By Kyle Van Pelt
On September 14, United States ally Saudi Arabia was attacked by drones launched from within Iran’s borders, temporarily hindering the Saudi’s crucial oil production ability. While Saudi Arabia and the United States have yet to publicly confirm Iran’s responsibility, the CIA already believes that the Iranian military was responsible for at least production and supply of the weapons used. Between the United States’ investment in Saudi Arabia and insurmountably powerful military presence in the region, the greatest war in the Middle East may be on the horizon.
An Aramco oil field in Abqaiq and Khurais, Saudi Arabia, was struck by ten drones. While the Yemeni terrorist organisation the Houthis claimed responsibility, satellite images prove that the drones were launched from deep within Iran’s borders. Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif vehemently denied his country’s responsibility for the attacks and insulted the US for its inability to shoot down “emeni drones despite US patriot missile defense systems being aimed at Yemeni airspace when attacks came from Iran. The oil field struck is the largest in the world, responsible for almost one half of Saudi Arabian oil production. Fortunately for Saudi Arabia, it is estimated that field will be in full working order in only a month, and for the time being, surplus oil stores will be used to supplement their exports. The United States immediately pledged to aid Saudi Arabia in finding the perpetrators mere moments after an attack was confirmed, but neither country stated how they will react nor have the officially blamed Iran despite evidence.
Attacking an industrial center operated by civilians certainly constitutes an act of war. The primary question now is whether or not Saudi Arabia will retaliate against the Iranians with full military power. If they choose to do so, it is quite possible that the United States will declare war on Iran, and definite that American contractors will sell Saudi Arabia weaponry. Currently American military presence surrounding Iran wields destructive power unprecedented in modern warfare. In Afghanistan, there are multiple full scale US bases while the Nimitz class Aircraft Carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, floats in the Gulf of Oman carrying about 75 aircraft. The firepower wielded by the United States could undoubtedly lay waste to every military installation in Iran, along with industrial centers, and even metropolitan areas if total war is practiced. However, another long, arduous guerrilla war may follow the initial bombings if individual Iranians perform terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Iran’s size, population, and weapon availability surpasses that of any previous nation America has engaged in such a war, likely meaning more American deaths than previous Middle Eastern engagements.
The politics of the upcoming days are crucial to how the next several years of American and world history will come to be, but so far there has been little said. Soon the decisions made by Americans, Saudi Arabians, and Iranians will either save or end an unfathomable number of lives.