Interview with General Dominique Trinquand, former head of the French Mission to the UN and specialist in defense issues.
Saudi Arabia is adamant that the weapons used in the double drone strike against the oil rigs of giant Aramco on the night of September 13 to 14 "is of Iranian origin". The Houthi rebels, close to Tehran, have also claimed these attacks. But today, eyes are also turning to Iraq and Shiite militias, also close to the Islamic Republic.
RFI : Saudi Arabia seems categorical : the weapons used in the double attack against its oil facilities " is of Iranian origin ". Is it plausible ?
Dominique Trinquand: What is plausible is that the technology comes from Iran. That the missiles themselves come from Iran is another subject on which we must take precautions. With the maritime zone between Saudi Arabia and Iran, flights at very low altitude are possible, but there are also many US detection systems in place. So Iranian technology, probably, but launched from Iran ... it remains unreliable.
► See also: Attack on oil fields in Saudi Arabia: Iran denies any involvement
The Houthi rebels in Yemen, close to Iran, have claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the looks also seem to be turning to Iraqi Shiite militias, also close to Iran. Which of these theses do you accredit ?
Technology, I said, can be Iranian. But the launch from Iran seems quite difficult, given the area to cross. From Yemen too, because the targets are about 1,000 km away. Iraq, on the other hand, is much closer. It is therefore not impossible that Iranian technology launched from areas held by Iraqi Shiite militias could reach the targets.
On the other hand, the Houthis have a strategic interest in touching the heart of the Saudi reserves. So we can see that there is a triangulation between Iran, the Houthis, the Shiite militias. They have a community of views, a common interest (...) It is now necessary that the intelligence can determine where the missiles come from, try to find leftovers after the destruction in Saudi Arabia to know where they can come from .
Are these attacks unstoppable ? Can not Saudi Arabia prevent them ?
There are two things: to have radars to detect these machines and to have means of neutralization. There, I think there is a loophole in the system in Saudi Arabia, especially when we see the consequences. Fifty per cent of the oil production stopped is considerable. If the targets are very close to the sea, the approach at very low altitude makes interception difficult. But I think that the Saudis have now understood the lesson and will put in place more important means. They were probably surprised by this type of attack.