Guidance

A Major Attack on Saudi Aramco Leaves the U.S. in a Difficult Spot

Sep 16, 2019 | 17:34 GMT
This satellite photo shows smoke pouring from two Saudi oil production facilities hit in Sept. 14 attacks.

This satellite photo shows smoke billowing from Saudi Aramco's oil processing plants in Abqaiq and Khurais after an attack damaged them.

(Orbital Horizon/Copernicus Sentinel Data 2019/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

Attacks on Sept. 14 apparently conducted with cruise missiles and drones targeted the Abqaiq and Khurais crude-processing and stabilization facilities belonging to Saudi Arabian Oil Co., knocking 5.7 million barrels per day of crude oil production offline -- 5 percent of the global daily total. Although Yemen's Houthi rebels quickly claimed responsibility, the United States asserted that the attacks did not originate from Yemen and were conducted with Iranian help. Details released in the aftermath of the attacks seem to corroborate at least the U.S. claim that they were launched from outside Yemen. If this was indeed Iran directly attacking targets in Saudi Arabia, it marks a brazen escalation in its efforts to maintain and strengthen its political and military standing in the Middle East and Persian Gulf. It would also track with Iranian efforts to seek relief from increasing U.S. pressure. Iran has demonstrated with a number of recent attacks...

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