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Saudi-led coalition says Iranian weapons used in attack against oil installations

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Monday 16 Sep 2019

Saudi-led coalition says Iranian weapons used in attack against oil installations

(Sharecast News) - The spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, Turki Al-Maliki, said Iranian weapons were used in the strikes against the Kingdom's oil infrastructure at the weekend.
According to Bloomberg, Al-Maliki also said the attacks had not been launched from Yemen, despite the claims of responsibility from Houthi rebels from that country.

At the weekend, ten drone attacks against the oil processing facility at Abqaiq in Saudi Arabia and against the Khurais oil field took out approximately 5.7m barrels a day of the Kingdom's oil output, equating to nearly 6.0% of global supplies.

The attacks came amid recent contradictory statement from Iranian officials regarding the possibility of a meeting between Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, and his US counterpart, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly later in September.

Earlier during the preceding week, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, reportedly said that Donald Trump was willing to meet with Rouhani with no preconditions.

Those remarks were denied by Trump himself on Monday.

Commenting on the most likely author of the attacks, Anthony H. Cordesman from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, pointed out Houthi rebels' lack of a technological base.

"They are clearly dependent on imported missiles, RPVs, UCAVs, and cruise missiles for any attacks, and it is unclear that they have to ability to manage a complex set of near simultaneous attacks on this complex a set of targets at such long distances," Cordesman said.

"Iran may not have technically executed the attacks, but it is extremely doubtful that the Houthi could have executed them without Iranian assistance.

"Iran is also the most likely source of any Houthi systems, and even if the attacks all came from Houthi areas in Yemen, this gives Iran considerable potential leverage while leaving the level of Houthi dependence on Iran uncertain."

Nonetheless, Cordesman went on to add that the options for retaliation against either the Houthis or Tehran were "complex and uncertain."

"It is easy to escalate. It can be far harder to stop escalating and limit the lasting effects of every new step up the escalation ladder."

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