Iran Denies U.S. Claim That It Was Behind Saudi Arabia Oil Field Attacks

(DUBAI, United Arab Emirates) — Iran denied on Sunday it was involved in Yemen rebel drone attacks the previous day that hit the world’s biggest oil processing facility and an oil field in Saudi Arabia, just hours after America’s top diplomat alleged that Tehran was behind the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

The attacks Saturday claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels resulted in “the temporary suspension of production operations” at the Abqaiq processing facility and the Khurais oil field, Riyadh said.

That led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels in crude supplies, authorities said while pledging the kingdom’s stockpiles would make up the difference. The amount Saudi Arabia is cutting back is equivalent to over 5% of the world’s daily production.

While markets remained closed Sunday, the attack could shock world energy prices. They also increased overall tensions in the region amid an escalating crisis between the U.S. and Iran over Tehran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

Late Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo directly blamed Iran for the attack on Twitter, without offering evidence to support his claim.

“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” Pompeo wrote. “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.

— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 14, 2019

The U.S., Western nations, their Gulf Arab allies and U.N. experts say Iran supplies the Houthis with weapons and drones — a charge that Tehran denies.

U.S. officials previously alleged at least one recent drone attack on Saudi Arabia came from Iraq, where Iran backs Shiite militias. Those militias in recent weeks have been targeted themselves by mysterious airstrikes, with at least one believed to have been carried out by Israel.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Sunday dismissed Pompeo’s remarks as “blind and futile comments.”

“The Americans adopted the ‘maximum pressure’ policy against Iran, which, due to its failure, is leaning towards ‘maximum lies’,” Mousavi said in a statement.

Separately, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s office issued a statement on Sunday denying the drone attack came from there.

Iraq “abides by its constitutions that prevents the use of its lands …read more

Source:: Time – Politics


Why aren’t more celebrities running for president?

I thought we’d at least get Oprah.

President Trump’s victory was supposed to be the start of a new era of celebrity politics in America. He proved that a candidate with no political experience but substantial name recognition can win — that fame is, for many Americans, reason enough to give a campaign a serious hearing. For 2020, I anticipated the Democratic Party would respond in kind, and I don’t think I’m alone in that expectation. My colleague Matthew Walther made the case this past spring that a celebrity challenger might well be Democrats’ strongest tactic against Trump, and he’s not the only one who thinks so. Lists of celebrities who could plausibly run abound. Oprah, Kanye West, the Rock, and Alec Baldwin are perennially popular suggestions.

But now it’s September. We’re several debates into the Democratic primary and zero debates into the still-sputtering Republican primary, and there’s nary a real celebrity to be found. (Yes, Marianne Williamson is kind of famous, but she’s not Hollywood famous. I’d certainly never heard of her before her campaign.) Why aren’t more celebrities running for president?

I ask that not because I want a celebrity president. I do not, as the celebrification of the presidency is part and parcel of the dangerous and continuous expansion of the powers of the office. Yet I am legitimately surprised there isn’t another one on offer. Here are six possible explanations.

1. Trump ruined it. “Maybe Trump’s election does change things a little,” suggested FiveThirtyEight senior political writer Clare Malone in a discussion of this very subject two years ago. “Trump had virtually nothing to qualify him for the office, so why can’t any old schmo run? [B]ut there’s also the flip side of this, which is that Americans might, by the end of four years of Trump, want someone who exhibits a modicum of experience.” A bad taste of celebrity presidency may have turned many against the concept altogether.

This is plausible, but not entirely convincing. Crucially, I’m not sure “inexperience” is the chief objection to Trump for most of his critics. If anything, Trump’s lack of governing experience has, from his opponents’ perspective, probably helped blunt the damage he can do. The problem is not his lack of political record but his view of himself and the world — which means Trump’s celebrity wouldn’t necessarily be a mark …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics