On the 2nd of November 2022, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shared intelligence with its ally, the United States of America regarding a possible scenario of a potential attack by Iran. One of the officials who confirmed the intelligence described it as a credible threat or attack soon or within 48 hours. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Saudi’s sharing the intelligence on Tuesday.
The statement issued by the US National Security Council reads: “We are concerned about the threat picture, and we remain in constant contact through military and intelligence channels with the Saudis”. The statement further read that the US will not hesitate in an act of defending our interests as well as our partners in the region.
However, no US Embassy or Consulate for this matter has issued any such warnings to the American diaspora in the Middle East region or even in Saudi Arabia itself. The Secretary of the Pentagon Press-Brigadier general Pat Ryder stated that the US is in regular contact with its partners in terms of whatever information they may have to provide on that front.
The heightened concerns regarding the potential attack by Iran on Saudi Arabia as the Biden Administration are criticising Tehran for its brutal and ruthless crackdown on the widespread protests and also for sending combat drones and related technology/aid to Russia in its Ukrainian Invasion (2022).
The United States and Saudi Arabia allegedly accused Iran in 2019 of being behind a major attack in Eastern Saudi Arabia. This attack has caused oil prices to spike up and halved the oil-rich kingdom’s production. The Iranians have rejected and denied their involvement. The Saudis have been gravely hit by the drones, mortars and missiles launched from Yemen by the Iran-backed Houthi Rebels.
This was done in retaliation for the Saudi Involvement in the civil war in 2014. Saudi Arabia formed a coalition to fight the Houthis in 2015 and was criticised internationally for its air strikes which have led to the death of several civilians.
In recent weeks, the Biden administration has imposed several sanctions on Iran for brutally suppressing the revolts and demonstrations in the aftermath of Mahsa Amini’s Death in Iranian moral police custody. Over 270 people have been killed and 14,000 arrested during these protests. According to a Human Rights Activist Group in Iran, the demonstrations are still ongoing. Even after the fearsome paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps issued several warnings to young Iranians.
Additionally, they have provided armed UAVs to Russian Federation. This act enraged the United States and it subsequently imposed one of the harshest sanctions in world history on Iran. The relations between the US and Saudi Arabia have been strained after the Riyadh-led OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) announced that it will cut production by two million barrels per day starting in November.
The White House has said that it is reviewing its relationship with the Saudis over the move. The production cut is effectively helping Russia (a fellow member of OPEC) as it can continue the Russia-Ukraine War which is now in its ninth month.
According to White House Security Council Spokesman, John Kirby on Tuesday reiterated that the administration is highly concerned that Iran may provide surface-to-surface missiles to Russia. The United States Administration has not ruled out the possibility of reviewing the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal. It is referred to by strategists as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). This deal has been stalled since August.
The US administration is doing its best to prevent and stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons and missiles. The JCPOA has been providing Tehran with billions of dollars in sanction relief in exchange for the country agreeing to roll back its nuclear program to limits set by the 2015 deal. It will include caps on enrichment and the number of materials stockpiled by Iran and limits the operation of the advanced centrifuges needed to enrich.