London, 16th September 2019
Tactics Institute for Security and Counter Terrorism strongly condemns the weekend’s drone strikes on Aramco oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.
The attack was the biggest on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure since Iraq’s Saddam Hussein fired Scud missiles into the country during the first Gulf War and it represents a worrying escalation in the region.
Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the attacks, but United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran directly. The Iranian Foreign Ministry described Pompeo’s remarks as “blind and fruitless accusations.”
Saudi oil facilities as well as foreign tankers in and around the Persian Gulf have been the target of several attacks since 2018. The escalation followed US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and his re-imposition of punitive economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The Houthis, who are fighting Saudi-backed forces in Yemen, have claimed responsibility for most of the strikes against Aramco installations. The Houthis are widely regarded as Iranian proxies and the drone attacks are part of a wider trend towards proxy wars in the region.
Saudi Arabia supplies 10% of the world’s crude oil. The kingdom’s benchmark stock index tumbled as much as 3.1% on Sunday in Riyadh. Evidently, economic as well as human security is undermined by such attacks. Tactics calls for an immediate end to proxy wars and provocative steps and recognises the urgent need for Iran’s nuclear ambitions to be curtailed as part of a wider regional move to eliminate nuclear weapons. You can read our analysis of nuclear tensions in the Middle East here.
Tactics Institute for Security and Counter Terrorism is an independent, non-partisan, think tank. Tactics researches terrorism to identify its causes and best possible remedies, always bearing in mind the protection of individual liberties and the human rights of all those affected.
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