why would Iran at this moment make a direct move to turn the world fully against them? Perhaps a rogue faction of IRGC out to stop any diplomatic action, but even that would have to come with OK from Khamenei–or there would be strong action against the rogues.
    Pressure on Trump to maintain the hardline against Iran following Bolton ouster? Pompeo has been leading the diplomatic back channels and repeating Trump’s goal of forcing Iran to the table. Even the Saudis are for the moment hesitant to blame Iran, actually calling for a UN investigation into the source of the attacks.

  62. glupi says:

    The key question of JohnH – “Qui bono?”
    1) other suppliers
    2) a general redirection of attention is achieved from 2 points:
    – from Syria
    In the issue of National Geographic Bulgaria of 04.2019, April 2019 number 4 (162),on p.29 there is a map of the migratory route of a bird – Ethiopia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, Bulgaria. BUT the name of Syria is missing, just an empty space within its current borders.
    Maybe, I sincerely hope not, it was just a part of a campaign of mass indoctrination – the “former Syria” to be divided between neighbours with a US military base here and there or to turn onto a No Man’s land of lawlessness right there, flanking the EU, Russia’s Muslim areas, China’s silk road etc
    “The Iran did it” narrative as an attempt to keep on undermining the pro-Syrian government coalition.
    – from the temptation to mix with West’s “rivals” internal issues
    A strange coincidence that there was such a recent burst of “opposition” activity first in Russia, then in China. The velvet revolution recipe of the Arabian spring, Ukraine, etc (if it was such) didn’t quite work however.
    And the “empires strike back” – subtly and not so subtly. China offers for the London stock exchange (let’s not forget that the Chinese take-over of the London metal exchange went without a fuss). Saudi Arabia next.
    Maybe the message is “Just stay out of your ex-colonies”

  63. JP Billen says:

    The processor trains are a linear series of stabilizer columns that help separate the sour hydrogen sulfide gas from the crude oil. They are at the heart of the process and probably the highest value target. They are to the left of the 11 pressure tanks in the pictures shown, or perhaps just NNW of those tanks.

  64. JamesT says:

    Richard Gill, managing director of the UK company Drone Defence:
    “But [drone defence is] military-grade technology and it’s massively expensive. To install a defensive system is extremely complex and the threat is evolving at such a rate that it’s very hard to keep up to date, because the adversaries change the type of technology they use in a way that almost renders the defence moot.” 
    From related article on FT:

  65. Adrestia says:

    My perspective is for the DIY drone using COTS.
    GPS is not accurate enough for the last 10-30 feet. Another possiblity that doesn’t need any human terminal guidance could be a creative use of sensors.
    Using CARVER select suitable targets. Pick something that is hot, big or fumes gas.
    Then use a combination of gas-sensing, parking-sensors, heat-sensing sensors for the last few feet.

  66. PeterHug says:

    Well, the Swiss Air Force is only able to respond to emergencies during normal business hours…

  67. jonst says:

    If I WERE ANSWERING. I got some demands of my own..but we can put them aside for the moment. In general, I would be inclined to respond: Yes, to the “sovereign immunity” question. Certainly. Regarding “economic warfare”, you would have to give me your legal definition of such a broad phrase, but in principle, yes. Whole heartedly yes. Sanctions against Iran, and it individuals officers? Yes, absolutely. Sick of sanctions, in general. It is not in my power to answer the “unrequited love” issue, but I do solemnly state that I would agree to stop laughing–in public, anyway, at the question. Wanna meet?

  68. Robert Waddell says:

    Not at all Pat.. The final ‘strafing’ line was west to east (280 deg) but I am assuming that a way-point several km west from the refinery was used for the final 90 deg turn-in. The main fleet of UAV/drones/cruise missiles could easily be launched from north or south or the refinery.
    AS TTG and others have suggested, it’s not too difficult to use a combination of GPS for coarse guidance and optical, either autonomous/image recognition or ‘man on the ground’, for final approach. Either way, it’s a very accurate (pin-point!) attack and its not likely we will be privy to the real story for some time.

  69. Robert Waddell says:

    Not at all Pat.. The final ‘strafing’ line was west to east (280 deg) but I am assuming that a way-point several km west from the refinery was used for the final 90 deg turn-in. The main fleet of UAV/drones/cruise missiles could easily be launched from north or south or the refinery.
    AS TTG and others have suggested, it’s not too difficult to use a combination of GPS for coarse guidance and optical, either autonomous/image recognition or ‘man on the ground’, for final approach. Either way, it’s a very accurate (pin-point!) attack and its not likely we will be privy to the real story for some time.

  70. JP Billen says:

    Fourth and Long, I suspect you are correct about someone (or some intrinsic safety feature) throwing a switch to blow the pressure relief valves.
    Possibly in response to the first explosions or to the wild machine gun fire that was heard on the video.
    Surely some of the many intel community people here have a retired colleague that was previously an imagery analyst, who could check out the pics of those eleven tanks and pass verdict?

  71. JP Billen says:

    Regarding your “sovereign immunity” question. I thought that related to the US federal and state governments being free from lawsuit (in most cases). Has the US ever granted any foreign entity freedom from lawsuits? I think some individual states have tried to pass absurd laws forbidding boycotts against Israel. What did I miss? Did you mean “diplomatic immunity”?
    Your question on Congress is way above my pay grade. But I would endorse any congressman who wanted to rescind such laws. Do you have a specific law in mind?
    I would expect sanctions against both the Supreme Leader and the FM would be lifted. Why not? They are nonsensical and were only imposed because of a tantrum. The General might be another matter in the short term. What our two countries really need is for both of us to give up the mutual defamation and propaganda and psywar.
    As for your feelings on Protestants, I believe God exists in all places of worship, including Shia Mosques and Protestant Churches. Religion has no business in politics and foreign policy.

  72. oldman22 says:

    Pressure relief valves?
    Go to google maps,
    Abqaiq Plants – Saudi Aramco, Buqayq Saudi Arabia
    coordinates of one the tanks are
    25°55’37.2″N 49°41’00.8″E
    25.927008, 49.683557
    I do not see any valves on these tanks.
    Do you?

  73. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity has been part of the English Common Law. US has taken that away from Iram
    But that is not germaine to my point; that it is inconceivable for me for the United States to take any of those actions in the next 5 decades.

  74. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That religion has not place in politics etc. was the pious hope of the Enlightenment Tradition. It certainly was never the position of the Shia.

  75. ISL says:

    “Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
    “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    the ability to think is a political detriment. Of course, reality always intrudes.

  76. Johnb says:

    A processing train that the pressure tanks are linked to Colonel, my apologies. I believe it is that part of the plant shown damaged in the long rectangle to the left of the three groups of pressure tanks.

  77. Johnb says:

    My thanks JPB. Would they be more vulnerable to an explosive force than a penetrative force.?

  78. Dave Good says:

    PRV s are devices too small too shoe up at the resolution of satellite photos used here.
    Of more concern is the complete absencr of what you would expect theday after an attack like this. Where are the emergency vehicles? The crews hauling away debris? The goses?poolsof water and foam? There is no one ther

  79. turcopolier says:

    Dave Good
    Probably hiding.

  80. JP Billen says:

    Let us both hope your 50-year prediction does not come to pass. Be optimistic. shoot for two years or six.

  81. JP Billen says:

    I would suspect so, but am no expert.

  82. JP Billen says:

    Colonel Lang is correct I think. Weren’t those photos taken the same day? Probably only key Aramco personnel were allowed in to assess safety concerns prior to clean-up.


    One can apply Bayesian statistics to this.
    We must agree that we are not at the start of US-Iran Hostilities.
    Nor are we at their final phase.
    So we can say that we are at the 25%, 35%, 50%, 65%, 75% point in duration hostilities.
    We set the probability of each possibility as 20%.
    So far, the hostilities have lasted 40 years.
    If we are at 25% point, then 160 more years of hostilities are ahead of us.
    If we are at 75% point, we are facing another 13 year until these hostilities are ended.
    The average time of hostilities would be (160+ 114+80+62+53)/5 = 77.8 years.
    Since 40 years have already past, we are looking at another 38 years.

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