Introduction – Sept 17, 2019
Earlier in June the U.S. and its allies blamed Iran for a series of tanker attacks in the gulf, despite the fact that there was no hard evidence of Iranian involvement.
In fact as many noted at the time, it seemed as if the U.S. was simply trying to build a case for military action against Iran.
Now U.S. hawks are trying to do the same thing again. Only this time Iran is being blamed for the attack on the Saudi oil facilities. Despite Houthi’ claims of responsibility, Washington’s allegations of Iranian involvement suggests the Trump administration is searching for grounds to justify military action.
Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the attack over the weekend, without providing a shred of evidence. While the unnamed U.S. officials quoted by the BBC said the attacks came from a west-north-west direction, implying that the drones came from Iraq, Iran or the northern Gulf.
However, there’s one problem with that. What the BBC omits to mention is that drones are highly manoeuvrable. So they could easily have been initially launched from anywhere north, south, east or west and then done a 90 or 180 degree turn before flying to their target.
This is all reminiscent of similar claims about Iraqi involvement in 9/11. Those allegations turned out to be completely groundless and we’ve no doubt that these will too. However, we all know where they ultimately led. Together with allegations about Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction – which also turned out to be completely groundless – they helped pave the way for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Are we witnessing a repeat performance? Don’t be surprised if in the coming weeks and months we are inundated with reports and speculation of Iranian involvement in a host of dastardly deeds.
Saudi oil attacks: US says intelligence shows Iran involved
BBC Online – Sept 17, 2019
The United States has issued satellite images and cited intelligence to back its allegation Iran was behind attacks on major Saudi oil facilities.
Iran denies involvement in Saturday’s air attacks, which were claimed by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen.
But unnamed US officials speaking to US and international media say the direction and extent of the attacks cast doubt on Houthi involvement.
The incident has cut global oil supplies by 5% and prices have soared.
What is the US saying?
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran at the weekend, without providing any evidence, prompting Tehran to accuse Washington of deceit.
Tweeting on Sunday, President Donald Trump stopped short of directly accusing Iran, but suggested possible military action once the perpetrator was known
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019
Unnamed US officials have been speaking to the New York Times, ABC and Reuters.
One official said there were 19 points of impact on the targets and the attacks had come from a west-north-west direction – not Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen, which lies to the south-west of the Saudi oil facilities.
The officials said that could suggest launch sites in the northern Gulf, Iran or Iraq.
A Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has accused Iran of providing the weapons.
A close-up image of damaged tanks at the Abqaiq processing plant (included above) appeared to show impact points on the western side.
Other images seem to show damage at the Khurais oilfield, which is located further west.
Iraq denied at the weekend that the attacks were launched from its territory. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said Mr Pompeo had assured him in a phone call on Monday that the US backed Iraq’s position.
Officials quoted by the New York Times said a mix of drones and cruise missiles might have been deployed, but that not all had hit their targets at Abqaiq and Khurais.
China and the European Union have, separately, urged restraint.
UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths told the Security Council on Monday it was “not entirely clear” who was behind the strike but he said it had increased the chances of a regional conflict.
In the UK, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also said it was not yet clear who was responsible, but called the act a “wanton violation of international law”.