ASSESSMENTS

Saudi Arabia Considers the Consequences of a Strike on Iran

MIN READSep 30, 2019 | 09:00 GMT

Saudi Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki displays pieces of what he said were Iranian cruise missiles and drones recovered from an attack on Saudi oil facilities, during a press conference in Riyadh on Sept. 18, 2019.

Saudi Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki displays pieces of what he said were Iranian cruise missiles and drones recovered from an attack on Saudi oil facilities, during a press conference in Riyadh on Sept. 18, 2019. Saudi Arabia will have to think long and hard about the consequences of attacking Iran.

(FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

Two weeks after a devastating attack on Saudi oil facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais, one major question remains up in the air: What are the United States and Saudi Arabia going to do in response? Both are attempting to make a compelling case that Iran was directly culpable for the attacks. With proof of Iran's guilt, they can further isolate Tehran diplomatically, potentially paving the way for an aggressive response. Saudi Arabia, however, is caught between a rock and a hard place. If it does nothing, Iran will likely continue its aggression against the major U.S. partner in a bid to force the United States to ease its sanctions -- after all, Riyadh can hardly attempt to de-escalate tensions with Tehran given that the latter's main target is the U.S. measures that the kingdom has little control over. But if Saudi Arabia strikes back at Iran to reestablish its deterrence, it...

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