The Abqaiq Attack is a Game Changer
The September 14th attack on a key Saudi oil facility has exposed a massive vulnerability of the kingdom to drone strikes and underscores how traditional air defenses can be breached by new low-cost technology.
The scale of the attack was stunning. The hit on Aramco’s Abqaiq processing plant and the Khurais oil field knocked 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) off production, over half of the OPEC kingpin’s output.
It had been long believed that the military could handle an attack on its oil facilities. Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s biggest buyers of weapons and spent an estimated $65 billion on arms last year, mostly from the United States, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
These cheap drones with improvised explosives can travel huge distances. In May, there was a drone strike on a major pipeline in the oil-rich Eastern Province to the Red Sea, forcing it to be shut down temporarily. In June, the Huthis launched at least 20 missiles and drone attacks into Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional foe, some resulting in casualties and damage. Also, in June, two oil tankers were damaged by some type of explosive set by Iranian forces.
Footage distributed by the Huthis showed models of at least 15 unmanned drones and various sizes of missiles of different ranges. The newest of these weapons were long-range cruise missiles, dubbed “Al-Quds,” and explosives-laden “Sammad 3” drones that can hit targets as far as 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) away, according to the Huthis.
Saudi Arabia says the attack will only delay production for a few weeks. It will probably seek to maintain export levels as much as possible by supplying customers from stockpiles. It holds crude in storage tanks in the kingdom, as well as at sites in Egypt, Japan and the Netherlands. But it has run its crude hoard down since the beginning of 2016, and it is now back at levels not seen since 2008, according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative. That means the kingdom has gone from 350 million barrels to a current stock of 190 million barrels.
President Vladimir Putin has enjoyed himself at the expense of US military suppliers. He said while meeting with the presidents of Iran and Turkey in Ankara that the “smart decision” for the Saudis would be to purchase Russia’s most advanced anti-air defense system, the S-400 Triumph.
“Saudi Arabia needs to make a smart decision, as Iran did by buying our S-300, and as Mr. Erdogan did by deciding to buy the most advanced S-400 Triumph air defense systems from Russia,” Putin told reporters in Ankara. “These kinds of systems are capable of defending any kind of infrastructure in Saudi Arabia from any kind of attack.”
President Donald Trump has declared that, once it has been verified that Iran was indeed responsible for last weekend’s attack on major Saudi Arabian oil facilities, the U.S. is “locked and loaded.” To do what, exactly, is unclear.
It is very unlikely that Trump will bomb Iranian oil facilities. The Saudi Arabia attack alone added around $500 million to the daily value of oil production. Iran has made a multifold profit on its bold move. If we bomb anything in Iran, the price of oil is going to soar.
Iran is not going to stop with its monkey business. It’s a nation run by terrorists that would love to set the whole Persian Gulf on fire. If Iran had secretly developed a nuclear weapon that they used to vaporize the Abqaiq facility, I think our leaders would be battled over what to do.
Thanks to fracking, the U.S. is no longer dependent on Middle East oil. Europe and China, on the other hand, are heavily addicted to oil produced by Arab nations. If Iran or its Yemen rebel allies were able to disrupt production over a long period of time, various nations will deploy their military forces to maintain order.
The Bible does not mention oil as a reason for why the Last Day wars will be fought in the Middle East. For decades, many prophecy scholars have predicted that the control of black gold will be the reason why massive arms will soon march toward this region. The upward trend in these drone attacks and their devastating impact is just one more indication of how close we are to the tribulation hour.
“For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22).
Israel-Jordanian End-times Ties
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection bid Tuesday September 17 has definite prophetic overtones, I think. The election is still not confirmed one way or the other as of this writing. But we will offer the following thoughts nonetheless.
Like in the case of Donald J. Trump’s political turmoil in the US, Netanyahu’s whirlpool of opposition that seeks to destroy him is a struggle against wicked powers and principalities to be sure. The ongoing storm involving both leaders continues to focus the attention of the prophetic observer upon end-times stage setting.
The Israeli prime minister, prior to Tuesday’s election, questioned just who the Israeli people wanted to trust to negotiate with in trying to work out a peace deal. Did they prefer to work with Trump and his effort at peace, or with those of Netanyahu’s opposition?
The prime minister reminded how he, Netanyahu, had helped convince President Trump to declare Jerusalem Israel’s capital. He had, he also reminded, convinced Mr. Trump to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Additionally, he announced that, if reelected and upon forming an effective coalition government, he would annex the Jordanian Valley and the northern reaches of the Dead Sea for Israel–a thing that would help to consolidate stronger defensive buffer zones from attacks from the Jewish state’s surrounding enemies.
Netanyahu further sought to provide proof of his close working relationship–even friendship—with the American president. He said that he told the US administration of his plans to annex the Jordan valley well before making the announcement publicly. He said “someone in the White House” had said off the record that “Netanyahu’s plan does not impinge on Trump’s.”
The prime minister said further, “That’s saying a lot.” He went on to express the vast differences in dealing with the current US president as opposed to the previous.
“For over eight years,” Netanyahu said, “I blocked the attempt to push us into the ’67 borders, to uproot settlements. Then, in the last three years, I’m changing the course of Jewish history by getting recognition for settlement, for the borders.”
He declared that he had “persuaded Trump to recognize Jerusalem as our capital, move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, recognize our sovereignty in the Golan, get out of the horrible Iran deal—that Gantz and Lapid [political opponents] supported—and now I’m doing the same thing [not only] vis a vis the Jordan Valley, but also all the settlements inside and outside the blocs. This is crucial.”
Immediately upon his declaration of his intention to annex certain swaths of the Jordanian Valley, the Palestinian leadership complained that this action will assure hostilities for the next hundred years. Leaders of both Russia and of Turkey joined in the rant against Netanyahu’s planned action.
For many years I and others who observe political movement within the Middle East–Israel in particular–have been curious about the entity called Jordan. Most who study the end-times alignment of nations look with interest at the following prophecy: “He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon” (Daniel 11:41).
The “he” in this prophecy is reference to the Antichrist, who will run rampant over the nations of the Middle East at the height of his power. It is fascinating to consider that present-day Jordan is carved from the territory called Moab in the prophecy. The children of Ammon, of course, are, in modern terms, the people of Jordan.
There are two nations among Israel’s antagonists not mentioned in the Gog-Magog coalition that will storm southward to destroy Israel and take “great spoil.” These countries are Egypt and Jordan.
These are the only Arab-Muslim nations in the region who have officially made peace with the much-hated Israel. While it is not yet clear what Netanyahu’s intention to annex these buffer lands mean in the overall scheme of stage-setting for fulfilled prophecy, we must consider developments with piqued focus.
A number of prophetic passages in the Bible foretell that both Egypt and Jordan (Moab and the children of Ammon) will fare well during Christ’s millennial reign. Of course, the people who come out of these regions to inherit that thousand years of a magnificently restored planet earth will be a remnant. These will be believers in Christ for salvation who survive the terrible time of Antichrist rule and of the judgments of the Tribulation era.
However, the prophecy above and others seem to indicate that people, particularly in the area of present-day Jordan, will avoid Antichrist’s devastation for the most part. Jesus said to each who call Him Lord: “What I say unto one, I say to all, watch” (Mark 13: 37).
As our new book Discerners: Analyzing Converging Prophetic Signs For the End Of Days lays out for believers in these closing days of the age, it is time to seek understanding of the strange things going on all around us. The Holy Spirit will make the madness of it all discernible, if we but seek to know about the signs of the times.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14 ).