The Attack on the Saudi Oil Facilities: A New Level of Iranian Audacity

(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University) Yoel Guzansky, Eldad Shavit, and Sima Shine - The Sep. 14 attack on the oil facilities in Saudi Arabia is the most serious such attack since the 1991 Gulf War. Even if the Saudis manage to resume full production quickly, the vulnerability of the oil supply chain in the Gulf has been revealed. It is evident that Iran is prepared to take new and more daring risks, based in part on the assessment that the U.S. as well as the Saudis and other Gulf states are not interested in a broad escalation. The Iranian readiness to incur greater risk reflects the price that it is prepared to pay in order to extricate itself from the American sanctions. Its steps are also an indirect signal to Israel regarding Iran's military ability to respond with advanced weapons. Saudi weakness against the background of the ongoing war in Yemen and U.S. hesitation to react militarily to Iranian moves, including the downing of an American drone, have eroded American deterrence and apparently encouraged the Iranians to heighten the kinetic campaign in the Gulf. Dr. Yoel Guzansky is a senior researcher at INSS. Col. (res.) Eldad Shavit served as head of the research division of IDF Military Intelligence. Sima Shine, formerly responsible for the Iranian file at Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs (2009-2015), was also head of research at the Mossad.

2019-09-19 00:00:00

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