Tuesday, September 17, 2019


Jerusalem Post  SEPTEMBER 15, 2019 13:21 

Saudi Arabia received strong support from its allies in the US, Pakistan and the Persian Gulf after 10 drones fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen struck key oil facilities.

The proximity to Bahrain, some 50 km. from the areas hit, leads to serious questions about how drones penetrated deep into Saudi airspace and hit the strategic facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais. The US Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, and America has air bases and other facilities along the Gulf from Kuwait to the UAE protected by its air defense. They also have radar that can detect threats more than 150 km. away, which should be able to detect drones.

Yet the drone attacks at 4 a.m. don’t seem to have triggered a US response or alert. An email to CENTCOM resulted in a response that although the US was aware of open source reports, further inquiries should be directed to the Saudi Interior Ministry.

US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid condemned the attacks. “These attacks against critical infrastructure endanger civilians, are unacceptable, and sooner or later will result in innocent lives being lost.”

Kuwait expressed support for Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates called the attacks a terrorist attack. “We stand fully with Saudi Arabia in combating all threats to security and stability,” a UAE statement said.

Pakistan also joined in condemning the attacks. Kuwait strongly condemned the attack and called on the international community to redouble efforts to combat the Houthi aggression, according to the website Arab News. Kuwait has condemned attacks on Saudi Arabia before, recently in August when another long-range drone attack struck the Shaybah oil facilities.

The support for Saudi Arabia is clear, but Riyadh’s response is forthcoming. The kingdom must now weigh what comes next and who it will hold responsible. There are questions about how drones from Houthi rebel-held areas in Yemen could actually reach the area near Bahrain.

MORE: https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Drone-strikes-on-Saudi-lead-to-support-questions-about-air-defense-601654