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U.S. building coalition after Saudi oil attack, Iran warns against war

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U.S. building coalition after Saudi oil attack, Iran warns against war

By Tuqa Khalid and Aziz El Yaakoubi

 

2019-09-19T162318Z_3_LYNXMPEF8I110_RTROPTP_4_SAUDI-ARAMCO-USA-POMPEO.JPG

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo takes part in a meeting with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, September 18, 2019. Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS

 

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United States said on Thursday it was building a coalition to deter Iranian threats following a weekend attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.

 

Iran has warned U.S. President Donald Trump against being dragged into a war in the Middle East and said it would meet any offensive action with a crushing response.

 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Trump, who has ordered more sanctions on Iran, wants a peaceful solution to the crisis.

 

He was speaking after talks with Saudi and Emirati leaders over the strike that Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Tehran.

 

Iran denies involvement in the Sept. 14 attack that initially halved Saudi oil output and which Pompeo earlier called an "act of war" against the world's largest oil exporter.

 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in the UAE from Saudi Arabia on Thursday for talks with Abu Dhabi's crown prince, as tensions grew between America and its Gulf allies and Iran. Lauren Anthony reports.

 

Pompeo appeared to soften his tone on Thursday after talks with Abu Dhabi's crown prince, the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, which is Riyadh's main Arab ally.

 

"We are here to build out a coalition aimed at achieving peace and a peaceful resolution. That's my mission, that's what President Trump certainly wants me to work to achieve and I hope that the Islamic Republic of Iran sees it that way," Pompeo told reporters.

 

He did not provide details about the coalition. The United States has however been trying to create a global maritime security alliance since attacks on oil tankers in Gulf waters, which Washington also blamed on Iran.

 

UAE, Saudi Arabia, Britain and Bahrain have said they will participate. Iraq said it would not join, and most European countries have been reluctant to sign up for fear of stoking regional tensions.

 

Pompeo described his proposed coalition as "an act of diplomacy" while Iran's foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, told CNN on Thursday that the Islamic Republic "won't blink" if it has to defend itself against any U.S. or Saudi military strike, which he said would lead to "all-out war".

 

Later on Friday, Zarif called Kuwait's foreign minister Sheikh Sabah al Khalid Al Sabah where the two discussed measures to de-escalate tensions in the region, state news agency KUNA reported.

 

'B TEAM'

Zarif mocked Pompeo, saying he was part of a so-called "B-team", along with Saudi Arabia's crown prince, which is trying to dupe Trump into opting for war.

 

Pompeo on Wednesday met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has called the assault on oil plants a "test of global will".

 

Riyadh has displayed what it described as remnants of 25 Iranian drones and missiles used in the strike, saying it was evidence of Iranian aggression.

Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir said on Thursday the attacks were an "extension of the Iranian regime's hostile and outlawed behavior" and called on the international community to "shoulder its responsibilities and take a firm stance towards Iran's criminal behavior."

 

"Complacency with the Iranian regime will only encourage it to commit more acts of terrorism and sabotage in our region and around the world," Jubeir tweeted.

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged all countries in the Gulf to sit down for talks to defuse tensions and said groundless accusations against Iran over the attacks were inflaming tensions, Interfax news agency reported.

 

Oil prices, which soared following the attack, steadied after Saudi Arabia pledged to restore full oil production by the end of September. [O/R]

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement, which is battling a Saudi-led military coalition, claimed responsibility for the assault on two Saudi oil plants, including the world's largest processing facility. U.S. and Saudi officials rejected the claim, saying the attack had not come from the south.

 

Saudi-led forces launched a military operation north of Yemen's port city of Hodeidah on Friday, saying it had destroyed four sites used in assembling remote-controlled boats and sea mines to help protect the freedom of maritime navigation.

       

U.N. MEETING IN FOCUS

Proof of Iranian responsibility for the Saudi attacks could provoke a response from Riyadh and Washington, which want to curb Iranian influence in the region.

 

Pompeo said the attacks would be a major focus of next week's annual U.N. General Assembly meeting and suggested Riyadh could make its case there.

 

The U.S. issued visas allowing Rouhani and Zarif to travel to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly, Iranian U.N. mission spokesman Alireza Miryousefi confirmed to Reuters.

 

Zarif is to leave for New York on Friday to attend the General Assembly, the ministry spokesman tweeted on Thursday, after earlier reports of a U.S. delay in issuing a visa for the visit.

 

Tehran says the U.S. accusations are part of Washington's "maximum pressure" policy on Iran to force it to renegotiate a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which Trump exited last year, reimposing sanctions to choke off Iran's oil exports.

 

Tehran, which has gradually scaled back its nuclear commitments, has rejected any talks unless sanctions are lifted.

 

"The United States is now using oil as a weapon; oil is not a weapon," Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said.

 

(Reporting by Tuqa Khalid and Aziz El Yaakoubi; Additional reporting by Mahal El Dahan, Nafisa Eltahir, Maher Chmaytelli, Rania El Gamal, Stephen Kalin and Dubai newsroom, Sudip Kar-Gupta in Paris, Michelle Martin in Berlin, Julia Payne and Dmitry Zhdannikov in London, Maria Tsvetkova in Moscow, John Davison and Mohammed Katfan in Baghdad, Ahmed Tolba, Alaa Swilam and Samar Hassan in Cairo; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Giles Elgood and Lisa Shumaker)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-09-20
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8 hours ago, Tug said:

I seriously doubt any Country will willingly align themselves with trump and the Saudis sad but in my opinion true

 

 

I hope you are correct....but never underestimate the spinelessness of politicians and leaders of the EU, Australia, Canada and Japan.

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6 minutes ago, khunken said:

Well serial lapdog Britain has already joined if the report is correct.

There's nothing about going to war in Pompeo's mission statement

9 hours ago, webfact said:

"We are here to build out a coalition aimed at achieving peace and a peaceful resolution.

What nation doesn't want peace? Maybe Iran can be convinced to join too?

But I wouldn't trust the Trump administration to misrepresent any coalition membership as a consensus for using force, albeit in a "peaceful manner."

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1 hour ago, Srikcir said:

And not one was allegedly detected before striking and intercepted or disrupted?

Not just by Saudi Arabia but by the U.S. that has three bases in the southern part of the peninsula, not to mention various U.S. and U.S. ally naval ships in the Persian Gulf & Strait likely covered by direct and indirect air surveillance.

Or was there some early warning but left unacted upon for undisclosed reasons?

 

I think it's more worrying than surprising. On the cruise missile/uav front, defense lags behind offense. That's no secret. It's not even a secret that Iran possesses such systems. But carrying out a large, well coordinated long rage operation like that, and executing it without being detected and with very accurate hits indicates capabilities have matured.

 

Given numerous attacks (in the region alone, even) using similar means and, for the most part, registering failures on the defense side, this shouldn't come as a shock, exactly.

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12 hours ago, Srikcir said:

And not one was allegedly detected before striking and intercepted or disrupted?

Not just by Saudi Arabia but by the U.S. that has three bases in the southern part of the peninsula, not to mention various U.S. and U.S. ally naval ships in the Persian Gulf & Strait likely covered by direct and indirect air surveillance.

Or was there some early warning but left unacted upon for undisclosed reasons?

Something else that strikes me as odd 25 hits and no one was hurt or killed dont get me wrong I’m delighted no one was hurt but I do find it odd to say the least

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1 hour ago, Tug said:

Something else that strikes me as odd 25 hits and no one was hurt or killed dont get me wrong I’m delighted no one was hurt but I do find it odd to say the least

Not difficult to see why in this series of Reuters photos of the damage. It's the world's largest automated oil stabilization facility sitting in a desert. It doesn't usually have workers standing around the equipment for safety reasons, it was also 4am. Also note the extreme pinpoint accuracy of hits on the tall chemical 'stacks'. Who did that and how?

 

Look at the series of images below, not the video at the top.

 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-aramco/media-visit-saudi-oil-plant-damaged-in-strike-blamed-on-iran-idUSKBN1W40VN?il=0

Edited by rabas

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Can we have a coalition against the USA please?

It does not have to be a military coalition. But its overdue to show that stupid orange idiot that enough is enough. And because many millions of Americans still support him it's also time that they understand that they are part of the problem and not the solution.

Iran, Saudi and other countries are obviously also problematic. But the situation gets a lot more problematic because the USA meddles with them one or the other way.

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13 hours ago, Morch said:

 

I think it's more worrying than surprising. On the cruise missile/uav front, defense lags behind offense. That's no secret. It's not even a secret that Iran possesses such systems. But carrying out a large, well coordinated long rage operation like that, and executing it without being detected and with very accurate hits indicates capabilities have matured.

 

Given numerous attacks (in the region alone, even) using similar means and, for the most part, registering failures on the defense side, this shouldn't come as a shock, exactly.

There are a number of other explanations to these supposed ‘matured capabilities’, including the attack not being by cruise missile/uav and Iran not being the attacker.

 

Other attacks in the region have included manually planted explosive devices.

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1 hour ago, tgw said:

 

so...

either #1 the Iranian government is stupid and it really was Iran (but everything they did in the last 25 years indicated they are not)

or it was #2 the Israelis' newest effort to "defend" themselves against the Iranian nuclear weapons program,

or #3 the US upped their game, thinking they can't pull off the lab tube stunt at the UN twice.

 

my gut feeling says #2, because the US probably wouldn't risk antagonizing the Saudis, and because it wouldn't be the first time the Israeli would try to pull the US into a war there.

 

You are omitting the most obvious explanation. It is what it always appeared to be from the get go- Yemen retaliating against the Saudi invasion of their country. Yemen has said from the very beginning they were the ones responsible for the attack. Even Pompeo is now backing off the "drone came from Iran" nonsense and pivoting to "no matter where the drone came from Iran is responsible!"  

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22 minutes ago, usviphotography said:

You are omitting the most obvious explanation. It is what it always appeared to be from the get go- Yemen retaliating against the Saudi invasion of their country. Yemen has said from the very beginning they were the ones responsible for the attack. Even Pompeo is now backing off the "drone came from Iran" nonsense and pivoting to "no matter where the drone came from Iran is responsible!"  

yes, you are right, I should have included this scenario

 

the next question would be where the drones came from, if they were really delivered by Iran, or if they are foreign-copies of Iranian ordnance, made to deliver the "proof" that they were Iran-made. Judging from the size of recovered debris, I also wonder if at least some of them were meant to leave identifyable debris behind.

 

another detail that troubles me is the absence of casualties - the Houthis obviously wouldn't be sorry if they had killed some Saudis and even would possibly hvae sent a couple of drones elsewhere to provoke casualties, but other involved players would very much want to avoid killing innocent oil workers.

 

the stakes are staked so high in this region that the players would go very long lengths, even play the long game, to achieve their goals.

 

 

P.S.

has anyone links to pictures of remains of exploded US-drones or rockets or knows how these compare to the many large debris of allegedly Iranian drones found in Soudi Arabia ?

 

Edited by tgw

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