On Saturday September 14 2019, a missile and drone attack was waged against the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia.
Yemen’s Houthi forces from the Ansar Allah movement claimed responsibility for the attack.
Washington blamed Iran. In chorus, the media pointed to the Houthis supported by Iran or attacks waged directly by Iran.
The media consensus: the attacks were ‘unquestionably sponsored by Iran’.
Why did Saudi Arabia’s advanced Patriot Air defense system fail to detect the drones and missiles?
U.S. and Saudi officials didn’t anticipate a strike from inside Iran, officials said, rather than through one of its proxy forces or elite military units.
Saudi and U.S. focus had been largely on the kingdom’s southern border with Yemen, where Riyadh has been fighting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen’s civil war, the officials said. The attacks, however, originated from Iranian territory in the northern Persian Gulf, …
…The absence of air-defense coverage left Saudi’s eastern flank largely undefended by any U.S. or Saudi air-defense systems, … The glaring blind spot also left Saudi Arabia exposed to a threat despite spending billions annually on its defense budget.
“You know, we don’t have an unblinking eye over the entire Middle East at all times,” Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters near London on Tuesday. (emphasis added)
These are nonsensical statements.
The whole Persian Gulf defense apparatus which includes strategic US and allied military facilities is based on “anticipating” strikes from Iran. Saudi Arabia’s Air defense is coordinated by the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces (RSADF) which constitutes a separate branch of the Armed Forces.
The Eastern flank of Saudi Arabia is “not undefended”. Quite the opposite: it is protected by the US multibillion dollar Patriot Air Defense system. Western defense analysts know this inside out.
Moreover, that Eastern flank of Saudi Arabia is heavily militarized. It includes several important US and allied military facilities in Saudi Arabia (as well as in the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman)
According to reports, US and Saudi officials were taken by surprise.