I appreciate the input you have all given on this issue. Clearly, if one thing is for sure, the media will play a VERY big role in the course of this
world conflict. Its like the one certainty in such a situation: there is always a reason to show, report, and analyze current events.
Here is Part 3B:
2120 EST, Thursday, December 24, 2009: Christmas is being celebrated within one's local communities, indoors, with an air of gravity, fear, and
humility. As they celebrate and socialize, some are unfortunate enough to turn on the TV to see some truly horrifying news.
In Saudi Arabia, firefighters, emergency crews, and American soldiers pull and all-out effort to fight an out-of-control blaze that threatens to
engulf the entire Ras Tanura refinery. A huge portion of the refinery has been destroyed, hundreds already killed. It is an absolutely hellish scene
and the heat emanating from the fire is so intense it can be felt up to three miles away. Overshadowed by this fire is the suicide bombing of the
housing complex that harbors the American troops sent to protect the oil facilities.
The news media, U.S. intelligence services, and the military once again kick it into high gear. The military goes to DEFCON 3, although CENTCOM
refuses to go as far as declare a Defense Emergency. Initial coverage and investigation focuses on damage control, but there is no doubt on anyone's
mind that this is the work of the Saudi insurgency and Khalid al-Aziz.
2130 EST, Friday, December 25, 2009: A UH-60L Black Hawk on the southern sector of Ras Tanura, conducting its routine night patrol, witnesses the
explosions and is subsequently shot down by an RPG. The helicopter crashes 1.5 miles from Ras Tanura, and the surviving crewmembers are immediately
ambushed by insurgents. The firefight lasts a little over an hour, but the U.S. troops are overwhelmed. The lone survivor, an embedded reporter from
The Associated Press covering the deployment of troops to Saudi Arabia, is taken hostage by the insurgents.
2330 EST, Thursday, December 24, 2009: For the umpteenth time in the last year or so, the Cabinet and the National Security Council reconvene for an
emergency meeting on the latest attack against U.S. interests. The prognosis is not good. The Secretary of State reports that this terrorist attack
will undoubtedly force Saudi Arabia to reconsider its assistance to the U.S., as well as the sensibility of having U.S. troops on its soil. The
Secretary of Energy states that the U.S. is now on its way to an energy crisis of “epic, perilous proportions.” If the U.S. to make it through the
winter and into next year, he asserts, the U.S. has to find oil and it has to “get it fast.” Both the Secretary of State and Energy seem to agree
that making concessions with oil-rich Canada and Russia is likely to be unsuccessful, and the instability in the Horn of Africa will make it
impossible for any sort of abundant and secure flow of oil to be established in the region for years to come.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of Defense, along with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, state that “U.S. forces are more vulnerable now than
ever” and if a military response is in order, the forces in the Persian Gulf must form the core of the response. Obama feels his staff is implying a
specific course of action and asks them to be fully honest. The Vice President steps in and says that the U.S. must now make a decision regarding its
military presence in the Persian Gulf and that if there is ever a time to implement the strike against Iran, it is now. Phone calls expressing
condolences begin to arrive from most every nation around the world, except from Iran, North Korea, and, unusually enough, from Russia. Unusual
because even China is decent enough to call.
After the meeting, Obama briefly writes a new journal entry, ending it by stating "Whoever is behind all of this is picking us off one part at a
0000 EST, Friday, December 25, 2009: Christmas comes to a screeching halt. People once again gather around televisions or log onto the Internet,
following the horror unfolding in Ras Tanura. Others are too overwhelmed to pay attention anymore. Those with family in Saudi Arabia let loose their
emotions, all of them quite sure that their family members were involved in the attack. This is a Christmas to remember, and the reasons for it being
so are rather forgettable.
0031 EST, Friday, December 25, 2009: Just a little over three hours since the fire began, there are no signs of the fire being brought under control.
There is persistent conflict among the authorities, from the Saudi police, to the firefighters, to commander of U.S. troops on the ground, since there
is no unified command of the situation. Local hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties and the heat, as well as the possibility of powerful secondary
explosions has forced the evacuation of much of the Ras Tanura complex.
1000 EST, Friday, December 25, 2009: After thirteen long hours, the fire has been brought under control at Ras Tanura. The body count is high and the
damage excessive. King Abdullah calls for an emergency session to discuss the national security situation as well as the status of the country's oil
reserves. The conclusions are quite sobering. Saudi Arabia is forced to accept the fact the insurgency has essentially declared war on the country and
that the presence of American troops and civilians on their soil is a major contributing factor to the increasing violence. The Royal family begins to
become paranoid, as it has become concerned over dissent within its ranks, as well as the numerous links between the government and the insurgency.
1145 EST, Friday, December 25, 2009: The Cabinet and the NSC reconvenes for an update on the situation. The meeting opens with the casualty figures:
142 American troops have died, 261 injured, and nine missing. The Secretary of State is next, reporting that the Saudi government estimates the damage
to Ras Tanura would take 36 months to repair and oil production would take a huge hit. Without citing numbers, the Saudi government has concluded it
will not be able to meet global production demands. A global energy crisis is just days away at this point.
The Pentagon, which has been constantly updating and revising its war plan over the past few months, proposes a bold plan: the seizure of the
Khuzestan Province of Iran, in addition to the air campaign aimed at toppling the regime. The Secretary of Defense states that Khuzestan “holds more
oil than the U.S. will ever need for a while” and that inside of two weeks, enough aircraft, airborne troops, and Marines could be assembled to
swoop in and capture the oil fields. Unfortunately, through their latest revision, the Defense Department also reveals that the U.S. has become
logistically handicapped and that “no margin for error exists any longer.” The Secretary of Defense echoes the Vice President’s sentiment that
if these military forces are ever to be used, the time is now. The fuel shortage, as well as limited supplies has given the U.S. only one shot at
making this work. The Secretary of Defense assures the president this is not the execution of a major war plan, which calls for a full-scale invasion
of Iran, complete with a post-war occupation. Rather, this is an assault, aimed at eliminating Iran as a regional power, securing energy supplies, and
“getting the hell out of there, letting the chips fall where they may in regards to the post-war situation.” The National Security Council
collectively concurs, noting that the logistics for a major theater war are non-existent.
With an invasion and major war out of the question, the president asks the CJCS for the latest casualty estimate. It is not much better than a few
months before, as casualties are estimated to close to 50,000, especially if biological and chemical weapons are used by Iran. The president expresses
concern that China may become involved once again, along with Russia, which gives no upper limit to the number of American and Coalition casualties.
The CJCS notes, however, that China is not likely to get involved again, nor is Russia, as both countries would want to assert control of the oil
As the meeting concludes, a phone call arrives from President Medvedev. Everyone is wary of the delayed call from Russia, but the president, decides
to accept the call. Medvedev expresses his condolences and offers his help and support in recovering from all the disasters the U.S. has suffered
during the past year. Obama replies by saying Russia can start by being more open with the U.S. intelligence community on the missing Russian warhead.
Medvedev simply answers by saying "We will deliver to you what we can when we can." Obama and his staff are not pleased with Russia's recent
behavior and contemplates what role they may or may not have played in both the missing warhead and the Saudi insurgency's activities.
1200 EST, Friday, December 25, 2009: Half of Christmas day has gone by and every town and city is a ghost town. Everyone is indoors to avoid the cold
and have gathered around TV sets to watch continuing coverage of this newest attack on Americans and their interests. They mourn, but in the back of
their minds, they also understand the implications of this attack. Gas will be unaffordable and this winter will be long, cold, and incredibly
painful. America is at its lowest point ever in history and the average American cannot see what can be done to bring the country out of this mess.
Academics and media personalities are hard at work, trying to provide perspective on the problem. For much of it, they have no words.
And Part C will come up in a few days.
[edit on 10-6-2008 by sweatmonicaIdo]