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16 September 2019


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Dave Good

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.



The train? What train?


Oh, nothing is "irresolvable"...its just that some options are better than others.


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.



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.

Somkuti Balint

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.

JP Billen

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.

JP Billen

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

JP Billen

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.


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.


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"

JP Billen

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.


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: https://www.ft.com/content/f2a73b40-d920-11e9-8f9b-77216ebe1f17


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.



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


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?

Robert  Waddell

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.


JP Billen

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?

JP Billen


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.


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?

Babak Makkinejad

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.

Babak Makkinejad

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.


"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.


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.

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