The Israelis for years have asserted that the US needs to attack Iran. Now the Saudis have joined with the Israelis, saying that the US should conduct “surgical strikes” against Iran:
America should launch ‘surgical strikes’ against Iran, a state-affiliated Saudi newspaper has said.
The Arab News argued the US had ‘set a precedent’ with strikes against Bashar al Assad’s regime in 2017 following the chemical strikes in Khan Sheikhoun.
Iran should be targeted following attacks against Saudi oil infrastructure – first bomb attacks on two Saudi tankers, followed by drone strikes on two pumping stations – the paper said in an English-language editorial.
‘Crown Prince Mohammed was clearly correct when he argued that appeasement does not work with the Iranian regime, just as it did not work with Hitler,’ it said.
‘The next logical step — in this newspaper’s view — should be surgical strikes.
‘The US has set a precedent, and it had a telling effect: The Trump strikes on Syria when the Assad regime used Sarin gas against its people.
‘We argue this because it is clear that sanctions are not sending the right message.
The editorial continues: ‘Our point of view is that they must be hit hard. They need to be shown that the circumstances are now different.
‘We call for a decisive, punitive reaction to what happened so that Iran knows that every single move they make will have consequences.’
Arab News is owned and managed by members of the Saudi royal family, and is considered a government-aligned publication.
The call comes amid spiralling tensions between the US and Iran which have been building for weeks but peaked this week amid fears the two were heading for war.
Despite both sides insisting that a conflict is not in their interests, America is moving two strike carrier groups to the region, while the Revolutionary Guard has said it is ‘fully prepared for a confrontation with the enemy’.
That statement was backed by Iranian defence minister Amir Hatami who insisted ‘we will defeat the United States’ in any military confrontation.
Donald Trump dismissed claims that the US was spoiling for a war, and said on Twitter that Iran would be willing to negotiate ‘soon’.
But foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later said there was ‘no possibility’ of negotiations to reduce tensions, describing US pressure as an ‘act of suicide’.
Zarif’s comments came after the US on Wednesday ordered non-emergency staff evacuated from its Baghdad embassy due to an ‘imminent’ threat from Iranian-linked Iraqi militias.
Despite international scepticism, the US government has been pointing to increasing threats from Iran, a long-time enemy and also a rival of US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Senior State Department officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the threat came from Iraqi militia ‘commanded and controlled’ by Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
‘It is directly linked to Iran, multiple threat streams directly linked to Iran,’ said one official.
‘This is an imminent threat to our personnel,’ said a second official.
‘There is no doubt in my mind that under the circumstances, a partial ordered departure (from the embassy) is a reasonable thing to do.’
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Tuesday insisted the showdown with the United States was a mere test of resolve.
‘This face-off is not military because there is not going to be any war. Neither we nor them (the US) seek war,’ he said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed that sentiment, saying in Sochi, Russia: ‘We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran.’
Despite the insistence that neither party wants conflict, world powers have rushed to urge calm and voiced concern over the escalating tensions.
Washington says it has received intelligence on possible attacks by Iranian or Iranian-backed forces, possibly targeting US bases in Iraq or Syria.
But US allies continued to show skepticism over Washington’s alarm bells.
Britain’s Major General Chris Ghika, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the coalition fighting the jihadist Islamic State group, said Tuesday there was no special heightened alert.
After Ghika’s comments drew a sharp retort from the US Central Command, Britain’s defence ministry said Wednesday they have ‘long been clear about our concerns over Iran’s destabilizing behaviour in the region’ – while still not confirming any new imminent danger.
Some observers speculate Tehran is seeking to retaliate over Washington’s decision in April to put Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on a terror blacklist – a move designed to stymie their activities across the Middle East.
But since the first US warning on May 5, the only incident has been a still-mysterious ‘attack’ Monday on tankers anchored off Fujairah, an Emirati port located at the strategically crucial entrance to the Gulf.