This is one of those take-a-deep-breath-before-you-jump-into-it weeks for this newsletter. Fair warning. Let's get started.
An oil field in Saudi Arabia was attacked and it started a huge fire. On its face, that's a pretty straight forward sentence. But the international issues surrounding that circumstance are far from simple and certainly not straightforward. The Houthis, an Iranian-allied rebel group based in Yemen, claimed responsibility for the attacks. (Important context from our reporters: "The Saudis and the Houthis, with Iran's backing, have waged a brutal, years-long proxy war in Yemen as they vie for influence in the region.")
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has unequivocally blamed Iran, and he headed to Saudi Arabia this week to discuss a response. Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham posited that an earlier decision to call off a military strike on Iran in June was clearly seen by Iranian leaders as "a sign of weakness." Which you can imagine did not sit well with President Trump, who snapped back in a tweet, "No Lindsey, it was a sign of strength that some people just don’t understand!"
So, are we going to war? Trump has said he doesn't want war with Iran, but the U.S. is prepared for anything. And he's instructed the Treasury to "substantially" increase sanctions on Iran. In an interview that aired Thursday, Iran's foreign minister then warned they were prepared for "all out war" if Saudi Arabia or the U.S. attacked. "We don’t want war,” Javad Zarif told CNN. "But we won’t blink to defend our territory."
What does this mean for you? In the short term, at the very least, expect to see increasing gas prices. In the long term? Well, we'll keep you posted.
This week in Bad News for Bibi
For the second time in six months, Israeli voters failed to convincingly back a prime minister candidate. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is Israel's longest-serving leader, has called upon his rival, Benny Gantz, to join him in a unity government after neither candidates' party earned a majority in Israel’s 120-seat parliament. What happens next? A unity government could be formed, or Israelis might have to head to the polls a third time.
This week in the White House
- A whistleblower has said the president made an improper promise to a foreign leader. Trump is denying it.
- California won't be able to set its own emissions standards if Trump has his way.
- And Trump has eyes on San Francisco and their homeless population, too.
- Jimmy Carter said he couldn't be president at 80. Trump thinks Carter is giving Joe Biden at hint.
This week in 2020 Dems
- Biden and Elizabeth Warren got some welcome poll news.
- Beto O'Rourke's record on real estate in El Paso has some Latinos concerned.
- Do Dems want to buy back your guns? Schumer says no.
- Julian Castro went after Joe Biden at last week's debate, and it might hurt him in the long run.
Thanks for reading OnPolitics. We'll see you next week. -- Annah Aschbrenner
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: OnPolitics: Iran, the Saudis and an oil field on fire