Paris and Berlin blame Iran for attack on Saudi oil facilities

On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson publicly named Tehran as responsible for the attack on Saudi oil installations.

It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation

declared the 3 European leaders, breaking with the cautious positions of Paris and Berlin in recent months on this issue.

Given the tense climate between European capitals and Washington, we cannot imagine that this is simple positional support, especially since the French president is sparing no effort in trying to bring Tehran back to the table. negotiations and try to save the Vienna agreements. Therefore, it is probable that the chancelleries obtained information leaving little doubt as to the involvement of Iran in this attack, and that this information could be corroborated by the intelligence services of the two countries.

But once Iranian involvement has been established, the options available today to both Europeans and Americans are hardly satisfactory. With the many proxies that Iran has in the Middle East, the use of force against Tehran would, without the slightest doubt, lead to a major regional conflagration and the destabilization of many countries, some of which, like Iraq, Syria or Lebanon have not yet healed from the scars of recent conflicts. In such a scenario, Europe would see new waves of refugees crowding its borders, while the terrorist risk, in Europe as in the United States, would skyrocket, with the risks that we know about the shift of the Western public opinions. Furthermore, as Iraq did in its time, an armed operation against Iran would most certainly lead to ballistic missile launches against Israeli cities, in order to provoke a reaction from Jerusalem, and cause the radicalization of public opinion. Arabs throughout the Middle East.

Typhoon KAS Germany | Defense Analysis | France
The Gulf Monarchies have significant military resources, but their armies lack experience and efficiency

The West could also be tempted by military action by proxy, by supporting a Sunni coalition around Saudi Arabia to carry out military operations. But the risks are much the same as in the case of direct Western intervention, particularly with regard to the probable involvement of Israel. Furthermore, although they have plenty of advanced equipment, the Gulf monarchies have never stood out for their military performance, even if certain countries, such as the UAE, have shown real efficiency in recent years. Egypt and Jordan, on the other hand, have well-trained and well-equipped forces, but these two countries are exposed to Iranian reprisals internally, which could compromise their involvement. Above all, such an option could have very significant repercussions on global hydrocarbon production, seriously impacting Western economies already very exposed by their levels of public and private debt.

The last Western option is based on the intensification of economic retaliation measures associated with the protection of border countries and maritime traffic. It would, in some ways, be an extension of the American policy pursued over the past year. But the Iranian regime is used to this type of sanctions, and knows how to limit their effects on its power. In addition, this would allow other countries, such as China, to strengthen their control over Tehran, a scenario far from satisfactory. Furthermore, it is likely that in such a scenario, Iran will continue its hybrid attacks, and especially its nuclear program, with the probable risk of provoking direct intervention by the Israelis, and of leading Riyadh to undertake, in accordance with the declarations of Prince Bin Salman, the development of a Saudi nuclear program.

F25I Adir Germany | Defense Analysis | France
The risk of Israeli intervention against Tehran is at the heart of risk management in Western international policies in the Middle East

In other words, today, none of the options available to respond to the attacks attributed to Iran against Saudi oil installations are satisfactory, and all present significant risks for the stability of the region, and therefore of the world. We therefore understand Paris's efforts to try to bring Tehran back into a negotiating context, in order to breathe new life into the Vienna agreements. But nothing says that, faced with the intransigence of President Trump, also campaigning for his re-election, and faced with the Iranian leaders, who know they have to face significant popular demands that threaten their power, these efforts will be sufficient to avoid the worst-case scenario.

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