Crisis in the Arabian Gulf

Eagle1

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So two Saudi Tankers, 1 Belgium. What about the fourth one? It could be Iraq militants or Bahraini militants or even sent by Qatar!
Two Saudi Tankers
MV Al Marzoqah
MV Amjad

One Norwegian Oil Products tanker
MV Andrea Victory

One UAE Bunker fuel barge
MV A.Michel

 

Eagle1

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Saudi Oil Pumping Stations Hit in Terror Attack
14 May, 2019


Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih speaks during the Gulf Intelligence Saudi Arabia Energy Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 8, 2019. REUTERS /Stringer.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Tuesday that two oil pumping stations for the East-West pipeline had been targeted by drones, calling the attack "an act of terrorism" that targeted global oil supplies.

The pipeline carries Saudi oil from fields in the eastern province to the port of Yanbu on the west coast.

Falih said that Saudi oil output and exports for crude and refined products were continuing without disruption, but that Saudi Aramco had halted oil pumping in the pipeline while the damage was evaluated and the stations were repaired, according to a statement carried by the state news agency SPA.

The minister said the attack took place between 6-6:30 a.m.

The Kingdom's state security body also said in a statement carried by SPA that two Aramco oil infrastructure sites in the greater region of Riyadh were targeted at the same time.

The statement described it as a "limited targeting" of petroleum stations in al-Dudami and Afif.

Falih said the two recent attacks threatened global oil supplies and proved the need to counter "terrorist groups behind such sabotage operations" including the Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen.



 

Eagle1

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Saudi Arabia oil stations hit in terror drone attacks
Updated 20 sec ago
Arab News
May 14, 2019
  • Drones attacked two pumping stations in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia
  • Attacks in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia are aimed at the world and not just the Kingdom, Saudi energy minister said
Terrorists have attacked two pumping stations in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday morning, according to the energy minister Khalid Al-Falih.
Drones attacked two pumping stations of East-West pipeline, which carry Saudi oil from fields in the Eastern Province to the port of Yanbu on the west coast.

The attacks caused a fire at station number 8, which Al-Falih said was controlled after causing limited damage.

Saudi Aramco later confirmed the attack in a statement, confirming that it had “responded to a fire at East West Pipeline Pump station 8 which was caused by a sabotage incident using armed drones which targeted pump stations 8 and 9.”

“As a precautionary measure, the company temporarily shut down the pipeline, and contained the fire which caused minor damage to pump station 8. Saudi Aramco confirms that no injuries or fatalities have been reported. Saudi Aramco’s oil and gas supplies have not been impacted as a result
of this incident.”

The Kingdom condemned Tuesday's attack and the recent attacks on ships in the Arabian Gulf, threatening oil output.

"Recent attacks in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia are aimed at the world and not just the Kingdom," Al-Falih said, adding: “This attack proves yet again the importance that all sides stand against such destructive terror attacks, including the Iran-backed Houthi militants.”
Bahrain has condemned the attack.

Oil prices rose after the attacks. Brent crude futures were at $70.79 a barrel at 1035 GMT, up 56 percents or 0.80%.
[Developing]

 

Eagle1

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Satellite images show no major damage to ‘sabotaged’ ships
AP
May 14, 2019
MV AMJAD - Copy.JPG

  • Satellite images showed no major visible damage to the vessels
  • The US has warned sailors of the potential for attacks on commercial sea traffic
DUBAI: Four oil tankers anchored in the Mideast were damaged by what Gulf officials described as sabotage, though satellite images obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday showed no major visible damage to the vessels.

Details of the alleged sabotage to two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati oil tanker on Sunday remained unclear, and Gulf officials have declined to say who they suspected was responsible. But it demonstrated the raised risks for shippers in a region vital to global energy supplies as tensions are increasing between the US and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

The US has warned sailors of the potential for attacks on commercial sea traffic, and regional allies of the United Arab Emirates condemned the sabotage as the tankers were off the coast of the UAE port city of Fujairah.

A US official in Washington, without offering any evidence, told the AP that an American military team’s initial assessment indicated Iran or Iranian allies used explosives to blow holes in the ships. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation, agreed to reveal the findings only if not quoted by name. The US Navy’s 5th Fleet, which patrols the Mideast and operates from a base in Fujairah, has repeatedly declined to comment.

The US already had warned ships that “Iran or its proxies” could be targeting maritime traffic in the region. America is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Arabian Gulf to counter alleged, still-unspecified threats from Tehran.


 

yavar

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Saudi Arabia confirms oil Aramco's sites targeted UAV

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih as saying that between 6-6.30am on Tuesday, a petroleum pumping station supplying an east-west pipeline between the Eastern Province and to the Yanbu Port on the Red Sea was targeted by drones
Saudi Arabia says oil stations attacked by explosive-laden drones.

 

Eagle1

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The White House's military options on Iran reportedly include a 120,000-troop deployment
May 14, 2019


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. defense official has presented an updated military plan to President Donald Trump's administration that envisions sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Citing unnamed administration officials, the Times said Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented the plan at a meeting of Trump's top security aides on Thursday.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the report. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Pentagon declined to comment.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have intensified since Trump pulled out of a 2015 international deal to curb Iran's nuclear activities and imposed increasingly strict sanctions on Tehran.

Trump wants to force Tehran to agree to a broader arms control accord and has sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf in a show of force against what U.S. officials have said are threats to U.S. troops in the region.

Iran has said the U.S. is engaging in "psychological warfare," called the U.S. military presence "a target" rather than a threat and said it will not allow its oil exports to be halted.

The Times said among those attending the Thursday meeting were Trump's national security adviser John Bolton, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford.

Several plans were detailed, the Times said, and "the uppermost option called for deploying 120,000 troops, which would take weeks or months to complete."

 

Eagle1

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Iran's Zarif warns of risk from "extremist" individuals in U.S. government
May 14, 2019
Nidhi Verma


NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Iran’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that “extremist individuals” in the U.S. government were pursuing dangerous policies, amid a war of words with Washington over sanctions.

Mohammad Javad Zarif was in New Delhi for talks with Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj after New Delhi stopped purchases of Iranian oil this month in the wake of renewed U.S. sanctions.

Tensions have risen again after Saudi Arabia said armed drones had struck two oil pumping stations in the kingdom on Tuesday in what it called a “cowardly” act of terrorism two days after Saudi oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

A U.S. official familiar with American intelligence said Iran was a prime suspect in the sabotage although Washington had no conclusive proof.
Iran has rejected the allegation and Zarif said the issue had figured in the talks with Indian leaders.

“In this meeting there was also discussion of the worries about the actions and suspicious sabotage in the region ...” Zarif told the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

“And we announced that we had predicted these kinds of actions for provoking tension in the region before.”

Zarif said he discussed the regional situation with his Indian counterpart.

“In today’s meeting we discussed regional issues and the dangers of the policies, extremist individuals in the American government and the region are trying to impose on the region,” Zarif told IRNA.

Washington wants to block Iran’s oil exports after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 accord between Iran and six world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

India, which was Iran’s top oil client after China, has suspended imports of Iranian oil from this month after Washington withdrew waivers to eight nations, including India, which had allowed them to import some Iranian oil from November.

“There is an expectation from their (Iranian) side that we will continue to buy oil,” an Indian government official who attended the meeting said.
A second Indian government source said New Delhi would decide on resuming purchases of Iranian oil keeping in mind its commercial considerations, energy security and economic interests.

Zarif’s visit to New Delhi was part of Iran’s consultation with other countries in the region including Russia, China, Turkmenistan, and Iraq over the past few days.

The sanctions have more than halved Iran’s oil exports to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) or less, from a peak of 2.8 million bpd last year. Exports could drop to as low as 500,000 bpd from May, an Iranian official told Reuters this month.

But Iran insists on exporting at least 1.5 million bpd of oil, triple May’s expected levels under U.S. sanctions, as a condition for staying in an international nuclear deal, sources with knowledge of Iran-EU talks said.

Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Alison Williams

 

Eagle1

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Indications from U.S. and Iran that "things will end well": Iraqi PM
May 14, 2019

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday he was getting indications from talks with both the United States and Iran that “things will end well” despite the current ramping up of rhetoric from both sides.

Speaking to journalists at a news conference, Abdul Mahdi said Baghdad was communicating regularly with Tehran and Washington, its two main allies who are themselves enemies, and was trying to reduce tensions.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by John Davison

 

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U.S. and Iran do not want war, Iraqi PM says
May 14, 2019

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Neither the United States nor Iran want war and Iraq is in contact with both, Iraq’s state news agency INA quoted Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi as saying on Tuesday.

The conflict between Washington and Tehran - Baghdad’s main allies who are themselves enemies- is a “complex file” that Iraq is working hard to find solutions for, Abdul Mahdi said.

 

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Saudi Arabia confirms oil Aramco's sites targeted UAV

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih as saying that between 6-6.30am on Tuesday, a petroleum pumping station supplying an east-west pipeline between the Eastern Province and to the Yanbu Port on the Red Sea was targeted by drones
.

 

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So two Saudi Tankers, 1 Belgium. What about the fourth one? It could be Iraq militants or Bahraini militants or even sent by Qatar!
'militant' does not qualify for such coordinated attacks at a busy sea along a secure coast.
Attacks has signature of trained professionals, apparently improvised weapons and delivery system were used.
Qatar could be a facilitator but the main actor is some one else.
 

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