A terrorist attack on Saudi oil infrastructure is a matter of grave provocation. The assault on two vital pumping stations and a key pipeline between the Eastern and Yanbu province by drones carrying explosives is by all definitions certainly a reprehensible act of terrorism. The attack, claimed by Iran-backed militias on an Al Houthi-run TV channel, clearly shows the urgency to step up efforts to tackle terrorism in the region. It is an attack not only on Saudi Arabia but also on the stability and security of the region. Such a brazen terrorist act also threatens the world’s energy security — something very vital to global trade.
The terror attack on the oil infrastructure comes barely two days after an act of sabotage targeted four ships in the Arabian Gulf, off the coast of the UAE. This repeated aggression cannot be tolerated. The hands behind the attack, be it militias or rogue countries that support them, must be held accountable or else the security of the region will be imperilled.
The stability of the Gulf cannot be compromised at any cost. That is why the Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, went to war in Yemen in the first place. The drone attack on the Saudi oil infrastructure and the sabotaging of the oil tankers are ample proof of why Al Houthis should be neutralised. The region will be safe only when the legitimate Yemeni government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi is restored, and the ideology of extremist groups like Al Houthis is eradicated.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and its allies have repeatedly been warning the international community that the reckless behaviour of Iran and its allies could push the region into a vortex of violence. If the world had taken notice, Al Houthis would not have been emboldened to carry out the terror attacks that would severely hamper world oil supplies and global trade.
Although Saudi oil output and crude exports are continuing without disruption, oil giant Aramco had to halt pumping in the 1,200-kilometre pipeline while the damage is being evaluated and key stations are repaired. The pipeline carries crude from the kingdom’s main eastern oilfields to the Red Sea port of Yanbu in the west.
The White House has been maintaining a tough line against Iran, but the international community needs to take an urgent note and take remedial measures to prevent aggression by Iranian proxies. The belligerence has to end. Right now.