Saudi Arabia up in Flames: Riyadh Is Headed for a Major Disaster

Image result for Saudi Arabia up in Flames: Riyadh Is Headed for a Major Disaster
Federico Pieraccini
September 19, 2019

On Saturday September 14, Yemen’s Houthi rebels announced that they had conducted a massive attack on several Aramco plants in Saudi Arabia, including the largest oil refinery in the world in Abqaiq, using 10 drones. On Twitter, dozens of videos and photos showed explosions, flames and the resulting damage.

The move is part of a retaliatory campaign by the Houthis in response to the indiscriminate bombings conducted by the Saudi air force over more than four years. UN estimates speak of more than 100,000 deaths and the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.

The Saudi kingdom finds itself in an increasingly dangerous situation as a result of the retaliatory capacity of the Houthis, able to inflict severe military and economic damage on Riyadh with their missile forces. Estimates suggest that Riyadh is losing something in the region of $300 million a day from the Houthi attacks. On Sunday September 15, a spokesman for the Saudi oil ministry spoke of damage that is yet to be calculated, possibly requiring weeks of repair. Meanwhile, Saudi oil production has halved following the Saturday attack. With a military budget of $200,000, the Houthis managed to inflict damage numbering in the billions of dollars.

House of Saud Isolated

The withdrawal of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates from the conflict in Yemen, driven by their desire to improve relations with Tehran, and the impossibility of the United States intervening directly in the conflict, has created significant problems for the House of Saud. The conflict is considered by the UN to be the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, and Trump has no intention of giving the Democratic presidential contenders any ammunition with which to attack him. Bolton’s dismissal could be one of those Trump signals to the deep state stating that he does not intend to sabotage his re-election hopes in 2020 by starting a new war.

This reluctance by Washington to directly support Israel and Saudi Arabia has aggravated the situation for Riyadh, which now risks seeing the conflict move to its own territory in the south of the country. The Houthi incursions into Saudi Arabia are now a daily event, and as long as Riyadh continues to commit war crimes against innocent Yemeni civilians, the situation will only worsen, with increasingly grave consequences for the internal stability of the Saudi system.

Saturday’s retaliation is the real demonstration of what could happen to the Saudi economy if Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) refuses to sit down and negotiate a way out of one of the worst military disasters of the contemporary era.

The invincibility of US weapons systems is only in Hollywood movies

The Houthis have in recent months managed to strike their targets in Saudi Arabia dozens of times using different aerial means. This highlights once again the total failure of American air-defense systems in the country.

In contrast, the multiple Russian anti-aircraft systems in Syria have achieved a 100% success rate with regard to interceptions, managing to disable (through electronic warfare) all the drones, mortars and missiles launched by jihadists against Russia’s bases in Tartus bases and Latakia.

Blame Iran!

Pompeo blames Tehran for the Yemeni attack on Saudi Arabia, of course without offering any proof. Riyadh and Tel Aviv are increasingly isolated in the Middle East. Washington is only able to offer tweets and paranoia about Iran to help its allies, given that a direct intervention is seen as being too risky for the global economy, not to mention the possibility of the conflict becoming a wider regional conflagration that would sink any chance of reelection in 2020 for the present administration.

Trump, Netanyahu and MBS are concocting a witches’ brew that will bring about a disaster of unprecedented proportions to the region. It is only a matter of time before we see the baleful consequences of their handiwork.

A hypothesis to be discarded

There is some talk doing the rounds that the Saudis conducted a false-flag attack on their own oil refineries, a hypothesis that enjoys a superficial plausibility. The resulting increase in the price of oil could be seen as having a positive effect on Aramco’s share price, it is true. But for the reasons given below, this hypothesis is actually not plausible.

The Houthis develop their own weapons, assisted by the Yemeni army. Used drones would cost less than $20,000 a piece. The military embargo on Yemen (enforced by the US and UK) has created a humanitarian disaster, limiting food and medicine. The delivery of weapons by sea therefore seems unlikely. As repeatedly stated by Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, as well as representatives of Ansarullah, Tehran has no influence on the Houthis.

The Yemeni response is part of an increasing asymmetric logic, which has as its primary objectives the halt to Riyadh’s bombings of Yemen by increasing the costs of doing so such that they become unsustainable. The obvious pressure point is the 20 billion barrels in strategic reserves.

There is no need for a false flag to blame Iran for the work of the Houthis. The corporate media is enough to have the false accusations repeated without the help of the Israelis or US-based neocons.

The Saudis are more cautious, even if unable to decide how to proceed. In Yemen, they have no more cards to play: they do not want to sit down and deal with Ansarullah, Tehran is unassailable, while Tel Aviv is pushing for a conflict, with Riyadh offered to be sacrificed.

I have been writing for months that, sooner or later, an event will occur that will change the regional balance in a possible conflict with Iran. This happened on Saturday, when half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production was brought to a halt by an attack.

Conclusion

There could not be any worse news for the neocons, Wahhabis and Zionists. If the Houthis could inflict such damage using 10 drones, then Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Washington must be having conniptions at the thought of what the Iranians would be capable of doing in the event that they themselves were attacked.

Any power (in this case the US and their air-defense systems) and its close ally would do everything to avoid suffering such a humiliation that would only serve to reveal their military vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow is seen by many in Israel as a failure. It is confirmed in Tel Aviv that the Zionist state’s recent attacks in Syria have been quashed by Russian intervention, sending an unambiguous message to Netanyahu.

Netanyahu and MBS, I reiterate, are heading towards the political abyss. And given their inability to handle the situation, they will do everything in their power to draw Washington into their plans against Iran.

It is all certainly vain. But in the coming weeks, I expect further provocations and tensions in the Middle East.

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Spy vs Spy vs Spy: The Mysterious Mr. Smolenkov

Global Research, September 19, 2019

A new spy story has been making the rounds in Washington, but this time it involved a brave Russian official who allegedly was allegedly recruited while in the Russian Embassy in Washington in 2007 and then worked secretly for the CIA until he was exfiltrated safely in 2017 lest he be discovered and caught. The tale was clearly leaked by the Agency itself to CNN by way of “multiple Trump administration officials.”

The CNN headline Exclusive: US extracted top spy from inside Russia in 2017 landed like a bombshell but then pretty much disappeared as journalists noted a number of inconsistencies in the government-produced account of what had taken place. Matt Taibbi observed succinctly that “Seldom has a news story been more transparently fraudulent…the tale of Oleg Smolenkov is just the latest load of high-level BS dumped on us by intelligence agencies.”

The account that appeared in the mainstream media went something like this: A midlevel Russian official named Oleg Smolenkov was recruited decades ago by the CIA. He eventually wound up in an important office in the Kremlin that gave him access to President Vladimir Putin. Smolenkov was the principal source of information confirming that Russia, acting on Putin’s instructions, was trying to interfere in the 2016 presidential election to defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump.

It was claimed that Smolenkov was actually able to photograph documents in Putin’s desk. CIA concerns that a mole hunt in the Kremlin resulting from the media revelations concerning Russian interference in the election might lead to Smolenkov resulted in a 2016 offer to extract him and his family from Russia. This was successfully executed during a Smolenkov family vacation trip to Montenegro in 2017. The family now resides in Virginia.

The CNN story and other mainstream media that picked up on the tale embroidered it somewhat, suggesting that although Smolenkov was the CIA’s crown jewel, the US has a number of “high level” spies in Moscow. It was also claimed that the timetable for the exfiltration was pushed forward by CIA in 2017 after it was noted that Donald Trump was particularly careless with classified information and might inadvertently reveal the existence of the source. The allegation about Trump carelessness came, according to CNN, after a May 2017 meeting between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in which the president reportedly shared sensitive information on Syria and ISIS that had been provided by Israel.

Variants of the CNN story appeared subsequently in the New York Times headlined C.I.A. Informant Extracted From Russia Had Sent Secrets to US for Decades, which confirmed that the extraction took place in 2017 though it also asserts that the decision to make the move came in 2016 when Barack Obama was still president.

Taibbi observes, correctly, that CNN and the other mainstream elements reporting the story elaborated on it through commentary coming from anonymous “former senior intelligence officials.” As the networks have all hired ex-spooks, it raises the interesting possibility that employees of the media are themselves providing comments on intelligence operations that they were personally involved in, meaning that they might deliberately promote a narrative that does not cast them in a bad light.

Next morning’s Washington Post story US got key asset out of Russia following election hacking touched all bases and also tried hard to implicate Trump. It confirmed 2016 as the time frame for the decision to carry out the exfiltration and also mentioned the president’s talk with Lavrov in May 2017, though the meeting itself was not cited as the reason for the move. As Taibbi observes, “So why mention it?”

The Russians have denied that Smolenkov was an important official and have insisted that the whole story might be something of a fabrication. And the alleged CIA handling of the claimed top-level defector somewhat bears out that conclusion. Normally, a former top spy is resettled in the US or somewhere overseas in a fake name to protect him or her from any possible attempt at revenge by their former countrymen. In Smolenkov’s case, easily public accessible online county real estate records indicate that he bought a $1 million house in Stafford Virginia in 2018 using his own true name.

If the Russians were truly conducting a mole hunt that endangered Smolenkov it may have been because the US media and their anonymous intelligence sources have been bragging about how they have “penetrated the Kremlin.” A Washington Post June 2017 articled called “Obama’s Secret Struggle to Punish Russia for Putin’s Election Assault is typical. In that article, the author describes how CIA Director John Brennan secured a “feat of espionage” by running spies “deep within the Russian government” that revealed Russia’s electoral interference.

So, the Smolenkov story has inconsistencies and one has to question why it was deliberately leaked at this time. The only constant in the media coverage is the repeated but completely evidence-free suggestion that the mole was endangered and had to be removed because of Donald Trump’s inability to keep a secret. One has to consider the possibility that the story has been leaked at least in part due to the continuing effort by the national security state to “get Trump.”

Highly recommended is former weapons inspector Scott Ritter’s fascinating detailed dissection of Smolenkov’s career as well as a history of the evolution of CIA spying against Russia. Scott speculates on why the leak of the story took place at all, examining a number of scenarios along the way. Smolenkov, who, according to former CIA officer Larry Johnson, has oddly never been polygraphed to establish his bona fides, might have been a double agent from the start, possibly a low level functionary allowed to work for the Americans so the Russian FSB intelligence service could feed low level information and control the narrative. It is a “dirty secret” within the Agency that many agents are recruited by case officers for no other reason than to enhance one’s career. Such agents normally have no real access and provide little reporting.

Or alternatively, Smolenkov might have been someone who was turned after recruitment or a genuine agent who was trying to respond to urgent demands from his controller in Washington, who was de facto John Brennan, by producing a dramatic report that was basically fabricated. Or the story itself might be completely false, an attempt by some former and current officials at CIA to demonstrate a great success at a time when the intelligence community is under considerable pressure.

Scott also believes, as do I, that the story was leaked because John Brennan and his associates knew that they were deliberately marketing phony intelligence on Russia to undermine Trump and are trying to preempt any investigation by Attorney General William Barr on the provenance of the Russiagate story. If it can be demonstrated somehow that the claims of Kremlin interference came from a highly regarded credible Russian source then Brennan and company can claim that they acted in good faith. Of course, that tale might break down if anyone bothers to interview Smolenkov.

Another theory that I tend to like is that the CIA might be making public the Smolenkov case in an attempt to lower the heat on another actual high-level source still operating in Moscow. If Russia can be convinced that Smolenkov was the only significant spy working in the Kremlin it might ratchet down efforts to find another mole. It is an interesting theory worthy of spy vs. spy, but one can be pretty sure that Russian counterintelligence has already thought of that possibility and will not be fooled.

The reality is that spying is a highly creative profession, with operational twists and turns limited only by one’s imagination. In this case, unless someone actually succeeds in interviewing Oleg Smolenkov and he decides to tell the complete truth as he sees it, the American public might never know the reality behind the latest spy story.

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Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Criminal insanity

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2019

Source

The worst thing for the Saudis isn’t that the Houthis managed the attack – which raises a lot of issues, with the bonus of Schadenfreude – but that the Houthis managed the attack from a base in a Shi’ite area of Saudi Arabia itself!

Added: How the Houthis overturned the chessboard” (Escobar):

“The situation has now reached a point where there’s plenty of chatter across the Persian Gulf about a spectacular scenario: the Houthis investing in a mad dash across the Arabian desert to capture Mecca and Medina in conjunction with a mass Shiite uprising in the Eastern oil belt. That’s not far-fetched anymore. Stranger things have happened in the Middle East. After all, the Saudis can’t even win a bar brawl – that’s why they rely on mercenaries.”

and:

“My conversations with sources in Tehran over the past two years have ascertained that the Houthis’ new drones and missiles are essentially copies of Iranian designs assembled in Yemen itself with crucial help from Hezbollah engineers.”

Exhibition of Houthi military-industrial achievements” (The Saker, from July, so it is not like MbS had no warning).

Tweet (Scott Ritter):

The Houthi spent less than $100,000 to cripple 50% of Saudi oil production, easily repaired. If the US/Saudi Team opts to attack Iran, Iran will take out 100% of Saudi oil production, never to be full repaired. That would be the death of the al-Saud family, which means no war.

I hope Bibi manages to pull off another deal with another devil, as he has been a spectacular success, despite some superficial nonsense, in wrecking the Zionist project.  I believe the deep reason for his current problems is his failure at the long-term project of killing people and stealing their land, which is after all the quintessence of the Khazars.  You have to wonder if Bibi’s failure with Putin – another classic Bibi Hail Mary, so to speak, to prove how essential he is to the killing and land theft – was the factor which decided the election:  “Russia prevents Israeli airstrikes in Syria” (Okbi) (see also).

Trudeau in blackface (which the Canadian media was calling ‘brownface’, for some reason):  “Photos surface of Justin Trudeau wearing black makeup at two previous events” (Carrigg).  He had just finished announcing a campaign promise that would amount to a form of guaranteed annual income for low-income parents:  “Roundup: Sweetening the newborn benefits”.  The deal is that the more pressure is on the Liberals, the more they will be inclined to move left, so we need to see a lot more of this kind of thing.  Canada has oodles of money to spend on Canadians; the Liberals just have to be forced to get around their ‘donors’ disinclination to do so.

We’re reached the ‘blame the third-world pilots’ level of the Boeing PR campaign (which was the first approach as well):  “Langewiesche: “What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max?”” (Sailer).  Unstated is the reason the US uniquely has all these kick-ass pilots who can fight through incompetent Boeing engineering and ergonomics – the skills learned in dropping bombs on wedding parties and other brown people in fighting the infinite number of Wars For The Jews (the slogan should be, as always:  ‘Khazars, are there no limits to what they do for us?’).  Of course, also unstated is that the FAA – ‘captured’ by Boeing, as they say in the study of administrative law – is as equally guilty for the problem as Boeing, and is now given the task to provide the PR basis to allow Boeing to ‘fix’ the problem partly created by the FAA, without noticing the problem.  It remains a mystery of why any non-American airlines would have anything to do with this shambles.

Why on Earth Would the US Go to War with Iran over an Attack on Saudi Oil Refineries?” (Lindorff).  Lots of questions like this that we’re not supposed to even think about.  Like, why would the US spend trillions of dollars of wealth and basically wreck itself as a country all so 2% of its population can have an arguably slightly better chance of killing people and stealing their land?  These questions are why we need to realize that American politics is run through the blackmail of American politicians by Jewish gangsters.

Ha ha ha ha ha, ‘editing error’:  “Mish Blasts NYT Kavanaugh Smear: “Editorial Mistake My Ass””.  There must be some kind of JYT hot key which automatically produces ‘pushed his penis into her hand’ which was accidentally hit, and nobody actually read the article in editing it!  The funniest/saddest thing is that this kind of serial lying completely defangs any political reality that might have existed behind the piece.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m proud to announce the winner of the prestigious Khazar of the Year Award:  “MIT scientist RESIGNS after he appeared to defend Jeffrey Epstein and claimed sex assault victim Virginia Giuffre was likely ‘entirely willing’ in alleged rape case” (Saunders) and “Renowned MIT Scientist Defends Epstein: Victims Were ‘Entirely Willing’” (Montgomery) and “Remove Richard Stallman” (Selam G.).  #Metoo, that most anti-Semitic of programs, doesn’t seem to have registered at all.  In fact, the whole concept of ‘consent’ seems utterly baffling to the Khazars.  No matter how sophisticated they might seem, they have demonstrated time and time again (see also, Dersh) that they are an extremely primitive people.

Khazars, are there no limits to what they do for us?:  “B.C. going after family behind OxyContin producer Purdue Pharma” (Vikander). Hard to pierce that corporate veil unless there was a scheme to avoid creditors (which there clearly was).

Israel Spies and Spies and Spies” (Giraldi).  So blackmailed you can’t even acknowledge it when they are caught red handed!

US Attorney General Barr invokes “state secrets” to cover up Saudi involvement in 9/11″ (Grey).  Oh, come on, this is part of the weird dance of the seven veils going back to Bob Graham!  Much as I hate the Saudis, they were patsies used to cover American government involvement and to provide some pressure on the Saudi government should it be needed.  The CIA/State Department were handing out visas like candy to fake identity ‘Saudis’ through the US consulate in Jeddah:  “Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World – An Insider’s View.” (Springmann/Faulkner).

One thing about these beshekeled ‘journalists’ in the (((media))), constantly shilling for Wars For The Jews, is that they have absolutely no self-awareness, and haven’t learned a thing:  tweet (Max Blumenthal) (Werleman’s shtick is that he is ‘anti-Islamophobic’):

A dunderheaded ex-Islamophobe who cheered on genocidal Salafi-jihadis rampaging through Syria wants to ruin our lives for diverging from the NATO/Qatari/AKP line. Watch how @cjwerleman nearly ruined his own with countless instances of blatant plagiarism: youtu.be/EIPBVRwjOlE

The little victory tour through Syria of some of the woke journalists is making the al Qaeda/ISIS shills really mad.

‘Hunter Wallace’ continues his attacks on The Daily Stormer, Anglin, and, in particular, weev, and  The Stormer did go offline but is back again (the paradox for Anglin is he can save the site if he denounces weev, but seems to need weev to run and finance the site):

  1. Daily Stormer Goes Offline”;
  2. Daily Stormer: Andre Anglin’s Jailbait Girlfriend”;
  3. Daily Stormer: Weev’s History As An “Anti-Semite Hunter””;
  4. Daily Stormer: The iProphet Rabbi Weevlos”;
  5. Daily Stormer: Response To Infostormer”;
  6. Daily Stormer: When Did You Realize Daily Stormer Was A Fake Website?”
  7. Pity The Stormer”: and;
  8. Ahab: Azzmador Was Chanting “Free Dylann Roof” At Charlottesville”.

Tweet (Samael):

Is it just me or does the irish president look like danny devito playing bernie sanders

Iran vs Saudi Arabia: it’s game-over

Image result for attack on ARAMCO

September 19, 2019

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

Is the attack on ARAMCO the first of a long war or is it game-over already? It seems like the latter and in more ways than one, the war between Iran and Saudi Arabia has ended before it even started. One single solitary Houthi attack on Aramco has sent Saudi oil exports tumbling down by half; not to mention a 20% hike on the price of crude.

Now, even though the Houthis have declared responsibility for the ARAMCO attack, the Trump administration wants the world to buy the idea that it was Iran who launched the attack, not the Houthis. https://sputniknews.com/us/201909191076835893-pompeo-attack-saudi-oil-facilities-act-war-iran/. This far, at least Japan seems unconvinced, and so is France https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201909191076835540-japan–no-evidence-iran-behind-attack-saudi-aramco-facilities/

In reality however, the resolve of Saudi Arabia and its capability to stand up and fight has little to do with the identity of the attacker, and this is because Saudi Arabia has demonstrated that it didn’t take much for it to suffer what it suffered. This begs the question; how many such similar attacks can Saudi Arabia weather before it totally capitulates? Seemingly, not many.

In a previous article, I anticipated such scenarios because the Saudi economy and infrastructure are highly vulnerable. A country that has virtually one major wealth-producing base (ie oil) and just a few desalination plants that pump fresh water into its major cities, is a very soft target indeed. After all, if those handful of vital targets are hit, not only oil exports will stop, but water will stop running in households. http://thesaker.is/dissecting-the-unfathomable-american-iranian-war/. But the water desalination plants do not have to suffer a direct hit for them to stop running. They need power to run, and the power comes from fuel, and if the fuel supplies stop, so will they, and so will electricity-generating plants in a nation that cannot survive without air-conditioning.

Up until recently, people of Arabia were used to drought, brackish water and searing heat. They lived in and around oases and adopted a lifestyle that used little water. But, the new generation of Saudis and millions of expats are used to daily showers, potable water and climate control in their households. During wars, people normally go to nature to find food and water. They hunt, they fish, they collect local berries and edible wild plants, they fill jars from running rivers and streams, they grow their own vegetables in their backyards, but in Saudi Arabia, in the kingdom of sand, such alternatives do not exist at all.

Furthermore, with a population that has swelled from a few million in the 1950’s, the current population of Saudi Arabia stands at 33 million, and this includes the millions of expats who work and live there

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Saudi_Arabia. The limited supply of brackish water is not enough to get by until any damaged infrastructure is fixed, and it’s not even piped to begin with.

As the nation with the third highest global defence budget, higher than Russia’s, Saudi Arabia continues to import everything from Patriot Missiles all the way down to bullets.

This is in sharp contrast with Iran’s geography, natural assets and demography. Iran is a nation of mountains, valleys and rivers, meadows, thriving agriculture and 70 million citizens who have been taught to be innovative and self-sufficient; courtesy of US-imposed sanctions.

And to say that the ARAMCO target was hit by surprise would be quite absurd and inexcusable given that Saudi Arabia is already in a state of war with Yemen, and especially given that the Yemeni aerial strikes have been escalating in recent months. To make the situation even more embarrassing for the Saudis; the spectre of war with Iran is currently hot on the agenda, so how could key Saudi installations be unprotected?

But here’s the other thing, had it been truly Iran that was responsible for the attack as the Trump administration alleges and wants us to believe, America would then be admitting that Iranian missiles flew from mainland Iran, across the Gulf, managed to dodge American defences and state-of-the-art detection hardware and software, and effectively reached their target on Saudi soil. If this is the scenario Trump wants us to believe, what does this say about the capability of America to engage militarily with Iran? This is a much bigger farce than that of Russia-gate; a claim that Russia can indeed affect the outcome of the presidential elections of the allegedly “greatest and strongest nation on earth”. Do such claims mean that America’s adversaries are extremely organised, smart and strong or that America is in disarray, stupid and weak; or both? Either way, when such claims are perpetrated by none but America itself, they certainly do not put America in a good light.

The weaknesses and vulnerabilities of Saudi Arabia and Big Brother are only matched by the other ally, the UAE. As a matter of fact Houthis spokesperson Yahia Saria gave the Emirates a stern warning if they want to protect their glass skyscrapers. https://www.rt.com/news/469104-houthis-new-drones-attack-uae/ . In his address, Saria is perhaps giving a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Arabic proverb which says that if one’s house is made of glass, he should not cast rocks at others. After years of indiscriminate shelling under the watchful and indifferent eyes of the world, after years of ruthlessly trying to starve the Yemenis into submission, why would one expect the Houthis to exercise any mercy towards their aggressors?

But let us face it, Dubai and other thriving metropolises of the UAE are predestined to morph into ghost towns. It is only a question of time before they run out of their current charm and their fake onion skin deep glitter. After all, there is nothing in those fantasy cities that is real, substantial and self-sustaining. If anything, a war with Iran has the potential to fast-track the decay process and leave foreign investors and expats exiting in droves; if not running for their lives.

Ironically, the American/Saudi/UAE alliance, if it is indeed an alliance, accuses Iran of spreading its dominion over the region; and perhaps there is evidence to support this accusation. However, the alliance seems to conveniently forget that it was its own orchestrated invasion of Iraq and toppling of Saddam that created a power vacuum in Iraq that was soon filled by Iran. And even though the eight-year long and bitter Iran-Iraq war ended up with no winners or losers, the fall of Saddam at the hands of the American/Arab alliance has turned Iran into the virtual winner that the same alliance is now trying to curb. How more ironic can this farcical situation be?

America plays down the strength of Iran’s Army, and Iran does the opposite. This is normal and part-and-parcel of the psychological warfare. In reality however, no one knows for certain what is Iran’s military capability. For this reason, any all-out confrontation with Iran may at least initially sway America to move its vessels out of the Gulf and further away from the reach of short-range Iranian missiles until and if they feel confident to move closer at a later stage. However, Saudi ground and key and vital ground targets cannot be moved, and for Iran to only be able to hit a few that can be counted on the fingers of one hand, can lead to a total Saudi/UAE capitulation.

Whilst no one knows Iran’s real strength, what we do know is that Saudi Arabia has failed abysmally in defeating the much weaker, poorer, underprivileged starving people of Yemen.

America will not commit boots on the ground and, to this effect, has little to lose apart from risking naval vessels. The soft targets will be Saudi and UAE key infrastructures and no Patriot defence systems will be able to intercept all missiles poised to hit them. If the Houthis could do it, it is a given that Iran also can.

I have recently watched the series “The Vietnam War” on Netflix, and I remembered how back then when the truth about that war was exposed, I believed that American hawks would never get away with lying to their people and the rest of the world again, or ever invade another country in the way that they did with Vietnam. In less than two decades however, they moved full throttle into Iraq, and the masses believed their story. Perhaps some things will never change, and after the losses in Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, America seems still determined to fight Iran. This time around, the biggest loser may not end up to be America itself, but its Arab allies; namely Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the recent attack on ARAMCO is only a prelude to an inevitable outcome, because the writing is already on the wall and it clearly reads: GAME-OVER.

 

Crises – the Middle-East and a few hopefully useful pointers

The Saker

September 18, 2019

Crises – the Middle-East and a few hopefully useful pointers

[This analysis was written for the Unz Review]

The Middle-East is literally exploding: the Houthis have delivered an extremely effective blow against Saudi oil production which (so they claim) has now dropped by 50% before bouncing back; there are persistent rumors that Russian Su-35S and S-400 has threatened to shoot down Israeli aircraft attacking Syria; Lebanon has declared that it will defend itself against Israeli attacks; Hezbollah has been threatening to deliver crippling strikes on Israel and even Israeli officials; Turkey has purchased Russian air defenses and says that if the USA refuses to deliver their F-35S, then Turkey will consider Su-35s and even maybe Su-57’s.  Bibi Netanyahu tried to use Putin for his reelection campaign (well, he really is trying desperately to stay out of jail) but had to go home empty handed and, according to the JP, his mission was a failure.

Finally, and just to make sure that the crises are only limited to the Middle-East: the Polaks and the EU Court have successfully sued to try to force Russia to use the Ukie gas transit; the USA is invoking ancient treaties to threaten Venezuela; the UK is going to hell in a handbasket; Europe (well, Germany) can’t even get the Polaks to heel about North Stream 2 (well, they *are* heeling, of course, but to Uncle Shmuel, not Angela Merkel); India and Pakistan are threatening one another over Kashmir. Did I forget anything?

Oh yes, the DPRK is firing new missiles; the US wants to blame Iran for the Houthi attacks; China categorically rejects such accusations, while Russia continues to announce new revolutionary weapons built on new principles and plans to deploy the S-500 “Prometheus”, just to make sure the Empire does not get any stupid ideas about trying to strike Russia (or her allies which will begin purchasing the S-500 in 2021, according official sources).

I am sure I have forgotten plenty.  Really, the Empire is collapsing on all fronts and that, in turn, means the chances that the ignorant dimwits in the White House will do something very stupid, dramatically increase.

Yes, I know, Bolton was fired.  And I applaud that, but considering that I believe that Pompeo is even more delusional and evil than Bolton (not to mention fantastically arrogant!), that is hardly a reason to hope (I just read that Robert C. O’Brien will succeed Bolton; he used to be the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department; I wonder if that means even more kidnappings of Russian nationals worldwide…?).

There is so much to cover here that I will limit myself to a few points about the Middle-East which I think are important.

First, the partial destruction of the most important Saudi oil facilities is a HUGE embarrassment for the US.  Remember that the KSA is really the “center” of CENTCOM and even the reason for its existence (to “protect” Iran from the USSR and officially keep the Shah safe, but in reality this was also part of a major deal between the USA the KSA: “you accept payment only in dollars and we will protect you against everybody“).  Sure, there is a long list of western stooges to which a similar promise was made, including Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Manuel Noriega, Hosni Mubarak and many others; most are now dead, the rest in jail (iirc).  Now its the turn of the Saudis it seems: not only could the super-duper “better than the S-300” patriots not stop the Houthis, all of the combined might of CENTCOM failed too.

Second, I can only concur with ‘b’ at Moon of Alabama – the war is over for the KSA. Whether they realize it or not makes no difference.  Okay, it will make a difference in time, but in time only.  The Saudis and their AngloZionist patrons have three solutions:

  1. Continue pretty much like before: that is the definition of insanity if different results are expected.
  2. Escalate and strike Iran, following which the entire Middle-East will explode with dramatic consequences.
  3. Do what the US always does: declare victory and leave.

Obviously, the third option is the only sensible one, but who said that Bibi, Trump or MbS are sensible at all?  Tulsi Gabbard joined me in calling Trump somebody’s bitch, except I call him an Israeli bitch whereas Gabbard calls him a Saudi bitch.  Same difference!

There is, however, one restraining factor: if Trump ever strikes Iran he will become the “disposable President” for the Neocons: Iran will use the opportunity to strike Israel and Trump will be impeached for it (the Neocons are, after all, in total control of the DNC and many key committees in Congress).

So this will all boil down to Trump and whether he has the info and brains to realize that an attack on Iran will wreck his Presidency (which is already FUBARed enough and attacking Iran will make it official) and he will be both impeached and, obviously, never reelected.

Third, could the Houthis have done it themselves?  Absolutely yes. Iran did not have to strike directly, precisely because the Houthis were capable of doing it themselves. Check out this official exhibit of Houthi ballistic missiles and drones and see for yourself here and here.  Furthermore, the Houthis are becoming very similar to Hezbollah and they have clearly learned advanced missile and drone capabilities (from Iran, which is why the Israelis and the US are so angry).  Now I am not, repeat, NOT saying that Iran did not help or that this strike would have been as successful had Iran not provided intelligence, targeting, technical expertise, etc.  But if there is any evidence of direct Iranian involvement, let this “malevolent manatee” (which is how Fred Reed referred to Pompeo) show it to the world, and it better be better than the crap they showed for Skripal or the chemical false flags in Syria.

Fourth, what this means for the KSA and their AngloZionist patrons is that the Houthis can strike anywhere inside the KSA with total impunity.  And not only in the KSA.  Furthermore, I suspect that Iran can also hit every single oil or gas related facility in the Middle-East just like it can strike every US/CENTCOM/NATO/Israeli objective it wants.  Furthermore, in case of total war in the Middle-East, you can expect missiles raining down on US facilities not only from Yemen (Houthis) and Lebanon (Hezbollah) but also potentially from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fifth, it really does not matter where or what the US and/or Saudis and/or Israelis fire at Iran, the response will be the same, at least according to Professor Marandi: it will be massive and the oil and gas export capability of the entire Middle-East will be threatened.  There is no safe, cheap or effective way to strike Iran.  But do the folks in DC realize that?

Next, I want to offer a few points about the alleged interception of Israeli F-35 by Russian Su-35S over Syria.

First, we really don’t have the facts, so let’s wait a little.  Most stories about this come from one Arabic online paper.  Now, in the last 24 hours there was “sort of kinda” confirmation from Russia, but not from officials, and these reports were not so much giving factual details as gloating that Netanyahu walked away from Russia with nothing.

Second, my best guess is that this story is probably based on reality.  The Israelis have been behaving as if they did not care about the Russian presence in Syria: so they engage in airstrikes exclusively for PR purposes (remember, Bibi wants to avoid jail!) and the Russians probably complained and were ignored, and now they’ve had enough.

Third, the fact that the Jerusalem Post had to published a horrified article about this event conclusively proves that those who were trying to convince us that Russia and Israel were working hand in hand and that Putin was Bibi’s best friend were, well, full of crapola and their clickbait was just that: clickbait.

Fourth, there are those technology buffs who will always try to prove that the Su-35S is vastly superior to the F-35 and that this story is very credible and those who will explain that the F-35 is vastly superior to the Su-35S and that this story is pure invention.  The truth is that it is useless and meaningless to compare two advanced aircraft “in the abstract” or declare that one is so much better than the other.  Okay, yes, the Su-35S is superior in many aspects to the F-35, but most definitely not in all possible scenarios.  In fact, we would also need to know what other aircraft were in the air at the time – including AWACs, SEAD and EW – and we would need to find out exactly what role the Russian S-400s played (if any).  Generally, I urge you not to engage in a) “bean-counting” (only looking at quantities) or in b) making direct combat aircraft comparisons.  In the latter case, we would need to know what kind (and how much) of training the pilots got, what kind of weapons they had, what kind of sensors they used and how, and more generally, exactly how the Israelis decided to structure their attack and how the Russians decided to respond.  Finally, we would have to get some detail on sensor fusing, network-centric operations, datalinks, etc.  Since we know nothing about any of that, I recommend that we don’t dwell on aircraft/radar/missile X vs aircraft/radar/missile Y.  It’s just not worth it.

Fifth, there are already rumors about this being a false flag operation of the Israelis, the British, the KSA or the US.  Well, I sure can’t prove a negative, but I see no compelling reason to make such conclusions.  First, this is really bad news for the Empire and, second, the Houthis have done similar actions many times in the past and there is no reason to suspect that they could not have done what they did.  Still, it is also undeniable that any hike in oil prices benefits a lot of people (USA shale, Russia, the KSA, etc.).  Finally, there is always and by definition the risk of the Israelis and their Neocon allies pulling off some kind of false flag to finally trigger a US attack on Iran.  All these are, however, only indirect arguments, at least so far.  The fact that a false flag is possible does not mean it actually happened, let’s never forget that and never drop to premature or unfounded conclusions.

Sixth, let’s look at the targets themselves.  We are talking about oil facilities, huge ones, which under the logic of US/NATO/Israel (aka the “Axis of Kindness”) is most definitely classified as “regime support infrastructure” or something similar.  Furthermore, even under non Axis of Kindness logic, the laws of war allow strikes on infrastructures critical to the enemy’s military effort.  So while TV stations, embassies or medical factories are NOT legal targets, critical oil facilities are.  The ONLY stipulation is that the attacking side make an honest effort in selecting targets and munitions and try to avoid avoidable casualties.  As far as I know, the Saudis have mentioned zero victims.  Yes, that is unlikely, but that is how things stand for the time being. In this case, the Houthi strike was absolutely legitimate, especially considering the kind of genocidal devastation the Axis of Kindness and the KSA have unleashed against Yemen.

Lastly, I will venture a guess as to why the US and Saudi air defense were so useless: they probably never expected an attack from Yemen, at least not such a sophisticated one.  Most of the US/KSA air defenses are deployed to defend against an attack from Iran, from the northern direction.  The fact that this strike was so successful strongly suggest that it came from the south, from Yemen.

Conclusion: (Sept 18th, 1816Z)

I was about to conclude that according to RT, the Saudi Oil Minister has declared that the KSA “don’t know yet who is responsible” and that this was good news.  Then I saw this: “Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of sponsoring oil-plant attack, says it ‘couldn’t have originated in Yemen“, also on RT.  Not good.  Not credible either.

For one thing, had it been Iran, the strike would have been far more massive and would have only been a part of a much bigger, full-scale, attack not only on Saudi oil facilities, but also on all crucial CENTCOM installations and forces.  There is no way the Iranians would have opened major hostilities (and these strikes were definitely described by the Saudis as “major”) just to wait for a massive US/KSA/Israeli retaliation.  The Iranians are most certainly not going to repeat Saddam Hussein’s crucial mistake and allow the US/CENTCOM/NATO/Israel/KSA the time needed to prepare for a massive attack on Iran.  I am monitoring various “indicators and warnings” which would suggest that the USA is up to no good, and so far I have noticed only one potentially worrying event: MSC Sealift and US transportation Command  has ordered a no-notice turbo activation of between 23 to 25 ships from the 46 ship Ready Reserve Force (RRF have to be 5-day ready).  This is an unprecedented number since 2003 and it could mean somebody just taking precautions or someone is getting twitchy. But the timing is usually September, but not in this number (more about this here).  But please keep in mind that such indicators cannot be considered in isolation from other facts. Should there be more, I will do my best to report them on the blog.

The fact that US/KSA air defenses performed so miserably does not mean that the USA is totally clueless about ‘whodunit’. There are a lot of other sensors and systems (including in space) which will detect a missile launch (especially a ballistic missile!) and there are some radar modes which allow for long-range detection but not necessarily capable of track-while-scan or of long-range engagements.  Furthermore, you can also monitor data signals and general telemetry, and since the US has immense databases with the “signature” signals from all sorts of enemy hardware, they also probably could accurately assess which type of systems were used.  Just in this case, just as in the case of MH-17, the Pentagon knows exactly ‘whodunit’.  Ditto for the Russians who have a lot of SIGINT/FISINT in the Middle-East (and in space).

But in the last days of the Empire, facts don’t really matter.  What matters is whatever is seen as politically expedient by the folks in the White House and in Israel.  My biggest hope is that Trump finds out the truth about the strikes and that he has enough brains left to understand that should he strike Iran he will lose the election and will probably even be impeached to boot.

Let’s hope that his narcissistic instincts will save our long-suffering planet!

The Saker

Houthi Rebels Overturned the Middle East Geopolitical Chessboard

The Yemeni Shiite group’s spectacular attack on Abqaiq raises the distinct possibility of a push to drive the House of Saud from power

Global Research, September 19, 2019
Mohamed Bin Salman

We are the Houthis and we’re coming to town. With the spectacular attack on Abqaiq, Yemen’s Houthis have overturned the geopolitical chessboard in Southwest Asia – going as far as introducing a whole new dimension: the distinct possibility of investing in a push to drive the House of Saud out of power.

Blowback is a bitch. Houthis – Zaidi Shiites from northern Yemen – and Wahhabis have been at each other’s throats for ages. This book is absolutely essential to understand the mind-boggling complexity of Houthi tribes; as a bonus, it places the turmoil in southern Arabian lands way beyond a mere Iran-Saudi proxy war.

Still, it’s always important to consider that Arab Shiites in the Eastern province – working in Saudi oil installations – have got to be natural allies of the Houthis fighting against Riyadh.

Houthi striking capability – from drone swarms to ballistic missile attacks – has been improving remarkably for the past year or so. It’s not by accident that the UAE saw which way the geopolitical and geoeconomic winds were blowing: Abu Dhabi withdrew from Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s vicious war against Yemen and now is engaged in what it describes as a  “peace-first” strategy.

Even before Abqaiq, the Houthis had already engineered quite a few attacks against Saudi oil installations as well as Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports. In early July, Yemen’s Operations Command Center staged an exhibition in full regalia in Sana’a featuring their whole range of ballistic and winged missiles and drones.

The Saudi Ministry of Defense displays drones and parts from missiles used in the refinery attack.

The situation has now reached a point where there’s plenty of chatter across the Persian Gulf about a spectacular scenario: the Houthis investing in a mad dash across the Arabian desert to capture Mecca and Medina in conjunction with a mass Shiite uprising in the Eastern oil belt. That’s not far-fetched anymore. Stranger things have happened in the Middle East. After all, the Saudis can’t even win a bar brawl – that’s why they rely on mercenaries.

Orientalism strikes again

The US intel refrain that the Houthis are incapable of such a sophisticated attack betrays the worst strands of orientalism and white man’s burden/superiority complex.

The only missile parts shown by the Saudis so far come from a Yemeni Quds 1 cruise missile. According to Brigadier General Yahya Saree, spokesman for the Sana’a-based Yemeni Armed Forces,

“the Quds system proved its great ability to hit its targets and to bypass enemy interceptor systems.”

This satellite overview handout image from the US government shows damage to oil/gas infrastructure from weekend drone attacks at Abqaiq.

Houthi armed forces duly claimed responsibility for Abqaiq:

“This operation is one of the largest operations carried out by our forces in the depth of Saudi Arabia, and came after an accurate intelligence operation and advance monitoring and cooperation of honorable and free men within the Kingdom.”

Notice the key concept: “cooperation” from inside Saudi Arabia – which could include the whole spectrum from Yemenis to that Eastern province Shiites.

Even more relevant is the fact that massive American hardware deployed in Saudi Arabia inside out and outside in – satellites, AWACS, Patriot missiles, drones, battleships, jet fighters – didn’t see a thing, or certainly not in time. The sighting of three “loitering” drones by a Kuwaiti bird hunter arguably heading towards Saudi Arabia is being invoked as “evidence”. Cue to the embarrassing picture of a drone swarm – wherever it came from – flying undisturbed for hours over Saudi territory.

UN officials openly admit that now everything that matters is within the 1,500 km range of the Houthis’ new UAV-X drone: oil fields in Saudi Arabia, a still-under-construction nuclear power plant in the Emirates and Dubai’s mega-airport.

My conversations with sources in Tehran over the past two years have ascertained that the Houthis’ new drones and missiles are essentially copies of Iranian designs assembled in Yemen itself with crucial help from Hezbollah engineers.

US intel insists that 17 drones and cruise missiles were launched in combination from southern Iran. In theory, Patriot radar would have picked that up and knocked the drones/missiles from the sky. So far, absolutely no record of this trajectory has been revealed. Military experts generally agree that the radar on the Patriot missile is good, but its success rate is “disputed” – to say the least. What’s important, once again, is that the Houthis do have advanced offensive missiles. And their pinpoint accuracy at Abqaiq was uncanny.

This satellite overview handout image shows damage to oil/gas infrastructure from weekend drone attacks at Abqaiq in Saudi Arabia. Courtesy of Planet Labs Inc

For now, it appears that the winner of the US/UK-supported House of One Saudi war on the civilian Yemeni population, which started in March 2015 and generated a humanitarian crisis the UN regards as having been of biblical proportions, is certainly not the crown prince, widely known as MBS.

Listen to the general

Crude oil stabilization towers – several of them – at Abqaiq were specifically targeted, along with natural gas storage tanks. Persian Gulf energy sources have been telling me repairs and/or rebuilding could last months. Even Riyadh  admitted as much.

Blindly blaming Iran, with no evidence, does not cut it. Tehran can count on swarms of top strategic thinkers. They do not need or want to blow up Southwest Asia, which is something they could do, by the way: Revolutionary Guards generals have already said many times on the record that they are ready for war.

Professor Mohammad Marandi from the University of Tehran, who has very close relations with the Foreign Ministry, is adamant: “It didn’t come from Iran. If it did, it would be very embarrassing for the Americans, showing they are unable to detect a large number of Iranian drones and missiles. That doesn’t make sense.”

Marandi additionally stresses, “Saudi air defenses are not equipped to defend the country from Yemen but from Iran. The Yemenis have been striking against the Saudis, they are getting better and better, developing drone and missile technology for four and a half years, and this was a very soft target.”

A soft – and unprotected – target: the US PAC-2 and PAC-3 systems in place are all oriented towards the east, in the direction of Iran. Neither Washington nor Riyadh knows for sure where the drone swarm/missiles really came from.

Readers should pay close attention to this groundbreaking interview with General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force. The interview, in Farsi (with English subtitles), was conducted by US-sanctioned Iranian intellectual Nader Talebzadeh and includes questions forwarded by my US analyst friends Phil Giraldi and Michael Maloof and myself.

Explaining Iranian self-sufficiency in its defense capabilities, Hajizadeh sounds like a very rational actor. The bottom line: “Our view is that neither American politicians nor our officials want a war. If an incident like the one with the drone [the RQ-4N shot down by Iran in June] happens or a misunderstanding happens, and that develops into a larger war, that’s a different matter. Therefore we are always ready for a big war.”

In response to one of my questions, on what message the Revolutionary Guards want to convey, especially to the US, Hajizadeh does not mince his words: “In addition to the US bases in various regions like Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Emirates and Qatar, we have targeted all naval vessels up to a distance of 2,000 kilometers and we are constantly monitoring them. They think that if they go to a distance of 400 km, they are out of our firing range. Wherever they are, it only takes one spark, we hit their vessels, their airbases, their troops.”

Get your S-400s or else

On the energy front, Tehran has been playing a very precise game under pressure – selling loads of oil by turning off the transponders of their tankers as they leave Iran and transferring the oil at sea, tanker to tanker, at night, and relabeling their cargo as originating at other producers for a price. I have been checking this for weeks with my trusted Persian Gulf traders – and they all confirm it. Iran could go on doing it forever.

Of course, the Trump administration knows it. But the fact is they are looking the other way. To state it as concisely as possible: they are caught in a trap by the absolute folly of ditching the JCPOA, and they are looking for a face-saving way out. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned the administration in so many words: the US should return to the agreement it reneged on before it’s too late.

And now for the really hair-raising part.

The strike at Abqaiq shows that the entire Middle East production of over 18 million barrels of oil a day – including Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – can be easily knocked out. There is zero adequate defense against these drones and missiles.

Well, there’s always Russia.

Here’s what happened at the press conference after the Ankara summit this week on Syria, uniting Presidents Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan.

Question: Will Russia provide Saudi Arabia with any help or support in restoring its infrastructure?

President Putin: As for assisting Saudi Arabia, it is also written in the Quran that violence of any kind is illegitimate except when protecting one’s people. In order to protect them and the country, we are ready to provide the necessary assistance to Saudi Arabia. All the political leaders of Saudi Arabia have to do is take a wise decision, as Iran did by buying the S-300 missile system, and as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did when he bought Russia’s latest S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft system. They would offer reliable protection for any Saudi infrastructure facilities.

President Hassan Rouhani: So do they need to buy the S-300 or the S-400?

President Vladimir Putin: It is up to them to decide [laughs].

In The Transformation of War, Martin van Creveld actually predicted that the whole industrial-military-security complex would come crumbling down when it was exposed that most of its weapons are useless against fourth-generation asymmetrical opponents. There’s no question the whole Global South is watching – and will have gotten the message.

Hybrid war, reloaded

Now we are entering a whole new dimension in asymmetric hybrid war.

In the – horrendous – event that Washington would decide to attack Iran, egged on by the usual neocon suspects, the Pentagon could never hope to hit and disable all the Iranian and/or Yemeni drones. The US could expect, for sure, all-out war. And then no ships would sail through the Strait of Hormuz. We all know the consequences of that.

Which brings us to The Big Surprise. The real reason there would be no ships traversing the Strait of Hormuz is that there would be no oil in the Gulf left to pump. The oil fields, having been bombed, would be burning.

So we’re back to the realistic bottom line, which has been stressed by not only Moscow and Beijing but also Paris and Berlin: US President Donald Trump gambled big time, and he lost. Now he must find a face-saving way out. If the War Party allows it.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on Asia Times.

Pepe Escobar is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

All images in this article are from Asia Times unless otherwise stated

Trump lacks power to use US military for S Arabia’s interests: Gabbard

2020 Democratic presidential hopeful US Representative for Hawaii's 2nd congressional district Tulsi Gabbard speaks at the Wing Ding Dinner on August 9, 2019 in Clear Lake, Iowa. (Photo by AFP)

2020 Democratic presidential hopeful US Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district Tulsi Gabbard speaks at the Wing Ding Dinner on August 9, 2019 in Clear Lake, Iowa. (Photo by AFP)

 

Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:13PM

Congresswoman and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard has lashed out at President Donald Trump for his response to the recent attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil refineries, saying Trump lacks constitutional power to use the US military to serve Saudi interests.

“The Constitution does not give the president the power to unilaterally use our military for Saudi Arabia’s interests to go to war nor does it give him the power to do so without the express consent of Congress,” the 38-year-old member of the House of Representatives from Hawaii told The Hill on Tuesday.

“If I were president now, I would make very clear that we will not use our military to further the interests of Saudi Arabia or any other country,” she added.

Gabbard, who served in combat zones in Iraq as a member of the Hawaii National Guard between 2004 and 2005, went on to emphasize that there needs to be concrete evidence before the US takes any military action against Iran or any other country.

Gabbard accused the US president a day earlier of trying to “pimp out” the American military over the recent attack on Saudi oil refineries.

‘We shouldn’t attack anybody on behalf of S Arabia’

Also on Tuesday, Republican Senator Josh Hawley called on the Trump administration to exercise restraint following the attack and said the US should be mindful of protecting its own interests.

“We shouldn’t attack anybody on behalf of Saudi Arabia for Saudi Arabia’s national interests,” Hawley said during an appearance on Hill.TV.

Hawley argued that Washington should instead look to “preserve the security of the American people and the prosperity of our middle class.”

Saudi Aramco oil facilities came under a drone attack over the weekend and the strike knocked out more than half the kingdom’s production.

Yemen’s Houthi fighters have claimed responsibility for the attack, but the United States has rejected their claim with Trump saying that Iran appears to be responsible for the strike.

Following a briefing from his military and intelligence advisers at the White House on Monday, Trump was asked whether Iran was behind the attack, Trump said, “It’s certainly looking that way at this moment and we’ll let you know. As soon as we find out definitively we’ll let you know but it does look that way.”

A day earlier, Trump said the United States was “locked and loaded” for a possible response to the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.

Trump said that Washington has a “reason to believe that we know” who is responsible for the attacks carried out against the kingdom’s key oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais on Saturday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put the blame for the operation on Iran, claiming, “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia” and that “there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

Tehran, however, dismissed the allegation, saying Washington seems to be shifting from a failed campaign of “maximum pressure” to one of “maximum lying” and “deceit” against the Islamic Republic.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet that “US & its clients are stuck in Yemen because of illusion that weapon superiority will lead to military victory.”

Yemen said it used 10 drones for Saturday’s operation, which was one of their largest retaliatory attacks ever inside the kingdom.

The Yemeni army has said the raids were carried out on the back of an intelligence operation and in cooperation with “certain honorable and freedom-seeking individuals within Saudi Arabia.”

Source: Press TV

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