5 Reasons Why the Saudi Oil Attacks Won’t Lead to War with Iran

David M. Allison, Stephen Herzog

Almost immediately after Saturday’s attack on a major Saudi Aramco oil production facility in Abqaiq, the first fingers were pointed at Iran. While Tehran’s Houthi allies in Yemen claimed responsibility, unnamed U.S. officials told the media Iran had launched cruise missiles and drones from its territory. As Saudi oil production halved and U.S. gasoline prices spiked, President Donald Trump raised the stakes. He warned that the United States was “locked and loaded”  following identification of the perpetrator. This led numerous outlets to claim that a U.S.-Iran war is likely or even inevitable. Fortunately, there are five reasons why it’s not.

1. Americans don’t want war with Iran.

Despite four decades of tense relations and the popular slogan “Death to America” in Iran, the U.S. public simply does not want to fight Iran. We collected original weekly public opinion survey data in June and July 2019 to gauge the willingness of Americans to support military action against Iran. The data revealed that strong majorities of Democrats (86 percent), Independents (81 percent), and Republicans (81 percent) would all support a presidential decision to take no escalatory action. There was also common support for imposing additional sanctions (52, 61, and 89 percent, respectively), but support for military options was substantially lower.

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