With oil prices set to soar after the midterms as the SPR drain ends and markets no longer have desperate democrats to help fulfil their immediate energy needs, moments ago the WSJ unveiled another potential oil price powder keg, so to speak, when it reported that according to Saudi and U.S. officials, Saudi Arabia has shared intelligence with the U.S. warning of an imminent attack from Iran on targets in the kingdom, putting the American military and others in the Middle East on an elevated alert level.
The report goes on to note that Iran is poised to carry out attacks on both the kingdom and Erbil, Iraq, in an effort to distract attention from domestic protests that have roiled the country since September.
In response to the warning, Saudi Arabia – which until recently was on the Biden admin’s “naughty list” after the crown prince snubbed Biden’s demands for no OPEC+ output cut – the U.S. and several other neighbouring states have raised the level of alert for their military forces, the officials said. They didn’t provide more details on Saudi intelligence.
Separately, the White House National Security Council said it was concerned about the warnings and ready to respond if Iran carried out an attack.
“We are concerned about the threat picture, and we remain in constant contact through military and intelligence channels with the Saudis,” said a National Security Council spokesperson. “We will not hesitate to act in the defence of our interests and partners in the region.”
It wasn’t exactly clear how attacking Saudi Arabia and launching a war with a far better-armed opponent would “distract attention” from Iran’s internal troubles, but what is very clear is that if Saudi Arabia wanted to send the oil price soaring, it wouldn’t use another OPEC+ cut but would simply take production offline indefinitely; and if it can arrange Iran to help out… well, why not.
Iran has allegedly attacked northern Iraq with dozens of ballistic missiles and armed drones in recent weeks, one of which was shot down by a U.S. warplane as it headed toward the city of Erbil, where American troops are based. Tehran has publicly blamed Iranian Kurdish separatist groups based there for fomenting the unrest at home.
Iranian authorities have also publicly accused Saudi Arabia, along with the U.S. and Israel, of instigating the demonstrations.
While there is no indication at this point that this report is anything more than just Intel agency jawboning and propaganda, if it does in fact escalate into another Gulf powderkeg, watch how high the price of oil will shoot.