With the price of oil still on edge over the duration of Saudi Aramco repairs and speculation over how long until Saudi oil output is fully restored, moments ago Brent tumbled after a WSJ report that Saudi Arabia – which is hoping to come to market with the Aramco IPO in the coming weeks – is seeking to impose a partial cease-fire in Yemen, as Riyadh and the Houthi militants the kingdom is fighting try to bring an end to the four-year war that has become a front line in the broader regional clash with Iran.
Saudi Arabia’s surprise decision to de-escalate a long-running war follows a just as surprising move by Houthi forces to declare a unilateral cease-fire in Yemen last week, just days after claiming responsibility for the Sept. 14 drone and cruise missile strike on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry the WSJ notes. While the Houthis fired two missiles at Saudi Arabia earlier this week, the strike wasn’t seen by Saudi leaders as a serious attack that would undermine the new cease-fire efforts.
Houthi leaders initially said they were responsible for the attack on the oil facilities, but Saudi, U.S. and European officials have dismissed the claims as a transparent attempt to obscure Iran’s role in the strike. Yemeni fighters, these officials say, have neither the weapons nor the skills to carry out such a sophisticated strike.
In the days that followed the attack, an internal Houthi rift expanded between those who want to distance themselves from Iran and those who want to strengthen ties.
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