World: Trump Boxed In After Blaming Iran for Saudi Oil Plant Strike - PressFrom - US
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WorldTrump Boxed In After Blaming Iran for Saudi Oil Plant Strike

02:45  16 september  2019
02:45  16 september  2019 Source:   bloomberg.com

Iran says U.S. bases and aircraft carriers within range of its missiles - Tasnim

Iran says U.S. bases and aircraft carriers within range of its missiles - Tasnim An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said on Sunday that U.S. bases and aircraft carriers in the region were within range of Iranian missiles after the U.S. accused Iran of leading attacks on Saudi oil plants, raising tensions in the Middle East. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group said it attacked two Saudi Aramco oil plants on Saturday at the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry, knocking out more than half the Kingdom's output. U.S.

Trump risks criticism from many of his Republican allies if he chooses to meet with Iran ’s leader barely a week after accusing the country of being responsible for a strike that caused a significant Attack on Saudi Oil Plant Is What Everyone Feared: Oil Strategy September 14, 2019, 12:28 PM EDT.

Saudi Arabia's energy minister said the strikes had reduced crude oil production by 5.7 TV footage showed a huge blaze at Abqaiq, site of Aramco's largest oil processing plant , while a second drone Saudi Arabia and the US both blamed Iran for attacks in the Gulf on two oil tankers in June and July

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration sought to offer new evidence to back its claim that Iran conducted the attack on major Saudi Arabian oil facilities, saying the munitions used in the strikes were well beyond the capabilities of the Houthi rebels who claimed responsibility.

Trump Boxed In After Blaming Iran for Saudi Oil Plant Strike© Thomson Reuters Smoke is seen following a fire at Aramco facility in the eastern city of Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

The evidence put forward by several administration officials on Sunday -- a day after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said unequivocally in a tweet that Iran was to blame -- suggested that the administration was sensitive to skepticism about its assertions as well as concern that it may be trying to provoke a conflict with the regime in Tehran.

Houthi rebels threaten more attacks on Saudi facilities

Houthi rebels threaten more attacks on Saudi facilities Yemen's Houthi rebels are threatening additional attacks on Saudi oil facilities after claiming responsibility for drone strikes that disrupted Saudi Arabia's crude oil output, the group's al-Masirah TV reported Monday.Companies and foreigners should avoid oil facilities because they may be targeted at any moment, Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree said via the outlet. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said the kingdom was temporarily halting production at two Aramco oil The attacks “resulted in a temporary suspension of production at Abqaiq and Khurais plants But the US blamed Iran , with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeting, “There is no evidence the

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for coordinated strikes on the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, saying they marked an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. Saudi Arabia shuts down about half its oil output after drone strikes .

Two administration officials who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations told reporters that cruise missiles may have been used in the attacks on a Saudi oil field and the world’s biggest crude-processing facility in Abqaiq. The range from Yemen was also far beyond anything the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels there have ever done before, the officials said.

A third administration official, who also asked not to be identified discussing non-public findings, said precision-guided munitions had been used. The U.S. officials didn’t rule out that armed drones were used as well, even as they rejected the Houthi claims that they mounted the attacks using such pilotless aircraft.

Iran fired cruise missiles in attack on Saudi oil facility: Senior US official

Iran fired cruise missiles in attack on Saudi oil facility: Senior US official Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Saudi Arabia said Saturday's strikes had halved its crude oil production to 5.7 million barrels a day. They said they had deployed 10 drones to attack the Abqaiq processing plant and the Khurais The US has blamed Iran for other attacks on oil supplies in the region this year, amid continuing tension

Saudi Arabia is racing to restore oil production after a brazen drone strike on a key Aramco facility slashed its output by half, or about 5% of Iran -backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attacks, but U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo blamed Iran directly without offering

Now, the challenge that President Donald Trump and his advisers face is balancing a tough response to what it says is a clear act of of Iranian aggression, against concern that it is rushing headlong into a conflict that could spiral out of control. Analysts also warn that doing nothing could send a message to Iran or its proxy militias across the Middle East that they can strike their enemies with impunity.

“There’s no great response here,” said Aaron David Miller, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The question becomes how does the U.S. navigate between not allowing this precedent to stand on one hand, and avoiding a punitive escalation or one designed to deter future attacks without an escalation. And the answer is there is no answer.”

Trump tweeted on Sunday “there is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification” and that he’s awaiting word from Saudi Arabia about who it believed caused the attack and “under what terms we would proceed!”

Trump says it's 'looking like' Iran is to blame

Trump says it's 'looking like' Iran is to blame President Donald Trump says it's "looking like" Iran was responsible for the attacks on key oil installations in Saudi Arabia, but he says he doesn't want war. 

Saudi Arabia has yet to publicly accuse Iran of involvement in the attack. The Trump administration has said that any attack on American interests from Iran would bring a military response, but it has The missile that hit the Saudi facilities struck 500 miles from Yemeni territory, but officials there and

The US blamed Iran for attacks that set two major Saudi Arabian oil facilities ablaze on Saturday, hitting more than half of crude oil supplies from The strikes occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning, marking the most successful strike to date on Saudi energy facilities by the Iranian -backed

Still, a direct U.S. military response may be unlikely, according to the experts who said they doubt Trump will be willing to use force against Tehran or risk escalating violence in the Middle East ahead of the 2020 presidential election. They also said the attacks may do little to deter the president from seeking a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in an effort to broker a new nuclear agreement.

Trump hasn’t ruled out a possible meeting with Rouhani when both are in New York in a week for the annual United Nations General Assembly.

‘Maximum Pressure’

The administration’s “maximum pressure” stance against Iran is focused on imposing sanctions and isolating the country over its nuclear ambitions and malign activities in the region. That approach has come under renewed scrutiny at a time the president’s foreign policy team is in flux, after Trump’s firing of hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton last week.

U.S. and Saudi officials say they’re gathering more evidence that Iran was behind the attacks -- some of it on the ground in Saudi Arabia -- that will be released in due time. Iran’s Foreign Ministry described Pompeo’s comments blaming the Islamic Republic as “blind and fruitless accusations.”

Pompeo to travel to Saudi Arabia after attack on oil facilities

Pompeo to travel to Saudi Arabia after attack on oil facilities Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday after an attack on two of the kingdom's oil facilities. © Getty Images Pompeo to travel to Saudi Arabia after attack on oil facilities Pompeo will arrive in Jeddah on Wednesday to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the attack and coordinate efforts to combat "Iranian aggression in the region," the State Department said Tuesday. The secretary will then travel to Abu Dhabi to meet Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates, to discuss regional and bilateral issues.

Footage showed a huge blaze at Abqaiq, site of Aramco's largest oil processing plant , while a The Trump administration is likely to point the finger squarely at Tehran, but Saudi Arabia and the US both blamed Iran for attacks in the Gulf on two oil tankers in June and July, allegations Tehran denied.

, Comment comes after Trump offers support for Saudi defense. Saudi oil output cut in half by drone strike on Aramco site. U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo blamed Iran for attacks on a massive Saudi Aramco oil facility, saying there was no evidence the drones originated in Yemen as

According to U.S. government information, there were 19 points of attack at state-owned Saudi Aramco’s crude-processing facility at Abqaiq and the Khurais oil field, all on the north or northwest-facing sides -- suggesting that the weaponry used came from that direction. Iraq lies to the north, and the U.S. in the past has accused Iran of stashing explosives with affiliated militias in the country. Yemen, by contrast, is hundreds of miles to the south.

Saudi Aramco lost roughly 5.7 million barrels per day of output after the attacks, although officials cited progress in restoring production.

Pompeo’s Tweet

Pompeo tweeted Saturday that there is “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen” and accused Iran of being behind “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

“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,” he added.

Paul Pillar, a former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency officer, said the one “policy option left is de-escalation -- of the Saudi air war against Yemen, and of the Trump administration’s economic war against Iran.”

Pillar, who’s now a non-resident senior fellow at Georgetown University in Washington, said “further attempts to escalate on either of those war fronts offers no reason to believe that they would be any more successful than the wars have been up to this point.”

Iran's Rouhani blames U.S., Saudi for conflict in region

Iran's Rouhani blames U.S., Saudi for conflict in region Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday Tehran did not want conflict in the region and accused the United States and a Saudi-led military coalition of starting a war in Yemen, according to Iranian news agencies. © Erdem Sahin/Pool via REUTERS Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is pictured during a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey, September 16, 2019. Erdem Sahin/Pool via REUTERS "We don't want conflict in the region... Who started the conflict? Not the Yemenis.

Drone strikes set fire to a Saudi Aramco plant in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday. The location was one of two Saudi Aramco facilities targeted Drone attacks claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels struck two key oil installations inside Saudi Arabia on Saturday, damaging facilities that process the

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia raced on Sunday to restart operations at oil plants hit by drone attacks which slashed its production by half, as Iran dismissed US claims it was behind the assault. The Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen, where a Saudi -led coalition is bogged down in a

Rouhani Risks

Trump risks criticism from many of his Republican allies if he chooses to meet with Iran’s leader barely a week after accusing the country of being responsible for a strike that caused a significant disruption to the world’s oil markets. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina has said the U.S. shouldn’t rule out a military strike on Iranian oil facilities in response.

“Iran will not stop their misbehavior until the consequences become more real, like attacking their refineries, which will break the regime’s back,” Graham tweeted Saturday.

One Western diplomat, who asked not to be identified, said Trump sees what he wants to see in world events, so if he wants to push for a meeting with Iran’s president, the strikes won’t necessarily deter him. Trump has repeatedly brushed aside short-range missile tests by North Korea as he seeks to broker a historic nuclear pact with leader Kim Jong Un.

White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said on “Fox News Sunday” that the administration will continue its “maximum pressure campaign” against Iran, but she added that “the president will always consider his options,” including a meeting with Rouhani.

That assumes the Iranian leader would be willing to take such a meeting -- even an informal chat on the sidelines of the UN gathering -- without the U.S. making some gesture to ease its sanctions on his country. The strikes in Saudi Arabia may all but rule out such a move anytime soon despite pleas by Western leaders led by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Trump says going into Iran would be an 'easy' decision

  Trump says going into Iran would be an 'easy' decision President Trump said going into Iran would be a "very easy" decision, but he's showing restraint. Mr. Trump made the comments during a news conference alongside Australian prime minister Scott Morrison Friday, after announcing new sanctions leveled against Iran. "We are by far the strongest military in the world," Mr. Trump said. "Going into Iran would be a very easy decision, as I've said before — would be very easy, the easiest thing. Most people thought I would go in within two seconds but plenty of time, plenty of time," the president said. "In the meantime, they have a lot of problems within Iran.

Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked Who is to blame ? Yemen’s Iran -aligned Houthi group said it had attacked two plants at the heart of Saudi de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told US President Donald Trump on

The Saudi oil processing site is ablaze in this still image taken from a social media video obtained According to Dotcom, the US blaming Iran will allow it to then “go to war, take control of Iran ’s oil In June, Trump reportedly pulled back from a planned military strike on Iran at the last minute after it

The attacks also pose a major test for Pompeo, who has an opportunity to consolidate power after Bolton’s departure.

Pompeo and Brian Hook, the State Department’s special representative for Iran, have argued the U.S. could afford to ramp up sanctions and diplomatic pressure on Iran because there’s plenty of global oil supply. But there’s now little cushion in the market with the major disruption caused by the drone attacks, which could force the president and his team to look for ways to relieve the pressure.

Strategic Reserve

While analysts estimate Saudi Arabia may be able to restore half of the lost production as early as Monday, Trump said on Twitter Sunday he’s authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve if needed based on the attacks “in a to-be-determined amount sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied.” The stock of around 645 million barrels of crude and petroleum products could help meet demand during the time it would take for the Saudis to repair the facilities. Trump also told U.S. agencies to expedite approvals of oil pipelines in the permitting process.

Read More: Saudis Set to Restore Almost Half of Outpost Lost to Strikes

There’s also the question of the administration’s credibility. Some foreign policy analysts said it’s hard to take at face value the claim that Tehran is responsible, given the hard line against Iran advocated by Pompeo, Bolton and others.

“The Trump administration appears to have evidence of Iranian responsibility but will face skepticism from others, both because of policy disagreements between the US and its allies, and because declining to attribute an attack provides an excuse not to respond,” tweeted Michael Singh, managing director for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

(Updates with Trump tweet on cause in 7th paragraph and authorizing release of oil from SPR in 25th.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Jordan Fabian in Washington at [email protected];Nick Wadhams in Washington at [email protected];David Wainer in New York at [email protected];Glen Carey in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at [email protected], ;Bill Faries at [email protected], Larry Liebert, Mark Niquette

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Read More

Yemen's Houthi rebels announce halt in attacks on Saudi Arabia .
Yemen's Houthi rebels said Friday they are halting all drone and ballistic missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, six days after claiming responsibility for a strike that crippled a key oil facility in the kingdom. A damaged installation in Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq oil processing plant is pictured on September 20, 2019. - Saudi Arabia said on September 17 its oil output will return to normal by the end of September, seeking to soothe rattled energy markets after attacks on two instillations that slashed its production by half.

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