[pjw] NEWS: US blames Iran for Saudi oil attack, Trump 'locked and loaded' (Reuters 9/15)
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Mon Sep 16 13:09:14 EDT 2019
Iraq Affinity Group supporters:
With President Trump accusing Iran of attacking Saudi oil facilities-- an
some saying the attacks originated in Iraq (see below)-- I thought it
would be good to repost this info about the standing call to action
(which you can also find via a link at the top of our website at
If the US launches an attack on another country (that is, not one of the
seven it is already attacking regularly-- Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya,
Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, unless it seems like a new sustained war), to
meet at 4 PM at Terry Schrunk Plaza, SW 3rd and Madison, on the day of the
attack, or 4 PM the day after if it occurs after 4 PM.
peace and justice works iraq affinity group
September 15, 2019 / 8:35 PM / Updated 5 hours ago
U.S. blames Iran for Saudi oil attack, Trump says 'locked and loaded'
Roberta Rampton, Arshad Mohammed
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday the
United States was "locked and loaded" for a potential response to the
attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities, after a senior U.S.
administration official said Iran was to blame.
Trump also authorized the use of the U.S. emergency oil stockpile to
ensure stable supplies after the attack, which shut 5% of world
production and sent crude prices soaring more than 19% in early trade
on Monday, before moderating to show a 10% gain.
"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.
Earlier in the day, a senior U.S. official told reporters that evidence
from the attack, which hit the world's biggest oil-processing facility,
indicated Iran was behind it, instead of the Yemeni Houthi group that
had claimed responsibility.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said there was no evidence the
attack came from Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been battling
the Houthis for over four years in a conflict widely seen as a proxy
war between Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Muslim rival Iran.
"Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an
unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply," Pompeo said.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissed the U.S.
allegations that it was responsible was "pointless". A senior
Revolutionary Guards commander warned the Islamic Republic was ready
for "full-fledged" war.
"All American bases and their aircraft carriers in a distance of up to
2,000 kilometers around Iran are within the range of our missiles," the
semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Commander Amirali Hajizadeh as
Tensions between Washington and Tehran were already running high
because of a long-running dispute between the two nations over Iran's
nuclear program that led the United States to impose sweeping
Oil prices surged as much as 19% in early Asian trade on Monday on
worries over global supply and soaring tensions in the Middle East.
Brent crude posted its biggest intra-day percentage gain since the
start of the Gulf War in 1991.
State oil giant Saudi Aramco said the attack on Saturday had cut output
by 5.7 million barrels per day.
The U.S. official, who asked not to be named, said on Sunday there were
19 points of impact in the attack on Saudi facilities and evidence
showed the launch area was west-northwest of the targets - not south
The official added that Saudi officials indicated they had seen signs
that cruise missiles were used in the attack, which is inconsistent
with the Iran-aligned Houthi group's claim that it conducted the attack
with 10 drones.
"There's no doubt that Iran is responsible for this. No matter how you
slice it, there's no escaping it. There's no other candidate," the
official told reporters.
Riyadh has accused Iran of being behind previous attacks on oil-pumping
stations and the Shaybah oil field, charges that Tehran denies, but has
not blamed anyone for Saturday's strike. Riyadh also says Tehran arms
the Houthis, a charge both deny.
Richard Nephew, a program director at Columbia University's Center on
Global Energy Policy, said if Iran was responsible for the attack, it
may be as retribution for U.S. sanctions.
"They are making decisions about whether and how to respond to what
they see as a massive attack on their interests from the U.S. via
sanctions by attacking U.S. interests in turn, and those of U.S.
partners they believe are responsible for U.S. policy," he said.
Aramco gave no timeline for output resumption. A source close to the
matter told Reuters the return to full oil capacity could take "weeks,
Riyadh said it would compensate for the damage at its facilities by
drawing on its stocks, which stood at 188 million barrels in June,
according to official data.
Trump said he had "authorized the release of oil from the Strategic
Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in a to-be-determined amount sufficient
to keep the markets well-supplied."
CALLS FOR RESTRAINT
Consultancy Rapidan Energy Group said images of the Abqaiq facility
after the attack showed about five of its stabilization towers appeared
to have been destroyed, and would take months to rebuild - something
that could curtail output for a prolonged period.
"However Saudi Aramco keeps some redundancy in the system to maintain
production during maintenance," Rapidan added, meaning operations could
return to pre-attack levels sooner.
The Saudi bourse closed down 1.1% on Sunday, with banking and
petrochemical shares taking the biggest hit. Saudi petrochemical firms
announced a significant reduction in feedstock supplies.
"Abqaiq is the nerve center of the Saudi energy system. Even if exports
resume in the next 24 to 48 hours, the image of invulnerability has
been altered," Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC
Capital Markets, told Reuters.
Some Iraqi media outlets said the attack came from there. Baghdad
denied that on Sunday and vowed to punish anyone using Iraq, where
Iran-backed paramilitary groups wield increasing power, as a launchpad
Kuwait, which borders Iraq, said it was investigating the sighting of a
drone over its territory and coordinating with Saudi Arabia and other
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Saturday's attacks
and called on all parties to exercise restraint and prevent any
escalation. The European Union warned the strikes posed a real threat
to regional security, and several nations urged restraint.
The attack came after Trump said a meeting with Iranian President
Hassan Rouhani was possible at the U.N. General Assembly in New York
this month. Tehran ruled out talks until sanctions are lifted.
But Trump appeared on Sunday to play down the chances he might be
willing to meet with Iranian officials, saying reports he would do so
without conditions were not accurate.
As recently as last Tuesday, Pompeo said Trump "is prepared to meet
with no preconditions".
Saudi de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Trump that
Riyadh was ready to deal with "terrorist aggression". A Saudi-led
coalition has responded to past Houthi attacks with air strikes on the
group's military sites in Yemen.
The conflict has been in military stalemate for years. The Saudi
alliance has air supremacy but has come under scrutiny over civilian
deaths and a humanitarian crisis that has left millions facing
Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Arshad Mohammed; Additional reporting
by Rania El Gamal and Parisa Hafezi, Saeed Azhar and Hadeel Al Sayegh
in Dubai, David Shepardson and Timothy Gardner in Washington, William
James in London, John Irish in Paris, Alex Lawler, Julia Payne and Ron
Bousso in London, Robin Emmott in Brussels and Devika Krishna Kumar and
Michelle Nichols in New York; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous and Richard
Valdmanis; Editing by William Maclean, Peter Cooney & Simon
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