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-   -   The US should stay the fuck out of the Saudia Arabia/Yemen(/Iran?) war (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=882327)

Snowboarder Bo 09-19-2019 12:11 PM

The US should stay the fuck out of the Saudia Arabia/Yemen(/Iran?) war
 
Saudi Arabia is not our ally. They also have plenty of troops, weapons and technology (much of which we sold to them) to handle their own shit, IMO.

We don't even need their oil, seeing as how America is now a the largest producer of crude oil on the planet.

Not our business. Not our fight. The US should stay the fuck out.

QuickSilver 09-19-2019 12:22 PM

Disagree. I think this will be the one conflict in Arabia where America finally gets it right. :dubious:

bobot 09-19-2019 12:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo (Post 21870047)
...Not our business. Not our fight. The US should stay the fuck out.

We should stay the fuck out, agreed. We should reinstate the nuclear agreement with Iran, even though our dumb president has made that all but impossible. Our pullout from that agreement is, I believe, the factor that started this.

manson1972 09-19-2019 12:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bobot (Post 21870088)
We should stay the fuck out, agreed. We should reinstate the nuclear agreement with Iran, even though our dumb president has made that all but impossible. Our pullout from that agreement is, I believe, the factor that started this.

Rubio is saying this was caused BY the agreement.

Jasmine 09-19-2019 01:00 PM

Trump has had a hard on for Iran from the get-go, and I'm sure he wants to find a way to get people behind him because of what he hopes would be a popular cause.

bobot 09-19-2019 01:06 PM

And for what it's worth, Trump is scared shitless of starting an actual war. Pompeo is all in, but Trump ain't so sure.

bobot 09-19-2019 01:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manson1972 (Post 21870168)
Rubio is saying this was caused BY the agreement.

Figures. And Rubio can go fuck himself. :)

Oakminster 09-19-2019 01:11 PM

I would not object to selling them weapons to fight with, and maybe providing limited aerial refueling support for a retaliatory strike, but that's it. We are not Saudi's mercenary army. Let them fight their own war.

Alessan 09-19-2019 01:32 PM

The Saudis? Do something themselves? Please. War is work, and work is what foreigners are for.

Hermitian 09-19-2019 01:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bobot (Post 21870215)
And for what it's worth, Trump is scared shitless of starting an actual war. Pompeo is all in, but Trump ain't so sure.

Well, there is little popular support for a war with Iran. Send our people to go die in a war over what? Because Saudi Arabia got hit with some drones? No way.

We are an oil producing country. SA producing less isn't a automatic loss for us as a whole.

Little Nemo 09-19-2019 01:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo (Post 21870047)
We don't even need their oil, seeing as how America is now a the largest producer of crude oil on the planet.

The United States is still consuming more oil than it produces. So we can't afford to just ignore the world oil market.

That said, I don't see a vital need or important principle that would justify America getting involved in this war.

Corry El 09-19-2019 04:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 21870289)
The United States is still consuming more oil than it produces. So we can't afford to just ignore the world oil market.

That said, I don't see a vital need or important principle that would justify America getting involved in this war.

EIA projects the sustained crossover of US to net oil exporter will occur in the fourth quarter of this year, but even as of now the US is only a very marginal net importer: for example the week of 9/13 it was 8.9mil bbd imports, 8.7mil bbd exports. The US still imports 4mil bbd or so of crude net, but exports about the same amount of refined products net.
https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_mov...0_mbblpd_w.htm

Anyway that number still being for the moment slight net imports is not the reason there's such a big potential downside to the US ignoring the world oil market, and specifically ignoring its long term implicit commitment to protect Gulf oil flows.

And at some point one of those conflicting principals has to give, no 'war with Iran' v 'can't afford to ignore it'. If, that is, 'war with Iran' is defined as any shooting action whatsoever. I believe almost everyone, including Trump, despite finger pointing claims to the contrary, would rather some diplomatic or sanctions type action solve this. But sometimes it just doesn't. Intensifying sanctions doesn't work if Iran concludes it can openly just attack Arab Gulf states' oil production/export facilities to strike back. Doing just nothing about that is...ignoring it. Capitulating to Iranian demands is another choice but not without downside either, and which won't just affect Trump.

Daylate 09-19-2019 11:02 PM

Quote:

The Saudis? Do something themselves? Please. War is work, and work is what foreigners are for.
P.J. O'Rourke wrote (in a book about the Gulf War) that the press corp had a standing bet of something like a case of champagne to anyone who saw a Saudi lift anything heavier than a 20 dollar bill.

To my knowledge, the bet was never collected.

Paul in Qatar 09-20-2019 12:08 AM

As long as I get danger money it does not matter to me too much.

The_Peyote_Coyote 09-20-2019 12:13 AM

Stay the hell out. There's no way I believe anything the mangled apricot hellbeast, Pompeo, or any other Republican says to justify intervention.

Little Nemo 09-20-2019 12:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Corry El (Post 21870675)
Anyway that number still being for the moment slight net imports is not the reason there's such a big potential downside to the US ignoring the world oil market, and specifically ignoring its long term implicit commitment to protect Gulf oil flows.

True. While the United States is relatively independent of Saudi oil, we have allies that are not. Our oil production is not projected to reach a level where we can supply oil to Japan, South Korea, China, or Europe. If Saudi oil is cut off, those regions are going to have to turn more heavily to places like Iran or Russia, which would have bad consequences for our foreign policy interests.

But I stick with what I've said; I don't see this as a vital American interest. If there's a response needed, we should be acting as part of a much wider international coalition.

Defensive Indifference 09-20-2019 12:35 AM

I was hoping the departure of Bolton would reduce the likelihood of war with Iran. Once again, I seem to have been wrong. I can't remember the last time I was right about anything in politics.

Has anyone offered an even vaguely plausible reason for us to get involved in this fight? GWB at least concocted a web of lies to justify the invasion of Iraq. They were transparent lies, but there was at least a cover story. This time it just seems like no one is even bothering with a rationale. But I admit I haven't followed this story as close as I have some of the twenty seven thousand other shitstorms this administration has started.

Snowboarder Bo 09-20-2019 07:47 AM

US military to present Trump with several options on Iran
Quote:

The Pentagon will present a broad range of military options to President Donald Trump on Friday as he considers how to respond to what administration officials say was an unprecedented Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry.

In a White House meeting, the Republican president will be presented with a list of potential airstrike targets inside Iran, among other possible responses, and he will be warned that military action against the Islamic Republic could escalate into war, according to U.S. officials familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The national security meeting will likely be the first opportunity for a decision on how the U.S. should respond to the attack on a key Middle East ally. Any decision may depend on what kind of evidence the U.S. and Saudi investigators are able to provide proving that the cruise missile and drone strike was launched by Iran, as a number of officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have asserted.
Why? Why are we considering options at all? Why should we spend a penny helping defend an obscenely wealthy autocratic monarchy with such an abysmal human rights record? Fuck them; let them handle their own bullshit.

Our prior involvement in this debacle has been shameful IMO; let's not compound that error.

bobot 09-20-2019 07:55 AM

Pulling out of the Iran agreement was an intentional choice to bring about a predictable outcome. This is one of the desired (by the so-called administration) outcomes. And now it's even better- we can pretend like we're not directly engaging Iran in a war, but merely defending Saudi Arabia.

Snowboarder Bo 09-20-2019 08:14 AM

The thing is, IMO we won't look like noble, compassionate do-gooders because Saudi Arabia isn't in any way either poor or defenseless. What we're going to look like, on the world stage, are pathetic mercenary lackeys doing the dirty work for our wealthy foreign tyrant overlords.

That is NOT the America that I want to be a part of.

Dinsdale 09-20-2019 08:22 AM

I simply don't understand - why are the Saudis buying all that military gear, if they never intend to USE it? Wouldn't it be more efficient for them to give us cash, which we could funnel to the defense industry - acknowledge it as the welfare (corporate and otherwise) that it is. Change our national motto to "Mercs R Us!"

Snowboarder Bo 09-20-2019 08:34 AM

There's this too: Iraq’s stability on the line as US, Iran tensions soar
Quote:

As the United States and Israel escalate their push to contain Iranian influence in the Middle East, countries in Tehran’s orbit are feeling the heat.

Pro-Iranian militias across Lebanon, Syria and Iraq are being targeted, both with economic sanctions and precision airstrikes hitting their bases and infrastructure. This is putting the governments that host them in the crosshairs of an escalating confrontation and raising the prospect of open conflict.

Nowhere is that being felt more than in Iraq. It is wedged between Saudi Arabia to the south and Iran to the east and hosts thousands of U.S. troops on its soil. At the same time, powerful Shiite paramilitary forces linked to Iran pose a growing challenge to the authority of the central government.

As the pressure mounts, divisions within Iraq’s pro-Iranian factions have burst into the open, threatening to collapse a fragile government coalition and end a rare reprieve from the violence that has plagued the country for years.
Quote:

The divisions among Iran’s Shiite allies in Iraq have been spurred by a spate of airstrikes blamed on Israel that have hit weapons depots and bases belonging to the Iran-backed militias, known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF.

There have been at least nine strikes since July both inside Iraq and across the border in Syria, sparking outrage among PMF leaders. They blame Israel and by extension its U.S. ally, which maintains more than 5,000 troops in Iraq.

Israel has not confirmed its involvement in the attacks, and U.S. officials have said Israel was behind at least one strike inside Iraq.

The attacks have fueled calls for a U.S. troop withdrawal by hard-line anti-American groups in the country that have strong ties to Iran.

“The Americans are hostage here ... If war breaks out, they will all be hostages of the resistance factions,” said Abu Alaa al-Walae, secretary general of the Sayyed al-Shuhada Brigades, one of the prominent militia factions with strong ties to Iran.

Dinsdale 09-20-2019 09:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo (Post 21871723)

You say "Iraq's stability" like it's a thing... :rolleyes:

RickJay 09-20-2019 10:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo (Post 21870047)
We don't even need their oil, seeing as how America is now a the largest producer of crude oil on the planet.

Not our business. Not our fight. The US should stay the fuck out.

The fact the USA produces a lot of oil doesn't mean chaos in the Persian Gulf cannot affect the USA. Oil is fungible. If all the oil in the Middle East is blocked off by war, the price of oil will skyrocket. It doesn't matter where it's produced. the loss of Saudi oil would make American oil more valuable.

This doesn't mean the USA should be involved in Saudi Arabia's cruel little war; even if it threatens the world oil supply a little there are good reasons to stay out of it, not the least of which is that it's horrifying to see the President of the United States on his knees before the dictator of a gross little kleptocracy that isn't even a real country. I'm just making an economic point.

RTFirefly 09-20-2019 10:36 AM

Don't we have to get out of Yemen before we can stay out? IIRC, we've been helping the Saudis in Yemen for awhile, pre-dating Trump. And of course we lost a soldier there in the opening days of the Trump Administration. (I recall asking at the time: "Yemen? WTF are we doing in Yemen??)

And no, we shouldn't even be giving any sort of support to the Saudis as long as they're fighting this war. This war is a human rights disaster, and we shouldn't be doing anything to fuel it.

Dinsdale 09-20-2019 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RickJay (Post 21871904)
The fact the USA produces a lot of oil doesn't mean chaos in the Persian Gulf cannot affect the USA. ...

Of course. I just wish people would acknowledge the cost (in addition to environmental costs) this adds to the price of "cheap" fossil fuels.

We do have alternatives, if only we would be willing to pay for them.

pool 09-20-2019 10:46 AM

The Saudi Arabia attack is bad enough on its own but it's more worrisome what it signifies.

That in the future, we could have small splinter groups or governments causing a huge amount of damage by way of drone warfare, and from what I'm reading there are not a lot of great defense options against a coordinated attack like this, it seems like a great way to fight a war of attrition, strategically targeting vital infrastructure or industry, or even just general terrorism.

wguy123 09-20-2019 11:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dinsdale (Post 21871982)
Of course. I just wish people would acknowledge the cost (in addition to environmental costs) this adds to the price of "cheap" fossil fuels.

We do have alternatives, if only we would be willing to pay for them.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could put the war costs associated with the oil industry into the actual cost of fuel rather than the current model of subsidization via income tax?

Alessan 09-20-2019 11:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pool (Post 21871990)
That in the future, we could have small splinter groups or governments causing a huge amount of damage by way of drone warfare, and from what I'm reading there are not a lot of great defense options against a coordinated attack like this, it seems like a great way to fight a war of attrition, strategically targeting vital infrastructure or industry, or even just general terrorism.

As of now, the only tried and true way of stopping these weapons is to find them before they're launched and bomb them first.

HurricaneDitka 09-20-2019 12:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alessan (Post 21872103)
As of now, the only tried and true way of stopping these weapons is to find them before they're launched and bomb them first.

I hope not. Western nations have spent crazy amounts of money on systems like Iron Dome, Patriot, Aegis, Phalanx, etc. to be able to counter aerial threats in-flight. I think ( / hope) the issue here is that the Saudis aren't particularly competent users of the systems.

Tamerlane 09-20-2019 01:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RickJay (Post 21871904)
least of which is that it's horrifying to see the President of the United States on his knees before the dictator of a gross little kleptocracy that isn't even a real country.

:confused:

I'm with you on "gross little kleptocracy", but SA is about as real as any other country. It was even built the old fashioned way - conquest. But its antecedents stretch back at least until the mid-18th century. Fucked up or not, it's as a real as countries get and depending whether you want to parse the emirates of Diriyah, Nejd and Saudi Arabia as distinctly different states or not( I don't really, they were all the same dynasty ), pre-dates Canada or the US.

Quote:

Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka (Post 21872206)
I hope not. Western nations have spent crazy amounts of money on systems like Iron Dome, Patriot, Aegis, Phalanx, etc. to be able to counter aerial threats in-flight. I think ( / hope) the issue here is that the Saudis aren't particularly competent users of the systems.

Competency definitely might be( probably is )a factor, but it appears there are other problems. Including systems designed to counter ballistic missiles and manned aircraft not being terribly effective at dealing with drone-fired cruise missiles coming in at low altitude and from multiple vectors. It's a bold new world.

Plus the Saudis had purportedly shifted some assets to the south to cover the Yemen border and I'll also note that the effectiveness of the Patriot system in particular in real world conditions has been challenged in certain corners. The Saudis might not be great at using something that might not be that great to begin with. Especially for threats like these.

Little Nemo 09-20-2019 01:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo (Post 21871650)
Why should we spend a penny helping defend an obscenely wealthy autocratic monarchy with such an abysmal human rights record? Fuck them; let them handle their own bullshit.

It's not a black and white world. I agree that the Saudi regime is bad. But that doesn't make their opponents the good guys. Bad as the Saudi regime is, the Iranian regime is worse. Letting Iran establish its influence in Arabia would make a bad situation significantly worse. And letting governments succeed with using terrorist attacks as means of advancing their foreign policy would be a really bad precedent.

Akaj 09-20-2019 01:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 21872374)
It's not a black and white world. I agree that the Saudi regime is bad. But that doesn't make their opponents the good guys. Bad as the Saudi regime is, the Iranian regime is worse. Letting Iran establish its influence in Arabia would make a bad situation significantly worse. And letting governments succeed with using terrorist attacks as means of advancing their foreign policy would be a really bad precedent.

Then it's a good thing we still have that treaty with Iran, so we can use abandoning the treaty and restoring sanctions as leverage against this kind of misbehavior ... oh, wait ...

WillFarnaby 09-20-2019 02:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 21872374)
It's not a black and white world. I agree that the Saudi regime is bad. But that doesn't make their opponents the good guys. Bad as the Saudi regime is, the Iranian regime is worse. Letting Iran establish its influence in Arabia would make a bad situation significantly worse. And letting governments succeed with using terrorist attacks as means of advancing their foreign policy would be a really bad precedent.

We have been “letting” the Saudis support terrorism for quite awhile. The precedent is already set.

The Iranians aren’t trying to “establish influence” in Arabia. Their ties to the Houthis are blown out of proportion by media attempting to provide rationale for disastrous US support of the Saudi war in Yemen.

WillFarnaby 09-20-2019 02:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wguy123 (Post 21872057)
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could put the war costs associated with the oil industry into the actual cost of fuel rather than the current model of subsidization via income tax?

Yes the protection of the oil industry should be shouldered by the oil industry companies. This includes protection of maritime trade routes. Unfortunately, many would unjustifiably be afraid of private corporations with military capabilities.

Marion Morrison 09-20-2019 02:59 PM

Nuke Mecca! Fuck the Sauds.

Walken After Midnight 09-20-2019 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 21872374)
Bad as the Saudi regime is, the Iranian regime is worse.

Why is the Iranian regime worse?

Here's a 2016 Forbes article about how Saudi Arabia is worse than Iran.

WillFarnaby 09-20-2019 03:11 PM

I believe some may say Iran is worse because it opposes US interventionist policy instead of driving it or at least supporting it. Nationalists like John Bolton are on this side of the argument.

wguy123 09-20-2019 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WillFarnaby (Post 21872493)
Yes the protection of the oil industry should be shouldered by the oil industry companies. This includes protection of maritime trade routes. Unfortunately, many would unjustifiably be afraid of private corporations with military capabilities.

That isn't what I said.

WillFarnaby 09-20-2019 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wguy123 (Post 21872615)
That isn't what I said.

No. Itís an appropriate means of attaining what you said.

wguy123 09-20-2019 04:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WillFarnaby (Post 21872630)
No. Itís an appropriate means of attaining what you said.

Not appropriate to me.

Urbanredneck 09-20-2019 05:18 PM

Yes, I say stay out. I'm tired of the US having to fight other countries battles. Get rid of your own problems.

Sidenote: could we cut back on the foul language?

D'Anconia 09-20-2019 05:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Akaj (Post 21872407)
Then it's a good thing we still have that treaty with Iran, so we can use abandoning the treaty and restoring sanctions as leverage against this kind of misbehavior ... oh, wait ...

We didn't have a treaty with Iran. :dubious:

bobot 09-20-2019 06:22 PM

It was pretty clear what the poster was referring to. I got it, anyway. Good luck with that.

Little Nemo 09-20-2019 06:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Walken After Midnight (Post 21872507)
Why is the Iranian regime worse?

Here's a 2016 Forbes article about how Saudi Arabia is worse than Iran.

I don't think Bandow makes a very good case. As he acknowledges "There is much bad to say about Tehranís Islamic regime. It is authoritarian at home, dominated by intolerant fundamentalism, politically repressive, and a persistent persecutor of minority faiths. The Islamists are interventionists abroad, backing Hezbollah and Syriaís Bashir al-Assad. Long antagonistic to the U.S., Iran has displayed a disturbing interest in nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles." And Saudi Arabia? They executed a dissident cleric.

Okay, Bandow does say more. But he doesn't really back up his central claim that the Saudi regime is worse than the Iranian regime. Every argument he offers against the Saudi regime is at least equally true of the Iranian regime. Both are dictatorships that oppose civil rights and use violence against their citizens, both are theocracies that repress other religions, and both interfere in the affairs of other countries in the region. But on a scale of one to ten, Saudi Arabia is a seven and Iran is a nine. And even if the two regimes were equal, any change of regime is going to cause a lot of suffering and death. So the world's a better place with the Saudi regime staying in power.

I know that's not what a lot of people want to hear. They just want to say that the Saudi regime is bad (which it clearly is) and then leap to the conclusion that any change must therefore be good. But that's not the way the real world works. Very often things change from bad to worse. Iran itself is an example of that happening.

Little Nemo 09-20-2019 06:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WillFarnaby (Post 21872518)
I believe some may say Iran is worse because it opposes US interventionist policy instead of driving it or at least supporting it. Nationalists like John Bolton are on this side of the argument.

Well, yes, I would say that. While some would disagree, I feel that the United States has better intentions than alternatives like China or Russia. So a world in which the United States is powerful is better than a world in which China is powerful or Russia is powerful. And not just for Americans but for people in other countries as well.

So, to be blunt, if a country is going to be ruled by a brutal regime then the world's usually a better place if it's a brutal regime that supports the United States than a brutal regime that opposes the United States.

WillFarnaby 09-20-2019 07:03 PM

Yeah. Nobody is calling for the overthrow of the Saudi regime. They are calling for withdrawal of US support of their very poor policies. The US doesn’t support Iran’s very poor policies.

As for Iran’s interest in nuclear weapons, that was fabricated out of whole cloth. Even the US and Israeli intelligence agencies were saying Iran had long given up on nukes before Obama’s nuclear deal. Obama and Kerry were so desperate for legacy, they signed a deal that wasn’t bad on its face so much as irrelevant. The Saudis felt they were losing face, so Obama helped with their Yemen war to placate them. Obama admitted this much to, I believe, Jeffrey Goldberg.

WillFarnaby 09-20-2019 07:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 21872955)
Well, yes, I would say that. While some would disagree, I feel that the United States has better intentions than alternatives like China or Russia. So a world in which the United States is powerful is better than a world in which China is powerful or Russia is powerful. And not just for Americans but for people in other countries as well.

So, to be blunt, if a country is going to be ruled by a brutal regime then the world's usually a better place if it's a brutal regime that supports the United States than a brutal regime that opposes the United States.

The Saudis are a brutal regime supported by the US and Iran is a brutal regime supported by Russia. On that score it is clear that the US has backed the worse regime.

Dallas Jones 09-20-2019 07:13 PM

We really need to find someplace new to bomb the shit out of. All this new equipment ain't going to pay for itself. Armaments are very expensive, then they go boom, and you need more.

Looks like Iran is next up to bat.

Perpetual war. The economy needs this.

HurricaneDitka 09-20-2019 07:23 PM

It's rather light on details, but this AP story says:

Quote:

President Donald Trump approves deployment of US forces to Saudi Arabia, UAE after attack on oil facilities.
Sorry for violating the rule about quoting the whole thing. I couldn't find a reasonable way to pare that down more than the AP already has. If it helps, let's just pretend I only quoted the title of the article.


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