KT Edit: Riyadh has the clout to calm oil markets after Houthi attacks

Published: Sun 15 Sep 2019, 9:51 PM

Last updated: Sun 15 Sep 2019, 11:51 PM

It is only fitting that the Arab Parliament condemn the atrocious drone attack on Saudi Aramco oilfields. One can only be thankful that no one was killed in this assault from the air. These series of raids have been escalating in recent days and this new dimension will have to be countered. The Saudis have the whole region behind them and will take suitable steps to ensure that drone attacks are factored into the defensive strategy and neutralised. At the same time Riyadh will also actively follow the money trail to track whoever is funding these atrocities. The US did not wait long to come out with a strong statement pointing a finger at Tehran even though that stance adds another crimp to the fragile US-Iran relations. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unequivocally blamed Iran for attacks on the massive oil facility and went as far as to refute statements that the drones lifted off from Yemen. His tweet was singular in condemning the assault: "Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen."
Hitting at the world's largest oil installations was the one event that everyone feared would create more than a ripple in world oil markets and the repercussions would be global. It is not understating the issue that the Houthis have declared war upon the world at large. It is too early to assess how exactly the incursion was made and how the drones got past this far. In order to underscore solidarity with the kingdom, US President Donald Trump wasted no time in offering help with the defence systems and indicated that the coalition was undeterred by this development.
Even as Iran denied its role in the attack there are few takers for its stand. With the Iran-backed Houthis blocking the return of legitimate governance into Yemen the link is pretty evident and denial does not negate the suspicion. Sensibly the first fears to be allayed were on the global front with Washington and Riyadh assuring the world markets that despite a cutback in production all steps will be taken to ensure a reasonable supply so that there is no major fallout or call for a cutback. That is the only way to show to the perpetrators that their attack has failed to hurt the markets or put a break on supply. It would be hugely imprudent for the rebels to try anything like it again because it would be destined to fail.

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