Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities were attacked over the weekend, creating the greatest drop in oil production in history, increasing oil prices by 19%, and escalating tensions in a region that’s already dangerously unstable.
Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility.
However, US officials say they have evidence Iran carried out the assault with cruise missiles fired from inside its own borders.
President Trump’s early rhetoric suggested a military response. Since then, he has announced an increase in sanctions.
Three things you should know:
the Houthis took responsibility for the bombing
The Houthis are a rebel group in Yemen responsible for overthrowing Yemeni president Hadi back in 2015.
Yemen is a majority Sunni country, and its then-president was backed by Western countries including the US and Saudi Arabia.
Since 2015, Yemen has been bombed by Saudi Arabia, in hopes of bringing back Hadi. This bombing has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
Iran (the country hates Saudi Arabia) has backed the Houthi rebels with training and weapons.
pulling out of the Iran Nuclear deal
The US pulled out of the Iran Nuclear deal and applied “maximum pressure” on the Iranians, including re-imposing economic sanctions and cutting off Iranian access to oil exports (and the money they generate).
Since then, attacks on oil tankers have increased, and the Iranians have openly defied the internationally-established rules for their nuclear program–and now these attacks on Saudi oil facilities have occurred.
Need more info on the Iran Nuclear deal? Geek out here.
why John Bolton was fired
National Security Advisor John Bolton, the chief architect of the “maximum pressure” strategy against Iran, was fired less than two weeks, possibly as an indication of President Trump’s willingness to move on from the plan in order to bring the Iranians to the negotiating table.
Bolton’s strategy included economic sanctions, military pressure and diplomatic efforts to force the Iranians to stop their nuclear and missile program.
Since the strategy was put in place, oil tanker attacks and a resumption of components of the nuclear program have taken place. Iranian President Rouhani has refused all offers to meet with President Trump.