“Military experts believe Iranian-made drones set off from Yemen to strike Aramco” ra’i al yowm


I was provided this translation by Alastair Crooke's  "The Raw and the Cooked" on line magazine published from Crooke's location in Beirut.  This a very fine subscription service and I recommend it highly.   exchange@conflictsforum.com  is their contact e-mail address.  pl 


“Military experts believe Iranian-made drones set off from Yemen to strike Aramco

Rai al-Youm daily, 17 Sept 2019

The military commanders in the USA are keeping silent with regards to the source of the attacks that targeted the Aramco oil facilities last Saturday and that caused some serious damages there. It seems that the Houthis have used Iranian-made modern drones and that a commando unit from Saudi land served to steer the drones at the last few minutes prior to the strikes.
“So far, the statements of the American politicians are leading the list of accusations directed at Iran for allegedly being responsible for the attacks… The American politicians are speaking about Iran’s responsibility although the Houthis have released a statement where they stressed that they stand behind this operation knowing that the Houthis have always been honest in their military statements in order to gain the trust of the international media outlets.

“The odd part consists of the silence of the American military commanders. Indeed, there has been no official report released by the Pentagon that accuses Iran. Furthermore, no senior military officers made any statements to accuse Iran. The senior officers and military experts are actually cautious and not taking the risk of making any incorrect statements. They realize that the arsenal of the American radars at the Arabian Gulf including the land and the ship-mounted radars have recorded at least half the drones’ flight, which is enough data to tell the source.

“The Abqaiq station is geographically close to Bahrain and Qatar. It is thus close to the American Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, which is equipped with modern radars. It is also close to the Al-Udeid base in Qatar, which is home to the most modern radars of the American military industry. These radars are capable of monitoring the activity of the rockets and drones coming from Iran or Iraq. If these radars failed to do that, then this constitutes a scandal for the American military industry knowing that the radars are pointed at Iran.

“The secret behind the US military commanders’ silence and them abstaining from mentioning the source of the drones is because they don’t wish to admit that the drones are Iranian-made and were able to dodge the radars that are deployed in the region. Iran might have smuggled these drones to the Houthis… Iran possesses advanced drones that are capable of flying for long distances while loaded with explosives. These include drones that can carry out suicide missions by striking fixed targets such as the Muhajir, Raad, and Karrar drones. These have succeeded in the past to fly above the American aircraft carriers. Some comments are circulating at the American military chat rooms that go: “If Iran is capable of shooting down a Global Hawk, and if it was able to take photos of the aircraft carriers in the Gulf, then this means that its drones are as advanced as its missiles. This is something that one must admit.”””

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

39 Responses to “Military experts believe Iranian-made drones set off from Yemen to strike Aramco” ra’i al yowm

  1. turcopolier says:

    Pompeo laughed today at the ludicrous thought that the Yemenis could have attacked Abqaiq, Who laughs last laughs best.

  2. Oscar Peterson says:

    Wonder where the “commando team” was hanging out prior to and after the mission. Things could get rougher than usual for Hasa’s Shia.
    Also, what kind of terminal guidance–target designators of some kind or a joy-stick hand off?
    Amazing that Abqaiq has been recognized for years as both critical and highly vulnerable yet the Saudis have done almost nothing about it. How can a country like that imagine itself as a regional leader?
    Comical too that Saudi probably won’t fix the problem even now. The US doesn’t make the air/missile defense systems it needs. They can’t buy Russian without enraging the US and the they can’t buy Israeli without enraging their own people.
    Tant pis!

  3. TedBuila says:

    “….they don’t wish to admit that the drones are Iranian-made and were able to dodge the radars that are deployed in the region….”
    Incoming cloaking or dodging seems to be central given our/Israeli silence re publishing (surface or stelllite) telemetry. Perhaps it doesn’t matter..diversion or not. That the Aramco installation got seriously ripped I suspect does. lAC does anyone have a clue if Aramco itself or under DOD contract posess “the best” 24/7active air defence cover whatevers?

  4. turcopolier says:

    TTG has suggested several terminal guidance system including laser designation.

  5. turcopolier says:

    IMO the Israelis would not have access to such telemetry or satellited detaction of the launches.

  6. turcopolier says:

    A number of Yemeni engineers have been trained there.

  7. turcopolier says:

    All IMO It is likely that the weapons were built in Yemen based on Iranian technology that had been modified by the Yemenis

  8. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Ah, Lindsey Graham is working on securing them access to this, never fear. What a mensch, eh?

  9. gemini333 says:

    “commando unit from Saudi land”
    Are they suggesting a guerilla commando unit or a commando unit from the Saudi military/paramilitary?
    Does the Saudi military include any Shia from eastern KSA? I’ve always assumed they would not be in the military. This might be a stupid question and apologies in advance if it is.
    If the commando unit was from the Saudi military, can we assume that some of the military is still loyal to former military/intel princes/officials who are now enemies of MbS and that a coup or takedown of some kind could be part of the explanation of the Abqaiq attacks?

  10. Christian J Chuba says:

    Could not agree w/you more, teach a man to fish vs. give a man a fish.
    It would also explain why the drones are more numerous today vs 2yrs ago even though most of Yemen’s ports are captured. 4yrs of R&D by Iranian engineers on how to adapt manufacturing technique for the Yemenis is now paying off. If the Iranians were just giving advanced drones and missiles to them wouldn’t the coalition capture a boatload of parts every now and again? I remember how we made such a big deal about finding a few skiffs with Iranian made AK47’s.

  11. Stephanie says:

    In order not to believe that one has to assume that the Houthi’s and the Iranians are lying and that the Americans and the Saudi’s are telling the truth. Would anyone like to buy a weapon of mass destruction to go with the bridge I’m selling?

  12. oldman22 says:

    more from Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm:
    “The Houthis have changed the rules of engagement. The message they delivered with the latest attacks is, in their own words, that they will continue striking targets deep inside Saudi Arabia until the country’s leadership realizes that “killing more Yemenis will not force them to their knees.”
    “In the meantime, a question is worth asking: Who is going to buy a stake in Saudi Aramco now? The Saudi government is desperate to offer shares in the giant corporation for sale. Even if they ever go on the market, how much will they fetch? Is it as coincidence that the attacks were launched just as Riyadh was stepping up efforts to proceed with a share offering?
    “Those unsophisticated mountain-dwelling Yemenis are clearly not as stupid as their enemies think.

  13. oldman22 says:

    Robert E. Hunter writes:
    ” I conceived the Carter Doctrine and, except for the “action clause” cited above, added by National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, I wrote virtually all the State of the Union Address.”
    ” among aspects of Iranian behavior the U.S. opposes and uses to justify tightening sanctions, Iran’s being the “largest state sponsor of terror” is not one: that title belongs to religious fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia, who are given free rein by Riyadh and tolerated by Washington.”
    ” economic sanctions are always “acts of war,” even though not of a “kinetic” nature.”
    “we should not use the 1980 Carter Doctrine to either require or justify moving toward war.”

  14. edding says:

    Col. Lang – I’ve tried six different search engines and cannot find any reference to Alastair Crooke’s “The Raw and the Cooked” on line magazine. Could you post a web address and/or contact information for that service.

  15. Gemeni333, clearly something was lost in translation. The commando unit most likely refers to action agents or an underground cell from Shia tribes living in Saudi Arabia. They would be controlled/directed by the Yemenis or Iranians. They would not be Saudi military or Saudi “commando” unit.

  16. Terence Gore says:

    “Iran possesses advanced drones that are capable of flying for long distances while loaded with explosives. These include drones that can carry out suicide missions by striking fixed targets such as the Muhajir, Raad, and Karrar drones. These have succeeded in the past to fly above the American aircraft carriers.”
    That sounds like the ability to close the strait for an extended period.

  17. rf says:

    Yes, also it is not just about Yemen.
    The experience of being able to manufacture such weaponry in Yemeni conditions could come in handy.
    For example if push comes to shove and the US blockades the Iran and bombs its military production infrastructure.

  18. russell1200 says:

    The Syrians use something that in English is translated to “Commando” and I assume the same is happening here. It is a small, better trained unit that can take on more difficult, somewhat independent assignments. Similar to what the German Storm troopers were in World War One, but not as extreme as a lot of the special forces type units you have in the United States Armed Forces.

  19. turcopolier says:

    exchange@conflictsforum.com is the e-mail to use to establish contact with Alastair Crooke.

  20. turcopolier says:

    Sa’aqa is probably the word used. This implies troops who are something like a cross betwee what the US Army calls “rangers” (elite assault troops) and Long Range Recon Patrols (LRRP) rather that actual special forces like TTG and me.

  21. turcopolier says:

    Fourth and Long
    I don’t csre what Wilkerson says or thinks. he and Powell participated in the great deception that enabled the neocon driven invasion and disastrous COIN war in Iraq. he should go and hide in shame forever.

  22. JP Billen says:

    60 meters is the minimum flight altitude shown on the Patriot data sheet above. Yet most cruise missiles fly below that. The US Tomahawk flies at 30 to 50 meters above ground level. And Tomahawk has been in service for well over 35 years. So why wouldn’t foreign-made cruise missiles, including the QUDS-1 have a similar flight profile. Why would anyone expect a system designed and built to destroy high flying bombers and tactical ballistic missiles to destroy, or even see, a ground hugging cruise missile?

  23. walrus says:

    To fly very low a cruise missile needs a radar altimeter and/or very very accurate satellite derived mapping data to avoid obstacles. The Houthi wouldn’t have the data and radar altimeters probably leak enough radiation to give you away.
    …….and finally, hugging the ground at 200mph+ is not an easy task for flight controls and software.

  24. LA Sox Fan says:

    I’m fairly certain that the Houthi can access very accurate satellite mapping data. I can see my house on Google maps for free.

  25. Harry says:

    Seems to me, that the drone attacks on the Russian facility by jihadi’s or their friends might have helped with some missing pieces of the puzzle for Iranian drone engineers. Of course the Russians might not have shared their findings, but we do know they disabled another of drones coming to their base in Lakatia.

  26. JP Billen says:

    I’ve got four great-grandchildren and radar altimeters have been around longer than I have. In the post WW2 era radar altimeters migrated from military use to civil and general aviation, including light single engine private aircraft. The Houthis and their tribal allies are not ignorant, some have been educated in prestigious engineering universities in Iran.
    AFAIK the Houthis may also have terrain-following radar. The Sukhoi 22 has it; and both the Yemeni and Iranian Air Forces had SU-22s. Plus Iran undoubtedly has, or has access to, some Tomahawk remnants from the hundreds (or thousands) we have expended in the Mideast and SW Asia.
    Sure a radar might give them away, but only IF someone was looking for it. I doubt that was a big priority for NSA as they were looking east of Abqaiq and certainly it was not high priority for the Saudis.
    You are right about the “hugging-the-ground-at-200mph+-is-not-an-easy-task” comment. But it is not impossible. In addition to Iranian reverse-engineered Tomahawks there are the many US UAV’s that Iran has shot down or electronically hacked into crashing within Iranian territory. Those have given them a bonanza in knowledge of flight control tech as well as avionics. If they needed it, but perhaps not as the University of Tehran also has a fine Aerospace Engineering program.

  27. smoke says:

    From Reuters 9/17:

    The Houthis also indicated that Saturday’s attack on Aramco was made possible by on-the-ground informers.
    “It came after an accurate intelligence operation, advance monitoring and cooperation from honourable and free people inside (Saudi),” the group’s military spokesman said.

    Dunno whether that could provide accurate enough coordinates.

  28. PavewayIV says:

    Why would anyone expect a system designed and built to destroy high flying bombers and tactical ballistic missiles to destroy, or even see, a ground hugging cruise missile?
    Patriot batteries are only part of a larger US air defense system – one that would necessarily integrate AWACS and Aegis if cruise missiles were considered a threat. The public understands Patriot as a kind of stand-alone, point-defense system… because that’s what CNN, NYT and WSJ ‘journalists’ learned them.
    The Saudis should understand how this works. Reagan sold them five E-3A AWACS in 1981. Last thing I can recall that the US ever did over the objections of Israel. The Saudi AWACS are at the newest Block 40/45 standard. No idea if the Saudis ever use them – they always seem to be here in the US getting upgrades.
    The Patriot data sheet should also show the published 1° radar elevation floor due to ground clutter. It can see a missile as low as 60m, but only if it’s a few km away. At 40km, the Patriot’s radar probably can’t see anything below a few hundred meters. Distinguish the radar’s limitations from those of the missiles, themselves.

  29. walden says:

    To edding:
    Alastair Crooke writes regularly at the web-site Strategic-Culture.org. In my experience, his own Conflicts Forum site is no longer very active.

  30. Fred says:

    1981 is thirty eight years ago, so the Block 40/45 standard is how old? Which matters none at all if they were a) on the ground or b) looking for an attack that would alsways come at the Pas-de-Calais from across the gulf. Becasue its not like they’ve been fighting in Yemen for half a decade.

  31. turcopolier says:

    AC sends out a cable every day. I guess you are not on the distribution list.

  32. JP Billen says:

    Paveway, thanks for the info.
    What do you make of Raytheon’s claims that the Patriot radar has the ability to detect and track cruise missiles? I’m guessing they can track air-launched cruise missiles, but are not very good at tracking many ground launched varieties.
    It will be interesting to see what is in the new force package the US is sending to the Saudis.

  33. PavewayIV says:

    Fred: The E3-A 707-based airframe is old. Block 40/45 is the latest of several upgrade packages over the years and is the current US/NATO version.
    Of course, irrelevant to the Abqaiq/Khurais attack if they were never deployed or monitoring the wrong area. The Patriot/AWACS/Aegis defense is the unfortunate morphing of Cold War air defense with the total air dominance fantasy and obsession with ballistic missile defense. The Saudis won’t buy Israeli’s Iron Dome, and can’t buy Russian Pantsirs. ‘Getting along with the neighbors’ doesn’t seem to be an option the Saudis are willing to consider.

  34. different clue says:

    But a claim like that might demoralize the high reaches of the KSA governating authorities. It might also drive them into Persecution Overdrive to look for traitors within . . . which might destabilize their grip on power if they keep looking for black cats in coal mines at midnight . . . if no black cats are there.

  35. PavewayIV says:

    Sea-skimming missiles (<5m) are a threat for ships. Terrain-following cruise missiles - whether aircraft or ground launched - need much more height than sea-skimmers depending on the terrain. The height makes them easier to see when unobstructed, but their maneuverability means they can sometimes exploit terrain obstacles to hide until they get close to the target.
    Terminal approach can be from a known, electronically cluttered direction, or from a direction not being scanned. If the missile is that sophisticated, it may also have jamming or other EW. If an adversary does not know if you're using the high angle, narrow missile scan mode or the lower, wider aircraft/cruise missile mode, they could send both to arrive about the same time - you're only going to see one of them.
    So can an AN/MPQ-65 detect a low-flying, low-RCS cruise missile, track and successfully engage it? It's supposed to, but it just depends. Devil is in the details.
    If the Houthis put a small drone through the middle of the radar's array panel first, then my odds are on the subsequent cruise missile getting thorough.

  36. casey says:

    Via Escobar:
    “Al-Emad explicitly told me that Houthi attacks are not over, and further drone swarms are inevitable.
    Now compare it with analysis by one trader: ‘If in the next wave of drone attacks 18 million barrels a day of Saudi crude are knocked out, it would represent a catastrophe of epic proportions. The US does not want the Houthi to believe that they have such power through such fourth generational warfare as drones that cannot be defended against. But they do. Here is where a tiny country can bring down not only a Goliath such as the US, but also the whole world.’”

  37. Richard Ong says:

    ** they don’t wish to admit that the drones are Iranian-made and were able to dodge the radars **
    Alternatvely, they don’t want to reveal data that undercuts The Narrative, namely, that Iran is the source of evil. With the ground, water, airborne, and sattelite resources of the US, it insults the intelligence to be asked to believe that the US didn’t have coverage of ALL avenues of approach.
    Same with the US graphic purporting to show the SyAAF attack on Khan Sheikhoun. All those assets and this indistinct, nothing burger graphic (obscuring the fact that the aircraft did not fly over KS) is all that the US of A could produce?
    When it suits, the US does not reveal or lies about what it knows from surveillance. But it damn sure knows exactly what happens.

Comments are closed.