A top State Department official told Congress Monday evening that the Saudis view the big attack on their oil infrastructure as their 9/11, according to two congressional sources.
After a national security meeting this morning, President Donald Trump told reporters that it was ” gaping” like the two attacks over the weekend originated from Iran but that the U.S. would wait for Saudi Arabia to conduct an investigation into the affects.
Brian Hook, the Trump administration’s special representative for Iran, reached the 9/11 likenes during a telephone briefing on Capitol Hill about the administration’s recent conceiving on the attack. Hook communicated the responses from Riyadh and said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would be headed to the country soon. Several types on the call said Hook’s update was thin, but the administration had offers to lawmakers ability about the attack that they could review under a classified locate.
CNN first tweeted that Hook told congressional staffers that the Saudis view this as” their 9/11.”
The 9/11 remark, procreated less than a few weeks after the 18 th commemoration of the two attacks which killed over 3,000 Americans, came despite the uncomfortable fact that 13 of the 19 hijackers who attacked the U.S. on that day were Saudi citizens. Last week, the Trump administration pledged to reveal the mention of a Saudi official investigated by the FBI for a possible capacity in the 9/11 attempts.
” From an American perspective, it seems like a trivialization of the tragic events of 9/11, and perhaps offensively so, but from a Saudi point of view it is a way of explaining their disturbance to Americans ,” said Hussein Ibish, a major resident intellectual at the Arab Gulf Government Institute.
The White House did not provide comment for this story. However, information sources with direct learning says that Trump was briefed on the situation in Saudi Arabia with an official using the same 9/11 comparing. Trump appeared “unmoved” by the analogy, the source memo.
The National Security Council declined to comment when reached by The Daily Beast.
Hook’s announce comes as President Trump grips with how to respond to the attacks. That decision is perplexed, in part, because of the retirement of his former National Security Adviser John Bolton. Bolton, one of the most important inventors of the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran, was an advocate for maintaining a tough posture with Tehran. Pompeo and Hook, extremely, are known to favor exerting both fiscal, political, and maybe military pressure on Tehran. Trump has long said he does not seek war with Iran, but has not said definitively what he envisions as the best way to move forward.
The impresses on the Saudi infrastructure have set off a sense of chaos inside the White House and in the halls of the Pentagon as officials draw up proposals for the president on how to respond.
Despite the 9/11 rhetoric, the territory isn’t coinciding the self-evident behind-the-scenes alarm with a similar colour in public. On Monday, the Saudi foreign ministry said it would invite experts from the United Nations to investigate the site of the attack.
” I think there is a clear statement to be made that Iran’s attack was an act of combat. But, at least in public, Saudi Arabia has been very cautious, going out of their behavior to involve the international community and buy go ,” Aaron Stein, lead of the Middle East program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told The Daily Beast.” I can imagine there are many war decision-makers in the dominion concerned the air strikes won’t solve their problem and simply escalate things further .”
The light touch in public appears to be a stalling move, according to Dr. Afshon Ostovar, a student at the Naval Postgraduate School.” Riyadh &# x27; s somewhat softened words so far seem designed to to give it go and space to think through its alternatives, both military and diplomatic ,” Ostovar said.” A military booking with Iran would inexorably to be translated into more insecurity, a strong response would embolden the villains. That’s the heart of the Saudi &# x27; s dilemma. In some feel, that &# x27; s likewise the quagmire for Washington .”
The attack on Saudi oil facilities comes as the kingdom increasingly concludes itself surrounded by Iranian missile capabilities. To countries of the south, since the Saudi-led military alliance firstly intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015, Iran has furnished Houthi rebels with short-range ballistic missiles, which the insurgents have used to rocket Saudi territory as far away as the capital city in Riyadh. To the north, Shia militias apparently launched Iranian monotones from southern Iraq in attacks against Saudi oil infrastructure back in May and a number of reports have pointed to Iranian ballistic missiles stored under Iraq.
And to the east, Iran has continued to develop both its ballistic and tomahawk missile abilities despite the “maximum pressure” safarus to crush Tehran launched in May of 2018.
Houthi officials claimed that the group had carried out the attack on the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field expending 10 dronings along with help from an unnamed source of “cooperation from inside the kingdom.”
But a number of reports, along with photos of apparent missile wreckage at the scene of the attacks, point to the use of cruise missiles for the attack with Iran, and not Houthi rebels, as the attackers.
On Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned Iran for the two attacks and tweeted that Iran was responsible and that there was ” no manifestation the attacks came from Yemen “– a part echoed by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in a pronunciation on Monday.
Satellite imagery released by the Trump administration too appears to contradict the Houthi account of a 10 -drone attack. The photos show at least 17 different impact points at the lubricant equipment disturb over the weekend.
Experts also say wreck are available in Saudi Arabia points to a cruise missile attack potentially leveraging Iranian technology.” We have broad reason to suspect that the pictures of debris in the Saudi desert show a Quds 1 ,” says Fabian Hinz, an expert on Iranian rockets at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.” The Quds 1, a potentially Iranian-designed tomahawk missile was first viewed with the Houthis and likely is not have the wander to reach Abqaiq from Yemen .”
— with added reporting by Asawin Suebsaeng