[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
http://www.pjw.info/Iraq.html ):


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.


--dan handelman
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
    from Yemen.

    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,
    not days".

    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."


    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
    for attacks.

    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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