The United States is considering increasing its intelligence sharing with Saudi Arabia after Saturday’s attack on Saudi oil facilities, which halved the kingdom’s production and jolted world oil markets, US officials told Reuters.
The US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not say how broad any increase in intelligence sharing might be or discuss other options being weighed by the administration as a response to the attack on the world’s biggest crude oil processing plant.
The United States, has only selectively shared intelligence with Saudi Arabia about the threats from Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi militants, who claimed responsibility for the attack.
Such intelligence shared with the Saudis has long lacked the kind of detail that would allow the Arab Coalition supporting the legitimate Yemeni government to pinpoint Houthi leaders or their networks, which the United States has long maintained are supported by Iran.
Trump has said the United States was “locked and loaded” to retaliate and on Monday questioned Iran’s claim that it had nothing to do with Saturday’s attack.
For, months Iranian officials have issued veiled threats, saying that if Tehran is blocked from exporting oil, other countries will not be able to do so either.
However, Iran has denied any role in a series of attacks in recent months, including bombings of tankers in the Gulf and the strikes claimed by the Houthis. The latest attack triggered the biggest surge in oil prices since 1991.
Iran’s Yemeni allies have promised more strikes to come. Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said the group carried out Saturday’s pre-dawn attack with drones, including some powered by jet engines.
But several US officials say they believe that the attack on Saudi Arabia came from the opposite direction, possibly from Iran itself rather than Yemen.
On Sunday, one US official said: “There’s no doubt that Iran is responsible for this. No matter how you slice it, there’s no escaping it. There’s no other candidate.”
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