US 'locked and loaded' after attacks on Saudi Arabia's Aramco oil facilities
US President Donald Trump said he is waiting to confirm information from Saudi Arabia before proceeding, in tweets posted on Sunday.
“Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!” Trump said on Twitter.
“PLENTY OF OIL!” he added in a subsequent Tweet, in an attempt to curtail fears of a shortage after the attack halved Saudi Arabia’s oil production.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran on Saturday of responsibility for attacks on two facilities belonging to Saudi state oil company Aramco in eastern Saudi Arabia.
Yemen’s rebel Houthi movement had claimed responsibility for the pre-dawn attack but Pompeo said that there was no evidence that the attacks, which targeted the key Aramco facilities of Abqaiq and Khurais, were launched from Yemen.
"Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply," the top US diplomat tweeted.
"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," Pompeo added.
Earlier this year US officials said they had evidence that attacks on Saudi oil facilities claimed by Yemen's Houthis in May were in fact launched by Iran-backed militants in Iraq.
The Iraqi government on Sunday denied that Iraq was involved in any way in the attacks on Saudi oil facilities.
The drones triggered multiple explosions, forcing the state-owned Saudi Aramco oil company to temporarily suspend production at the two facilities and interrupting about half of the company's total output, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said.
The attack came ahead of a much-anticipated listing of Aramco stocks on global markets.
On Sunday Iran's Foreign Ministry dismissed as "meaningless" US accusations that it was behind drone attacks on Saudi oil installations, suggesting comments made by the US secretary of state were a pretext for military action against the Islamic Republic.
"Such fruitless and blind accusations and remarks are incomprehensible and meaningless," ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi was quoted as saying in a statement.
The allegations over Saturday's strikes were meant to justify "future actions" against Iran, he added.
A Yemen expert told The New Arab the Saudi mismanagement of the Yemen conflict has played into the hands of Iran.
"The problem is that we are stuck in the blame game. The Saudis have completely mismanaged the war in Yemen and so have left themselves exposed. They let the UAE take the lead but all the UAE has done is fuel internal divisions in Yemen, playing right into the hands of the Houthis, and, consequently Iran,” she said on condition of anonymity,
"Trump has escalated rhetoric and economic sanctions on Iran. But beyond that, both the US and Saudi Arabia have been pretty much reactionary and not strategic in the way they dealt with Iran," she added.
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