September 16, 2019

Another day, another scary approach to foreign policy from the Orange Cheeto. Joe Scarborough talks with Richard Haas about whether Iran had anything to do with the drone attacks on Saudia Arabian oil fields -- as now being stated by Mike Pompeo and Trump on Twitter. And to make it even worse, Trump is going to take Saudi Arabia's word for it!

"As I was checking my notifications, my question was, does Yemen really have the capability to strike the Saudis' two most important oil facilities from that distance? First of all, I find that hard to believe. At the same time, Richard, give us your insights. Would Iran really be so brazen? Would Iran really be so reckless? A country that survived since 1979 that actually launched attacks on these refineries, knowing that they could expect the same in return if they did?"

"The fog of war is particularly thick this morning," Haas said.

"The Houtsis have certain capabilities, largely supplied by Iran, and one way to think of this is, this could be revenge against Saudi Arabia because of its policy in Yemen. It's high level bombing that caused all sorts of civilian casualties, years of civil war there. That's one potential context.

"The other is, the United States has been carrying out economic warfare against Iran. and this could be Iran retaliating. And Iran wouldn't do it directly, most likely. Traditionally, when they want to act, they do it behind someone, usually behind some militia. They hide their hand. Right now, I've seen reports this could be drones, cruise missiles or ballistic missiles. I have seen the idea it could have come out of Yemen, out of Iraq, a militia there or out of Iran itself. So the answer is, it's really unclear," he said.

"And the administration hasn't helped. Their comments, as you suggest, have been all over the place. They talk about we know the culprit. The secretary of state blames Iran. My own sense is, Iran likely had a role but exactly what is unclear. They (Trump and Pompeo) seem to be quite forward on their skis. The comment you referred to, this deference to Saudi Arabia is bizarre, to say the least. And then our options, once we learn about it, aren't great. If it's Yemen driven, what are we going to do there? We don't want to get involved any more than we are in the civil war. Arguably, we want to dial it down. If Iran is involved, we're carrying out economic warfare. So what's left? And if we retaliate militarily, nobody thinks it would stop there."

"How reckless that you have the secretary of state and the president both already blaming Iran and the president saying we're 'locked and loaded. If we get confirmation from Saudi Arabia then we're going to --' they seem to suggest, seem to suggest they're going to then strike Iran. I just wonder if this, like you said, there's the fog of war. If you look through the fog, it doesn't look like the (Gulf of Tonkin), if something actually happens from this, it looks like they're looking for an excuse to go to war with Iran," Scarborough said.

"Some may be. But on the other hand, the entire Trump presidency has been premised on the idea of winding down wars. He uses the phrase 'fire and fury, locked and loaded' but the last I checked, Joe, other than shooting a couple of cruise missiles in Syria, we essentially have eschewed military action. And again, even if we were to use military force against Iran, I don't know anybody in the business who thinks that's the beginning and end of it. You have Iranian militias who can do all sorts of things, Iran itself can do things. This has already taken, what, 6% of the world's oil off the market.

"One can imagine this growing, Saudi Arabia is congenitally vulnerable, and not only do you have the fog of war, to be perfectly blunt, you have the fog of American foreign policy."

Yep. That's what's so frightening.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.