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Iran Crisis - May 2019

12 May 2019 - Arab Tankers Attacked

On 12 May 2019, four vessels were attacked near Fujairah just beyond the strait. The ships -- including two Saudi oil tankers, an Emirati ship and the Norwegian tanker Andrea Victory -- were docked in the sea off the coast of Fujairah. Fujairah port is the only terminal in the UAE located on the Arabian Sea coast. The small emirate has an oil terminal and a pipeline that delivers crude oil from Abu Dhabi which sits on the majority of UAE oil reserves.

UAE said four commercial ships were subjected to "sabotage operations" near its territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, but did not give any details on the sabotage. Saudi Arabia says two of its oil tankers suffered "significant damage" in a "sabotage attack". No details, however, about the specifics of the damage were released. The kingdom's energy minister said one of the tankers had been on its way to the Saudi port of Ras Tanura to pick up oil to deliver to the United States.

The US blamed Iran for these attacks on oil tankers, saying Iranian-made limpet mines were used to attack four oil tankers on May 12 off the Emirati port of Fujairah. The attacks bore similar hallmarks of sophistication, and it is highly unlikely that anyone short of a state actor or a state-sponsored group could have carried out the operation. Tehran dismissed the allegation as "ridiculous" and called for dialogue between countries in the Gulf to ease what it called an "alarming security situation" in the region.

14 May 2019

The Saudi energy minister said the kingdom had stopped pumping crude oil on a major pipeline across the country after drone strikes carried out by Yemeni army forces and their allies. Khalid A. Al-Falih said the national petroleum and natural gas company, Saudi Aramco, halted oil pumping on the pipeline from the oil-rich Eastern Province to the Red Sea, while the damage was being evaluated and its two targeted pumping stations were being repaired.

The 1,200-kilometer (750-mile) pipeline, which reportedly has a capacity of at least five million barrels per day, carries crude oil from Saudi Arabia's main eastern fields to the Red Sea port city of Yanbu in the west. The targeted pumping stations are located in the towns of Dawadmi and Afif, which lie in the Najd region west of the capital, Riyadh.

The targeted pumping stations are located in the towns of Dawadmi and Afif, which lie in the Najd region west of the capital, Riyadh. An unnamed Yemeni military source told Arabic-language al-Masirah television network that Yemeni soldiers, backed by allied fighters from Popular Committees, launched a major operation against the strategic economic target in Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the Riyadh regime’s devastating military aggression and siege of the impoverished country. The source added that seven unmanned aerial vehicles were involved in the attacks.

Drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry in May originated in Iraq, not Yemen, US officials concluded, drawing questions from Iraqi officials who have asked Washington for more information supporting the claim, the Wall Street Journal reported on 28 June 2019. US officials familiar with the intelligence on the May drone attacks said they originated in southern Iraq, the Journal reported, saying that most likely pointed a finger at Iran-backed militias in that region.

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Page last modified: 15-09-2019 14:41:03 ZULU