Tag Archives: Arabia

Saudi Arabia seeks action against Iran after oil attack, allies wary

Saudi Arabia seeks action against Iran after oil attack, allies waryDUBAI/RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia will seek to make a case at a global gathering in New York this week for concerted action to punish and deter arch-foe Iran after strikes on Saudi oil plants rattled global markets and exposed the kingdom’s vulnerability to attack. As it tries to build a coalition, Riyadh is preparing to provide evidence to the U.N. General Assembly which it says will prove Iran was behind the Sept. 14 drone and missile assault which initially drastically affected its oil output, a view shared by Washington.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Saudi Arabia to wait for investigation before responding to attacks: minister

Saudi Arabia to wait for investigation before responding to attacks: ministerSaudi Arabia will wait for the results of an investigation before responding to last weekend’s attack on its oil facilities, for which it believes Iran is responsible, a senior official said on Saturday. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told reporters that the probe, which Riyadh has invited international investigators to join, would prove that the Sept. 14 strikes came from the north. “It was done with Iranian weapons, therefore we hold Iran accountable for this attack…” Jubeir told a news conference, declining to speculate about specific actions.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Saudi Arabia Says It Can Restore Oil Production but What If It Is Attacked Again?

Saudi Arabia Says It Can Restore Oil Production but What If It Is Attacked Again?Saudi Arabia isn't as secure as thought.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

UN welcomes Huthi offer to halt attacks on Saudi Arabia

UN welcomes Huthi offer to halt attacks on Saudi ArabiaThe United Nations envoy for Yemen welcomed Saturday an offer from the country’s Huthi rebels to halt all attacks on Saudi Arabia, saying it could bring an end to years of bloody conflict. Implementation of the initiative by the Huthis “in good faith could send a powerful message of the will to end the war,” Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said. The Iran-backed Huthis, which control the capital Sanaa and other parts of Yemen, have been fighting against a Saudi-led coalition which supports the country’s internationally recognized government in a devastating five-year war.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Who’s In Charge Here? The President Waits for Instructions from Saudi Arabia

Who’s In Charge Here? The President Waits for Instructions from Saudi ArabiaThe president of the United States can’t say who attacked the oil fields in Saudi Arabia last week or why. But the president can announce across his Twitter feed that Prime Mohammed bin Salman will tell our military what to do about it:> Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!> > — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019The president’s effusive support for the Saudi regime reads like a caricature of what critics of our Middle Eastern foreign policy would say of it. For years we’ve been working to advance the argument that the United States is too solicitous of the interests of the House of Saud, and then the president just tweets it out.Confused yet? We’ve been here before, and recently. Back in May, U.S. naval assets were moved into the Gulf region. This was announced by former national-security adviser John Bolton in a tweet and a memo, without a press conference. Military news portal Defense One asked for clarification: “If there was a threat, what is it? And why would the White House claim it is ‘deploying’ a ship already underway in the region? Is this just political bluster?”But why be confused? When the world’s superpower is waiting to hear Saudi Arabia’s commands, you can bet the answer will be something like John McCain’s reprise of that pop classic: Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran.On Fox News yesterday, host Bret Baier had on anti-war Democrat and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard to discuss the latest doings in the Middle East. The segment is worth watching. Gabbard had criticized President Trump, accusing him of trying to “pimp out” the U.S. military to Mohammed bin Salman. Baier tries to press her into a corner, making her choose between Saudi Arabia and Iran, even saying she sounded like a “fan of Iran.” Gabbard gamely refuses the choice, saying she is “on the side of the United States” and noting that Saudi Arabia’s government and its elite funds, appeases, and occasionally controls al-Qaeda. She’s right.She’s more than right. Saudi Arabia sponsors demotic Sunni radicalism throughout the Middle East, which has extended human conflict and contributed to the waves of refugees heading into Europe. Once in Europe, these refugees turn to mosques, funded by the Saudis, that preach a far more radical version of Islamism than what they had back in their home country. If in the past few years you ever stumbled on one of those confusing videos of various actors in the Syrian civil war using materiel provided by the U.S. Department of Defense to fire on others in the Syrian civil war who were using materiel provided by the CIA, well, you can thank Saudi Arabia for that too.One of the reasons that Donald Trump says that he’ll wait for instructions from Saudi Arabia is that he and the political class wouldn’t dare consult with the American people. When our relationship to the Saudis is explained, there are halting gestures at history, and a vague threat that somehow the Saudi royal family is better than any alternative regime. Saudi Arabia’s bone-saw, cholera-epidemic foreign policy doesn’t exactly inspire Americans to cry out to their government to support our gallant allies in the Peninsula. Americans like to be told they are fighting for nations with similar values — friends of freedom. American reporters who, until recently, attended “ideas conferences” in Riyadh used to burble credulously about how the country was modernizing under its new leadership. And yet Saudi Arabia will happily torture and behead a kid who was accepted to one of our universities because he attended a pro-democracy protest.Shia Islam is not going away anytime soon. And so the United States has no conceivable interest in taking such a strong side in the ongoing religious cold war roiling the dar al-Islam. We need to stop Saudi Arabia from outsourcing all the costs of its foreign policy to the United States and our allies in Europe. The president needs to be swiftly reminded that the people through the representatives are those who declare that the United States is at war with other sovereign nations, not Prince Bone Saw.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

UPDATE 1-Yemen's Houthis propose to Saudi Arabia that both sides halt missile strikes

UPDATE 1-Yemen's Houthis propose to Saudi Arabia that both sides halt missile strikesYemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis will stop aiming missile and drone attacks at Saudi Arabia if a coalition targeting Yemen does the same, a Houthi official said on Friday, nearly a week after the Houthis claimed a strike on Saudi oil facilities. The Houthis have insisted they are responsible for a devastating Sept. 14 assault on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities that initially halved the kingdom’s production, but the United States and Saudi Arabia have blamed Iran.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

UPDATE 1-Hezbollah says Iran would destroy Saudi Arabia in any war

UPDATE 1-Hezbollah says Iran would destroy Saudi Arabia in any warLebanon’s Hezbollah warned Saudi Arabia on Friday against betting on a war against Iran because it would destroy the kingdom and said Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates should halt the conflict in Yemen to protect themselves. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Iran-backed Shi’ite Muslim group, also said new air defences could not easily defend Saudi Arabia from the type of drones used in a Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi oil installations. Tensions have spiked in the region since the attacks that officials in Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran, which has denied involvement.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

The Attack on Saudi Arabia Is the Crisis Iran Was Waiting For

The Attack on Saudi Arabia Is the Crisis Iran Was Waiting ForA  sophisticated drone and cruise-missile attack on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil-processing facility on Saturday has sent shock waves through the world’s oil markets and leaves the U.S. and allies at a crossroads about how to deal with a growing threat from Iran and its supporters. This is the crisis Iran has been waiting for, with pro-regime media tweeting about the “unprecedented attack” and parroting the threats of Yemen’s Houthi rebels against Saudi oil infrastructure.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said Iran was behind the attack, and U.S. officials have released satellite images and spoken to media about details of the sophisticated assault. The attack showcases Iran’s precision weapons guidance. This is a threat that has been increasing for years. The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act apprised Congress of Iran’s ballistic-missile program and drones. Israel also warned about similar threats in early September, asserting that Iran was transferring precision missile guidance to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran has been boasting about its drone, cruise-missile, and precision munitions since a large drill it undertook in March.However, Tehran has also been stymied in how to employ its arsenal, weighing the responses it wants to give in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran deal, in May 2018. For a year Iran used its good-cop, bad-cop routine, threatening to walk away from provisions of the deal if European and other countries didn’t work to get around Washington’s sanctions. But in May Tehran changed tactics. As sanctions took a bite, Tehran intimated that if Iran couldn’t export oil, neither would others. Washington has accused Iran of being behind the sabotage of six ships in May and June as well as the downing of a U.S. drone in June. Rockets also fell near U.S. bases in Iraq. Iran has also worked through its Houthi rebel allies in Yemen to supply know-how behind drone and air-defense technology. Pompeo says Iran is behind at least 100 attacks originating in Yemen.All this was window dressing for the more massive long-range attack that was to come this week. Two previous long-range attacks had targeted oil facilities west of Riyadh and near the border with the United Arab Emirates. In the latter attack, Iran’s Press TV claimed ten Yemeni drones had been responsible. The early hours of September 14 showed fires and explosions at Abqaiq. Satellite images revealed damage to almost 20 buildings, including liquified-natural-gas storage tanks. The damage wasn’t chaotic, as it would have been if someone tossed explosives and hoped they would hit their mark. Rather it was precise; one image shows four storage tanks hit in the same location.This level of precision is important. As salient was the ability of a force purported to include dozens of drones and cruise missiles to evade air-defense systems in eastern Saudi Arabia near Bahrain. This should be an area, not far from the U.S. naval base in Bahrain and the Al-Udeid base in Qatar, as well as U.S. bases in the UAE and Kuwait, that would be well defended. Whether the attack originated directly from Iran or from Iran-backed Houthis, either scenario shows how extremely proficient Iran and its allies have become with drones and missiles. This is an indigenous weapons program that outpaces Iran’s nearest neighbors, with the exception of Israel. It is a threat that requires U.S. air defense and radar to help confront. The larger question for the Trump administration is not just about defending allies, but also about whether it wants to try to deter Iran. Despite warnings since May that Iranian actions would meet with retaliation, Washington has been reticent to retaliate militarily, preferring a campaign of “maximum pressure.” It is hard to ignore the Iranian regime’s pronouncements on September 10 that the departure of National Security Advisor John Bolton showed that the U.S. had failed in its pressure campaign. It is also hard to believe that the sophisticated Abqaiq attack was planned in only four days.Tehran would have known that an unprecedented attack on key Saudi Arabian oil facilities by so many drones would raise eyebrows about claims that the poor and isolated Houthi rebels were behind it. The attack sends a clear message: This can get worse; end the sanctions and don’t risk the world’s oil supply. Iran thinks that Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies won’t risk a conflict, and the Iranians think they called the Trump administration’s bluff in June. September 14 was a gamble but also a clear message felt across the Middle East. The era of Iran’s sophisticated precision-guided drone and cruise-missile attacks is here.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Attack on Saudi Arabia came from Iran: US official

Attack on Saudi Arabia came from Iran: US officialThe United States has concluded that the weekend attack on Saudi oil facilities was launched from Iranian soil and cruise missiles were involved, a US official told AFP on Tuesday. The official, who declined to be identified, said the United States was gathering evidence about the attack to present to the international community, notably European allies, at the UN General Assembly next week. The weekend strikes on Abqaiq –- the world’s largest oil processing facility –- and the Khurais oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia have roiled global energy markets.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Saudi Arabia knows its defences are not up to war with Iran

Saudi Arabia knows its defences are not up to war with IranThe smoke rising above above Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil field might seem at first like the justification Riyadh has been waiting for.  If the White House is to be believed, Iran launched an unprovoked attack on the kingdom’s most important oil facilities. Saudi Arabia would be within its rights to strike its Iranian archrivals in response.  In an evening tweet, Donald Trump even appeared to give Saudi Arabia a say in whether the US would attack Iran. “[The US is] waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!” Saudi Arabia has the power to bring fire and fury down on its most-hated foe but may be reluctant to actually that power. The reality is the Saudis are deeply skittish about the prospects of any war with Iran because they know they will be Tehran’s main target.  If fighting breaks out between the US and Iran, the Iranians will have relatively few chances to strike America directly. They could target US ships in the Persian Gulf or order their Shia militia proxies to harass American forces in Iraq.  But most of their fire is likely to be aimed at the soft underbelly of Saudi Arabia, which is well within range of Iran’s missiles on the other side of the Gulf.   Strikes against Saudi oil plants “Saudi Arabia will not support a war with Iran that has a Saudi return address on it,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.  “Saudi Arabia would support a war between the US and Iran, if Saudi Arabia could hide behind the US, but not one where the Saudis must step out in front, because the Saudis would lose.” Although the kingdom is the world’s third largest defence spender after the US and China, its military is fairly ineffective and would struggle against Iranian forces hardened by decades of unconventional warfare across the region.  Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, openly lamented the disparity between the quality of his troops’ weapons and the paucity of their fighting skills. “It is unacceptable that we are the world’s third or fourth biggest country in military spending but our army is ranked in the twenties [in ability],” he said in 2016. “There is a problem.” Mohammed bin Salman had lamented his forces' capabilities Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo That problem has been mercilessly exposed on the battlefields of Yemen, where Saudi forces equipped with state-of-the-art British and American weaponry have been fought to a stalemate by ragtag Houthi rebel fighters backed by Iran.   This vulnerability explains why, despite Riyadh’s strong rhetoric towards Iran, the Saudis have often looked to de-escalate in the face of Iranian provocations.   After two Saudi oil tankers were bombed in a mysterious sabotage attack in May, the US pointed the finger directly at Iran. Yet, Saudi Arabia hemmed and hawed and appeared reluctant to place the blame on anyone.  In their initial statements about this week's attack, Saudi officials have confirmed the weapons were Iranian-made but have not gone as far as the US in directly blaming Iran. As with the tanker attacks, they may now say that a lengthy investigation is needed to determine the culprits, giving time for passions to fade.    The kingdom surely dream of ridding itself of its rivals in the Islamic Republic across the narrow water. But if the price of confronting Iran is far more smoke billowing above burning Saudi oil fields then Riyadh will probably look for a way to back down.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines