Listen: United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia discussed on All Things Considered
"Things Considered from NPR news I'm ari Shapiro and Audie Cornish the US and Saudi Arabia say evidence points to a run after an attack this weekend on Saudi oil facilities around denies involvement although it says it's ready for quote full fledged war when asked about that prospect earlier today president trump said this I want more I don't want a war with anybody I'm somebody that would like not to have warm though he quickly added the US does have the strongest military in the world there's another player in all of this who's the rebels in Yemen who are backed by Iran they claim responsibility for the attack to make sense of the accusations and conflicting claims we called up heather Williams a former US intelligence analyst it's unclear whether it was a Ron who attacked Saudi Arabia as opposed to a Ron who allowed the who these are enabled to hit these to conduct this attack against Saudi Arabia I do think that there is important distinctions there in terms of the level of culpability that we assign to Arron but I do think that the economic pressure the run has been under because of the United States actions is relevant and is connected to these actions why does it matter ultimately whether Iran enabled the who sees to conduct this attack using a running weapons or it was a running to pull the trigger themselves ultimately what what's the difference I think there is still important distinctions about what constitutes an attack on another country you know how we're going to respond to these actions can be relevant depending on how culpable they are in the United States sells weapons to a variety of countries and we don't always know what they do with those that are not I think responsible for their actions taken with those that this is something different the Iranians are actively giving material to the who sees and likely provided us with some technical assistance or other direct support in this kind of an operation we still don't really know what happened and there hasn't been a lot of information. president trump tweeted that the U. S. is locked and loaded does it make sense to you that an attack on Saudi Arabia could potentially spark a war between the US and Iran. I think right now the United States still has a lot of decisions that it can make nothing forces our hands so with the president could choose to respond in certain ways but I don't think that these actions necessitate or demand that the United States be directly drawn into the conflict the U. S. is asserting that Iran was responsible for this attack whether or not it actually was and so given that the U. S. has cut off diplomatic ties with Iran what options does Washington have in responding to this that is severely limited in our options I think that the current administration has chosen a strategy of pressure and I think that they will continue to do that there are other options available to them that doesn't mean that they're going to take advantage of them or explore them. so how that pressure could manifest it could be additional intelligence support two parties in the region that we work with it could be increased US naval presence in the region where we could try to be more actively involved in protecting the freedom of navigation and in controlling the skies those I think are the types of things that this administration is more likely to do the administration has had such a constant turnover of national security staff I mean the national security adviser John Bolton left the White House last week there's no Senate confirmed director of national intelligence even call that makes a difference in a situation like this I think it does I think that in general acting figures are less inclined to be assertive in what they do I think that's more relevant in terms of long term strategic planning and how we understand these problems but I do think it's a little unclear what the the US intent in leadership is on these issues right now and where I think we see a lot of impact there is it makes it difficult to anticipate what's going to happen in the region because the parties in the region the Iranians who these even the Saudis they have those ambiguities as well not actually knowing what it is that the United States might do and so therefore they can make mistakes in the second game of brinkmanship that we see because they don't know what the US is going to do that's Ron expert heather Williams now at the rand corporation thanks for speaking with us thank you. thousands of General Motors workers are getting today it's their first Reich in a dozen years meanwhile the company is still talking with the United auto workers in Detroit and they're trying to hammer out a new contract but there's a third unseen presence at the bargaining table this time it's the US justice department and its investigation of alleged corruption by some union leaders Michigan radios Serra Swick reports across the country nearly fifty thousand GM workers put."