Pompeo heads to Saudi Arabia as US official says Aramco attacks came from ‘Iranian soil’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens as Donald Trump meets with Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Monday. (Reuters)
Updated 17 September 2019

Pompeo heads to Saudi Arabia as US official says Aramco attacks came from ‘Iranian soil’

  • Official tells AFP that cruise missiles were involved in attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais
  • Vice President Mike Pence says United States evaluating evidence on the attacks

WASHINGTON: The United States has concluded that the weekend attack on Saudi oil facilities was launched from Iranian soil and cruise missiles were involved, a US official told AFP on Tuesday.

The comments come as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo headed to the Kingdom Tuesday amid heightened tensions after the strikes.

The official, who declined to be identified, said the United States was gathering evidence about the attack to present to the international community, notably European allies, at the UN General Assembly next week.

Asked if Washington was certain that the missiles had been launched from Iranian soil, the official answered: "Yes."

US intelligence services have the capability of determining where the missiles were launched from, the official said, declining, however, to say how many were fired.

"I will not get into that kind of details," the official said.

On Tuesday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke with UK prime minister Boris Johnson over the phone, with Johnson assuring the prince of the importance of a “collective global response” to the Aramco attack.

The weekend strikes on Abqaiq -- the world's largest oil processing facility – and the Khurais oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia have roiled global energy markets.

Yemen's Iran-backed-Houthi militants claimed responsibility for Saturday's attacks but Saudi Arabia accused Iran and President Donald Trump also singled out Tehran.

"Certainly, it would look to most like it was Iran," Trump said Monday.

The president said the United States wanted to help its Saudi ally but he wanted to avoid a war.

US Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday the United States was evaluating evidence on the attacks on Saudi oil facilities and stands read to defend its interests and allies in the Middle East. If Iran conducted Saturday's attacks to pressure Trump to back off his sanctions regime against Tehran, they will fail, Pence said. 

Tensions between Iran and the United States and its allies have threatened to boil over since May last year when Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal and began reimposing sanctions in its campaign of "maximum pressure."


First Lifestyle Enhancement Conference in Saudi Arabia puts spotlight on healthy living

Updated 17 min 38 sec ago

First Lifestyle Enhancement Conference in Saudi Arabia puts spotlight on healthy living

  • The LEC brought together globally renowned experts on health care, wellness, medicine and alternative therapies to discuss some of the most pressing issues of today
  • The conference highlighted the importance of healthy choices, nutrition, and physical activity

RIYADH: The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and in association with the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Weqaya), has held the first Lifestyle Enhancement Conference (LEC) in Riyadh.

The LEC, focusing on the emerging science of lifestyle medicine and preventative nutrition, took place on Dec. 7-8, 2019, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh.
The LEC brought together globally renowned experts on health care, wellness, medicine and alternative therapies to discuss some of the most pressing issues of today. The conference highlighted the importance of healthy choices, nutrition, and physical activity to help prevent obesity and diseases such as diabetes.
“The Saudi Sports for All Federation champions physical activity and fitness as a major tenet of increasing health and welfare. As part of our mission to enhance the quality of life in the Kingdom, we are also advocating for conscientious nutrition,” said Ms. Shaima Saleh Alhusseini, managing director at the SFA. “The Lifestyle Enhancement Conference, staged in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Weqaya, is the first event to bring together top caliber medical professionals to facilitate the increase of health education levels in Saudi Arabia.”
Speaking at the conference, HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, president of the Saudi Sports for All Federation, said: “Diseases such as diabetes and obesity are increasing at an alarming rate in the region and becoming a major cause of worry. We are seeing that the lack of sports participation and physical activity, combined with substandard health education, are all contributing factors to poor health. Adopting a healthy and balanced lifestyle are among the top factors needed to prevent these diseases. As an organization focused on a healthy public, we seek to engage and communicate on measures that contribute to prevention.
“The SFA endeavors to counter the health threats that our society faces. We aim to contribute to proactive, healthy behaviors by hosting experts from various branches of health, fitness, wellness and medicine together to discuss and share insights on prevention and alternative remedies to these diseases.”
Saudi Vision 2030 has outlined its goals for a more physically fit population by increasing student participation in sport by 25 percent and increase the number of fitness coaches in the country. The LEC aims to proactively address this target by also adding health education metrics to its national campaigns.
The event’s presentations and panel discussions presented the importance of exercise and nutrition for mental and physical wellbeing, highlighting prevention and treatment measures for different types of diseases.
Attended by medical and health care professionals, nutritionists, wellness experts, sports and fitness coaches, physical therapists, and students of the related fields, the LEC’s inaugural edition was a resounding success.
The SFA intends to build on the LEC’s positive reception in Saudi Arabia by continuing its close cooperation with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health and Weqaya to establish an annual event open to the public.
SFA, a proactive community sport and wellness organization founded to promote a healthy lifestyle in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, aims to provide access to opportunities for all members of society to practice physical activity.
Partnering with government organizations, sports delivery bodies, sports federations, and the wider public and private sector to achieve its goals, the SFA focuses on increasing physical activity and health and wellness metrics across the country. The increase of physical activity is achieved by advancing four strategic priorities: education, community and volunteering, fitness and wellbeing, and campaigns and promotion.
It does this by designing recreational sports programs tailored for women, men, youth, the elderly and persons with disabilities across Saudi Arabia.