Iran Blames U.S., Israel and Saudi for ‘Cyber Attack’; The U.S. Troops Go to Iraq

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Your briefly report on October 21 in last twelve hours from

Fire at Iran oil refinery raises further suspicions of Saudi retaliation

A fire broke out on Saturday at Iran’s Abadan oil refinery located in the southwest of the country, although state media has reported that the fire was brought under control yesterday.

“The refinery’s fire department contained the fire and prevented it from spreading to other units,” state broadcaster IRIB said on its website, referring to the incident which took place in a canal carrying waste from the refinery.

Footage circulating on social media shows a huge blaze which adds fuel to speculation that it could be a possible revenge attack by Saudi Arabia over the 14 September Aramco attacks. Blamed on Tehran, the attack halved the crude output of the world’s top oil exporter. Tehran denied any involvement in the attack, with the Houthis of Yemen claiming responsibility. Earlier in the month, an Iranian oil tanker was set ablaze in the Red Sea off the coast of Saudi, no fatalities were reported. Tehran named the US, Israel and Saudi as the culprits behind the attack.

Iranian opposition sources claim the fire was caused by a “cyber attack” although these claims have not been verified.

Built in 1912, Abadan refinery was the first of its kind in Iran and once was the largest in the world. It was heavily damaged during the Iran-Iraq war. It now refines 400,000 barrels of crude every day. Abadan refinery has attracted major foreign investment, with a Chinese firm Sinopec signing a $1.2 billion modernisation deal with Iran’s oil ministry at the facility in 2016. Earlier this year it was announced that Sinopec had invested $2.2 billion in development projects at the refinery since 2017.

Defense Sec. Mark Esper: U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to Iraq

Despite US President Donald Trump’s talk of bringing US troops home from “endless wars” in the Middle East, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper says the troops in Syria are not returning to the US, but will be instead sent to Iraq.

When discussing the US withdrawal from northeastern Syria, Esper emphasized that the US is aiming to be “very deliberate” and it is not rushing, saying “we’re talking weeks, not days.”

“The current game plan is for those forces to re-position into western Iraq,” Esper said, adding that this is the current plan and that things could change between now and when the US finishes its withdrawal from Syria.

Esper says that 1,000 US troops will be attempting to accomplish two missions while in Iraq, first to “help defend Iraq” and second “to preform a counter-ISIS mission.”

“The quickest way to get them out of danger was to get them into Iraq,” Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Fox News Sunday.

Trump first announced his plan to pull US troops out of Syria in early October and Turkey’s military operation in northeastern Syria began days later.

On Thursday, during talks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, President Tayyip Erdogan agreed to a five-day pause in military operations that would allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from what Turkey is calling the “safe zone,” near the Turkish-Syrian border.

Read more: Kurds Call Israel to Help; U.S. Army Soldiers Killed; Turkey and Russia Discuss Syria

Read more: Turkey Uses White Phosphorus in Syria; Israel Has Right to Act; Russian Helicopters Strike Enemy

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Editorial team
Source: MEMO, TJP