Iran Doesn’t Want Conflict, Says Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, But Any US-Saudi Attack Would Spark ‘All-Out War’

Yves here. Sadly, it bears repeating that Iran has made clear it is ready to launch a brutal counter-strike if attacked. And in case you missed it, at the top of Links comments yesterday, PlutoniumKun shredded the US/Saudi claim that Iran was behind the drone attack on Saudi oil facilities:

Saudi Arabia shows ‘material evidence’ of Iranian involvement in oil attacks Sky News

Just to show the quality of the reporting, this report says:

The drone shown by Saudi Arabia matches one displayed at a defence show in Iran

And the Guardian ‘Analysis’ says:

The missile debris the Saudis displayed at a press conference on Wednesday evening appeared to be that of an Iranian Quds-1 missile, with a range of less than 1000km, and possibly as little as 500km, said Michael Elleman, from the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

And yet, go to the Wikipedia page on the Quds-1 and says the Quds-1 is a Houthi (not Iranian) designed weapon which is similar to, but not identical to Iranian models. This wiki page links to a June Janes Report which elaborates, with a photo of an identical drone, shown publicly 3 months ago by the Houthi.

The Yemeni rebel group Ansar Allah (popularly known as the Houthis) unveiled on 7 July weapons that it has been using to attack Saudi Arabia in recent months, including a ground-launched cruise missile that may have been used to attack Abha International Airport on 12 June.

Saudi military spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki previously identified the cruise missile used in that attack as an Iranian Ya Ali. However, the Quds cruise missile displayed by Ansar Allah looked substantially different from the Ya Ali that was unveiled by Iran in 2014. Most notably its engine was mounted on top of the missile, rather than inside it with an air intake below.

In other words, the Saudi’s are showing what is almost certainly a Houthi designed weapon, one similar to, but with distinct differences from the Iranian model. The other report linked in the Wiki page, to the National Interest article, points out that the Houthi weapon appears to use a Czech manufactured turbojet while the Iranians use a Russian one.

It took me perhaps 2 minutes using Wikipedia to show that the Sky and Guardian articles are probably bunk. The missiles as shown by the Saudi’s are almost certainly Houthi made and designed (the Saudi’s even use the Houthi name, the Quds-1, the Iranians call theirs the Ya Ali!). Is this really the best they can do?

It’s sobering to see the US make stuff up and the Western press happily pass it along as gospel truth.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif warned Thursday that while his nation does not desire military conflict, any attack by the United States or Saudi Arabia would spark “an all-out war” in the Middle East.

“We don’t want war. We don’t want to engage in a military confrontation,” Zarif said in an exclusive interviewwith CNN. “But we won’t blink to defend our territory.”

The Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have blamed Iran for attacks on Saudi oil facilities this past weekend, but Iran has denied any involvement.

Zarif told CNNthat he does not know who was responsible for the incident and accused the U.S. and Saudi Arabia of falsely pointing fingers at Iran.

“We believe that a military confrontation based on deception is awful, will have a lot of casualties,” said Zarif. “We have never started a war. Go back through the history. We never started a war, any war, in the past 250 years. We don’t plan to start another war. It’s not in our interest to start a war because we are content with our size, with our geography, with our natural resources, with our human resources, with our strength.”

“We believe that we do not need war in this region,” Zarif added. “We believe that we need dialogue, we need cooperation, we need confidence-building in this region.”


Zarif’s comments came hours after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the attacks on Saudi oil facilities “an act of war” during a meeting with Saudi leaders on Wednesday.

In a tweetresponding to Pompeo’s comment, Zarif accused Pompeo and the Saudis of “agitation for war.”

“For their own sake, they should pray that they won’t get what they seek,” said Zarif. “They’re still paying for much smaller Yemen war they were too arrogant to end four years ago.”

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  1. Carolinian

    Trump has already said he’s not going to attack Iran over this and added sanctions instead. Tucker Carlson has more pull than Pompeo?

    1. False Solace

      Nobody twisted Trump’s arm to pull out of the JCPOA. The situation is entirely on him. The DoD must be dumbfounded to find a country in the Persian Gulf they can’t just drone strike with impunity.

  2. Tom Stone

    When evaluating this situation keep in mind that by definition half the population has an IQ of under 100, roughly 15% of the population is seriously mentally or emotionally disturbed and 1% of the population are outright psychopaths.

      1. TimH

        …and get a personal benefit from it too. Both Thatcher and Galtieri got a big boost from that litle tussle over an island.

    1. elissa3

      Leaving aside the absurdity of IQ as a measurement–best and brightest anyone?–there is a theory, subscribed to by many psychologists, that 4-5% of the population are sociopathic in some sense. In cooperative animal species, these outliers would be shunned and most would die alone. This for the survival of the species. In our own, they seem to achieve positions of immense power.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          David Brooks and other elite pundits routinely complain about Twitter not being real life unlike their cocktail parties. I would suggest Twitter is more reasonable than the op-ed page of the NYT. Tom Friedman is on both platforms, but his grossness is only challenged on one.

          1. John Wright

            I remember some years ago when a NY Times “Trusted Commenter” (one who is not moderated by the Times comment censors/moderators) posted a comment in response to a Tom Friedman editorial.

            The essence of the comment was that many other journalists could do what Tom Friedman does and for a lot less money.

            The comment appeared on the NY Times website, was recommended by readers enough to be a Readers’ Pick and then mysteriously disappeared.

            I was able to determine the email address of the commenter and emailed them.

            They identified as a journalist for a small local paper in the New York area.

            They did not believe (or want to believe?) their comment was intentionally deleted by the Times and attributed the deletion to a glitch at the Times.

            This was evidence to me that Times comments to Tom Friedman columns are actively managed to avoid criticizing the Great Bloviator.

            Many Times readers may be skeptical of Tom Friedman’s wisdom, but one will never glean that from the Times readers’ comments to his columns.

    2. Wyoming

      It’s worse than that. The psychopaths skew strongly to the most powerful jobs. Approximately 1/5 of CEO’s are psychopaths. Military leaders and senior politicians? …I would hate to even guess.

      1. Jackson

        I’d go 45-50% as I’ve dealt with corporate senior management who have been cast out of the nest and resurrected their careers.

    3. Tony Wright

      Which population are you describing Tom? The Houthis?the Iranians?the Middle East? Americans? Or the whole World?
      Sadly, probably all of the above judging by recent events (and non-events like effective climate change mitigation policy).

  3. The Rev Kev

    I wonder how many people have heard of the “Ledeen Doctrine” which stated “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” Michael Ledeen said that back in the 1990s but how times have changed. Whether we recognize it or not, that attack on the oil refineries has changed modern warfare.
    PlutoniumKun has laid out the case how it was really the Houthis who carried out this spectacular success which cannot be faulted. In spite of the fact that Saudi Arabia had 88 Patriot missile batteries, US PAC-2 air defense systems, French Shahine SAMs, anti-aircraft gun 35mm cannons, etc. that attack got through. OK, perhaps the radar systems were shut off because as Colonel Pat Lang explains (and who was once stationed in Saudi Arabia)-

    “Never underestimate the feckless laziness of the Saudis. In my experience they turn off all ATC and air defense systems that require manning or watch keeping when they find them inconvenient as on the weekend.” And this attack did occur on a weekend there.

    So here is the thing. If this was the Houthis that carried out this attack, then what would Iran itself be capable of doing? They have a huge missile program capable of taking out anything in its sights. If a general war broke out, you would see the oil production in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, etc drop off the edge of the planet for a very long time and you could kiss the world economy goodbye as well as this would trigger an economic catastrophe. Just as bad, American bases would find themselves under attack and depending on Patriot batteries and the like to defend themselves with. There would be American casualties of the like not seen since the Vietnam war. And who would benefit from such a war? This won’t be like Iraq in the 90s where aircraft could just fly in, bomb whatever they felt like, and then fly away.
    Another factor is that both China and Russia are simply not going to let Iran be destroyed as they have too much investment there. They are liable to fly in equipment and ‘technical’ experts first. If Trump was led to believe that two years ago when he pulled out of the treaty that they would cry uncle after a year or so, then he must realize by now that he was poorly advised. If he plans on being President for another five years, then the ball is in his court as what to do. Time to negotiate.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Rev.

      If anything, Pat Lang was soft on these layabouts.

      After retiring from the RAF soon after the first gulf war, after 25 years’ service, my father worked in KSA for over 20 years from late 1992 onwards. He was among many British, American and Australian former servicemen recruited for a variety of roles. That community, many of whom knew each other from their military careers, joked that the Saudi national anthem was “onward Christian soldiers”.

      Many servicemen, initially and mainly officers, were sent for training in the UK and US from the Gulf Cooperation Council member states. Reports soon came back from outraged instructors, often former colleagues, about how bad many, but not all, of the trainees were. It got a bit better as the years went by. GCC trainees were unfavourably compared to Egyptian and Jordanian trainees. Many GCC trainees failed to turn up, especially for physical exercise or more technical matters. They were either excused or their absences ignored. As late as the early years of this decade, this fecklessness persisted. As Marianne decided to suck up to the GCC, its military academies and other training centres also came across these workshy scoundrels, especially royals.

      When my father queried this state of affairs, one response was that “the book” had predicted their defeat by Israel, so there was no point trying or worrying.

      As per yesterday’s thread / links, vide comments from PK and me, these GCC forces and monarchies are paper tigers and would swiftly crumble when faced by determined and well motivated opposition.

      1. Ignacio

        Not having your background and knowledge on the region I have always thougth that the KSA is one of the weakest links in what their rulers call “international order”. I guess that the Saud must know it much better than anyone else, and they would never start anything against Iran by themselves. These menaces against Iran will not deter Houthies attacking KSA facilities whenever they can and we may find that it is not Iran but Yemen what marks the end of the Sauds and their international order. At the end of the day the US could be “forced” to attack Yemen instead of Iran. What would other GCC monarchies think about it?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I’m not sure the KSA is full of entirely rationale actors. To me, the threat to the Saudi monarchy was a cadre within the military striking quickly and moving to make a deal with the Wahaabiists in light of the more free wheeling Saudi princes in recent years.

          A fair bit of orientalism infects the Saudi elites too, so I would guess they were astonished by the recent attack and don’t want to acknowledge it was the Houthis because it changes the ball game.

          1. Ignacio

            One of KSA’s weaknesses is water supply. Riad, about 6 million inhabitants, and located in the middle of the desert depends greatly on desalinized water pumped from the Persian Gulf at the expense of an enormous amounts of energy. They have storage capacity for about three days of supply.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Can you imagine if that attack had been against those water filtration plants? I am sure that this thought has occurred to the Saudis straight away. How do you evacuate 6 million people in the middle of a desert in only three days? Where do you evacuate them to?

      2. The Rev Kev

        Thank you Colonel. I did wonder last night when I wrote that comment if your own father knew Colonel Pat Lang from his Saudi Arabia days as you have mentioned that your father served there.

      3. Tony Wright

        Humans essentially do what they need to do to survive. Saudi citizens have enjoyed several generations of extracting enormous wealth from the ground with little more effort than turning on a tap. Consequently their “survival fitness” has largely degenerated to levels analagous to that of a twenty stone diabetic.
        Contrast Saudis with Afghans; No oil, mostly mountainous, but the people have successfully thwarted superior invading forces (British, Russian and US) every time.
        Over the years various extraordinary anecdotes have emerged illustrating the consequent toughness and resilience of the Afghans – precisely the opposite of the Saudi examples mentioned by the Colonel above.

    2. anon in so cal

      My limited understanding from articles read a while back (no time to find the cites) is that an attack on Iran would be interpreted by Russia as an attack on Russia. One line of reasoning is that such an attack would make Iran’s borders more porous, allowing jihadis to flow into southern Russia. Think I remember reading that NED had/has a regime change target list which includes Lebanon, Iran and Russia.

      1. Olga

        Several points – one, there is a video of Petrushev in a press conference after the summer meeting of intelligence staff of US, Israel, and Russia, in which he states that Iran is Russia’s ally (VVP later softened the language, but the message was the same). Neither Russia nor China would allow an attack on Iran (which does no mean that it could still not happen).

        Two, if drones came from Iran, they most likely would have been seen. It seems inconceivable that in what is some of the most surveilled real estate on earth, a swarm of drones could pass undetected. But just like with MH17, US is not fessing up.

        Three, in a galaxy far away, I once had a Saudi roommate – a nice guy, an army officer, sent to the west to study. To describe him as soft would be an understatement (but nice!). He made it clear that everything is paid for, and there was no need to try hard or have ambitions. (Meritocracy – in the true meaning of the word – was not Saudis’ strong point). It would seem logical that the Saudis, sitting on a pile of money (i.e., oil) and protected and spoiled/indulged by the west (starting right after WWI) would have no reason to try hard. What more could they get that they did not already have, courtesy of the west? (IOW, the “lazy” comment makes sense to me.)

        Fourth, MoA has a couple of good pieces about the attack and consequences. One thing is clear, this is not the end – we just move into a different kind of warfare.

  4. Bobby Gladd

    My small prediction: If we materially hit Iran (beyond some photo-op one-off PR pinprick), we will lose a sitting-duck aircraft carrier in short order. Be “bad for ratings,” Donnie.

  5. Camp Lo

    Nothing is cut and dry. Sheep-dipping your gear is standard practice for deniable actions. Does anybody really believe the Houthi government is capable of manufacturing guided missiles and drones whole-cloth? DIY inertial guidance and 800 mile video links? Or is more likely that Iran exports unique versions of their munitions for use against the Saudi’s? Pre-fabricated kits are smuggled into Yemen [and Iraq, Syria, Lebanon] and assembled. If you really want to get into the nuts and bolts, Iranian [and Houthi] “versions” are copies of the Russian Kh-55 air-to-surface missile. Dollars to donuts, the ground-based copies even use a flipped aircraft hard-point to launch the devices off an elevated skid, as opposed to gimbal thrust.

    As if it matters anymore, “Quds” is the Persian word for “Jerusalem”, not a Yemeni Arabic word. And why would Pompeo lie only to have Trump dig himself deeper into a quagmire of his own capricious creation? A convenient out sitting there, not taken. It would be comforting to pretend that this was the act of a rogue cadre of Yemeni missile technicians, and believe the Iranians were taking Trump’s betrayal in stride, letting bygones be bygones.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Wowsers, make shit up much? Keep this and you will no longer be welcome here.

      One, as PlutoniumKun described, the Houthis HAVE been making these drones.

      Two, smartphone, GPS and other tech have greatly lowered the barrier to making drones. I recall expert worrying > 7 years ago that we were naive to promote drone tech (although it would eventually take off) because we were showing how useful they were. Had you bothered to Google, you could see kits for sale for well under >$10,000 that are accurate enough for survey mapping, plus lots of videos on how to increase the accuracy of your drone and your mapping.

      1. Carolinian

        Navigation modules for hobbyist quadcopters and other types of drones are available on Amazon or Ebay and GPS accuracy in clear sky desert conditions is likely within 15 ft. GPS can be jammed however and the Russians may have done this during the attack on their Syrian air base.

        If it was a drone attack then the likely reason for such success was that the Saudis were completely unprepared. They wouldn’t even need radars as the British during the World Wars used the old fashioned method of human ears to detect and direction find aircraft.

      2. Harry

        Quite! Indeed, those who have been following closely will have noted the Houthi rocket engineers have been on quite an evolution. Their initial work involved retrofitting Scuds to increase the range. Then they moved on to drones (no doubt with some Iranian technical assistance) and from there to cruse missiles – which their actually unveiled in a show – replete with red carpets etc. I can link if you anyone wants to see the pictures.

        If there was doubt about Houthi capacity, its odd it didnt emerge with the airport attack, where their drones appear to have taken out a Patriot missile battery, and hit the main lounge window (footage on youtube I think). There have been a lot of attacks, although its true, this is the first I have seen where they actually used their cruise missiles.

      3. Olga

        Not to mention that how the drones were made is mostly irrelevant. ALL of Saudis weapons come from the west, plus KSA is provided with substantial logistical support by the west to carry out what is a truly stupid war (and highly unequal). Or do Yemenis not have the right to defend themselves? But if one is looking for an excuse, any excuse will do (remember Powell’s vials at the UN?).

      4. hunkerdown

        For terminal guidance, at least one general-purpose open-source computer vision software library is available and actively developed, relatively easily adapted to the navigation and aviation tasks required, and performant enough to process video at vehicle-appropriate rates on a disposable-tier $40 Android tablet or $30 single-board computer. It’s little more than senior-project-level work, hardly rocket science (there’s another team for that).

    2. False Solace

      What possible motivation would a warmonger have to monger war? *flails*

      Unlike the entire Western media, I have a memory that extends beyond last week. I actually remember the lead-up to the Iraq War and the way the media walked in lockstep with regime change maniacs to lie us into it.

      Drones are weapons of the weak. They’re extremely cheap, easy enough for a 12-year-old to use, and will continue to be used by non-state actors in devastating ways. Being surprised by this is just another mark of gullibility.

    3. Dan

      I’m not qualified to comment on gimbal thrusts or elevated skids, but I do known from my semester or so of college Arabic – and having actually been there – that ‘al-Quds’ is most certainly the Arabic word for Jerusalem. Farsi dictionaries give you ‘Yerushalayim’ (اورشلیم), basically the Hebrew.

      Now, is it true that there is a modest overlap between the strategic goals of Iran and the Houthi? Of course, but the idea that the Houthi are just doing Iran’s bidding is ridiculous. They’re not even the same type of Shi’a (some argue whether the Zaidi should even be considered Shi’a, since they follow the Sunni Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence). The Houthi resistance is its own heroic effort whether you like them or not.

      Forget about Iran, I’d be interested in knowing who they were working with inside the Kingdom! A Saudi fifth column (if it really exists) is the most interesting story here.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      We know the Houthi’s have been making these advanced drones because the Saudi’s, the US, and independent aerospace publications like Janes have been publishing details of them all summer. And the word ‘quds’ ( القدس‎) has the same meaning in Arabic and Persian (the Holy Place). The Arabic speaking Palestinians use the name for one of their missiles.

      Nobody is saying the Houthi are making them of ‘whole cloth’. The Houthi include much of the original Yemeni air force, which had numerous aerospace and missile engineers as they used a wide range of Russian, North Korean and Chinese weaponry. They have already proven they can adopt old model anti-aircraft missiles to turn them into accurate ballistic missiles. The designs their missiles and drones are based on are old Iranian ones, which in turn were based on Russian designs. They almost certainly have help from Hezbollah (who in turn of course receive detailed technical aid from Iran), who have been making similar missiles and drones for years, and its entirely possible (or probably) that they’ve had direct or indirect help from Iran in manufacturing weapons and sourcing parts. They are using off-the-peg standard parts including engines, gyroscopes, and gps guidance (these can be bought on e-bay). They don’t need 800 mile video links because they are almost certainly pre programmed using gps co-ordinates from googlemaps.

      Obviously, nobody can say with certainly who carried out the attack, but there is plenty of open source information out there demonstrating clearly that the Houthi are perfectly capable of these attacks and they have the motive. The Saudi’s and the US were trumpeting this fact up until it became convenient to pretend that only Iran had the capacity to do this.

      1. templar555510

        So here we have a diy capability – the drone – that can punch the lights out of a state like – what shall we say , with less than perfect efficiency – Saudi Arabia . Well this is novel . It certainly redefines ‘ terrorism ‘. A drone, an iPhone and Google that’s all you need to bomb the s..t out of the enemy . Please correct me if I’m way off base here .

        1. Harry

          Well some explosives and I would avoid the iPhone. Its possible its talking to the mothership. But yes, I rasperry pi and some GPS, plus some C4 and you can do wonders.

          This could do wonders for Russian Pantsir exports!

  6. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    I read an article a while back that likened the situation between Saudi Sunni’s & Shia’s in general as something that could develop into something like the 30 years war in Europe, which led to the death of around 8 million. The Wahhabi’s have a long hate list with Shia’s at the top, due to being seen as heretics as was the case with Protestants to Roman Catholics. It’s probably much more complicated than that of course & but I would not like to be a member of the Shia minority in SA if things got really heavy who are in that list compiled by Yasher Levine at the bottom of his excellent article.

    I certainly don’t think that Iran qualifies as a shitty little country, particularly as they are Persians not Arabs with a very long history as a state, unlike the latter who are largely segmented Bedouin tribes living in spaces drawn on maps not so long ago by the Brits & the French, with SA as the only Arab state to have defined it’s own territories.

    I agree with the Rev & the latest version of the Parthian shot would likely be as devastating as the original.

  7. Harry

    So I have been paying this question as much attention as I could. I note that Washington “sources” who claim to be plugged in (I generally believe them as they have an appropriate resume) are telling me that the US has satellite footage of the launch site of the drones and cruise missiles.

    For once I find them hard to believe. I can see that the US has an interest in painting this as Iranian for loads of reasons. For one, if it was Houthi, it would show the US policy was the underlying cause of this calamity. It would be easy to morally justify the attack and hard to condemn it. It would highlight the idiocy of US policy. And most importantly, if it was the Iranians, one might argue it was unlikely to happen again. If it was the Houthi, it would definitely happen again (rinse repeat). Until KSA attitudes were appropriately adjusted.

    Whats more, if it came from Iran, how the hell didn’t the US Navy and Centcom notice. Given reasonable flight path assumptions this package of cruise missiles and drones would have gone within 50km of highly sensitive US military facilities in Qatar and Bahrein. How come they didnt shoot them down? If nothing else, shouldn’t we be concerned about the Iranian capacity to impose costs on the US? And how credible is the idea that the launch site was Iran?

    We have been treated to a supposed intel feed suggesting that there was an intercepted communication from Khameni, greenlighting the intervention on condition that there were no fingerprints. Wouldnt use of an Iranian launch site amount to finger prints??

    Anyway, I guess all will be revealed soon enough. If Houthi, we will get a repeat. If Iranian we might not. But reports that the Kingdom was shopping for Oil in Iraq dont suggest we should take MBS at his word when he promises us it will all be up and running again in a week?

  8. Matthew G. Saroff

    I just want to note an article from JULY from Mint Press News where the Houthi were claiming that they had a drone with an 1700 KM (1000 mile) range, and that this why the UAE was withdrawing troops from the country:

    According to a statement by the Yemeni army issued on Tuesday, the Samad 1 is capable of flying over 500 km and has the ability to monitor targets directly and relay that data back to an operations room. The army statement placed the range of the Samad 3 at 1,500 to 1,700 km and said it was equipped with advanced technology that would render it difficult for air defense systems to detect.

    MPN is not the most reliable of sources, but this story was 2 full months before the strike.

    To my mind, the issue is not the range of the drones, but the accuracy of the targeting.

    Bear in mind that the attacks were in a majority Shia region, and finding someone willing to paint the targets with a laser is not outside of the bounds of possibility.

    1. barrisj

      MoA, in a recent analytical piece on the drone/missile strikes, noted that the Saudi Patriot batteries and associated radar installations are facing east and south, leaving incoming strikes from a westerly direction undetected and unmolested. Plenty of evidence exists to postulate that some valuable insider information helped set up Houthi targeting, which avoided all possible countermeasures, as was seen.

    2. Late Introvert

      Agree on the target accuracy. If we can believe the photos, that is pretty precise bombings from presumably some distance. It’s a new day in SA.

      1. Matthew G. Saroff

        Remember, this is a majority Shia region.

        I am thinking that there was someone there with a laser designator.

    1. notabanker

      Good piece and spot on , imo. This is not a case of the “US will not win”. It is a clear case of the “US will lose.”

      Game is about up for this country. The toddlers have been playing a grown up game for too long now. Hopefully an adult gets control of the nukes.

  9. Irrational

    Thank you!
    Yves’ preface and the comments is why I love NC – I was just wondering how everybody magically jumped to the conclusion that the Iranians did it and why anybody would believe the US (sorry, but we all remember those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, right?).

    1. JTMcPhee

      Some of us even remember the Gulf of Tonkin “incident,” from back in 1964,, another BS fabrication to “support” previously decided policy (that miscreant word.) And some of us remember reading up on “Remember the Maine,” another murky mischance or hidden self-inflicted damage that ginned up another war (against a moribund formerly great imperial power that time, Spain, as an excuse to steal Spain’s former colonies.)

      This sh_t has been going on so long, and so “successfully,” that it seems to me that the Borg or whatever does not even try to make a piddle of a showing of “facts,” like Colin Powell’s “vials” and that yellowcake fraud.

      “We are an empire now, and we make our own reality.” Yup. And the people who pull the levers and send the rest of us off on another war of aggression (for whatever murky reasons) can do so with impunity. No consequences to them (so far), though as the world gets more thoroughly webbed together and the vulnerabilities and frailties become ever better known by mopes as well as those who exploit them out of malice, maybe that will not be the case so much. As a hobbyist who fiddles around with radio-controlled electric-powered airplanes and tiny toy drones, I second the observations that all the stuff the Houthi engineers (or pretty much anyone else in the world with internet access and UPS or Amazon delivery service) need to build such weapons is available widely and cheap (compared, e.g., to a Predator/Reaper or haha F-35, or even those Tomahawk cruise missiles at what, $2.5 million a pop?).

      Why would Houthis or other US policy-targeted populations refrain from going all-in on cyberattacks as well as “kinetic warfare” on the Saudis? Or on the US, for that matter? US cluster munitions and drone bombs and “intelligence” and support and maintenance of SA attack jets are daily killing Yemenis. And the ante is constantly being upped by the US MIC, like this:

      “We” did a dirty (along with our partners in crime, the Israelis) on Iran, with STUXNET. One wonders what the asymmetric mullahs might have come up with as part of the endless, invisible scrum in the bowels of cyberland to do back…

      “The only way to win is not to play the game.” But “winning” for the warlords of the West is mostly counted in wealth transferred to them. All the “losing” generals from the 18 years of “Notagain?istan” warfare, even ones guilty of indiscretions and outright crimes, are either still in command somewhere or on to good-paying post-“service” gigs…

      1. wilroncanada

        Aside to JTMcPhee.
        Where have you been? Saw your handle for the first time in months yesterday. I hope it wasn’t a severe health issue.
        On the other hand, you could have been in brown-face at an Aladdin party. Important people sometimes do that.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Had a “futility crisis.” All that blogging, and daily mentally adding up all the bits of knowledge of the interlocking vulnerabilities and mutually reinforcing insanities I’ve accumulated over 70 years, the stuff I “think I know,” that point to a dead end for the species I was born into, and a bunch of others too. But one has to continue…

          I’m not important. Though years ago I was in a way to go to those parties. I was even a member of the Union League Club, if you know what that is…

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            I was also wondering & missing your special brand of commentary – great to see you back.

    2. xkeyscored

      “everybody magically jumped to the conclusion that the Iranians did it”?
      You obviously don’t peruse the comments sections of sites like Information Clearing House. Half of them are convinced it was Israel.

  10. juliania

    Heartfelt thanks to Yves and PlutoniumKun for sparking this thread. There were legitimate reasons for the Houthi to launch this attack, and the Saudis would be the first to know that. I really hope it will prevent further bloodshed.

  11. Tony Wright

    Great thread everybody. Thankyou.
    The level of propaganda subtlety and nuance shown by the US in this instance does not bode well for the near future in the Middle East.
    An aside. How does the current political stalemate in Israel impact on this situation?

  12. mrtmbrnmn

    Arguing & debating the lies, alibiing and lunatic babblings of the likes of Pompous Pimpeo (and Trumptard) about Eye-ran (sic) is like trying to carry on a discussion with an insane person. It will make you as crazy as they are. General Rule #1: Believe NOTHING our rogue government says about ANYTHING!!!

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