The US and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are pushing for a conflict with Iran, as is becoming apparent from developments in the last few days.
Riyadh claimed that, according to preliminary results, the attacks on its oil infrastructure didn’t originate from Yemen. That is because, its air defense systems are oriented towards the country and would have blocked a possible attack.
This graphic shows Saudi Air Defences around the Abqaiq oil facilities that were struck early Saturday. The drones were well within PAC-2 range, but outside Hawk range. It's possible that the low-flying or the drones' small size and composite materials helped it avoid detection. pic.twitter.com/AiMJ0LZT27
— Aᴍɪʀ (@AmirIGM) September 14, 2019
The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed US officials, according to who the blame falls on Iran, since US and Saudi focus was shifted on the southern border with Yemen, leaving it open to attacks from other directions.
According to the unnamed sources, the attack originated from Iran and there was even debris from what appears to be Iranian cruise-missile technology.
“Everything points to them,” an unmanned Saudi official said, referring to Iran. “The debris, the intel and the points of impact.”
Saudi air defenses also were monitoring maritime traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, where U.S. officials charge Iran has seized passing oil tankers and flown drones near American war ships.
But Saudi Arabia’s eastern flank remained open. And according to both the US and the Kingdom, Iran was behind the attack.
Iran was blamed, even though a Houthi spokesperson even claimed responsibility for the attack on September 14th.
“This operation is one of the largest operations carried out by our forces in the depth of Saudi Arabia and came after an accurate intelligence operation and advance monitoring and cooperation of honorable and free men within the Kingdom.
We promise the Saudi regime that our future operations will expand further and be more painful than ever as long as it continues its aggression and siege.
We affirm that our goals bank is expanding day by day and that there is no solution for the Saudi regime except to stop the aggression and siege on our country.”
Meanwhile, it was announced that a Saudi Defence Ministry spokesman will hold a press conference on September 18th to provide evidence about the attack on Aramco.
The conference will show evidence on Iran’s involvement in the Aramco attacks, state TV added. It will also show Iranian weapons that were used in the attacks.
The conference will take place at 14:30 GMT, and will present “material evidence and Iranian weapons proving the Iranian regime’s involvement in the terrorist attack”.
In response to the attack, the Kingdom announced that it would join the US maritime coalition to ensure security in the Persian Gulf. This was reported by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, citing an anonymous official.
The US continues its accusations, saying that it is prepared to strike any responsible party that attacked its allies.
US Vice President Mike Pence, who essentially just repeats what US President Donald Trump says, said that the US was “locked and loaded” to defend America’s allies in response to an attack on oil sites in Saudi Arabia.
“In the wake of this unprovoked attack, I promise you, we’re ready,” Pence said. “We’re locked and loaded and we’re ready to defend the interests of our allies. Make no mistake about it.”
Pence also said that it “looks like” Iran was responsible for the attack on the Saudi oil facilities, but said the U.S. intelligence community was working to confirm the details.
Pence confirmed that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would travel to the Kingdom on September 18th.
“We’re evaluating all of the evidence, we’re consulting with our allies,” Pence said.
On September 17th, by pure accident, of course, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper welcomed Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa of Bahrain to the Pentagon.
He didn’t miss the chance to remind that the US 5th Fleet operates out of Bahrain since 1995.
“Your nation has stepped up for decades to play a part in helping to deter conflict in one of the most important parts of the world,” he said. “We are grateful for the kingdom’s long-standing willingness to host the [U.S.] 5th Fleet, a partnership that began in 1995. This is indicative of the strong ties between our countries.”
Esper also mentioned Iran, saying that that Iran continues to violate international norms and instead has chosen to promote instability and danger throughout the region.
“We greatly appreciate you working together with us and other friends of the rule of law and security to deter further provocative acts by Iran,” he said. “Matters at hand are regrettable and are of great concern to all of us in the world — those, at least, who value the international world order of peace, security and stability.”
Meanwhile, on the international scene, France said it would send experts to investigate the attack.
In a statement, the Elysee Palace said the president strongly condemned the attack and assured Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that France was committed to stability in the Middle East.
“In response to a Saudi request, President Macron confirmed to the crown prince that France will send experts to Saudi Arabia to take part in investigations aimed at revealing the origin and modalities of the attacks,” the statement added.
Japan said that it wasn’t aware of any Iranian involvement in the attack.
“We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” Defence Minister Taro Kono told reporters at a briefing. “We believe the Houthis carried out the attack based on the statement claiming responsibility.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the attacks during a telephone call, agreeing on “the need to work together, alongside international partners, to agree a collective response,” according to Downing Street.
Iran maintains that it played no role in the attacks, with various official accusing the US of being in “denial” over the attacks.
Furthermore, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused US of the very apparent hypocrisy it shows.
Just imagine: The US isn’t upset when its allies mercilessly BOMB babies in Yemen for over 4 years—with its arms and its military assistance.
But it is terribly upset when the victims react the only way they can—against the aggressor's OIL refineries. #EndYemenWarNow
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) September 17, 2019
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a cabinet meeting that the Houthis attacked the Saudi oil facilities as a “warning” for Riyadh to end its long-running war in Yemen.
“We don’t want conflict in the region … Who started the conflict? Not the Yemenis. It was Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, America, certain European countries and the Zionist regime [Israel] which started the war in this region,” Rouhani said in the video.
Finally, Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said that Tehran was not involved in the attacks.
“Rejecting comments about Iran’s role in the operation, [Hatami] said the issue is very clear: There has been a conflict between two countries [Yemen and Saudi Arabia].” The Tasnim news agency said.
The situation is currently quite volatile, with both the US and Saudi Arabia dead set on painting Iran as the guilty party, despite what any other evidence or claims would suggest.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Gulf War Report: U.S., Saudi Sources Claim Attack On Saudi Oil Was Launched From Iran
- Gulf War 2.0 Is About To Start