Yemen Warns Foreigners to Leave Saudi Oil Plants
News ID: 70556
Date: 16 September 2019 - 21:30
SANAA (Dispatches) – Yemen's military has warned foreigners in Saudi Arabia to leave Aramco's oil processing plants, saying they are still a target and can be attacked "at any moment."
The warning came after Houthis and their allies in the Yemeni army deployed as many as 10 drones to bomb Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities run by the Saudi state-owned oil company before dawn Saturday.
Spokesman for the Yemeni armed forces, General Yahya Sare'a, said in a tweet Monday that the attacks in the kingdom's eastern region had been carried out by drones with normal and jet engines.
He said Saudi Arabia should stop its "aggression and blockade on Yemen," or see the Yemeni army hit the kingdom "anywhere and anytime" it chooses.
Other Yemeni officials dismissed claims that the country is incapable of carrying out on its own the kind of attacks that targeted two plants at the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry.
The unprecedented attack knocked out more than half of Saudi crude output, or 5% of global supply, prompting Saudi and US officials to claim without any evidence that it probably originated from Iraq or Iran.
Tehran once again dismissed Washington's claims of Iran role in Yemen's attack on Saudi Aramco's oil plants as "maximum deceit" to hide the utter failure of the "maximum pressure" campaign against the Islamic Republic.
"To pin such action on Iran is in line with the maximum deceit approach that they have adopted following their failures," Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said during a press briefing on Monday.
The attack cut the kingdom's daily oil output by 5.7 million barrels, which is around half of its overall exports. That's a staggering five percent of global oil demand, which has led to a rally in oil prices.
Following the attack, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed the finger at Iran and said there was no evidence suggesting Yemen had carried out the operation.
Mousavi said while Iran supports the people of Yemen and their rights, such claims simply do not hold any weight. He said Yemenis will not just sit idly by as Saudi Arabia keeps destroying their nation.
"Yemen has been struggling with a bloody war and the Saudi-led coalition has committed widespread atrocities against the Yemeni nation with full support from Western countries," he said. "It is only natural if Yemenis and their army react to these atrocities."
Mousavi argued that such allegations are aimed at making Saudi Arabia and other countries further dependent on the United States.
"The dependent nations remain dependent and those who are supposed to milk them make such baseless statements to give these dependent nations a sense of security," the Iranian diplomat said.
The United States, under President Donald Trump, has been running a campaign of maximum pressure against Iran since he abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.
More than a year later, after his failure to force Iran into renegotiating the deal, Trump and other US officials have been sending mixed signals about their willingness to sit down for talks with their Iranian counterparts.
Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a member of Yemen's Supreme Political Council, pledged that Yemeni forces will continue to pound the Saudi oil industry until the kingdom ends its deadly war.
Bukhaiti told Iran's Tasnim news agency that blaming the attacks on other countries shows "cowardice" in facing up to the reality of Yemen's military power.
"Saudi Arabia declared war against Yemen on the grounds that our missile inventory posed a threat to its security," he said. "Today, we are surprised to see that when we hit Saudi oil wells, they exonerate Yemen from conducting these strikes and accuse others of doing them."
"This is viewed as an own criminal decree of conviction. It also shows their cowardice," Bukhaiti added.
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo was quick to blame Iran for the brazen attacks, claiming there was no evidence the drones had originated from Yemen.
Bukhaiti mocked the proposition, saying Washington resorted to such rhetoric to hide the fact that their radars were simply incapable of tracking Yemeni drones.
"America and Saudi Arabia's radars cannot intercept Yemeni aircraft. If they could intercept them, they would have shot them down," he argued.
Bukhiati said the fact that Pompeo did not produce evidence to substantiate his claim showed they were "bankrupt" both politically and militarily.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissed Pompeo’s allegations as "blind and fruitless remarks” that were "meaningless” in a diplomatic context.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also responded to Pompeo, saying the United States had failed in its campaign of "maximum pressure” and was now "turning to ‘max deceit’.”
Bukhiati made it clear that the Houthis would only stop attacking Saudi Arabia once it abandons "serving US interests" and starts respecting the interests of its own people.
"Ending the war now is no longer a shared interest of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Rather, it benefits Saudis more than it does Yemen because Yemen doesn't have much to lose," he said. "Yet we are witnessing Saudi Arabia's stubbornness because it is the United States that decides for them."
"These attacks will automatically stop when Saudi Arabia ends its aggression and lifts its blockade against Yemen," he said. "These operations will only expand and target facilities that are more vital and more sensitive than oil facilities."