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U.S. NAVY 5th FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS, July 16, 2012 –
A security team aboard the USNS Rappahannock today fired on a small motor vessel after it disregarded warnings and rapidly approached the ship near Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, according to a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command news release issued today.
In accordance with Navy force protection procedures, the sailors aboard the Rappahannock, a refueling ship, used a series of nonlethal, preplanned responses to warn the vessel before resorting to lethal force, the release said.
The Rappahannock’s crew repeatedly attempted to warn the vessel’s operators to turn away from their deliberate approach, the release said.
When those efforts failed to deter the approaching vessel, the security team on the Rappahannock fired rounds from a .50-caliber machine gun, according to the release.
The incident is under investigation, the release said.
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The final scene in Syriana portrays a disaffected youth in the Middle East choosing Jihad.
This scene highlights the need for maritime security zones and floating security barriers to protect high value critical infrastructure from a small boat terrorist attack utilizing an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
GlobalFoundries, originally part of U.S. No. 2 CPU manufacturer AMD, plans to spend $7 billion on a new chip fabrication facility in Abu Dhabi, the first in the Middle East; business and security experts say it is not a good idea to have a large segment of the U.S. and world economy depend on chips manufactured in an unstable, turmoil-prone region; the worry is not only that a hostile government coming to power would cut off computer components necessary for economnic activity and national security, but that foreign governments could build software or hardware into chips that could transmit confidential information.
If the democratic surge in Egypt causes Islamist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood to join the government, the toughest counterterrorism challenge ahead may come as U.S. officials are forced to work with this new government, seeking common ground against terrorist enemies even if the Islamic faction tries to distance Egypt from its neighbor, Israel; American political leaders have long fused counterterror aims with support for Israel, but even those Arabs — let alone more religious Islamist organizations such as the Brotherhood — who oppose al Qaeda and jihadism, insist on the distinction between terrorism, on the one hand, and what they consider as a legitimate resistance to continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands; contending with an altered Arab world landscape with rising Islamic factions could thus force hard choices on the United States.
By Gal Luft
Egypt is relevant to the oil market because it may be a bellwether for the disgruntled masses in Saudi Arabia. And instability in that oil kingdom is how mega-oil shocks are made.
For decades, experts have warned about the fragility of the House of Saud. To curtail their opposition, Saudi monarchs have placated their subjects with cradle-to-grave, petrodollar-funded entitlement programs, while taming the Wahhabi establishment through charitable contributions to religious institutions worldwide. Inspired by the events elsewhere in the Sunni Muslim world, this social contract could face a challenge at the worst possible time — when the House of Saud’s top echelon is ill and geriatric.
If the Saudis should decide to emulate their Egyptian brethren, a new oil crisis might be upon us. Saudi Arabia not only is the world’s largest exporter, it also holds 70 percent of the world’s spare production capacity. In other words, Saudi Arabia is the oil market’s only firefighter, capable of supplying the market when others falter. But if the fire station is on fire, there will be no one to save the neighborhood.
A new oil shock would cause our economy to nose-dive back into a recession. 7XDS7HVDW42H
In six Arab-Muslim states in the Middle East, six — Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen — more than 50 percent of the citizenry are under the age of 25; in other six states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates — the “under 25s” make up between 35 to 47 percent of the population; in Yemen, some 75 percent of the population is under 30, and the poverty rate exceeds 45 percent; in Egypt, some 66 percent of the population is under 30, while fully half the country’s 80 million citizens lives on less than $2 per day; since 1980, the Arab world has experienced the highest rate of [population] growth of any region in the world; during the same period, the Arab economies have been sputtering, creating far too few jobs
Oil Site Guards Blast Car Bombers
By HASAN JAMALI, Associated Press Writer
ABQAIQ, Saudi Arabia – Suicide bombers in explosives-laden cars attacked the world’s largest oil processing facility Friday, but were prevented from breaking through the gates when guards opened fire on them, causing the vehicles to explode, officials said.
The Saudi oil minister said the blast “did not affect operations” at the Abqaiq facility, denying an earlier report on Al-Arabiya television that the flow of oil was halted briefly after a pipeline was damaged.
The facility “continued to operate normally. Export operations continued in full,” the minister, Ali Naimi, said in a statement.
Exceprt from Terrorism Monitor “Saudi Oil Facilities: Al-Qaeda’s Next Target?”
Former CIA agent Robert Baer has considered the implications of terrorist
attacks on Saudi oil facilities, writing, “At the least, a moderate-to-severe attack on Abqaiq would slow average production there from 6.8 million barrels a day to roughly a million barrels for the first two months post-attack, a loss equivalent to approximately one-third of America’s current daily consumption of crude oil. Even as long as seven months after an attack, Abqaiq output would still be about 40 percent of pre-attack output, as much as four million barrels below normal—roughly equal to what all of the OPEC partners collectively took out of production during the devastating 1973 embargo” (see Robert Baer’s Sleeping with the Devil : How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude).
By John C.K. Daly (from Terrorism Monitor, February 23)
At a time of record-high oil prices, analysts are beginning to consider the implications of possible terrorist attacks on Middle Eastern oil facilities. The crown jewel of these facilities is Saudi Arabia’s oil production infrastructure. It is worth noting that Saudi Arabia possesses 261.9 billion barrels of proven oil reserves . . .
Terrorist attacks could be easily launched against onshore facilities and tankers. Over 60 percent of the world’s oil is shipped on 3,500 tankers through a small number of “chokepoints” including the Strait of Hormuz, which alone transits 13 million barrels of oil per day.
Al-Qaeda has already carried out maritime attacks on both warships and tankers. On October 6, 2002, the 299,364 DWT-ton French Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) tanker Limburg, carrying a cargo of 397,000 barrels of crude from Iran to Malaysia, was rammed by an explosives-laden boat off the port of Ash Shihr at Mukalla, 353 miles east of Aden. A crewman was killed and the double-hulled tanker was breached. The impact on the Yemeni economy was immediate, as maritime insurers tripled their rates . . .
Israel Navy Boosts Layers Of Anti-Terror Defenses
By BARBARA OPALL-ROME, TEL AVIV
In another layer of coastal defense, the Navy is constructing a two-stage anti-infiltration barrier off the southern tip of Gaza that runs 3 to 10 meters deep and extends 1 kilometer into the Mediterranean Sea. Construction of the first stage — a 150-meter-long wall of steel plates, embedded 3 meters into the sea floor — began in late May and was completed a few months later, around the time of Israel’s Gaza withdrawal.
The Navy official said work has just begun on the second phase, a 10-meter-deep floating fence of steel piles tethered in place by concrete bolts in the sea bed. The entire effort is projected to cost less than $4 million.
“Those floating nets operate like a kind of cage and are capable of holding a lot of energy. It can even hold a vessel traveling at 50 knots,” said the senior Navy officer.
Deployment of the undersea barrier not only provides near-total control of shallow waters bordering Gaza, he said, but it allows the Navy to distinguish innocent fisherman who unwittingly cross Israel’s virtual no-go lines from those seeking to infiltrate for terrorist or criminal purposes.
“Since the fixed portion runs 3 meters deep at the shore and the floating portion extends a kilometer out to sea, anyone wanting to wage an attack on our pipeline or other points in the area either has to walk right up to the beach or venture a kilometer into the sea,” he said. “Either way, the threat comes to me where I’m more capable of working the problem.”
He noted that a similar though less robust undersea roped barrier is deployed some 2,000 yards into the Mediterranean along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.