(ORDO NEWS) — Oil giant Aramco has been hit by the Yemeni Houthis. They attacked the company’s oil tanks in Saudi Arabia and the Al-Mukhtara power plant. In response, a coalition of Arab states launched a military operation.
Aramco is the largest company in the world in terms of oil production and reserves, owned by the government of Saudi Arabia.
The Houthis are a paramilitary Islamic organization from Yemen that is fighting for complete control of the country. She is associated with Iran. The attack took place on the eve of a temporary truce for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (April 2-May 2).
The coalition of Arab states has repeatedly said it is showing restraint in the face of attacks, but launched a military operation in Yemen early Saturday morning, saying its goal is to protect global energy sources and secure supply chains.
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Ministry has accused Iran of continuing to arm the Houthis with ballistic missiles and advanced drones, stressing that the attacks “will reduce the Kingdom’s production capacity and its ability to meet its obligations to global markets.”
Tehran denies arming the Houthis. There were no comments from Aramco. The coalition said it carried out retaliatory airstrikes on Saturday against “threat sources” in the Houthi-controlled capital Sana’a and the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.
Houthi spokesman Yahya Sarea said they fired missiles on Aramco facilities in Jeddah, a city in western Saudi Arabia, on Friday, and attacked the Ras Tanura and Rabih oil refineries with drones, and said it had hit “vital targets” in Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom.
Saudi state media previously reported that the coalition had thwarted a series of drone and missile attacks by the Houthis. Saudi air defenses also destroyed a ballistic missile fired at Jizan, which helped offset the strike power, causing only a “limited” fire at the power plant.
The Houthi escalation comes as a UN special envoy is trying to secure a temporary truce for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken condemned the attacks on allied Saudi Arabia and said the U.S. “will continue to work with Riyadh to bolster its defenses while working towards a lasting settlement to the conflict in Yemen.”
“At a time when the parties should be focusing on de-escalation and providing life-saving assistance to the Yemeni people ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, the Houthis continue their destructive behavior and reckless terrorist attacks targeting civilian infrastructure,” Blinken said.
Over the weekend, a Houthi attack on the kingdom led to a temporary drop in production at an oil refinery and a fire at a petroleum products distribution terminal.
Earlier, on March 11, the group attacked an oil refinery in Riyadh, causing a small fire. This conflict is considered a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, it has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people and brought Yemen to the brink of starvation. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.
As you know, Saudi Arabia is one of the US allies in the Middle East. After the start of the war in Ukraine, NATO countries made a bet that the Saudis could gradually replace Russian oil supplies on the world market.
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