US blames Iran for ‘unprecedented attack on world’s energy supply’

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 15 September 2019

US blames Iran for ‘unprecedented attack on world’s energy supply’

  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says “no evidence” attacks on Saudi Aramco facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais were launched from Yemen
  • Pompeo says Tehran has launched nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The United States on Saturday blamed Iran for drone attacks that caused fires at two Saudi Aramco plants in the Kingdom.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said there was “no evidence” the attacks on an oil processing plant and an oil field were launched from Yemen.

Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen have been responsible for scores of missile and drone attacks against Saudi Arabia, whose forces are part of a military coalition fighting the militants.

But Pompeo’s comments suggest this attack may have been launched from another country. Along with Yemen, Iran has proxy forces in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon - a policy that has long been blamed for causing instability in the region.

“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” Pompeo said on Twitter. “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

He said that while Iran’s leaders pretend to engage in diplomacy, Tehran has launched nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia.

“We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks,” Pompeo added. “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 drones struck the plant at Abqaiq near Damman in the Eastern Province and the country’s second largest oilfield at Khurais, about 200 kilometers away.

The Interior Ministry said fires at both sites had been brought under control.

The Houthis said they had carried out the attacks and that 10 drones had been used. 

The Arab coalition fighting to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized government said it was investigating who was behind the attacks. 

Before Pompeo made his comments, 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 attacks sparked widespread condemnation from around the world. 

The Houthis have previously used drones to target civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, including Abha airport in the south.

Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

Updated 22 October 2019

Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

  • “We share common values,” said Majid Al-Qasabi

TOKYO: Saudi Arabia has a “special relationship” with Japan, which is “reliable strategic partner and friend” of the Kingdom, the Saudi Minister for Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qasabi said on Monday.

The minister was speaking at the launch in Tokyo of the Japanese-language online edition of Arab News, in the latest stage of its global expansion. The event came on the eve of Tuesday’s ceremonial enthronement of Emperor Naruhito in the Japanese capital. “This is a great opportunity, a moment in history,” Al-Qasabi said.

The news website, published in Japanese and English, will focus on enabling the exchange of information between Japan and the Arab world in business, current affairs, and arts and culture. “It will be good to have news in Japanese so many Japanese can read about the Arab world,” Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono said at the launch.

Common values

“We share common values, we have a high respect for the elders and we think that the family is very important … to me we are friends and I think we need to work together.

“In order to do that we need to know what people in the Middle East are actually thinking, what is happening on a daily basis, and we haven’t got the source for that — but now Arab News is in Japan.

“This is a very good means to exchange information between the Middle East and Japan, so I am very much looking forward to it.”