Saudi Arabia, Bahrain voice support for US missile strike on Syria

US President Donald Trump ordered a massive military strike against a Syria on Thursday. (AFP/US NAVY)
Updated 07 April 2017

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain voice support for US missile strike on Syria

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are among the first Middle Eastern nations to have expressed support for the US missile strike on Syria early Friday, which came in response to an apparent chemical attack by President Bashar Assad’s regime.

 

An official source at the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the Kingdom’s “strong support for the military operations carried out against military targets in Syria,” according to a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

 

The US strike “came in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against innocent civilians that caused the deaths of scores of people, including women and children,” the statement said. 


 

The official source places the responsibility for these military operations squarely on the Syrian regime.

 

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump ordered a massive military strike on a Syrian air base in retaliation for a “barbaric” chemical attack he blamed on Assad.

 


The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs source described the move as a “courageous decision” after the failure of the international community to stop the Syrian regime “from brutalizing its people.”

 

Bahrain also welcomed the US military strikes that followed the apparent chemical attack targeting the town of Khan Sheikhun in Syria. Bahrain said the move was necessary to save the lives of the Syrian people and prevent the spread and use of banned weapons against innocent civilians. 

 

The Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday underlined the huge efforts exerted by the US in combating terrorism, and asserted the Kingdom’s support in this regard. 

 

It called on all parties to commit to working seriously and transparently to end the Syrian people’s suffering, and to implement a cease-fire to pave the way for negotiations and a comprehensive political solution.

 

The Syrian army said that at least six people were killed and serious damage was caused by the strike on an airbase in the centre of the country.

 

“At 3:42 am (0042 GMT) the United States carried out a flagrant aggression with missiles against one of our airbases in the central region, killing six people and wounding a number of others, and causing significant damage,” a spokesman said, reading from a statement on state television, without specifying whether the casualties were civilian or military.

 

In a brief televised address delivered hours after the UN Security Council failed to agree on a probe into the apparent chemical attack, Trump confirmed the US strike on Syria and urged “all civilized nations” to unite to end the bloodshed in the country.

 


“On Tuesday Syrian dictator Bashar Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians using a deadly nerve agent,” Trump said. “Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack.”


 

“Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”


 

“Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end this slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types,” Trump said.


 

The US military fired dozens of cruise missiles at the Shayrat Airfield at 8:45 p.m. Eastern Time (0000 GMT), officials said.

 

Some Russian officials believe that the US air strikes on a Syrian airbase could undermine efforts to fight terrorism, RIA news agency quoted Viktor Ozerov, the head of the defence and security committee at the Russian upper house of parliament, as saying on Friday.


 

He also said that Russia would call for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council.


 

A White House official said 59 “precision munitions” had been blasted at the base, while a US defense official said “dozens” of Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched.


 

The missiles were fired from the USS Porter and the USS Ross, which belong to the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet and are located in the eastern Mediterranean. A US official said the missiles targeted aircraft and runways at the base.


 

The sudden US military action against the Assad regime marks a stunning development in Syria’s brutal, six-year conflict and a sudden about-face for Trump.


 

It came despite a warning from Russia of potential “negative consequences” if Washington strikes Syria.


 

“All responsibility if military action occurs will be on the shoulders of those who initiated such a doubtful tragic enterprise,” Russian Ambassador to the UN Vladimir Safronkov said.


A US official said Washington had informed Russia ahead of the Syria strike.


 

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had earlier vowed an “appropriate response” to the attack in Khan Sheikhun in rebel-held Idlib province, which killed at least 86 people, including 27 children.


 

The White House official said the US assesses that the Assad regime used a chemical nerve agent consistent with sarin in Tuesday’s attacks.

 

The fast-moving events come just days after the Trump administration had signaled it was no longer seeking the Syrian leader’s departure from power.
 The attack on Khan Sheikhun appears to have marked a turning point for Trump and his administration.


 

On Wednesday Trump decried the attack as an “affront to humanity.” He seemed horrified by photographs showing dead children and victims suffering convulsions, breathing problems and foaming at the mouth.


 

“It crossed a lot of lines for me,” Trump said, alluding to Barack Obama’s failure to enforce his own “red line” on the use of chemical weapons in Syria four years ago.


 

In 2013, Trump had urged then-president Obama not to intervene against Assad.
 In a startling about-turn, Tillerson called Thursday for “a political process that would lead to Assad leaving” and said his future role in the country was “uncertain.”


 

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Thursday repeated the regime’s denial it conducted a chemical strike.


 

“The Syrian army has not, did not and will not use this kind of weapons — not just against our own people, but even against the terrorists that attack our civilians with their mortar rounds,” he said.


 

Russia has stood by its longtime ally, with President Vladimir Putin warning against a rush to judgment.


 

Putin underlined “the unacceptability of making unfounded accusations against anyone before a thorough and impartial international investigation is carried out.”


 

The UN children’s agency UNICEF says at least 546 people were wounded in the suspected chemical attack.


 

More than 30 people were transferred across the border into Turkey for treatment, and Ankara said a preliminary probe found a link between these injuries and sarin.

 

(With Agencies)

 


Attacks on oil facilities in Kingdom threaten world economy: Saudi energy minister

Updated 15 September 2019

Attacks on oil facilities in Kingdom threaten world economy: Saudi energy minister

  • Saudi Aramco says no staff have been injured in attacks
  • The oil giant is working on restoring the lost quantities

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said drones that attacked Saudi Aramco installations had caused an interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels in crude supplies and threaten the world economy.

The Arab Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said in a statement that investigations are ongoing to identify the perpetrators.

And Al-Maliki said Arab coalition forces would continue to implement necessary measures to deal with the terrorist threats.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said as a result of the terrorist acts, oil production in Abqaiq and Khurais was knocked out temporarily and that estimates show that 50 percent of the company’s production had been interrupted.

Part of the decrease will be compensated to clients through reserves, Prince Abdulaziz said in a statement carried on the Saudi Press Agency.

The newly appointed minister confirmed there were no injuries to staff at the locations targeted, adding that the company is still assessing the resulting damage.

The attacks not only target the Kingdom’s vital installations, but also target the international oil supply and threaten its security, he said, and are a threat to the world economy. 

The blasts took place at 3:31am and 3:42am at the two locations, both in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, causing fires that were brought under control by emergency services.

The drone attacks, at the world’s largest oil processing plant at Abqaiq and at an oilfield in Khurais, highlight the importance of the international community to protect energy supply against “all terrorist sides that carry out, support and finance such cowardly disruptive acts,” the statement said.

He said that these blasts also knocked out the production of 2bn cubic feet of associated gas daily, used to produce 700,000 barrels of natural gas liquids, which will lead to an approximate 50 percent decrease of Ethane and natural gas liquids supply.

The statement said the company is currently working on restoring the lost quantities, and will present updated information within the next 48 hours.

World leaders condemned the attacks on Saudi Arabia on Saturday and those behind the terrorist acts. 

Donald Trump called Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to reassert his country's “readiness to cooperate with the Kingdom, by all means conducive to maintain its security and stability.”

The Crown Prince "underscored the Kingdom’s willingness and strength to thwart such a terrorist aggression and deal with its consequences,” SPA reported on Saturday.

The UAE said it “condemns this act of terrorism and sabotage and considers it as a new evidence of the terrorist groups’ attempts to undermine the security and stability of the region as a whole.”

“The Houthis must stop undermining Saudi Arabia’s security by threatening civilian areas and commercial infrastructure,” said the British government.

“The US strongly condemns today’s drone attacks. These attacks against critical infrastructure endanger civilians, are unacceptable, and sooner or later will result in innocent lives being lost,” said the US envoy in Riyadh John Abizaid.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was emphatic about the need to condemn Iranian aggression, specifically on Saudi Arabia, and the need to ensure the security of world energy supplies.

“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” he tweeted, “We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression."

The Council of Ministers of Lebanon have also condemned the targeting of Saudi’s Aramco facilities.

The Houthis, who are backed by Iran, said they had carried out the attacks and that 10 drones had been used.