Trump speaks with Saudi crown prince after Houthi attacks on oil refineries

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE spoke on the phone with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday after Houthi rebels in Yemen launched drone strikes against two Saudi oil refineries. 

Trump offered the administration’s support for “Saudi Arabia’s self defense” and condemned the attack on “critical energy infrastructure.”


“Violent actions against civilian areas and infrastructure vital to the global economy only deepen conflict and mistrust. The United States Government is monitoring the situation and remains committed to ensuring global oil markets are stable and well supplied,” deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.

The Saudi government added in a statement that Trump agreed to work with Riyadh to “maintain its security and stability” and reaffirmed the attacks’ negative impacts on “the US economy as well as the world economy.”

The conversation came after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen launched drone strikes against two oil refineries deep into Saudi territory in response to Riyadh’s air campaign against the rebel group. 

“Air Force of the Yemeni Army and Popular Committees, Saturday morning carried out a large-scale operation with 10 drones, targeting Abqaiq and Khurais refineries east of Saudi Arabia,” Houthi Brig. Gen. Yahya Sare’e said, adding that operations will “expand” and be “more painful” as long as Saudi Arabia continues military strikes in Yemen.

The Riyadh-led air campaign to dislodge the Houthis in Yemen has killed thousands of civilians and sparked one of the gravest humanitarian crises in the world.

The rebels have responded with drone and rocket attacks into Saudi Arabia, though Saturday’s strikes, which hit about 500 miles from Yemeni territory, marked the most significant operation yet.

The Trump administration placed the blame for Saturday’s attack solely on Iran, with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo says Mideast strategy will be Trump administration policy 'until our time is complete' Trump administration pulls out of Open Skies treaty with Russia Tibetan political leader makes visit to White House for first time in six decades MORE tweeting that “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia” and that “there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

“The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression,” Pompeo said.