Saudi Arabia suspects Iranian-backed terrorists. While Iran is blaming the United States.
The diplomatic finger-pointing occurs amid rising tensions in the Middle East after armed drones targeted a Saudi oil pipeline, the second attack on the nation’s infrastructure in as many days. (US News)
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih did not directly identify the perpetrator of the attack but said the incidents prove the importance of the kingdom’s continued conflict against terrorist groups, including the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, according to the country’s state news service. Oil prices spiked as a result of the attacks, Reuters reports.
Saudi Arabia continues to wage war in Yemen against those militias in what is considered a proxy conflict between the oil-rich gulf state and its arch-rival Iran, which backs the Houthis. U.S. and allied intelligence assessments indicate Iran was also behind sabotaging two Saudi oil tankers on Monday.
The Yemeni military was not known to have developed armed drones, according to a global analysis by the think tank New America, making it likely the weapons were provided or operated by the rebels’ patron, Iran.
These latest incidents contribute to a broad risk of escalation in the region. And they come as the Trump administration takes a new hard-line approach against Iran, dispatching new U.S. military assets to the region to counter what it considers a new threat from Tehran against American forces and their allies.