A major Saudi oil installation was attacked on Saturday that reportedly forced a halt to roughly half of all Saudi oil production. The Houthis claimed credit for launching the attack with a fleet of drones:
Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for drone strikes on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities early Saturday, according to a statement by a Houthi spokesman.
Reuters and The Wall Street Journal report that about half of the country’s oil production has been disrupted, or 5 million barrels a day.
An attack on Saudi infrastructure and installations would be consistent with how the Houthis have been fighting Saudi Arabia for the last several years. The Houthi use of drones to carry out targeted attacks on Saudi coalition forces has become increasingly sophisticated and effective, and if this really was their attack it was by far the most significant one they have carried out. If they aren’t the ones responsible, why would they take responsibility when they know that they will provoke more attacks from the Saudi coalition by doing so? The war on Yemen had already proven to be a disaster for Saudi security, and this attack provides one more reason why the Saudi government and its allies should halt their war and pull out of Yemen entirely.
True to form, Pompeo rushed to deny that the attack came from Yemen and instead sought to blame Iran directly for that and for other previous attacks that have also come from Yemen:
Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 14, 2019
Needless to say, Iran denies the charge, and the Iraqi government also says that no attacks were launched from their territory. If the attack didn’t come directly from Iran, and it didn’t come from Iraq, where else could it have come from if not Yemen? Pompeo is the one who is making assertions without providing any evidence. The “nearly 100 attacks” he refers to are Houthi attacks from Yemen, but he wants us to believe that this one is the exception. Admitting that this attack came from Yemen would be admitting that our ongoing support for the war on Yemen is a disastrous policy, and Pompeo isn’t going to do that.
Pompeo is only too happy to hold Iran responsible for anything that goes wrong in the region. He is usually eager to conflate the Houthis and Iran when it suits his purposes, and he tries to fault Iran for whatever happens in Yemen. When the Houthis attack Saudi Arabia for their own reasons because they are fighting a war with the Saudis, Pompeo simply blames Iran. When the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition causes mass starvation and the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Pompeo blames Iran. He finds Iran guilty for things it hasn’t done, and he condemns them for things that Iran’s rivals actually do. He would probably blame Iran for cancer and the bubonic plague if he thought anyone would believe him, but of course no one believe him about anything. Pompeo has shredded his credibility and that of the United States with his constant, shameless lying about Iran, and the president is also a notorious liar, so we have no reason to trust them when they level serious accusations like this against another government.