Archive for October 1, 2019

Responding to the Saudi Oil Attack: A Challenge for U.S. Policy

October 1, 2019

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After months of increasing tensions, the contest between Iran and the United States escalated dramatically with the spectacular air attack on Saudi oil installations. So far, the Trump administration has sent mixed signals about its response, with the president warning that America’s military was “locked and loaded” and then suggesting that energy independence means events in the Gulf no longer affect U.S. interests. While the ultimate decision has powerful implications for Gulf security, it will also reverberate everywhere that America and its allies face off against Iran and its local proxies, from Yemen to Iraq to Lebanon to Gaza.

Crack in the anti-Iran front: US persuades Saudis to engage Tehran in regional deals – DEBKAfile

October 1, 2019

Source: Crack in the anti-Iran front: US persuades Saudis to engage Tehran in regional deals – DEBKAfile

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani disclosed on Tuesday, Sept. 30, that he had received “messages from Saudi Arabia,” the day after Crown Prince Muhammed (MbS) warned that war with Iran would “collapse the global economy” by causing crude prices to spike to “unimaginably high numbers.” In a CBS 60 Minutes interview, the prince noted that he “preferred a political solution to a military one.”

Rouhani’s spokesman commented, without revealing the messages’ content, “if Saudi Arabia is really pursuing a change of behavior, Iran welcomes that.”

This “change of behavior” has taken two forms, DEBKAfile’s sources report.

  1. Riyadh was persuaded by President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to line up with Washington and abstain from a military response to Iran’s cruise missile-explosive drone attack on Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14.
  2. The Saudis also agreed to join US efforts to bring about a meeting between Trump and Rouhani, to which the crown prince might be attached or hold a separate meeting with the Iranian president .

Our sources add exclusively that even though the Trump-Rouhani summit at UN Center appeared last week to have fallen through, contacts continue and the two sides appear to be looking for a venue acceptable to both. The main obstacle for now is that the US president has no wish to travel outside America, while Rouhani is reluctant to pay another visit to the US after the US Assembly session. With the summit location still up in the air, the Saudi crown prince’s role is still undecided. However, the comment coming on Tuesday from the Iranian president’s office sounded like a strong signal of positive acceptance of the Saudi feelers for negotiations to center on the topics at issue: the Yemen war and the situation in Syria and Iraq.

These initial Saudi overtures towards Iran under US auspices are ominous tidings for Israel and its diplomatic, military and intelligence strategy with regard to Iran. The anti-Iran axis set up between Washington, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi is now on the line. Its collapse would leave Israel high and dry on its own against the mortal threat posed by Iran. Tehran, despite Israel’s long efforts, is cementing its military grip on Syria and Iraq. Dramatizing the abiding threat to Israel on Tuesday, Sept. 30, Iran’s Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani informed his senior commanders: “The Islamic Republic has prepared the capability to annihilate Israel and this regime must be wiped off the world’s geographic history.”