Jamestown Predicts al-Qaeda Strike on Saudi Oil Facilities

Analysts Ahead of the Curve on Recent Refinery Attack; Strategic Implications

Contact: Glen E. Howard , +1 202.483.8888

WASHINGTON, DC – Two analysts for Jamestown Foundation publications accurately anticipated the February 24, 2006 attack by armed militants on the Abqaiq oil refinery in eastern Saudi Arabia. The attacks—forecast by John Daly and Stephen Ulph—prompted scares on global energy markets and underscored the West’s continuing reliance on imported oil.

A day before the attacks, the February 23, 2006 edition of Jamestown’s Terrorism Monitor, carried an article by analyst John Daly that identified Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities as likely, high-value targets for al-Qaeda. "At a time of record-high oil prices," Daly noted, "analysts are beginning to consider the implications of possible terrorist attacks… on Saudi Arabia’s oil production infrastructure."

"Jamestown is ahead of the curve when it comes to al-Qaeda and energy," remarked Jamestown Foundation President Glen E. Howard. "Our analysts remain dedicated to informing the policy-makers and the U.S. public about critical events before they turn into strategic catastrophes."

"Jamestown plans to issue a study examining al-Qaeda’s strategy and the strategic vulnerability of Saudi oil facilities in the coming months," continued Howard.

Daly’s predictions mirrored earlier predictions by Jamestown Senior Fellow Stephen Ulph, who suggested a similar scenario in the January 18, 2006 issue of Terrorism Focus. Drawing on indigenous sources, Ulph noted that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri "has been urging the targeting of oil installations in the Gulf States as part of the ‘bleed until bankrupt’ strategy against the United States."

Published weekly, Terrorism Focus examines breaking news and trends in the Global War on Terrorism. Terrorism Monitor is published biweekly, and provides in-depth analysis on al-Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. Both Jamestown publications combine expert analysis with information from indigenous, Arabic language sources.

Founded in 1984, The Jamestown Foundation is an independent, non-partisan research institution dedicated to providing timely information concerning critical political and strategic developments in China, Russia, and Eurasia. Jamestown’s research and analysis is available to the public free-of-charge via Jamestown’s website, www.jamestown.org.