Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities were attacked by drones on Saturday. According to The Economist, Saudi Arabia’s oil output was cut in half because of the attacks. Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility. However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly criticized Iran, saying “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia.” Iran flatly denied US accusations and believes that the US was finding excuses to take action against Iran.
Pompeo had provided no evidence. The world needs order, and should not encourage a superpower’s secretary of state to declare a country guilty so easily.
Iran has maintained good ties with Yemen’s Houthi rebels. But this does not mean Iran is the country that launched the drone attacks. The US has been supporting Israel, then should the Arab people blame the US for everything that Israel has done to them?
Whether the US will take action against Iran is the next suspense in the Middle East situation. Iran’s accusation against the US seems more logical than the other way around. World crude oil prices have soared in recent days. The bigger reason is not that Saudi Arabia’s crude oil production was affected in the short term, but that people are worried that US military revenge against Iran will lead the Middle East to spiral out of control.
There is too much estrangement and hatred in the Middle East. But compared with all previous US administrations, the current one is least interested in easing the disputes in the Middle East. Washington is proactive in hyping disputes between Israel and the Arab people, and between different religious groups in the Middle East.
The US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, which led to a serious escalation in US-Iran disputes. Also in 2018, the US relocated its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, completely abandoning its role as a mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Washington is becoming a negative force that escalates and even creates disputes in the Middle East.
Even an isolated incident in the Middle East can trigger much imagination. It would be terrible if all sides adopt conspiracy theories and deal with the situation as if it is the worst.
When John Bolton was in the White House, the US was quite close to an attack on Iran. Donald Trump called off a military strike at the last minute. Noticeably, the president spoke in a milder tone than Pompeo on the attacks on Saudi oil facilities. He didn’t name Iran, but only said “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification.”
Despite Bolton’s departure, Trump is still being surrounded by hawks that control US military might and are eager to flex their muscles.
They have forgotten the lessons of the two wars waged by George Bush’s administration in the greater Middle East region. The US was in its heyday of power during the Bush era. The government started wars under the guise of counter-terrorism and almost gained the support of the whole US society. But as time went by, the wars were increasingly perceived as “failures” of the Bush administration.
Trump wants to be a president who can reinvigorate the American economy. It’s widely believed he has no interest in wars. But certain forces in the US are pushing Washington to use military power. It’s hoped they can be restrained instead of being allowed to dictate the US.