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Saudi Arabia’s energy infrastructure may face the threat of another attack by Iran based on intelligence shared between Riyadh and Washington, though threat assessments have not been confirmed by the Pentagon or the U.S. Department of State.
The intelligence-sharing over a potential Iranian attack was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.
Speaking to CNN late on Tuesday, one unnamed U.S. official said intelligence of a possible attack on Middle East energy infrastructure had been shared between Saudi Arabia and the United States.
That alleged threat has not yet led to an increase in U.S. military protection levels, according to the official, while a second unnamed official noted that F-22 fighter jets are already in Saudi Arabia should they be required.
So far, the State Department has said only that they are “concerned about the threat picture”, CNN reports, and are in constant contact with the Saudis through “military, diplomatic, intelligence channels”.
On September 14, 2019, oil markets were destabilized when Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis launched a drone attack on Aramco oil facilities in Eastern Saudi Arabia, cutting Saudi oil production in half - or taking some 5% of global supply off the market.
It was unclear if the intelligence shared between Saudi Arabia and the United States referred to the threat of a direct Iranian attack on Middle East energy installations as a means to divert attention from seething unrest and protests at home, or whether the threat was of another Iran-backed Houthi attack.
The truce in Yemen expired on October 2nd and efforts to extend it have failed, leading to a new surge in violence.
The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) has also been a recent target of Iranian missiles due to the region’s inclusion in Iran’s nationwide protests over the death of a young Iranian Kurdish woman after being taken into custody for a headscarf violation.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com