Al Qaeda could put themselves back on the map as a serious threat to the world if they could manage to knock out Saudi Arabia's biggest oil processing facility. Well, they tried. But the Abqaiq oil facility was unharmed by the attack.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 24 — An attempted suicide bomb attack on Saudi Arabia's sprawling Abqaiq oil facility was thwarted today when guards opened fire on two explosive-laden cars, causing them to detonate at a security gate about a mile from the main entrance, the Saudi Interior Ministry said. The attack was the first on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, and ends a yearlong lull in violence in the kingdom.
Seems to me if Al Qaeda can launch only one attack in Saudi Arabia in a whole year and that attack was lame then it is not a very powerful organization any more. Though they apparently managed to kill at least two guards and injured others. That's bad. But it is pretty small stuff compared to all the murders that happen in the world in a year.
Also, if these guys wanted to ram their way through a gate they'd need hardier vehicles and more people to take out the guards. They couldn't even make their way past an outer security perimeter let alone the main gate. Suicide bomb vehicles aren't effective means to break through layered security because the vehicles are full of explosives that can get set off by defensive fire.
But the assault on the Abqaiq compound near the Persian Gulf, through which two-thirds of Saudi oil exports pass, was the first on a significant Saudi oil facility. Oil experts warned that other attacks are likely.
Imagine an attack on that facility that succeeded. The price of oil would shoot up over $100 per barrel. Can you say deep global world recession? Sure!
There was no immediate confirmation of who was behind the attack, which took place in a region where Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority is centered.
Likely Sunnis were behind the attack. The Shias in Saudi Arabia live where all oil fields are located. So Sunnis have to go to Shia regions to blow up Saudi oil facilities.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but last September al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri called for attacks on oil facilities, saying oil revenues went to what he called "the enemies of Islam".
"The security measures at the oil facilities are better than those at the royal palaces," said Fares bin Houzam, an expert on al Qaeda. "There is no danger to other facilities."
Obaid and Houzam both said the attempted attack was proof al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia has been weakened by a state crackdown.
My guess is the best bet Al Qaeda has for knocking out a big Saudi oil facility would be to recruit some people who work inside such facilities. But Al Qaeda would have to have a pretty extensive recruiting organization with a lot of isolated cells which would be able to get into contact with a lot of oil facility workers in order to have decent chances to succeed in such recruitment.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2006 February 24 05:44 PM Terrorists Activities|