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New study: Aramco attacks change the nature of the coming military confrontation


Mohamed Minshawi-Washington

The nature of the attacks on Aramco's oil facilities came a week ago, consistent with previous attacks in Iran.

In June, UAE and Norwegian oil tankers were attacked near the Hormuz host, followed by the downing of a sophisticated US drone over the Gulf.

Anthony Cordesman, a military expert at the Center for Political and Strategic Policy in Washington, conceived a change in the nature of future military confrontations in a study released two days ago.

According to Cordesman, there are clear commonalities in these attacks, with no casualties, no conventional military targets or targets, or the identity of the perpetrator, whether Iran itself or any of its allies in the region.

Iran wants to set new rules by which it can control the nature of any future military confrontation, avoiding the traditional direct confrontation of US military power, and Iran realizes that it can counter the power of the US military machine only in unconventional ways.

Cordesman believes that the latest attack on Aramco's facilities could be classified under a new military concept; The study finds that the history of previous military confrontations in the region over the last four decades shows that they could have been anticipated, with the possibility of visualizing the nature of the evolution of the battles, especially with a great knowledge of the nature of weapons possessed by different parties, whether the United States itself, Iran or Iraq, and the rest of the countries Gulf.

According to Cordesman, Aramco's attacks represent a revolution in the development of military technology and tactics and the nature of the fighting. In the view of the American expert that the volume of strategic threats from conventional weapons cheap and available has increased sharply, especially with the magnitude of the magnitude of the damage it can cause.

Saudi Arabia's disclosure of the extent of the damage to Aramco's facilities proves Cordesman's vision of the accuracy of striking selected targets, and the success of missiles and drones in avoiding radar and air defense systems by flying at low levels.

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Lessons learned
Cordesman believes that one of the initial lessons learned from the attacks is the need for air defense systems that deal with small drones and low-surface-to-surface missiles. Cordesman's study also shows that the timing of the attacks was a big surprise, as it is not linked to achieving any clear-cut targets or deterring new threats.

Certainly, Iran has made significant progress in the manufacture and development of missiles and drones, and is widely believed to have been done with the help of China and North Korea, the study said.

Cordesman believes that the GPS system and technology, made available to all around the world, has made it possible to easily locate the target facilities and their coordinates on maps, and thus easily target them.

In the case of Aramco installations, the targets did not represent any nature of military dimensions, and the target sites were no longer confined to military targets, but in this case targeted oil installations employing civilians.

Future attacks could target communications infrastructure, water stations, transport networks or important bridges, the study said, which also pointed to the ease with which existing non-military targets could be easily identified with cheap and available technological tools.

Cordesman said it was also easy to transfer or assign an Iranian affiliate - Hezbollah, the Houthi group or the Iraqi Hashd militia - to carry out some attacks on Tehran's behalf, as training for larger operations by Iran.

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Uncertainty and slow reaction
Uncertainty and slowness in the response by the United States and Saudi Arabia to Aramco's attacks demonstrated the usefulness of the use of drones and cruise missiles in unconventional warfare, as the actor cannot be blamed for sure.

The denial of responsibility for the attacks, as Iran said, complicates the pace of a decision that could prompt an escalation and an all-out war that knows no borders, according to the study.

Cordesman believes that with the Iranian threat that any attack on it would face a comprehensive reaction will not be limited to the source of the attacks; Washington and its Gulf allies have realized that any attacks on Iran carry the possibility of total retaliation and mutual destruction.

Ambiguity of defense capabilities
It is unclear the size and capabilities of weapons available to counter drones and cruise missiles, and it is unclear how effective systems Saudi Arabia and US forces have, such as the AWACS radar system or defensive fighter aircraft such as the F-15A or F-22 to detect and intercept drones. Fly at low altitudes or cruise missiles.

The same applies to Patriot missile defense systems, even Russian S-400 and S-300 systems. The area covered by these systems is reduced if they face low-flying drones or cruise missiles, the study suggests.

On the other hand, as the United States has the capability to launch destructive cyberattacks against Iran, there remains the risk of retaliation in unexpected images by Tehran and its regional agents.

The study points to Iran's certainty that cruise missiles and drones could be used to counter war and severe economic sanctions. The attack on Aramco's facilities confirmed the ability to escalate not only in setting new limits to the nature of deterrence to the principle of mutual destruction, but also in demonstrating some of the elements of political, diplomatic and economic warfare.

But what is new in the recent post-Aramco war is that there are no bases in any future military confrontations, as the timing and nature of the course of military confrontations could have been anticipated in the past.

Source: aljazeera

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