Listen: Saudis blame Iran for drone attack amid calls for US strikes
"Though. We'd been worried about Iranian provocations for weeks. You never know where the strike is coming for ships, targeted near the strategic Emirati port of food our food, Jiwa rall in which the described as a sabotage attack. One of the ships was flying a flag another Norwegian flag. This attack is part of the complication of the Gulf, because there is an ongoing feud between the UAE and Saudi Arabia on one side, and Katha Amman Kuwait on another side. This is the Gulf Cooperation Council. There's also an ongoing war between Saudi Arabia and the element in Yemen, the who phase who are allied with Tyra, so. An attack at the UAE has everybody looking around and saying who did it. And why? And how do they gain from this? It's a mystery that begins immediately within these last hours. We have the crown prince of Saudi Arabia on a tweet and through a newspaper. That's published in English not only blaming Iran for these attacks. But. Recommending guiding the US just surgical strikes on the Iranians in answer to the attacks on these four tankers. We welcome ambassador Barbara leaf. Bob relief was the US ambassador to the United Arab Emirates during the Obama administration and early in the Trump administration. She's a senior fellow at the Washington Institute, Madame Basseterre very good evening to you. When you heard the news about the attack on the tankers, what was your first thought surprised? Did you look to Tehran? Did you say this could get worse? Good evening to. Well, you know, frankly I wasn't entirely surprised. It's the sort of thinly disguised, the Niable kind of, at that the Iranians have gotten quite good at now that said it didn't come, right? Out of the blue did it because you had as a backdrop study esscalation of tensions between Washington Washington and Tehran. Of course, the, the big backdrop is, is the decision by the one year anniversary recently of the decision by President Trump to withdraw the US from the Iranian nuclear accord, and enter exert a campaign about pressure economic pressure largely, so there have been some straws in the wind, but I think the most important thing to look at for the moment is the announcement on the fifth, but the national security adviser John Bolton that the US had decided to accelerate deployment of, of. Carrier strike group, that was already in route to the goal against of US detecting certain threat streams. And so with a very stiff warning from the national security adviser that the US would use relentless force studying attacks on the US interests or those of its allies. I think it's a little bit predictable that you would then see Iran do something that was denial. But just their reports of fighting in who died the as the who the's and Saudi forces both broke the cease fire. That was that followed an announcement that these going to withdraw the troops from that. So what is what, what account for the resumption of the hostilities and is the reached in Stockholm in danger of completely collapsing? Well, I think there's, there's real. Strain. There's real pressure on the agreement and the agreement was really just showing some attraction with the beginnings of the redeployment out of a data in two other small ports, but you have to recall that on, that we had the, the, the sabotage attacks so mysterious, bombings of four tankers off of gera- on Sunday, the twelve and then the next day, several drone attacks of on armed return attacks against a Saudi east west of oil pipeline, which likes the pipeline that runs from different era is a way for the Emirati the Saudis to export oral without going through the strait of our moods. So stations were bombed, the who in fact, took took responsibility. Responsibility for these attacks and the coalition then retaliated yesterday. So I think there will be in fact, some very significant strain on this on this agreement. But, you know, the Hootie really had no cause to do what they did Madame or is it? Is it possible that the Iranians believe they're about to be attacked? Is that what's going on here? Do they believe that the US is going to use our strength to crush them? I do not accept that I think the Iranians are shuffling. A lot of assets around an have been prepatory step possibly. But I don't believe I don't believe Tehran. Thanks. It was about to be attacked by this carrier group, coming to the Gulf after all, we have traditionally had a carrier group in the Gulf. We've, we've several administrations now have have strived to keep a carrier present in the goal and there are casually, gaps in that coverage. But I don't think they looked at this as an imminent attack. I, I tend to think frankly that it was a test. It was a test of the proposition that we would indeed meaningfully extend such a security on wlov. Over of loosely define. And allies in their interests and see what we would do if if they wept some. So they denied it. They were the first to report on it. In fact, and expressed shock and indignation at these mysterious attacks. There are suggestions, and people who try to says that the Saudis, you a coalition have reason to feed the crisis and against the US to ramp up tensions with Iran. They're being hit from various sides, and see the danger in the streets of her Moos. What do you think? Do you trust that the, the non US intelligence on? This conflict is scribe responsibility to Iran, which is certainly capable of doing all of these things is this tied to the arrival of the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN. So I the attacks are tied but I think it's more. They are tied to the to the bay fifth announce mentor. That makes warning by the White House about any any move to attack you interest or those of an out of allies, but I don't you know, look, I haven't seen the intelligence, but having worked in government quite recently and seeing this kind of thread intelligence for years. I don't have any reason to think at suspect the problem with intelligence of courses. It's a piece of a larger puzzle that you are trying to put together and trying to divine intent on the part of your adversary. It's very, it's very tough, tough enterprise,"