German politicians blame Iran for drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities after site visit

In statements posted on Twitter, Nikolas Lobel and Olav Gutting blamed Iran for the attacks. (Photo: Via @NikolasLoebel)
Updated 10 October 2019

German politicians blame Iran for drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities after site visit

  • On Sept. 14 drone attacks started fires at two Saudi Aramco facilities, one in in Abqaiq and the other in Khurais
  • France, Britain and Germany have previously said it was clear that Iran was responsible for the attack on Saudi facilities

RIYADH: Two leading German parliamentarians on Tuesday blamed Iran for attacks on Saudi oil facilities and called for international action to “repress” the security and economic threat Tehran posed to the world.

The remarks followed an inspection visit by German Bundestag members Nikolas Lobel and Olav Gutting to the Abqaiq processing plant, one of two Aramco sites in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province hit in last month’s drone and missile strikes.

Gutting said that an on-site tour was necessary to help understand what had happened. “As a lawyer, I know the importance of evidence in a trial. It is both causal and plausible that the drone attack was carried out by Iran.”

And Lobel, who is responsible for the region’s foreign affairs committee, said: “We strongly condemn the raids on the oilfields and on the refinery. This severely violated the territorial integrity of the Kingdom.

“The responsibility for this attack is plausibly imputable to Iran directly or indirectly. Iran’s influence on the entire region has grown steadily in recent years.

BACKGROUND

The Sept. 14 attacks sparked fires at Abqaiq and the Khurais oilfield, knocking out more than half of Saudi Arabia’s daily oil production and causing major damage to the world’s biggest crude processing plant.

“Sadly, Iran is successfully trying to support terrorist militias and destabilize other states. With its expansive ideological aspirations, Iran poses a threat to the Western world.

“Therefore, its influence must be repressed. That must be a common task of the international community,” Lobel added.

In a joint statement the two politicians said: “Saudi Arabia is a reliable and trustworthy partner for Germany. We are very interested in the positive development and economic diversification of the country as well as in a sustainable, successful implementation of Vision 2030.

“Germany wants to do its part. Saudi Arabia makes a significant contribution to military security and, not least, to the security of supply of the global economy. The attack on the oilfields of Aramco was therefore also an attack on the energy resources of the international community.

“With our visit, as members of the German Bundestag, we want to express our solidarity and our interest in strengthening Saudi Arabia in the region.”




German Bundestag members visit the Abqaiq processing plant. (Photo/Supplied)

The Sept. 14 attacks sparked fires at Abqaiq and the Khurais oilfield, knocking out more than half of Saudi Arabia’s daily oil production and causing major damage to the world’s biggest crude processing plant.

France, the UK and Germany have all since accused Iran of being behind the strikes.

Soon after the attacks, the Kingdom’s military displayed missile and drone debris to prove the raids were “unquestionably” sponsored by Tehran.

Saudi military spokesman, Col. Turki Al-Maliki, said at the time that the strike came from the north, not from Yemen, which is where the Houthi rebels who claimed responsibility for the attack are located. Both Iran and Iraq are to the north of Saudi Arabia.

“This attack did not originate from Yemen, despite Iran’s best efforts to make it appear so,” the colonel said. He accused Iran of working with its Houthi allies to generate a “false narrative” around the strike on the two oil facilities.


Global stars shine at Saudi leisure forum

Updated 14 October 2019

Global stars shine at Saudi leisure forum

  • “It (Saudi Movies) will bring Saudis closer to the world and the world closer to Saudi,” Shahrukh Khan 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia took another step toward establishing its place on the global entertainment map with a major industry event in Riyadh on Sunday.

The Joy Forum19 brought together entertainment promoters and pioneers from around the world, along with global stars such as Indian actor and film producer Shah Rukh Khan; Hong Kong martial artist, actor, film director Jackie Chan and Belgian actor and martial artist Jean-Claude Van Damme.

The event was organized by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), which signed several important agreements on the day, including a financing guarantee program for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Participants are ushered in on the first day of the Joy Forum19 event in Riyadh. (AN photo by Noor Nugali)

“Our message is for both, locally and internationally. Me and my generation suffered a lot, we had lots of time on our hands,” GEA chairman Turki Al-Sheikh said at the event.

“Today you are witnessing things we have never had in Saudi Arabia. We have 300,000 visitors to our events, and our sales have hit 80 percent.

“Saudi Arabia has never seen anything like Riyadh Season, we have over 400 sponsors, which is unprecedented.”

Al-Sheikh announced that the authority had named a stadium after singer Mohammed Abdo, the “Artist of Arabs,” and another after Abu Baker Salim, the father of Khaleeji music. 


READ MORE: Three MoUs signed at opening day of Joy Forum19 in Riyadh



Drunken master

The actors expressed what it meant to be movie stars and how wide-reaching their influence could be.

Jackie Chan recalled that when he was a new actor, he often acted like a drunken fighter until he realized that he has a responsibility towards younger fans. 

Jackie Chan: no longer a "drunken master". (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

“All over the world I keep drinking and fighting (in films).  I realized that I made drunken master cool — so I stopped,” he said. One of Chan's most popular movies was the 1978 action comedy martial arts film "Drunken Master".

“When you’re 20 you don’t have this inner thought — anything that makes the audience laugh you do, but later on especially (when I went) to Africa so many years ago — they started doing the drunken style — the children look up to me. So, I realized we have a responsibility to the children so all those years I corrected those actions: no dirty comedy words or action,” he said.

He attributed his awareness in being responsible for the content he produces to the fans. “I’m really thankful to the fans in making me a good actor.”

Chan spoke about his experience in acting martial arts in both the United States and Asia. “I realized we have two different markets one for America another for Asia. They are totally two different things.”

The safety measures the US takes for stunts is very impeccable making sure of the wellbeing of the actor comes first. However, in Asia it’s a different story, “In Asia when I want to do a stunt, I roll, jump (and then go to the) hospital, he said laughingly.

“It’s so difficult sometimes in the USA so many rules- Jackie Chan movies: NO RULES!” he said and received applause from the audience.

 

Good start

Jean Claude Van Damme gave a shout out and a big thank you to all his “brother and sisters from Saudi Arabia,” He said he got a royal treatment fit for “Kings and Queens”. He went on to reveal that his hotel room at the Ritz Carlton Riyadh was so big he could easily “roller-skate” in it.

Jean Claude Van Damme: "Let's do a movie together". (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

“I’m honored to be invited here. I know it’s your first time to do this event, but I know it will have a very bright future and I hope next year you will invite more people,” he said.

He said he may not be a “good talker” but expressed his joy at being in Saudi Arabia saying. “I’m happy to be here and I hope to have more connection later with the audience.”

Van Damme remarked how that in every country in the world you have treasure actors and movies with different cultures, “In the Middle East I don’t know what the taste will be, but I know they love American, Asian and Indian movies. They have a broad taste. (Saudi Arabia) should do a movie with all of us together!”

 

Crossing barriers

Sharukh Khan emphasized the importance of every country telling their story through movies; “As long as we are telling the story in whatever language it doesn’t matter. Cinema crosses all barriers.”
 

Shahrukh Khan: "I'd audition for a Saudi movie". (AN photo by Noor Nugali)

With the opening of Saudi Arabia to the world and Cinemas, he said, “I can’t wait to talk about the Saudi films...It will bring Saudis closer to the world and the world closer to Saudi.”

“The stories that you tell should talk about goodness and people should be engaged with the content and it should bring them together. People want to laugh and sadly have to cry, to be entertained and to feel.”

Sharukh noted that Saudi Arabia has started to make movies and he’s watched the King Faisal movie, "Born a King". 

“You’ll always find gems in all movie industries and I think there’s are gems in Saudi and as a matter of fact one of the things I’d like to do is audition for a Saudi movie … Please give me an opportunity!” he said, eliciting a thunderous applause from the audience.


Red carpet

Abdulaziz AlMuzaini, co-founder and CEO of the Saudi Arabian Myrkott Animation Studio; gave a heartfelt thanks full of gratitude to King Salman and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, saying: “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have dreamed of this moment or this panel.”

Some of the celebrities invited to the event walk the red carpet. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

Lebanese actor Wahid Jalal, who was the voice of Long John Silver in Treasure Island, came onstage for the opening of the event. “Children love heroes and they try to imitate them,” he said. 

He also delighted the crowd by performing Silver’s famous laugh.

Some of the celebrities who walked down the red carpet were American actor Jason Momoa, star of Aquaman; Amr Adeeb, Balqis Fathi, Yusra, Boosy Shalabi, Lojien and Aseel Omran, Mohammed Hamaki, Nawal AlZoghbi, Talal Salama, Ahlam Al-Shamsi, Hussain AlJismi, Suad Abdulla, Ibrahem Alharbi, Tariq Alali and Abdulnaser Darweesh.

The gala dinner hosted 500 guests and was a private event, but the red carpet captured the essence of where Saudi is moving to culturally.