To make the international situation ever more unstable or ominous, Iran is allegedly planning to launch air strikes on targets in Saudi Arabia.
The possibility of an imminent attack has reportedly put the Saudi regime, some of its neighbors, and the U.S. on high alert from a military standpoint.
“Saudi officials said Iran is poised to carry out attacks on both the kingdom and Erbil, Iraq, in an effort to distract attention from domestic protests that have roiled the country since September,” the Wall Street Journal claimed about the intelligence that was shared with the U.S. government.
“Iran has already attacked northern Iraq with dozens of ballistic missiles and armed drones since late September.”
A contingent of 2,500 U.S. troops is reportedly based in Erbil. About 3,000 U.S. soldiers are stationed in Saudi Arabia itself.
Iran has blamed Saudi Arabia, in part through a Saudi-backed satellite TV channel, and other countries for supposedly fomenting the women-led, anti-government protests as a form of meddling in domestic politics.
“This is our last warning, because you are interfering in our internal affairs through these media. You are involved in this matter and know that you are vulnerable,” a top Iranian general recently warned the Saudis.
Hopefully, this is just saber-rattling, but time will tell if the Saudi intelligence is accurate.
Iran has denied that it conducted a September 2019 missile/drone attack on one of the kingdom’s oil production facilities.
Without commenting on any specific threat, Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press spokesman, told the media on Tuesday that “We will reserve the right to protect and defend ourselves no matter where our forces are serving, whether in Iraq or elsewhere.”
He also indicated that U.S. officials are maintaining “regular contact” with their Saudi counterparts about the concerns over the “threat situation in the region.”
A White House National Security Council spokesperson echoed these sentiments. “We will not hesitate to act in the defense of our interests and partners in the region.”
“Iran has already attacked northern Iraq with dozens of ballistic missiles and armed drones since late September, one of which was shot down by a U.S. warplane as it headed toward the city of Erbil,” the WSJ recalled.
The U.S. State Department has officially designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.
The Biden administration is nonetheless still trying to bring back the flawed Iran nuclear deal even as Iran is reportedly supplying Russia with drones and on-the-ground training support in the war in Ukraine.
The potential for Iranian attacks comes not long after the Saudis rebuffed President Biden’s request for OPEC to postpone a cut in oil production until after the midterm elections. The Middle East oil cartel, which controls approximately 30 percent of the world’s oil supply, proceeded with the reduction.
“The White House has said President Biden wants to review whether the Saudi relationship is serving U.S. national security interests. But the U.S. is unlikely to abandon Saudi Arabia as it would also risk Washington’s counterterrorism operations, efforts to contain Iran and Israel’s deeper integration into the region,” the WSJ noted.
Why the Biden administration would purportedly be concerned about Israel, a democracy that appears to have just reelected Benjamin Netanyahu as its prime minister, for forging diplomatic, economic, and security ties with its Arab neighbors in the name of peace is another question entirely.
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