British-Palestinian journalist Abdel Bari Atwan said in a video uploaded to his YouTube channel on September 20, 2019 that the September 14 Houthi drone attack on the Abqaiq and Khurais oil fields in Saudi Arabia has rocked the national, intelligence, military, and political prestige of Saudi Arabia and the United States. He said that the American defense umbrella that Saudi Arabia has spent hundreds of billions of dollars has collapsed and turned out to be a failure. In a related video posted on September 15, Atwan asked why the American Patriot missiles in Saudi Arabia failed to intercept the Houthi drones, and he asked why U.S. President Donald Trump did not protect Saudi Arabia even though he had "extorted" it and the Gulf for money in exchange for protection.
Following are excerpts:
Abdel Bari Atwan (on September 20): This unprecedented and exceptional attack on Saudi oil installations – considered to be the jewel in the crown of the Saudi oil industry – has rocked the prestige of Saudi Arabia as a state. It truly did. Saudi Arabia is dear to us, as are all the Arab and Islamic countries. The [Saudi] prestige was rocked by those missiles. This is a big problem. The [Saudi] defense theory of relying on the U.S. was also rocked. Huge sums – hundreds of billions of dollars – have been spent on F-15s, F-16s, F-22s, Patriot missiles, defensive missile systems, radars… They have all turned out to be worthless. Really. This American defense umbrella, which Saudi Arabia relies upon, has completely collapsed, one way or another. In addition, America's prestige collapsed. America pretended to be a superpower defending whoever seeks its defense with the most advanced weapons systems in the world. America's intelligence, military, and political prestige has collapsed.
(On September 15): Where were the Patriot missiles that cost $5-7 million per unit? Where were they? Why didn't they intercept those drones? Don't we have the right to ask? Hundreds of billions of dollars were spent on the defense of the Saudi oil installations. Fine. I'm not against this, but where were they? Why didn't they intercept those planes? These are legitimate questions. What about America? Trump has extorted Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. He said: "We want money in order to protect you. Without our protection, Saudi Arabia will not survive two weeks." Didn't he say this? So where is your protection, Mr. Trump? Didn't you say that you would protect the interests of America and its allies? Isn't Saudi Arabia an ally? Why didn't you protect it?