Attack on Saudi Arabia demands united response

By

Opinion

September 17, 2019 - 10:29 AM

President Donald J. Trump speaks to the media during a meeting with Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, crown prince of Bahrain on Monday at the White House.

The attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas facilities in Abqaiq, which has suspended half of the kingdom’s processing — corresponding to 6% of world supply — is a blow to one of the main arteries of the global economy. The Trump administration should use the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York to marshal a global response.

Responsibility for the attacks has been claimed by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who say they used a swarm of drones to inflict great damage. But there’s also suspicion that Shiite militias in Iraq were the culprits, and that they used cruise missiles.

In geopolitical terms, it might not make much difference: The Houthis and Iraq’s militias are both proxies for Iran, which supplies them with money and materiel, including weapons capable of striking deep into Saudi territory. The Islamic Republic denies any role in the attacks, but it has a long history of using proxies and cutouts to attack its regional rivals. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has put the blame squarely on Iran, adding that there “is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

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