Saudi Arabian Oil Field Attack - The Fallout
The Primary: OK, remember how there was an attack on the Saudi oil industry this past weekend that Washington blamed on Iran? Well, now the U.S. is trying to figure out what Iran's punishment is going to be. Secretary of Defense Mike Pompeo and President Trump played bad cop/less bad cop on Wednesday. Pompeo called the attack an “act of war” and Trump announced he will "increase sanctions" on the country, though the president was reluctant to go as far as Pompeo.
Who? What? Why?: The attack slashed Saudi Arabia's oil production in half and probably raised the price of your gas at the pump. But Iran actually hasn't admitted to it – a group of Yemeni rebels did (and the U.S. called B.S.). On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia revealed remnants of the weapons used in the attack and allege they were Iranian-made, per Wapo.
The Baseline: So, it's looking like Iran was behind the attack, but why? "The list of suspects starts with hard-liners in the Iranian government," reports Gerald F. Seib of the WSJ. "While many in the international community, and inside Iran itself, see Mr. Trump’s decision to discard a nuclear deal negotiated with Iran under President Barack Obama as a crisis, some Iranian hard-liners see it as an opportunity."
From the Left: It may not be the right strategy, but Trump does have a strategy when it comes to Iran, argues David Leonhardt of the New York Times. His plan? Well, by pulling out of the Obama-negotiated nuclear deal (that he thinks is too soft) and squeezing the country with sanctions, Trump's betting Iran will agree to a better deal. However, this strategy "brings more risk" than Obama’s." Case in point – what's happening right now.
From the Right: "Why are you 'blinking,' Trump?" asks Max Boot of the Washington Post. You said you were "locked and loaded" but now you've "(so far at least) merely chosen to order more sanctions."