Skip to main content

Intel: How a new report bolsters US case that Iran attacked Saudi Arabia

A confidential United Nations report rebutted claims from Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels that they were responsible for a missile attack on two Saudi oil facilities in September.
Saudi defence ministry spokesman Colonel Turki Al-Malik displays remains of the missiles which Saudi government says were used to attack an Aramco oil facility, during a news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 18, 2019. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed - RC152BBF8970

A confidential United Nations report rebutted claims from Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels that they were responsible for a missile attack on two Saudi oil facilities in September, Reuters reported Jan. 8. The report found that the missiles and drones used in the attack on Abqaiq and Khurais in northern Saudi Arabia did not “have a sufficient range to have been launched from Yemeni territory under the control of the Houthis.”

Why it matters:  Although Tehran has officially denied any involvement in the attack, the UN report bolsters US and European claims that Iran launched the attacks. The report comes as tensions between Iran and the United States have reached a boiling point following President Donald Trump’s assassination of Quds force commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. While the majority of Democratic lawmakers — and even some Republicans — have pushed back against the Trump administration’s claims that Soleimani was planning an imminent attack, none have disputed the White House’s claim that Iran was behind last year’s Saudi oil facility attacks.

The report could also lend further ammunition for the Trump administration to justify its maximum pressure campaign against Iran, which includes crippling sanctions and the recent deployment of nearly 80,000 US troops to the region.

What’s next:  Trump stopped short of a military response to Iran’s retaliatory strikes on US forces stationed in Iraq this week, opting instead to increase sanctions on Tehran — though it remains unclear how much is left to sanction.

Know more:  Read Iraq editor Ali Mamouri’s overview of the latest bout of violence — and the prospect for negotiations — between Iran and the United States.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Free

The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.

Free

What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing
Expert

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to pro.support@al-monitor.com and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial