This could have sparked chaos in the kingdom and the world oil market:

Police have arrested 172 Islamic militants, some of whom were being trained abroad as pilots so they could fly aircraft in attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil fields, the Interior Ministry said Friday.

The ministry issued a statement saying the detainees were planning to carry out suicide atttacks against “public figures, oil facilities, refineries … and military zones” — some of which were outside the kingdom.

“They had reached an advance stage of readiness and what remained only was to set the zero hour for their attacks,” Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Mansour al-Turki told The Associated Press in a phone call. “They had the personnel, the money, the arms. Almost all the elements for terror attacks were complete except for setting the zero hour for the attacks.”

My concern has always been that Al Qaeda has been so quiet here because they’re looking to stage attacks similar in scope. That’s why you’re not seeing single suicide bombers in shopping malls and other easily staged but relatively limited attacks. They can ramp up the impact by attacking multiple low to mid value target in a swarm attack but even that may be a last resort since it doesn’t quite offer the bang for the buck that they saw on 9/11. This strategy depletes their resources and increases their risk of exposure.

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