View this post on Hive: Revealed: Trump's response to Iranian attack on Saudi oil facilities
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Last week's Iranian cruise missile and drone attack on the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia put Trump in a difficult position. Indeed, it was intended to.
The American people are wary of endless wars in the Middle East and the 2020 election just around the corner with the economy slowing and recession a real possibility.
A major war which spikes the oil price will have negative impacts on the world and US economies and would hurt Trump's re-election chances.
On the other hand, this blatant, large scale aggression from Iran, cannot be ignored.
Firing around 20 sophisticated drones and cruise missiles from Iranian soil at an extremely important piece of civilian infrastructure and taking out 5% of the world's oil supply is a blatant act of war and a war crime. It is a Pearl Harbour type unprovoked attack and a massive escalation of the proxy wars that Iran has been waging all over the Middle East.
For many years Iran has been working using proxy militias (including Hezbollah and many others) to create a Highway to the Mediterranean in order to control Lebanon, Syria & Iraq and threaten Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. Its sponsorship of the Houthi's in Yemen is designed to completely encircle Saudi Arabia.
But this is the first time Iran has directly attacked a neighbouring country from Iranian soil. It follows hot on the heels of Iran's first direct attack on US military asset (BAMS-D) RQ-4 Global Hawk spy drone)
Clearly things are really escalating and red lines are being crossed all over the place.
The question everyone is asking is: what will Trump do?
Unlike Obama, who telegraphed every US military action to its enemies and allowed them time to prepare, Trump preserves strategic and tactical surprise and operational secrecy. His response will be multi-faceted and he is not going to announce every aspect on Twitter.
But one important aspect has just been revealed: Massive combined Israeli & Saudi airstrikes on Iranian militia forces in Syria and Iraq.
Israel has been hitting Shiite militias bases and hardware in Syria for many years to prevent Iran building bases to conduct drone and missile strikes on Israel. Recently these strikes have extended to Iraq. However they have always been directed at hardware (warehouses full of missiles, drones and their control equipment, air defence radars etc) and casualties have generally been light.
But a combined Israeli and Saudi airforce attack is unprecedented and the scale of destruction and casualties (over 100) on the Iranian side is far larger than any previous Israeli strike.
Trump is ensuring that Iran pays a heavy price for the oil facility attack, but by using allies to do the heavy lifting.
A clever strategy indeed.