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Mullings by Rich Galen
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Iranian Drones

Rich Galen

Monday September 16, 2019

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  • Someone launched an attack that, according to the New York Times, damaged "facilities [in Saudi Arabia] that process the vast majority of the country's crude output and raising the risk of a disruption in world oil supplies.

  • As I write this, on Sunday night, it is not clear (a) from where the drones were launched or (b) which country is, at bottom, responsible.

  • The smart money is on Iran.

  • The facilities process more than five percent of the world's oil. The world uses about 100 million barrels of oil per day, so this represents a disruption, according to the Saudis, of 5.7 million barrels of oil per day.

  • The targets were two facilities, the Abqaiq processing plant and the Khurais oilfield in the eastern portion of Saudi Arabia, not far from Bahrain in the Arabian Sea.

  • Oil is a commodity and commodity prices are supposed to be set by supply and demand. Even though only five percent of oil production has been (at least temporarily) lost, last night Brent Crude settled at an increase of about 13 percent. West Texas Intermediate was similarly up about 12 percent as of 8 PM Sunday night.

  • If you didn't fill up over the weekend, expect to pay more at the pump as we move through the work week.

    SIDEBAR

    Brent Crude and WTI are the two major benchmarks for oil pricing.

    Brent Crude is generally oil produced in the North Sea and is the benchmark for non-US oil. West Texas Intermediate (normally known by its abbreviation, WTI) is the benchmark for the lighter oil produced in the U.S.

    Other benchmarks are Dubai crude, Oman crude, Urals oil, and the OPEC reference basket.

    END SIDEBAR

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, without providing any evidence, quickly blamed Iran - perhaps having provided the weapons to Yemen, a charge that Iran denied.

  • Donald Trump was less specific, Tweeting at about 7 PM Sunday night:
    "Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!"

  • Trump also Tweeted that he had authorized the release of oil from America's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help stabilize prices and "I have also informed all appropriate agencies to expedite approvals of the oil pipelines currently in the permitting process in Texas and various other States."

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, the Saudis have said it will take about two weeks to bring those facilities back on line and return to full capacity, which is probably faster than the U.S. can build pipelines.

  • The U.S. government released a photo of the damage that government experts, again via the NY Times:
    "said were at least 17 points of impact at several Saudi energy facilities from strikes they said came from the north or northwest. That would be consistent with an attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq rather than from Yemen, where the Iranian-backed Houthi faction claimed responsibility.

  • One official talking about whether the attacks were by drones or cruise missiles said "both and a lot of them."

  • Why would Iran do this?

  • Reuters reported earlier this month that,
    "Iran's crude oil exports were slashed by more than 80% due to re-imposed sanctions by the United States after President Donald Trump exited last year Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers."

  • To that end, the Washington Post reported that "many within Israel's security community were ready to see Teheran's fingerprints on the sophisticated attack."
    "They are trying to prove what they have said in the past," said Amos Yadlin, a former chief of Israeli military intelligence. "That if they are not going to export oil, no one will export oil."

  • If John Bolton had not left his post as National Security Advisor last week there is every reason to believe he might have volunteered to reprise Chill Will's wild ride at the end of the 1964 movie, Dr. Strangelove.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the NY Times and Washington Post coverge of the Saudi Attack, a map of Saudi Arabia showing where the affected facilities are, and the clip of Chill Wills' wild ride at the end of Dr. Strangelove.

    The Mullfoto is of a doctored sign outside a women's locker room.

--END --


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September 2019

9/16/19 - Iranian Drones
9/13/19 - Democratic Debate - III
9/12/19 - Boone
9/09/19 - NOT a Sharpie Column
9/03/19 - Aaaaand ... They're Off!


August 2019

8/29/19 - Back to School - 2019
8/26/19 - G7
8/22/19 - Rooting for Recession?
8/15/19 - Campaigning in Iowa - I
8/12/19 - Jeffrey Epstein is Dead
8/08/19 - It's Not All Trump's Fault
8/05/19 - Running with Trump
8/01/19 - The Democrats' Debate II


July 2019

7/29/19 - The Debate Effect
7/25/19 - The Mueller Hearings
7/22/19 - A Brief History of Technology
7/18/19 - Tranquility Base Here
7/15/19 - The Socialist Envelope
7/11/19 - Acosta
7/8/19 - Good Vibrations
7/4/19 - Happy Birthday, America
7/1/19 - Busy Times


June 2019

6/28/19 - The Democrats' Debate II
6/27/19 - Debates: High-Risk, Low-Reward
6/24/19 - Democrats' Dismay
6/20/19 - Crocodile Tears
6/17/19 - Deter, Safeguard, or Defend
6/10/19 - Military Service Fantasies
6/6/19 - Overlord
6/3/19 - California Dreamin'


May 2019

5/30/19 - Mueller Speaks
5/27/19 - Memorial Day - 2019
5/23/19 - A Clowder of Cats
5/20/19 - Spahn & Sain and Pray for Rain
5/16/19 - Then There Were 23
5/13/19 - Biden Widens His Lead
5/9/19 - That "I" Word Again
5/2/19 - Dems One - Barr None


April 2019

4/29/19 - Devotion to Socialism or Wanting to Win
4/25/19 - Requests, Demands, & Subpoenas
4/22/19 - Get Off the Impeachment Train
4/18/19 - Hung Jury
4/15/19 - Senior Citizenship
4/11/19 - Dis-Barred
4/8/19 - Kirstjen Nielsen: You're Fired
4/1/19 - April ... Ah, You Know


March 2019

3/28/19 - Opening Day 2019
3/25/19 - That's Over. Nothing's Changed.
3/21/19 - Why?
3/18/19 - Those Iowa Caucuses
3/14/19 - Cheating
3/11/19 - Democrats and Socialism
3/7/19 - Gone Fishing
3/4/19 - Just Walk Away, Don J.


February 2019

2/28/19 - Michael Cohen Speaks
2/25/19 - Managing Expectations
2/21/19 - The Mueller Report (1)
2/18/19 - Presidents I have Known
2/14/19 - Enough, Already, with the Wall
2/11/19 - Gals-Gals-Gals
2/6/19 - SOTU - 2019
2/4/19 - Blackface


January 2019

1/31/19 - Disrupter
1/28/19 - It Ain't Over
1/24/19 - Polling the Shutdown
1/21/19 - The Shutdown Offer
1/17/19 - The Fixer Fixed the Polls
1/14/19 - Pelosi Can't Afford a Wall
1/9/19 - Nine Minutes
1/7/19 - Relevance
1/3/19 - Shutdown


December 2018

12/27/18 - Trump in Iraq - 90 Points
12/24/18 - Christmas 2018 - Six Words
12/20/18 - The "I" Word - II
12/17/18 - The Nay-C-A
12/13/18 - The "I" Word
12/10/18 - Close, but No Cigar
12/6/18 - A State Funeral
12/3/18 - H.W.


November 2018

11/29/18 - The Election of 2018 is Over
11/22/18 - Thanksgiving 2018 - Rainbow Shiny
11/19/18 - January 3
11/16/18 - I was Right, This Time
11/12/18 - The War to End All ...
11/08/18 - Elections? What Elections.
11/05/18 - And ... Down the Stretch They Come
11/01/18 - Steve King


October 2018

10/29/18 - On Being Jewish
10/25/18 - Simultaneous Bombs
10/22/18 - Permanent Final Week
10/18/18 - Oil Without Saudi
10/15/18 - 45750
10/8/18 - Moderates?
10/4/18 - That Blue Tsunami
10/2/18 - End Game
10/1/18 - The 2018 Subscription Drive


September 2018

9/28/18 - The Kavanaugh/Ford Hearing
9/24/18 - Supreme Court
9/20/18 - Razor's Edge
9/17/18 - Statute of Limitations
9/13/18 - A Poll Dump
9/10/18 - Whodunit?
9/6/18 - Senate Judiciary Hearings
9/3/18 - Back to School - 2018


August 2018

8/30/18 - Monkey Around
8/27/18 - We Make History
8/23/18 - The I-Word
8/20/18 - Zero Shades of Grey
8/16/18 - 82 Days & Counting
8/13/18 - Stiffing a SCIF
8/9/18 - Ohio-12
8/6/18 - A Tweet Storm
8/2/18 - Audiences, Crowds, and Mobs


July 2018

7/30/18 - Good Numbers, Bad Numbers
7/26/18 - Putin isn't Coming
7/23/18 - Trump's Brove Affairs
7/19/18 - The ServPro President
7/16/18 - CNN is Not an Enemy of the People
7/12/18 - America's Resting Face
7/9/18 - SCOTUS Pick
7/4/18 - Happy Birthday, America
7/2/18 - Ghostbusters


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