The Drone Attack on Oil and the Larger Iran Problem

When a series of drones were used to attack a key Saudi oil facility over the weekend, the impact on oil production was noted by global markets.  Oil prices spiked as the attack was believed to impact more than half of Saudi Arabia’s daily exports.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo placed the blame squarely on Tehran as the rest of the world awaits further evidence.  Iran has denied it is behind the attack. 

As further evidence is sought, the latest attack has clearly heightened tensions further between the U.S. and Iran with President Donald Trump tweeting that the U.S. is ‘locked and loaded depending on verification.’

There have been numerous instances over the past several months of what is believed to be heightened Iranian aggression after the U.S. pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2018 and has imposed greater sanctions on Iran.

In light of increased actions, The Cipher Brief asks what is the role of U.S. leadership?  Cipher Brief expert and former Acting Director of the CIA John McLaughlin says that the U.S. has entered a new phase of global order as grey zone military tactics have achieved important policy goals with little fear of response.

We asked Cipher Brief expert and former National Intelligence Manager for Iran Norm Roule to share his insights on what key responsibilities U.S. leadership – to include Congress and the Administration – has in addressing increasing aggressive actions by Iran and what the impact on global markets might be if there is no change in the status quo.

 

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