Certainly the most interesting part of the new 60 Minutes interview with Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman is that for the first time actual on the ground CCTV footage from the moment of impact on the Aramco Abqaiq facility was aired.
“On Saturday September 14 just before 4 am an onslought more than two dozen Iranian made drones and low flying cruise missiles crippled the kingdom’s oil production. of These images, never before released are from the Saudi state oil company known as Aramco…”
“This attack hit the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, were you blindsighted?” 60 Minutes correspondent Norah O’Donnell asked MbS in the rare interview which aired Sunday.
Acknowledging the attack “disrupted 5.5% of the world’s energy needs,” the kingdom’s de facto ruler ducked the follow-up question of given “billions of dollars spent on military equipment, how could it not prevent an attack like this?” MbS merely said his country is “bigger than Western Europe” and that “we have have 360 degrees of threats”.
The 60 Minutes host then noted the kingdom’s US-supplied Patriot and Hawk missile systems “were not designed to shoot down drones”. Indeed as is glaringly obvious from the above stunning attack footage, Saudi air defenses proved an utter failure.
The Abqaiq facility, which lies about 60 km (37 miles) southwest of Aramco headquarters in Dhahran in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, is the largest oil processing plant in the world, with most of the kingdom’s exported crude processed there.
Many analysts said such a precision and sophisticated attack required state backing, and came from a Northwest direction.
Detailed satellite photos show extent of ‘surgical’ attack damage to Saudi Aramco oil facilities https://t.co/zCjotu7UDb
— LNG Global (@lngglobal) September 17, 2019
Despite Yemen’s Houthis themselves claiming responsibility for the precision strike using ten drones, unleashing explosions that rocked Abqaiq facility and the Khurais field, US officials from the start pointed the finger at Iran.
Stillframe just before the moment of impact of one of the projectiles which scored a direct hit on Abqaiq. It appears to be a missile.
MbS during the 60 Minutes interview also named Iran as the culprit, which the show host seemed willing to accept without much scrutiny, despite elsewhere essentially charging the crown prince with personally overseeing the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.
Meanwhile, Yemen’s Houthis have promised to unleash more such attacks crippling the kingdom’s oil infrastructure should the Saudi-led war on Yemen continue.