Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

A Crude Threat: The Limits of an Iranian Missile Campaign against Saudi Arabian Oil

Summary

The United States and its Persian Gulf allies have been increasingly concerned with the growing size and complexity of Iran's ballistic missile programs. At a time when the United States and its allies remain locked in a standoff with Iran over the latter's nuclear program, states around the Persian Gulf fear that Iran would retaliate for an attack on its nuclear program by launching missiles at regional oil installations and other strategic targets. An examination of the threat posed by Iran's missiles to Saudi Arabian oil installations, based on an assessment of Iran's missile capabilities, a detailed analysis of Saudi Arabian oil infrastructure, and a simulated missile campaign against the network using known Iranian weapons, finds no evidence of a significant Iranian missile threat to Saudi infrastructure. These findings cast doubt on one aspect of the Iranian threat to Persian Gulf oil while offering an analytic framework for understanding developments in the Iranian missile arsenal and the vulnerability of oil infrastructure to conventional attack.

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For Academic Citation:

Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson and Miranda Priebe, "A Crude Threat: The Limits of an Iranian Missile Campaign against Saudi Arabian Oil," International Security, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Summer 2011), pp. 167-201

The Authors