How did oil attack breach Saudi defences and what will happen next?

Saudi Arabia’s state-of-the-art missile defence systems could do nothing to stop the swarm of drones and cruise missiles that struck some of its most important oil infrastructure at the weekend. They were designed to deal with different threats – and they were looking in the wrong direction.

The audacious strike against the Abqaiq petroleum processing facilities and Khurais oil field on Saturday morning – which the Saudis say was “unquestionably sponsored by Iran” – has exposed the limits of the defences of the world’s largest military spender per capita. […]

But drones and cruise missiles fly too low to be detected by the Patriot’s ground-based radar. “They aren’t threats these systems are designed to cover,” said Omar Lamrani, from the strategic analysis firm Stratfor.

Even if they could see the threats, experts said, Saudi Arabia’s missile-defence systems – with a field of vision of about 120 degrees – would likely have been pointed across the Gulf towards Iran and south towards Yemen, but at least some of the missiles and drones are believed to have struck from the west. Läs artikel