Iranian-backed Yemeni rebels said oil installations in Saudi Arabia remain a target after drone attacks on two major sites slashed the kingdom’s output by half and triggered a surge in oil prices.
The rebel group said its weapons could reach anywhere in Saudi Arabia. Saturday’s strikes were carried out by aircraft equipped with a new type of engine, the Houthi rebel group said.
“We assure the Saudi regime that our long hand can reach wherever we want, and whenever we want," Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree said in a statement. “We warn companies and foreigners not to be present in the facilities that were hit in the strikes because they are still within range and may be targeted at any moment."
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said Sunday that there was no evidence the raids were carried out from Yemen. He blamed Iran, as did secretary of energy Rick Perry on Monday. “The US wholeheartedly condemns Iran’s attack on the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We call on other nations to do the same," Perry said at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. “This behaviour is unacceptable. They must be held responsible."
Saudi Arabia has yet to assign blame.
The Trump administration and Saudi leaders now face a difficult choice in how to respond to Iran or its proxies without triggering a broader conflict that could spiral out of control with potentially devastating consequences for global oil markets and the world economy. Neither country has tipped its hand.
“There’s no great response here," said Aaron David Miller, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The question becomes how does the US navigate between not allowing this precedent to stand on one hand, and avoiding a punitive escalation or one designed to deter future attacks without an escalation. And the answer is there is no answer."