Iran's precision missiles, a major challenge for the Israeli army

The raid on Saudi oil facilities on 14 September surprised IDF experts.

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The remains of the missiles that the Saudi government says were used to attack an Aramco oil rig on September 14 are on display at a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 18. HAMAD I MOHAMMED / REUTERS

An attack "Audacious", " perfect ". Such is the comment of Israel's military officers and close experts on Iran's September 14 raid on Saudi oil facilities. "The attack surprised us, it was a perfect surprise for the United States despite their military presence in the region, and it was perfect from every point of view militarily. We did not think the Iranians had reached this level, " assures Ron Ben-Yishai, a noted observer of these issues in Tel Aviv, met at the invitation of the Europe Israel Press Association (EIPA). Even though, in the Middle East, "Israel retains superiority in the areas of intelligence, air power and technologies like cyber," he adds, the episode marks a turning point.

"The raid clearly bears the mark of an Iranian aggression against which we defend ourselves proactively", sums up Colonel Jonathan Conricus, spokesman of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). "The whole Iranian military chain has worked," Ron Ben-Yishai emphasizes: a precision intelligence operation on the targets, a successful planning, a secret kept to the end. The raid, denied by Tehran, was reportedly conducted under the command of the air force, in association with the guards of the revolution. Twenty suicide drones each carrying about twenty kilos of explosives damaged the Abqaiq crude processing plant. But it is mainly the four cruise missiles that destroyed the Khurais field that are alerting the Israeli military.

The strike in the depth

The salvo, which would have left, according to American sources, of Iran to go full west, before to turn towards the south and to take back the Saudi air defenses, put forward a strategic military capacity: the strike in the depth . "The Iranians demonstrate that they have gone up in competence, that nothing is safe in the region. In a deterrence of the weak to the strong, they act in mirror of the strategy of Israel which carries out long-range strikes against their positions ", Pierre Razoux, from the Strategic Research Institute of the Ecole Militaire (Irsem) in Paris. The recent IDF strikes against the Iranian forces in Syria have, in fact, had a growing reach: in the Golan in 2017, in Damascus and Homs in 2018, throughout the Syrian territory in 2019. "The Israelis showed the Russians and the Iranians that they were able to type wherever they wanted. Everyone goes upmarket ", complete Pierre Razoux.


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