The latest suspected Iranian op in the Middle East threatens to ire the U.S., which recently warned the Islamic Republic not to touch American assets or assets of its allies in the region.
The Iranian-backed and -controlled Houthi militia from Yemen attacked an arms depot in Saudi Arabia’s Najran Airport early today, May 22, 2019, according to the group’s Al Masirah TV. The attack by a drone armed with explosives follows the recent drone attacks claimed by the Houthis on Saudi pumping stations located on a strategic oil pipeline.
Those attacks followed the sabotage of Saudi and other oil tankers in a United Arab Emirate’s port a few days earlier and a recent rocket attack into Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone where the US embassy is located. Iran or Iranian-backed forces are suspected in both of those incidents.
Belligerent rhetoric has been exchanged between the U.S. and Iran amid threats of war. However, the choices for the U.S. are not between war and inaction, says Clarion’s National Security Analyst and Shillman Fellow Ryan Mauro.
Watch Mauro’s astute analysis on the following I24 news clip:
Meanwhile, an American convoy consisting of 60 vehicles left Jordan Monday for Iraq’s al-Anbar province (in the Western part of the country), according to sources speaking to the Kurdish news outlet BasNews.
In addition, according to a Russian source quoted in an Egyptian news outlet, the U.S. has recently beefed up its forces in Iraq, sending in Marines from Syria. The paper implied that an additional 10,000 U.S. troops were currently in Iraq.
In other news concerning U.S. interests and the delicate balance of power in the Middle East:
- The U.S. just gave Turkey a final offer: Cancel plans to buy the Russian S-400 missile defense system in the next two weeks or forfeit 100 promised F-35 jets and face new U.S. economic sanctions.The U.S. has been trying to dissuade Turkey from purchasing the Russian system since 2017 when the $2.5 billion deal went through. At that time, the U.S. offered Turkey, a NATO member, its Patriot missile defense system instead and warned Turkey that if they made the deal with Russia, that there would be severe economic and political consequences.
- After a chemical weapons attack in northwest Syria on Sunday, May 19, 2019, the State Department said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was suspected of the attack. The Idlib area where the chlorine gas attack took place, is the last stronghold of the rebels who are trying to overthrow Assad.