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United States: Saudi Pipes from Iraq



U.S. officials have come to the conclusion that Saudi unmanned oil industry attacks in May were launched from Iraq and not from Yemen, which raises concerns that Iran's allies in the region are trying to open a new front in the conflict between Tehran and Washington .

State Secretary Mike Pompeo urged the Prime Minister of Iraq to take steps to ensure that Iraq will not be used as a new landing site. Iraqi leaders question the US assessment and have asked the Trump administration for further evidence in support of their allegations. On May 14th, attacks with unmanned aircraft were originally created from Yemen, where Hate rebels claimed to cause damage to a large oil pipeline that stretches for hundreds of miles in Saudi Arabia. But intelligence officers in the US say the attacks have occurred in southern Iraq, most likely involved in Iran-backed militias with a strong presence there.

The United States submitted its assessment to Iraqi officials in a memorandum and Mr. Pompeo raised the issue earlier this month with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, according to people familiar with the discussions. US officials want Baghdad to do more to contain militias of Iranian allies who have grown to power since they helped defeat the war against the Islamic state, including preventing them from using Iraqi territory as a launch site for attacks against US military or its allies.

The satellite image shows Saudi Arabia's No. 8 pumping station near Al-Dawdmi, Saudi Arabia, on May 14th after a raid attack on the facility.


Photo:

Associated Press

Attacks against the Saudi pipeline are among the series of incidents that have raged the fears of a regional war, including the burglary of an American guardian and Irish sabotage on six merchant ships in the Gulf of Oman. Iran. Washington also suspected Tehran's allies in Iraq for a missile that landed in the vicinity of the US embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone last month. Since then, missiles have been launched against various military bases and facilities in Iraq where US personnel are deployed. The US assessment illustrates the challenge faced by the Iraqi government against the backdrop of growing regional tensions after the Trump administration left the multinational accord with Iran for 2015 with Iran and imposed new sanctions against Tehran. Baghdad has attempted to target the Middle East between Teheran and Washington, but Iran's divisions have complicated these efforts.

Iraqi officials have asked for more information from the United States claiming that the drones have come from its territory, but they still have not seen conclusive evidence, according to people in Iraq who are informed about this issue. Abdul-Mahdi said this week that his country's intelligence services have not found evidence of Iraq's involvement.

A spokesman for the Iranian government did not respond to a request for a comment.

United States. Officials would not discuss intelligence details, but argue that drones were more sophisticated than previously launched by the Hati forces in Yemen. Attack rumors have shown that the drones are another model and the explosives are of a different kind than those that have been investigated in previous jungle attacks in Saudi Arabia, according to a person familiar with the investigation. the embassy in Washington did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Once enemies, Baghdad and Tehran became closer following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, building extensive commercial ties, narrower Shiite religious ties and military co-operation

"This raises questions about the ability of the Iraqi government to keep Iraq neutral in a regional crisis, "said Michael Knights, a senior associate at the Washington Institute for Middle East Policy. Iraq President Barram Salih recently said Iraq would not be used by America to attack Iran, but Iraq is already being used by Iran to attack its neighbors.

Attacks hit two Saudi oil pumping stations closer to the Iraqi border. than the Yemeni. One fires a fire that causes minor damage to a pumping station. Aramo, a Saudi-based oil company, has temporarily shut down the East West pipeline, which transported more than 700 miles of oil into Saudi Arabia, from the eastern province of the country to a large west port on the Red Sea.

instead of Yemen as a launch site for attacks in Saudi Arabia would make sense because there are no missiles or unmanned aircraft from that country, said Mr Knights. The drones emerging from Yemen are more closely monitored and can be interrupted by e-war operations, he said, although Hati's forces have been increasingly successful in circumventing defenses in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to hit targets in both countries.

The State Department's official summary of Mr Pompeo's call from June 14 at the Iraqi Prime Minister did not provide enough information on the issue under discussion. The brief summary focuses on the US conclusion that Iran was responsible for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman the previous day. The statement mentions that Pompeo's support for "the Prime Minister's continued efforts to counter the threats to Iraq's sovereignty over Iran-backed militias."

US officials, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are concerned about rising riots in the Gulf region. So far, these concerns have been directed primarily at Iran, which supposed that the Hugh forces will receive the training and parts they need to create more and more effective unmanned aircraft used for the purpose of the capital of Saudi Arabia, from Aramco's oil facilities and major UAE airports.

rejected the allegations that he was arming Hati's troops in Yemen.

UN investigators said last year they had "strong indications" that Iran is the source of some of Hathi's missile and unmanned devices. They said Iran "has not taken the necessary measures" to prevent unmanned aircraft and missiles from being transported from Iran to Yemen. But they could not establish direct ties between Iran and the rebels of Hugh.

n. Knights said that Houtis' assertion of responsibility for assault, which was apparently done by Iran-backed groups in Iraq, shows that Iran is closer to Hoati than many believe. "This shows that they are not a temporary partner of Iran's security sectors, but rather a true proxy who acts against his own interests in favor of Iran and provides support to other militia-backed Iranians," he said.

Write to Isabel Coles at isabel.coles@wsj.com and Dion Nissenbaum at dion.nissenbaum@wsj.com


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