After raining death and destruction on its neighbor at its southern border for the past four years, Saudi Arabia is beginning to get a taste of the type of violence its been happy to dish out against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen on its own territory.
The Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for drone attacks deep inside Saudi Arabia on Saturday that targeted two key oil facilities that process the vast majority of the Sunni Arab nation’s petroleum output, hitting the Saudi’s principal source of revenue and raising the risk of a serious disruption in the global oil supply chain.
The Saudi’s acknowledged that the strike, the first long-distance drone attack by the rebels allied with former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, was planned and executed by the Houthi rebels.
The Trump administration, however, insisted on pinning the blame for the attack on its favorite regional bogeyman, Iran, despite the fact that both the perpetrators and victims of the attack have denied the direct involvement of that nation. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the unsubstantiated accusations in a post on Twitter,
We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 14, 2019
Pompeo muddies the waters on the attacks by claiming that “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” despite the fact that it is his own attribution of responsibility to Iran that lacks any concrete basis. It is clear that Trump and Pompeo simply want to further demonize Iran in the international community for their own political gain and purposes while ignoring the true facts on the ground.
In fact, the Houthis have no lack of motivation for striking back at Saudi Arabia on its own territory, given the thousands of innocent civilians killed by the relentless Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen — a deadly military effort in support of a rival claimant to the seat of power in the civil war-torn country, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.
This is not the first time that the Trump administration has attempted to unjustifiably blame Iran for an incident without offering a shred of proof. Back in June, Secretary of State Pompeo claimed that Iran was responsible for placing limpet mines on two Japanese-owned oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman after they caught fire and even sent out a video purporting to be footage of Iranian forces removing a mine from one of the vessels.
Pompeo’s credibility was destroyed after the Japanese owners of the tankers revealed that the damage to their vessels could not have come from a mine or torpedo as Pompeo claimed since the crew reported seeing a flying object hit one of the ships well above the water line before the fire broke out.
Once again the Trump administration’s persistent lies and subsequently limited credibility leaves Americans wondering what the truth may be and escalates the dangers of yet another war in the Middle East. Meanwhile, expect oil prices to rise as the disruption in the supply chain tightens inventories and puts more money in the hands of fossil fuel companies and oil-producing nations like Russia.
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Original reporting by Ben Hubbard, Palko Karasz and Stanley Reed at The New York Times.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.