OPN SAUDI ARAMCO-1568548230383
Smoke billows following a fire at Aramco facility in the eastern city of Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, on September 14, 2019. Image Credit: Reuters

Saturday’s terror attacks against Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq petroleum processing facility and the Khurais oilfield, claimed by Yemen’s pro-Iran Al Houthi militia, are not only a criminal assault on the kingdom’s economic infrastructure but also pose an unacceptable danger to international energy security. The drones that attacked the Saudi Aramco installations have caused the disruption of about 5.7 million barrels in crude supplies, and threaten the world economy. This is equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the world’s daily production.

The Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting to uphold the legitimacy of the internationally recognised government in Yemen has said that it is investigating the attack to identify the perpetrators, and has promised to implement necessary measures to deal with the terrorist threats.

Whether it was carried out by Al Houthis in Yemen or, as some reports have said, by militias based in Iraq (this was denied by the Iraqi government), the attack has Iran written all over it. This was not a random terror strike carried out by a non-state actor but a well-planned, sophisticated operation that could only have been carried out with the help of a nation-state. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen” and accused Iran of launching an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.

Series of attacks on Saudi oil assets

The attacks are a continuation of escalations from the Iranians over the past few months, including the series of attacks on Saudi oil assets and tankers in Gulf waters. In its quest for regional hegemony and as part of its expansionist agenda, Iran continues to support armed terrorist groups across the region.

Tehran has tried to raise the stakes after the US introduced tough new sanctions. Iranian actions are evidence that the sanctions are beginning to bite, and the regime in Tehran is lashing out in an irresponsible manner.

If Iran wants to be accepted as a normal country on the world stage, it should desist from threats and provocations, and take steps to rectify its stances. Iran and the Middle East stand to benefit if Tehran starts behaving like a normal government, instead of trying to spread terror in the region while ignoring the hardships of its long-suffering citizens.

The world community should take appropriate action, considering the severity of the threat posed to the international order by the government in Tehran.