Don't Sweat the Saudi Oil Disruption

Yolanda Curtis
September 18, 2019

Saudi Arabia is closer than ever to officially blaming Iran for the attack on its oil infrastructure, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Ali Vaez, the Iran project director at the International Crisis Group (ICG), said plausible deniability has been the trademark of Iran's push-back strategy against the United States - from attacks on US forces in Iraq after the invasion in 2003 to attacks against shipping in the Persian Gulf this year.

Washington has blamed Tehran, and President Donald Trump has said that the United States is ready to help Saudi Arabia, but will wait for a "definitive" determination on who was responsible.

"We don´t know who is behind the attack", he said, adding that the kingdom wants "proof based on professionalism and internationally recognised standards".

On Sunday, Trump said the USA was "locked and loaded" to respond, pending verification of who was responsible the attack.

Trump on Tuesday said he is not looking to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a United Nations event in NY this month.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Iran nuclear pact, which European parties are trying to salvage, is one building block "we need to get back to". The Abqaiq facility, for its part, is considered to be the most important oil processing plant in the world.

Details about the attacks, which were initially claimed by Houthi rebels battling the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, remain unclear.

Saudi Arabia has been leading a military campaign to quash the Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015.

President Trump began that campaign after unilaterally pulling out of a 2015 global deal meant to reward Iran for allowing restrictions on its nuclear industry.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Washington's real goal was to bring his country to its knees.

Mr Khamenei also said that as long as sanctions are in place, direct talks are impossible, including a meeting at the UN. USA officials said Iranian arms were used, but given no proof.

Even as Aramco fixes the damage at Abqaiq, the possibility of further escalation of conflict in the Middle East hangs over the market.

In May, four ships, including two Saudi oil tankers, were attacked in the Persian Gulf. He said he did not want to kill what generals told him could be up to 150 people. He also re-imposed and escalated sanctions on Iran that sent the country's economy into freefall, including targeting its oil exports.

Iraq denied Sunday that its territory was used for an attack on the Kingdom and United States officials said a strike from there would be a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.

Amin Nasser, the chairman and CEO of the state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco, speaks at the World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019.

Other reports by iNewsToday