UAE condemns Houthi attack on Saudi gas facility

Saudi Aramco’s Shaybah, Natural Gas Liquids plant where a Houthi drone struck, causing a small fire. (File/Ian Timberlake/AFP)
Updated 18 August 2019

UAE condemns Houthi attack on Saudi gas facility

  • UAE: Terrorist act aims at destabilizing security and stability
  • Houthis claim responsibility for the attack on the plant

JEDDAH: A failed attempt by Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen to destroy a Saudi gas plant near the UAE border was “cowardly sabotage,” the Kingdom’s energy minister said on Saturday.

The Houthis claimed 10 drones struck the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction plant in a “massive” attack, which was also “a warning to the UAE.”

The UAE has condemned the attack, with the country’s foreign affairs ministry strongly condemning “this terrorist act, which aims at destabilizing security and stability and poses a grave threat to the world’s energy supply.”

In a statement, the UAE reiterated its full solidarity with the Kingdom’s government and people, affirming support of all measures taken by Saudi authorities to secure the country’s security and stability, as well as any actions taken in the face of extremism and terrorism.

“The security of the United Arab Emirates and that of Saudi Arabia are indivisible, and any threat or danger facing the Kingdom is considered as a threat to the security and stability system in the UAE,” the UAE foreign ministry said.

Saudi Aramco said their response teams had “controlled a limited fire” at the facility. “There were no injuries and no interruptions to Saudi Aramco’s oil operations,” the company said.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said: “This terrorist sabotage follows a series of actions, including attacks against oil tankers, aimed at disrupting international oil supplies.

“These acts are not only aimed at Saudi Arabia but also against the global economy.”

The Houthis’ actions showed their contempt for the Swedish peace process aimed at resolving the conflict in Yemen, Dr. Theodore Karasik, senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics in Washington, DC, told Arab News.

“One would think the Houthis would like to show a better face to the international public, instead of lashing out daily with potentially deadly results,” Karasik said.

“It is in itself a crime that more efforts are not devoted to getting the Houthis to cease this campaign, which breaks international laws and threatens global civil aviation and energy.”

Karasik cautioned that the Houthis were benefiting from upgraded Iranian missile and drone technology. Some of the modifications were minor but effective, he said. 

“It only illustrates the criminality of those who produce and use such weapons.”

Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

Updated 56 min 55 sec ago

Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

TOKYO: Taro Kono, the defense minister of Japan, said that threats to his country’s oil supply was the “most worrying scenario” he could imagine in international relations, in the wake of attacks on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities. 

“The most pessimistic scenario right now is that something happens in the Straits of Hormuz and the oil supply gets cut down, and that would send a shock wave through the global economy. I think the price of oil is already rising after this attack on Saudi facilities, so that’s the most worrying scenario right now,” he told a conference in Tokyo, Japan.

However, speaking on the sidelines to Arab News, he insisted that Saudi Arabia would remain a reliable partner of Japan - which imports around 40 per cent of its crude from the Kingdom - and downplayed concerns about long-term supply problems.

“Saudi has been and will be an important source of our energy supply. We have international co-ordination, and we have reserves, so we are not really worried about that,” he said. 

Kono, who was until recently Japan’s foreign minister, said that his country would be seeking to promote diplomatic solutions to the latest Middle East conflagration. "We definitely need to ease the tension between those countries. As Foreign Minister, the last thing I was doing was calling the Iranian Foreign Minister and the French Foreign Minister to ease the tension the region through diplomatic actions, and I think it's important to continue doing it.

“This Houthi attack on Saudi is a little different, because it's a terrorist attack. I think we may require some kind of military operation against those drone attacks, and that's something out of Japan's constitutional boundary. I think Japan will be focusing on diplomatic efforts in easing tension in the region.”

He raised concerns about the apparent lack of sophistication in the recent attacks. “If it is really drones, that is a lot cheaper than any form of conventional missile,” he said.