US State Senator: No Evidence of Iran’s Involvement in Saudi Oil Attack
Story Code : 816566
In an interview with Tasnim, Virgina Senator Richard H. Black likened Saudi Arabia to a “school bully who cries when a small girl punches him and gives him a bloody nose,” saying the neocons always accuse Iran of involvement in attacks on Saudi targets because they cling to the dream of starting a new war in the Middle East.
What follows is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: The over 4-year-old Saudi war on Yemen has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 civilians. The Yemeni Armed Forces on Saturday carried out retaliatory drone attacks against Saudi Arabia, hitting the kingdom’s oil heartland, Aramco. What is your take on the devastating strikes?
Black: Saudis used cruel bombardment and attacks by paid Sudanese mercenaries to force the people of Yemen to accept a puppet regime. They thought they could muscle the poor Houthi tribesmen into bowing to their will, but they were wrong. The drone attack knocked out half of Saudi oil production. This was a huge victory for the Houthis and an enormous loss of prestige for Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Tasnim: Later in the day, the spokesman of the Yemeni army warned that more similar strikes will be conducted unless the Saudi regime stops its aggression against the impoverished Arab country. Do you think Yemen’s military has the right to defend the country’s soil and sovereignty in the face of Riyadh?
Black: Saudi Arabia is outraged that Yemen is fighting back against Arabia’s war of aggression. The Saudis are like a school bully who cries when a small girl punches him and gives him a bloody nose. Saudi Arabia has murdered Yemen’s Houthis for years. Using American weapons and Sudanese mercenaries, they have done so without suffering consequences. Now, they’re getting some of their own medicine and they just can’t take it. Suddenly they are experiencing some of the suffering that they have been inflicting on their neighbors.
Tasnim: In a phone call, US President Trump told Saudi crown prince that the US was ready to help protect the regime security following the attack. Secretary of State Pompeo blamed Iran for the attack. But Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, denounced Pompeo's characterization of the actors involved in the attack. "This is such irresponsible simplification and it’s how we get into dumb wars of choice. The Saudis and Houthis are at war. The Saudis attack the Houthis and the Houthis attack back…,” he wrote. What do you think? Why does White House not rein in the kingdom to stop killing innocent people?
Black: As soon as Saudi Arabia and the UAE leave Yemen, the war will end. The Houthis have no reason to pursue the war beyond their own borders once the war against them ends. The Saudis and Emiratis attacked Yemen in order to install Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi as the president. But Hadi is a mere Quisling--a hated puppet who lacks any popular support. He doesn’t even live in Yemen.
Saudis and Emiratis live in opulent splendor while they bomb water purification plants to spread disease and death among the Yemenis. They are notorious for using US-built “smart bombs” to launch precise attacks on weddings, funerals, and children’s school buses. Their war against the Houthis is widely viewed as a litany of war crimes against the people. Reuters reports that the “US, France, Britain may be complicit in Yemen war crimes,” according to the UN.
There’s no reliable evidence that Iran was involved in the attacks. But neocons always blame Iran because they cling to the dream of starting a new war there. However, the American people are sick of propping up the brutal Saudi regime and they are tired of wars in the Middle East.
Tasnim: Why has the West remained silent on the issue of human rights in Saudi Arabia and its deadly war on Yemen?
Black: The West relies on Saudi Arabia to help the US control world currency through the petrodollar. In the 1970s, Saudi Arabia agreed that all of their oil sales would be settled in US dollars. In exchange, the US backs the Saudis militarily. The petrodollar system makes the US dollar the world's reserve currency. It allows the United States to run persistent trade deficits, while exerting global economic hegemony.
Despite this important petrodollar arrangement, US congressmen have become increasingly hostile toward Saudi Arabia. There is growing awareness of Saudi Arabia’s role in carrying out the nightmarish 9-11 attacks that killed 3,000 Americans in the Twin Towers and Pentagon in 2001.
In 2016, Congress overrode a presidential veto to enable the families of 9-11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in US courts for participating in that bloody horror. Enactment of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, demonstrates that congress concluded that Saudi Arabia is probably complicit in the 9-11 attacks against the US.
This June, the US Senate also voted against selling arms to the Saudis. Although the senators could not override the president’s veto, most of them were troubled by the Saudi and Emeriti war against the people of Yemen. Others were aghast at the grisly murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Washington Post reported on November 16, 2018, that, “The CIA has concluded (with a high level of confidence) that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month… according to people familiar with the matter.” Khashoggi’s murder did enormous damage to the reputation of the crown prince.
The royal family’s reputation was not helped when the crown prince’s half-sister, Princess Hessa bint Salman, was found guilty of armed violence and complicity in holding a man against his will. She received a 10-month probated sentence by a French court in September for ordering a bodyguard to detain and strike a plumber for taking photos at the Saudi royal family's apartment in the French capital. According to the French news magazine Le Point, the workman reported that the princess shouted "Kill him, the dog, he doesn't deserve to live." Her bodyguard then bound the workman and forced him to kiss the woman’s feet at gunpoint.
The cumulative effect of 9-11 revelations, the atrocities in Yemen, the funneling of arms to Syrian terror groups, and the atrocious misbehavior of the royal family have created a negative impression of Saudi Arabia in the West.