US hints at military response to Saudi attacks as oil prices surge

2019/09/c2574ff1f98873727d8c2a5ff53479a818c3b656-1568632675.jpg
Read: 771     15:03     16 September 2019    

Oil prices made their biggest jump since the Gulf War on Monday after President Donald Trump warned that the US was "locked and loaded" to respond to attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure that Washington blamed on Iran.


It is the first time the president has hinted at a potential American military response to the drone attacks, which slashed Saudi oil production by half and led both the kingdom and the United States to announce they may tap their strategic reserves.
"Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. 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 tweeted.

China on Monday urged the US and Iran to "exercise restraint... in the absence of a conclusive investigation or verdict".

The Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, claimed Saturday's strikes on two plants owned by state energy giant Aramco.

But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed the finger squarely at Tehran, saying there was no evidence the "unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply" was launched from Yemen.

"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," the top US diplomat said.

That drew an angry response from Tehran, where foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said: "Such fruitless and blind accusations and remarks are incomprehensible and meaningless."

The White House said on Sunday that Trump may still meet Iran President Hassan Rouhani at the UN meeting in New York next week, but Tehran said Monday it did not think "such a thing would happen".

Baghdad, caught between its two main allies -- Tehran and Washington -- also denied any link to the attacks amid media speculation that the drones were launched from Iraq.

Saudi de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said the kingdom is "willing and able" to respond to this "terrorist aggression."

But a tit-for-tat strike on Iranian oil fields is "highly unlikely," Middle East expert James Dorsey told AFP.

"The Saudis do not want an open conflict with Iran. The Saudis would like others to fight that war, and the others are reluctant," said Dorsey, from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

- 'Genie is out of the bottle' -

The attacks sent oil prices sky-rocketing on Monday, with Brent futures up $12 -- or nearly 20 percent -- in the first few minutes of business, while WTI jumped more than $8, or 15 percent.

It was the biggest rise since the 1990-1991 Gulf War.

AFP



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News Line

US hints at military response to Saudi attacks as oil prices surge

2019/09/c2574ff1f98873727d8c2a5ff53479a818c3b656-1568632675.jpg
Read: 772     15:03     16 September 2019    

Oil prices made their biggest jump since the Gulf War on Monday after President Donald Trump warned that the US was "locked and loaded" to respond to attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure that Washington blamed on Iran.


It is the first time the president has hinted at a potential American military response to the drone attacks, which slashed Saudi oil production by half and led both the kingdom and the United States to announce they may tap their strategic reserves.
"Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. 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 tweeted.

China on Monday urged the US and Iran to "exercise restraint... in the absence of a conclusive investigation or verdict".

The Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, claimed Saturday's strikes on two plants owned by state energy giant Aramco.

But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed the finger squarely at Tehran, saying there was no evidence the "unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply" was launched from Yemen.

"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," the top US diplomat said.

That drew an angry response from Tehran, where foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said: "Such fruitless and blind accusations and remarks are incomprehensible and meaningless."

The White House said on Sunday that Trump may still meet Iran President Hassan Rouhani at the UN meeting in New York next week, but Tehran said Monday it did not think "such a thing would happen".

Baghdad, caught between its two main allies -- Tehran and Washington -- also denied any link to the attacks amid media speculation that the drones were launched from Iraq.

Saudi de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said the kingdom is "willing and able" to respond to this "terrorist aggression."

But a tit-for-tat strike on Iranian oil fields is "highly unlikely," Middle East expert James Dorsey told AFP.

"The Saudis do not want an open conflict with Iran. The Saudis would like others to fight that war, and the others are reluctant," said Dorsey, from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

- 'Genie is out of the bottle' -

The attacks sent oil prices sky-rocketing on Monday, with Brent futures up $12 -- or nearly 20 percent -- in the first few minutes of business, while WTI jumped more than $8, or 15 percent.

It was the biggest rise since the 1990-1991 Gulf War.

AFP



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