Saudi allies hold summit to prevent oil attacks by Iran
GCC chiefs-of-staff met Arab and western military leaders in Riyadh on Monday to discuss ways to jointly protect the region’s oil infrastructure after the September 14 attacks on Saudi Aramco.
Representatives from the US, UK, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Korea, Jordan and Egypt attended.
Gen Fayyadh Al Ruwaili, the Saudi chief-of-staff, accused Iran of whipping up sectarian strife for political ends through militia proxies that owed “absolute loyalty” to Tehran.
“The region has been suffering consecutive crises since the regime of the Iranian revolution reached power,” Gen Al Ruwaili told the meeting.
Military officials looked at ways to use naval and air forces to guard against “Iranian terrorist attacks and ensuring the safety of marine navigation”.
The US is sending extra troops to Saudi Arabia to bolster its defences. Saudi Arabia and Washington have blamed the September 14 attack on Iran.
The attack knocked out almost half of Saudi Arabia’s oil processing capacity, before most of the damage was repaired.
The US stepped up its efforts to set up a security coalition following the Aramco attacks.
Tension has been running high between the US and most of its Arab allies on one side, and Iran over US sanctions on Tehran’s oil exports and a series of unclaimed attacks on ships in the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.
The waterways are used by oil tankers supplying almost a third of the world’s oil.
The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Britain and Australia have joined a US coalition to protect shipping in the region.
Its members have committed troops, planes and ships to accompany and track vessels passing through the Gulf.
But Japan said last week it would send its own ships and planes to protect its merchant vessels in the Gulf, rejecting calls to join the US coalition.
Gen Fayyadh Al Ruwaili, Saudi chief-of-staff, at the meeting in Riyadh with military leaders yesterday