Saudis Foil Terrorist Attack on Oil Facility
Saudi security forces have foiled an apparent suicide car bomb attack on a major oil production facility in the eastern town of Abqaiq. Guards opened fire on at least two cars carrying explosives as they tried to ram the gates, Saudi officials said.
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says the attack is the first direct assault on Saudi oil production. The al-Qaeda network on the Arabian Peninsula has long called for attacks on Saudi oil installations. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi said output at the facility, which handles about two-thirds of the country’s oil production, was unaffected by the attack.
That this attempt was foiled in excellent news. I fear, however, that it is only a matter of time before one succeeds.
Update: Andrew Cochran has a linked-filled post noting that this “nightmare scenario” has been predicted by many experts.
Steve Clemons , reacting to the initial news report, writes,
[I]f Shia-Sunni tension is boiling over into Saudi Arabia despite King Abdullah’s recent efforts to reach out to Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority and his personally hosting Muqtada al-Sadr during January’s Haj, we will have an even more catastrophic mess in the Middle East in which America has sigificant complicity.
My strong guess–and it’s based on no more evidence than Clemons has–is that this is al Qaeda, which has long hated the Saudi royals and threatened the oil fields, and has nothing to do with current events in Iraq.