As we have stated we have a drone here at Nicely Done Sites and in the near future we will hopefully have a big announcement regarding it. Drones have begun doing some great things but they have also been used by criminals. Last week we can say that they are also being used by a terrorist. It seemed to be a matter of time for that to happen and it has happened in Saudi Arabia.

What Happened?

Yemen and Saudi Arabia are in a war with each other, or more accurately Houthi rebels in Yemen who seized the capital of Sana’a in 2015 and sent the Yemeni government into exile. The rebels, who are backed by Iran, have been fighting with Saudi Arabia for several years, creating one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in one of the world’s poorest countries as Saudi airstrikes have devastated the county. On September 14 the Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for two different attacks on Saudi infrastructure, or oil production facilities to be more exact using drones with missiles. 

The two facilities have gone offline and oil production has been cut almost overnight by around 5.7 million barrels of oil per day. The two facilities (in Abqaiq and Khurais) process oil from what has been described as the Mother Lode of oil fields to produce around 8.5 million barrels per day, or a majority of the kingdom’s production. Saudi Arabia is the world’s top producer of oil in the world. Gas prices have already begun to escalate around the world as it is estimated that it could take weeks to repair.

Iran Quickly Blamed

The U.S. was quick to blame Iran for this attack and it on the cover makes sense as Iran and Saudi Arabia do not like each other. Iran has been becoming more aggressive and this could be taken as the next step in an escalation of tensions. They are already the leading state-sponsor of terrorists and terrorism in the world

This is also not the first time the Houthi rebels have targeted these facilities. They fired missiles at them before but they were unable to reach their target. Saudi Arabia apparently did not consider this kind of attack possible (or feasible) or did not have the resources to deal with it. That is the kind of vulnerability that terrorists thrive on.

Drone Attacks Will Be The Next Big Thing

They should have. The rebels have been targeting oil pipelines and other infrastructure as they know where they can hurt the Saudis. The war has been turning against the Saudis as the UAE, who has bankrolled much of the war, pulled out over the summer and the US has refused to get involved militarily but has sold arms to Saudi Arabia. 

For the Houthi rebels, assuming that they did this as evidence seems to contradict their claim, this is a great victory. They used a series of drones launched from up to 900 miles away to create serious damage to their enemy. That kinds of distance does not seem to match a commercial drone and is more in line with military drones, which should be something that terrorists should have a hard time getting their hards on. When comparing the amount of money spent on the drones against the damage caused, it is a clear win for the Houthis, even if they did not launch the drones. 

Why Would A Drone Work For Terrorists?

Rebel groups and terrorists have always used cheaper methods to try to stop a more powerful enemy and this kind of attack is no different. Drones have given these groups some air power which could be a game changer. Drones are hard to detect and they are hard to shoot down. They can also cause turmoil as evidence when a single drone shut down Gatwick Airport in London earlier this year. The U.S. has been able to shoot down a drone using not-lethal methods but to place this technology everywhere is far too expensive. Until a solution can be had, the drone may become the weapon of choice for terrorists and criminals everywhere. 

Of course the rebels don’t care and this could be another step that will lead to a conflict with Iran and they may be content to watch the world burn around them. It is possible that the drone strikes were in retaliation for Israeli strikes in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq against Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters. There is also a possibility that the attacks did not begin in Yemen with the Houthis and instead came from Iraq or even Iran itself. Al-Jazeera pointed out that the drones used differ from ones used by the Houthis in previous fights. US officials later concluded that the drones were launched from Iran and not from Yemen.

Could World War 3 Start Because Of A Drone?

Chances are this will halt any diplomatic possibilities between the US, Iran and Saudi Arabia. The US is working to severely limit Iran’s exporting of crude oil and has hit their crude export hard with sanctions. President Trump has said that he is open to negotiating but Iranan President Hassan Rouhani has said that he will not enter into negotiations unless sanctions are reduced beforehand.

Could this spark World War 3? While doubtful, it could. The US cut Japan’s access to oil before World War 2 which prompted them to attack while they still had oil reserves. Either way, let’s hope that World War 3 is not sparked by a drone. We do also have to wonder if there will be any changes in legislation at home here in the US as well. There is always a knee-jerk reaction when things like this happen and we hope that this will not have an adverse effect on law abiding drone operators. While it will be hard for the average person to find a military drone or hardware like a missile, a regular drone can be used to deliver a payload. The FAA has warned against it but it can be easily done.

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