Brazil: Petrobras President says Northeast leak is biggest environmental aggression in Brazil

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 24/7 NEWS)

 

Petrobras President says Northeast leak is biggest environmental aggression in Brazil

The head of the largest Brazilian state-owned company, Robero Castello Branco, said the spill that hits the northeast coast is “the biggest environmental aggression suffered by the country”. Castello Branco compared environmental impact to British BP disaster in Gulf of Mexico, one of history’s biggest crashes

The Atalaia Waterfront in Aracaju was taken by an oil slick this Friday morning (27);  According to information from the State Administration of the Environment (Adema), the affected area corresponds to 4.5 kilometers of beaches, starting at the Coroa do Meio lighthouse until the bath of Doce Doce;  The recommendation is not to make use of the sea in these places;  Petrobras reported that the spot was found but there was no incident on the oil rigs
The Atalaia Waterfront in Aracaju was taken by an oil slick this Friday morning (27); According to information from the State Administration of the Environment (Adema), the affected area corresponds to 4.5 kilometers of beaches, starting at the Coroa do Meio lighthouse until the bath of Doce; The recommendation is not to make use of the sea in these places; Petrobras reported that the stain was found, but there was no incident on the oil rigs (Photo: Valter Lima)

247 – The head of the largest Brazilian state-owned company, Robero Castello Branco, said that the spill that hits the northeast coast is “the biggest environmental aggression suffered by the country”. Castello Branco compared the environmental impact to the British BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the biggest accidents in history.

The head of Petrobras said: “I would like to refer initially, before starting my talk, to the greatest environmental aggression suffered by our country, I believe that in our history, which appears in the form of oil slicks that have reached the middle environment throughout the Northeast. “

The report by the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo points out that “Castello Branco defended Petrobras’ action in the fight against pollution and criticized what he called the political use of the tragedy, rebelling criticism regarding the speed and structure of the emergency response.” has been very politicized, ideologized, with sometimes fake versions, that this or that could have been done, “he said. 

The article also underlines that “according to the president of Petrobras, the company has been providing protective equipment and has already deployed two ships and drones to help with the cleaning work.” Finally, it has worked under the coordination of Ibama [National Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources] incessantly to mitigate the effects of this environmental aggression. “

U.S. Troops May Remain In Northeast Syria To Protect Oil Fields

(This article is courtesy of NPR news)
(THIS IS LOGICAL FOR OUR PRESIDENT, PUT AMERICAN TROOPS LIVES IN DANGER FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF PROTECTING OUR ENEMIES INCOME AND FUEL FOR THEIR WAR MACHINES TO USE AGAINST SYRIAN CIVILIANS.)(oped: oldpoet56)

Some U.S. Troops May Remain In Northeast Syria To Protect Oil Fields

U.S. military vehicles drive on a road in the town of Tal Tamr on Sunday after pulling out of a base in northern Syria. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says some troops may remain in northeast Syria to secure oil fields.

Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. may now keep some troops in northeast Syria, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday. It is the latest in a series of consequential pivots the Trump administration has made in its Syria policy.

Esper said the troops are needed to secure oil fields from falling into the hands of ISIS and profiting from them, The Associated Press reports. But most recently it was Russian mercenaries, not ISIS fighters, who tried to seize the oil fields and who were repulsed by U.S. airstrikes, NPR’s Tom Bowman reports.

Despite President Trump’s earlier announcements that ISIS is defeated and that he is bringing the troops home rather than being entangled in “endless wars,” the U.S. forces are not heading immediately for home. Instead, they’re being moved to western Iraq to continue to fight ISIS there, Esper said during his overseas trip to Afghanistan and other countries.

Shortly after Esper spoke, President Trump acknowledged during a Cabinet meeting that the troops would be deployed to different areas first — but he added they would then return to the U.S.

“Well, they’re going to be sent initially to different parts, a different method,” Trump said. “Ultimately, we’re bringing them home.”

According to a White House pool report, Trump said of America’s allies in Syria, “We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives.”

U.S. forces could be seen withdrawing on Monday. They left a base in Turkey and rolled into the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil, NPR’s Jane Arraf reports. Thousands of refugees are also flooding across the border into Iraq, doubtful that the ceasefire the U.S. brokered with Turkey last week will hold, and unsure of what will happen next.

As U.S. forces left the northeastern city Syrian of Qamishli, residents of the majority Kurdish city pelted American military vehicles with potatoes, the AP reported. “Like rats, America is running away,” a man was quoted shouting in Arabic.

There has been widespread criticism of President Trump’s decision two weeks ago to pull troops from northeast Syria, which cleared the way for Turkey to assault the Kurds, key allies with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, says 120 civilians have been killed since Turkey began the operation it calls “Peace Spring” on Oct. 9. The group says 300,000 people have been displaced by the violence.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said on Monday that Turkish-aligned forces had violated the terms of the ceasefire. The SDF said violent clashes had broken out, with casualties among both the SDF and the Turkish-backed forces.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in Jordan on Sunday, leading a delegation meeting with leaders including Jordan’s King Abdullah II to discuss the crisis in Syria.

With the U.S. pulling out its troops, Kurdish commander Mazlum Kobani is predicting his people will be slaughtered.

“There will be ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish people from Syria, and the American administration will be responsible for it,” he told The New York Times. He said the U.S. should work “to limit the damage of this past decision and preserve the areas we liberated together.”

Iran Says to Use Every Mean Possible to Export Its Oil

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iran Says to Use Every Mean Possible to Export Its Oil

Sunday, 6 October, 2019 – 11:30
FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh listens to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Asharq Al-Awsat
Iran will not succumb to US pressure and will use every possible way to export its oil, Iranian Oil Ministry’s website SHANA quoted Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh as saying on Sunday.

Iran’s crude oil exports were reduced by more than 80% when the US re-imposed sanctions on the country last November after President Donald Trump pulled out of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

“We will use every possible way to export our oil and we will not succumb to America’s pressure because exporting oil is Iran’s legitimate right,” Zanganeh said, Reuters reported.

In response, Iran has gradually scaled back its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal, under which Tehran accepted to curb its nuclear activities in return for lifting most international sanctions.

The increasing US pressure on Iran has scared away foreign investors from doing business in the country.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation (AEOI) reiterated on Sunday that the country would reduce its commitments under the deal further if the European parties to the pact did not meet promises to shield Iran’s economy from US sanctions.

“We will go ahead with our plans to decrease our commitments to the nuclear deal if other parties fail to keep their promises,” the Students News Agency ISNA quoted AEOI’s spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi as saying.

Turkey: Erdogan Vows to Continue Buying Oil, Gas from Iran

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Erdogan Vows to Continue Buying Oil, Gas from Iran

Friday, 27 September, 2019 – 11:00
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City, New York, US, September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Asharq Al-Awsat
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed Ankara would continue to purchase oil and natural gas from Iran despite US sanctions.

“It is impossible for us to cancel relations with Iran with regards to oil and natural gas. We will continue to buy our natural gas from there,” Erdogan told Turkish reporters before leaving New York where he was attending the UN General Assembly.

Despite this vow, Erdogan admitted Turkey faced difficulty in purchasing oil since the private sector “pulled back because of US threats”, NTV broadcaster reported.

“But on this issue especially and many other issues, we will continue our relations with Iran,” he promised, adding that Ankara still sought to increase trade volume with Tehran.

The United States reimposed sanctions on Iran after pulling out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, and says it aims to reduce Tehran’s energy sales to zero.

Erdogan previously criticized the sanctions, insisting that they achieved nothing.

NTV also quoted the Turkish president as saying that preparations by Ankara and Washington on a safe zone for refugees in northeastern Syria are on schedule.

“The schedule is moving along, all our preparations along the border are also complete.”

“Upon returning (to Turkey), we will hold evaluations … on what sort of steps to take and implement them … because Turkey is not a country that can be stalled,” he said.

Turkey and the US started joint land and air patrols along part of Syria’s border with Turkey. Ankara wants Washington to clear the Syrian Kurdish YPG from a 480-km-long border area, and Erdogan warned that Turkey would act unilaterally if the group was not removed.

We’re Not the Saudis’ Mercenaries

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

We’re Not the Saudis’ Mercenaries

Trump brought the crisis with Iran on himself.

Nicholas Kristof

By 

Opinion Columnist

ImageSecretary of State Mike Pompeo meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
CreditCreditPool photo by Mandel Ngan

Robert Gates, the former defense secretary, once scoffed that Saudi Arabia “wants to fight the Iranians to the last American.”

The danger is that we slip toward that nightmare. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that Iran has committed an “act of war” by attacking Saudi oil processing centers. Influential hawks like Senator Lindsey Graham have suggested carrying out strikes on Iranian oil refineries.

Meanwhile, Iran is warning that it will retaliate for any strike with a “rapid and crushing” response.

President Trump faces a conundrum. If Iran was behind the attack on Saudi Arabia, that was a serious provocation. It’s reasonable to wonder if Iranian leaders are emboldened because they see Trump as someone full of just bluster and bombast.

“He is not a lion, he is a rabbit,” said Ali Bigdeli, a political analyst in Tehran, according to a Times article by David D. Kirkpatrick and Farnaz Fassihi.

Iran may have concluded that Trump is the mother of all bunny rabbits after the lack of any kinetic response to attacks on oil shipping in May and June, or to Iran’s shooting down of an American drone in June.

The upshot is that hawks are urging Trump to be tougher this time and to consider bombing Iranian targets. That would be even more dangerous than a perception of weakness, for it could quickly escalate. Iran would strike back at sites in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain, and it would target American troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.

A full war with Iran would be a catastrophe. Iran has twice the population of Iraq and would be a much more formidable foe than Iraq was.

So Trump has a genuine dilemma: Inaction may be perceived as weakness, while military strikes may escalate and drag us into cataclysm. But this is a dilemma of Trump’s own making.

We are in this mess because Trump abandoned the landmark 2015 Iranian nuclear deal. Hawks argued that we could apply maximum pressure on Iran and inflict such pain that it would buckle, without appreciating that Iran could also ramp up the pressure on us.

That’s the problem with hawks. They plan out their chess games and triumphantly plot a checkmate without appreciating the basic lesson of Sun Tzu or Clausewitz that the other side also gets to move.

Unfortunately, without the Iran nuclear deal, all options are bad. We should be searching for ways to return to the agreement, with face-saving tweaks that would allow both Trump and the Iranian supreme leader to claim victory.

Instead, I’m afraid we risk slipping into conflict. Nobody wants a war, but getting out of this will require skillful diplomacy, which isn’t something the Trump team has much demonstrated.

We need not be Saudi Arabia’s guard dog, or lap dog. Yes, Iran is a threat to international security — but so is Saudi Arabia. It is Saudi Arabia that kidnapped Lebanon’s prime minister, caused a schism with Qatar and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Attacking Saudi oil installations was a breach of global norms — as was murdering and dismembering a columnist for The Washington Post who was a resident of the United States. Saudi Arabia has the gall to call for an international inquiry into the attack on its oil installations, even as it blocks any international investigation into the murder of my friend Jamal Khashoggi.

Macabre new transcripts show that the Saudi hit squad was discussing the dismemberment even before Jamal walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. “I know how to cut very well,” one member of the team said. “I have never worked on a warm body, though.”

Saudi Arabia continues to imprison a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Loujain al-Hathloul, after earlier torturing and sexually assaulting her for advocating women’s rights. The kingdom apparently offered Hathloul freedom if she would publicly deny that she had been tortured; she bravely refused.

Trump might seek Saudi input on whether to go to war with Iran by placing a call not only to a killer on a throne but also to a hero in prison.

If Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to respond militarily to the airstrikes on its oil facilities, he can go ahead with the kingdom’s own fighter jets and missiles. But this is not our fight. Nor should it be our graveyard.

This is a struggle between two misogynistic, repressive regimes that are both destabilizing the region. And Trump’s suggestion that we will be well paid for defending Saudi Arabia is an insult to our troops, casting them as mercenaries working for a thuggish potentate.

Our task instead should be to cooperate with European countries to get out of this muck and find a way back into the Iranian nuclear agreement.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: [email protected].

Nicholas Kristof has been a columnist for The Times since 2001. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes, for his coverage of China and of the genocide in Darfur. You can sign up for his free, twice-weekly email newsletter and follow him on Instagram@NickKristof  Facebook

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Britain, Germany Slam Attack on Saudi Oil Plants, US Again Blames Iran

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Britain, Germany Slam Attack on Saudi Oil Plants, US Again Blames Iran

Monday, 16 September, 2019 – 11:45
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Britain and Germany condemned on Monday the attacks against Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stands in support of his Saudi Arabian allies following an attack on its oil facilities which marked a “wanton violation of international law”, his spokesman said.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas slammed the attack, saying “the situation is exceedingly worrisome.”

He added that Berlin is currently evaluating with its partners, “who is responsible for this attack, how it could happen.”

Washington has blamed Iran for the attack.

The Tehran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen claimed Saturday’s strikes on the plants.

US President Donald Trump said Sunday the United States is “locked and loaded” to respond to the attack.

His accusations were echoed Monday by US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, who said: “The United States wholeheartedly condemns Iran’s attack on Saudi Arabia and we call on other nations to do the same.”

In an address to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s general conference in Vienna, he said “this behavior is unacceptable” and that Iran “must be held responsible.”

“Make no mistake about it, this was a deliberate attack on the global economy and the global energy market,” he stressed.

He said Trump has authorized the release of strategic oil reserves should the US need them, and that his “department stands ready” to proceed if necessary.

Perry also added that “despite Iran’s malign efforts we are very confident that the market is resilient and will respond.”

Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since May last year, when Trump pulled the US out of a 2015 deal with world powers that promised Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Iran seizes another oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz as Gulf crisis erupts

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE UK EXPRESS NEWS)

 

Iran seizes another oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz as Gulf crisis erupts

IRAN is believed to have seized another oil tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran: ‘Startlingly dangerous moment’ in Middle East says expert

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The Israeli Broadcasting Corporation is reporting another ship has been seized in the gulf. Correspondent Amochai Stein said on Twitter: “Iran has seized another oil vessel in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard arrests a vessel and 11 crew on ‘diesel smuggling charges’.”

It comes after Iran said accusations it had a role in the attack on Saudi oil installations were “unacceptable” and “baseless”, after a senior US official said the Islamic Republic was behind it.

“These allegations are condemned as unacceptable and entirely baseless,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in remarks carried by state TV.

On Sunday, a senior US official told reporters that evidence from the attack, which hit the world’s biggest oil-processing facility on Saturday, indicated Iran was behind it, instead of the Yemeni Houthi group that had claimed responsibility.

Iran news

Iran is believed to have seized another oil tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz (Image: REUTERS/GETTY)

Donald Trump waded into the row by issuing a fierce warning to Iran that America was “locked and loaded” in a chilling esponse to the oil field attacks.

The US President said on Twitter: “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of the attack, and under what terms we would proceed.”

He then said the US had ‘PLENTY OF OIL!’ despite the attacks on the fields.

READ MORE: Putin swoops on Iran chaos in crunch talks hours after Saudi strike

Last night the US issued satellite images an intelligence backing the claim that Iran was behind attacks on major Saudi oil facilities.

According to the New York Times, ABC and Reuters US officials pointed 19 points of impact from bombs or missiles and evidence indicated the attacks had come from a west-north-west direction – not Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen, which lies to the south-west of the Saudi oil facilities.

US officials suggested launch sites in the northern Gulf, Iran or Iraq were a more likely source of the missiles. And a close-up image of damaged tanks at the Abqaiq processing plant seemed to show impact points on the western side.

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Donald Trump said the US is “locked and loaded” (Image: GETTY)

Iran’s semi-official Students News agency ISNA reported Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have seized the the vessel for allegedly smuggling 250,000 litres of diesel fuel to the United Arab Emirates.

A reporter for ISNA said: “It was detained near Iran’s Greater Tunb island in the Persian Gulf.

“The crew have been handed over to legal authorities in the southern Hormozgan province.”

Donald Trump would take ‘aggressive’ stance on Iran says expert

Play Video

Mr Trump said on Monday the United States would help its allies.

Taking to Twitter he said: “We don’t need Middle Eastern Oil & Gas, & in fact have very few tankers there, but will help our Allies!”

The latest reported ship seizure by Iran follows a series of incidents involving shipping around the Gulf after US sanctions on Iranian oil exports took full effect in May.

France, Lebanon Condemn Attacks on Saudi Oil Facilities

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SAUDI ARABIA’S ASHARQ AL-AWSAT NEWS)

 

France, Lebanon Condemn Attacks on Saudi Oil Facilities

Sunday, 15 September, 2019 – 11:15
Smoke is seen following a fire at Aramco facility in the eastern city of Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14, 2019. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
France condemns attacks on Saudi oil facilities that have disrupted global production, the country’s foreign ministry said on Sunday.

“France firmly condemns yesterday’s attacks on the Abqaiq and Khurais oil installations,” the ministry said in a statement that also expressed “complete solidarity” with Saudi Arabia.

“These actions can only worsen regional tensions and risk of conflict,” the French statement added. “It is imperative that they stop.”

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri slammed on Sunday the attacks, deeming them a “dangerous escalation that threatens to widen the arena of conflicts in the region.”

He said the attacks demand that the international community assume major responsibilities to put an end to “aggression and terrorism that are sweeping through the Arab world and jeopardizing regional stability.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday accused Iran of launching attacks on Saudi oil plants, ruling out the involvement of the Tehran-aligned Houthi militias in Yemen.

The Houthis claimed credit for the attacks, but Pompeo firmly placed blame on Iran.

“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy,” Pompeo said, referring to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.

“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” he added.

Saudi Arabia oil facilities ablaze after drone strikes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Saudi Arabia oil facilities ablaze after drone strikes

Media caption Abqaiq is the site of Aramco’s largest oil processing plant

Drone attacks have set alight two major oil facilities run by the state-owned company Aramco in Saudi Arabia, state media say.

Footage showed a huge blaze at Abqaiq, site of Aramco’s largest oil processing plant, while a second drone attack started fires in the Khurais oilfield.

The fires are now under control at both facilities, state media said.

A spokesman for the Iran-aligned Houthi group in Yemen said it had deployed 10 drones in the attacks.

The military spokesman, Yahya Sarea, told al-Masirah TV, which is owned by the Houthi movement and is based in Beirut, that further attacks could be expected in the future.

He said Saturday’s attack was one of the biggest operations the Houthi forces had undertaken inside Saudi Arabia and was carried out in “co-operation with the honorable people inside the kingdom”.

Saudi officials have not yet commented on who they think is behind the attacks.

“At 04:00 (01:00 GMT), the industrial security teams of Aramco started dealing with fires at two of its facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais as a result of… drones,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

“The two fires have been controlled.”

Map

There have been no details on the damage but Agence France-Presse quoted interior ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki as saying there were no casualties.

Abqaiq is about 60km (37 miles) south-west of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, while Khurais, some 200km further south-west, has the country’s second largest oilfield.

Saudi security forces foiled an attempt by al-Qaeda to attack the Abqaiq facility with suicide bombers in 2006.


An attack method open to all

Jonathan Marcus, BBC defence and diplomatic correspondent

This latest attack underlines the strategic threat posed by the Houthis to Saudi Arabia’s oil installations.

The growing sophistication of the Houthis’ drone operations is bound to renew the debate as to where this capability comes from. Have the Houthis simply weaponised commercial civilian drones or have they had significant assistance from Iran?

The Trump administration is likely to point the finger squarely at Tehran, but experts vary in the extent to which they think Iran is facilitating the drone campaign.

The Saudi Air Force has been pummelling targets in Yemen for years. Now the Houthis have a capable, if much more limited, ability to strike back. It shows that the era of armed drone operations being restricted to a handful of major nations is now over.

Drone technology – albeit of varying degrees of sophistication – is available to all; from the US to China, Israel and Iran… and from the Houthis to Hezbolllah.


Markets await news from key facilities

Analysis by BBC business correspondent Katie Prescott

Aramco ranks as the world’s largest oil business and these facilities are significant.

The Khurais oilfield produces about 1% of the world’s oil and Abqaiq is the company’s largest facility – with the capacity to process 7% of the global supply. Even a brief or partial disruption could affect the company, and the oil supply, given their size.

But whether this will have an impact on the oil price come Monday will depend on just how extensive the damage is. Markets now have the weekend to digest information from Aramco and assess the long-term impact.

According to Richard Mallinson, geopolitical analyst at Energy Aspects, any reaction on Monday morning is likely to be muted, as markets are less worried about supply than demand at the moment, due to slower global economic growth and the ongoing trade war between the US and China.

However, there are concerns that escalating tensions in the region could pose a broader risk, potentially threatening the fifth of the world’s oil supply that goes through the critical Strait of Hormuz.


Who are the Houthis?

The Iran-aligned Houthi rebel movement has been fighting the Yemeni government and a Saudi-led coalition.

Yemen has been at war since 2015, when President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was forced to flee the capital Sanaa by the Houthis. Saudi Arabia backs President Hadi, and has led a coalition of regional countries against the rebels.

The coalition launches air strikes almost every day, while the Houthis often fire missiles into Saudi Arabia.

Mr Sarea, the Houthi group’s military spokesman, told al-Masirah that operations against Saudi targets would “only grow wider and will be more painful than before, so long as their aggression and blockade continues”.

Saudi-led coalition air strike on Dhamar in Yemen, 1 SeptImage copyrightEPA
Image captionSaudi-led coalition air strikes regularly target Houthis in Yemen

Houthi fighters were blamed for drone attacks on the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility last month and on other oil facilities in May.

There have been other sources of tension in the region, often stemming from the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Saudi Arabia and the US both blamed Iran for attacks in the Gulf on two oil tankers in June and July, allegations Tehran denied.

In May, four tankers, two of them Saudi-flagged, were damaged by explosions within the UAE’s territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman.

Saudi Arabia and then US National Security Adviser John Bolton blamed Iran. Tehran said the accusations were “ridiculous”.

Tension in the vital shipping lanes worsened when Iran shot down a US surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz in June, leading a month later to the Pentagon announcing the deployment of US troops to Saudi Arabia.

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Iran: Grace 1 Tanker Raises Iranian Flag, Changes Name to ‘Adrian Darya-1’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Grace 1 Tanker Raises Iranian Flag, Changes Name to ‘Adrian Darya-1’

Sunday, 18 August, 2019 – 11:15
A view of the Iranian tanker as it stands off the coast of the British territory of Gibraltar, Friday August 16, 2019. (AP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
An Iranian tanker caught in a stand-off between Tehran and the West has raised an Iranian flag and has had a new name painted on its side, Reuters images of the stationary vessel filmed off Gibraltar showed on Sunday.

British Royal Marines seized the vessel in Gibraltar in July on suspicion that it was carrying oil to Syria, a close ally of Iran, in violation of European Union sanctions.

Video footage and photographs showed the tanker flying the red, green and white flag of Iran and bearing the new name of “Adrian Darya-1” painted in white on its hull. Its previous name, “Grace 1”, had been painted over.

The vessel’s anchor was still down.

The Grace 1 had originally flown the Panamian flag but Panama’s Maritime Authority said in July that the vessel had been de-listed after an alert that indicated the ship had participated in or was linked to terrorism financing.

Gibraltar lifted a detention order on the vessel on Thursday but its fate was further complicated by the United States, which made a last-ditch legal appeal to hold it.

The initial impounding of the Grace 1 kicked off a sequence of events that saw Tehran seize a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf two weeks later, heightening tension on a vital international oil shipping route.

That tanker, the Stena Impero, is still detained.

The two vessels have since become pawns in a bigger game, feeding into wider hostilities since the United States last year pulled out of an international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program, and reimposed economic sanctions.