Saudi Arabia indicates that Iran has sponsored two drone and rocket attacks on two of its oil rigs on Saturday, and calls on the international community to take action. The question is, could there be a war?
The scale of the attacks means that Saudi Arabia can not ignore what happened, and its decision to identify Iran as the perpetrator forces the kingdom to respond.
The Saudis are likely to wait until a team of independent United Nations experts has completed an investigation into the incident.
Although experts are likely to come to the same conclusion ̵
Denial will not help Iran.
Saudi Arabia and its allies believe the country has stepped up its operation to convince US President Donald Trump to ease the crippling economic sanctions that he reintroduced last year when he abandoned a nuclear deal with Iran and the negotiation of a new demanded.
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They had hoped that a plan by French President Emmanuel Macron to grant Iran a $ 15 billion credit line in exchange for adherence to the nuclear agreement and cessation of its destabilizing activities in the region would become a reality. However, the plan was not approved by Mr Trump.
On Wednesday, the US president called on his finance minister to significantly tighten sanctions on Iran. Iran could therefore have overplayed his hand.
Attacks on this scale could not take place without the approval of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
He delivered a speech this week, in which there is not a single indication of the attacks on the largest oil factory in Saudi Arabia or the danger of an outbreak of war.
Instead, he once again rejected any possibility of talks between Iranian and US officials as long as the US sanctions exist.
But sooner or later, Ayatollah Khamenei may be forced to change his mind and agree to talks, as more moderate numbers in Iran are pleading for it.
The Iranian oil exports are close to zero, their source of income is The dehydration and the hard currency reserves should be sufficient only for a few months. The depreciation of its currency has pushed the inflation rate to 40% and nearly halved the purchasing power of Iranians struggling to make ends meet.
Will Saudi Arabia take military action to force Iran to retreat? Understandably, the kingdom may be reluctant to do so.
Iran has a population of 80 million, compared to 33 million in Saudi Arabia.
Iran has thousands of missiles making it vulnerable to oil facilities, military bases and population centers in Saudi Arabia. By comparison, Saudi Arabia has hundreds of China-made missiles and limited missile defense capabilities.
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Saudi Arabia has about the same number of fighters as Iran. But his planes are modern and effective, while Iran's are old and unreliable.
Iran has its deputies throughout the region and followers in the Shiite Muslim minority of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is also already involved in a costly war in Yemen against the Houthi's Iranian rebel movement.
But a war directly with Iran, if it took place, would inevitably revolve around air power and missile capability. No side would get away victorious.
Although US troops, planes, and ships are stationed in the Gulf, President Trump does not seem ready to engage in a lengthy conflict.
US ships and bases would be vulnerable to Iranian missile attacks. and about one-fifth of the world's oil flowed through the Strait of Hormuz.
Trump may be concerned about the impact of significant price increases at US gas stations on his re-election campaign.
US military support is crucial to Saudi Arabia. But Mr. Trump wants the Saudis to take the lead in responding to Iran and overturn the bill for any US aid.
Saudi Arabia also wants its regional allies – the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – to be part of a response.
The US could also claim the political and diplomatic support of its European allies. However, they see the escalation as a direct result of Mr Trump's decision to abandon the nuclear agreement.
In the meantime, hardliners in Iran may be considering whether their strategy will lead their country to war and destruction rather than easing sanctions.