Senator Lindsey Graham has accused Iran of looking to “wreak havoc in the Middle East,” and recommended that the US “put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocations.”
In a series of tweets on Saturday, the senior Republican senator boldly argued that Iran would “not stop their misbehavior until the consequences become more real, like attacking their refineries,” which he said have the added benefit of “break[ing] the regime’s back.”
It is now time for the U.S. to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocations or increase nuclear enrichment.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) 14 сентября 2019 г.
Iran will not stop their misbehavior until the consequences become more real, like attacking their refineries, which will break the regime’s back.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) 14 сентября 2019 г.
Known for his hawkish proposals regarding US interventions abroad, including repeated calls to bomb Iran, Graham has lobbied multiple administrations to stage preemptive strikes against Iran and to “defend” US allies Saudi Arabia and Israel against “Iranian aggression.”
Graham’s comments were met with scorn and disbelief by many users on Twitter, with some accusing him of warmongering, or pointing out that the Houthi militia, not Iran, was responsible for Saturday's strikes against Saudi Arabia.
Some users accused Graham of being deliberately provocative in an attempt to convince President Trump to pick him to be his national security advisor in the wake of John Bolton’s departure last week. Others asked how the US planned to “finance another war” amid its massive debt.
Out of Afghanistan with tail between legs, straight into Iran. What could go wrong!?— Farrell Law (@FarrellLawCA) 14 сентября 2019 г.
Houthi rebels are doing the striking. If you want to blame Iran, then you have to equally blame the US for the genocide being wreaked in Yemen by the Saudis.— Mitra Gh (@MitraMir11) 14 сентября 2019 г.
Obvious positioning after hearing about the job opening.— Movie_Ev (@MovieEv) 14 сентября 2019 г.
Shame we don't have a president who could have gotten them to sign an agreement so they wouldn't develop nuclear weapons. Oh wait we did. And then a moron tore up the agreement. Stay with us Linds this is called cause and effect. SMDH.— preising (@preising) 14 сентября 2019 г.
How will we finance another war? Another idea would be for the US to stop its love affair with fossil fuel, and work towards energy independence.— Weezie (@Weezie90171703) 14 сентября 2019 г.
Finally, some asked why Saudi Arabia can’t seem to defend themselves from Houthi attacks despite the tens of billions of dollars in US arms sales to the country over the years.
We just gave $100 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia. Why can't they just defend themselves?— Kody Amour (@kodyamour) 14 сентября 2019 г.
Graham’s tough rhetoric followed the targeting of two Saudi Aramco facilities earlier in the day, with Yemen’s Houthi militia claiming responsibility and promising to increase the intensity of their attacks in the future. Three anonymous sources told Reuters Saturday that the drone strikes had seriously disrupted Saudi Arabia’s oil production, impacting almost half of the country’s total output. Saudi authorites said they expect to restore output within two days' time.
The attacks, in Abqaiq in eastern Saudia Arabia and Khurais, northeast of Riyadh, were said to have caused major fires which were eventually contained by security and emergency services.
#BREAKING: Largest ever attack against Oil facilities #SaudiArabia's #Aramco is carried-out by Loitering drones launched from #Iraq in support of #Houthi rebels in #Yemen. As its result two Aramco's facilities were hit 4 times in #Buqayq/#Abqaiq early morning. Here is the video pic.twitter.com/Gcw0Hsg8vB— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) 14 сентября 2019 г.
The Houthis have waged a drone and missile campaign against infrastructure and military facilities across Saudi Arabia in recent years, with the fighting reaching Saudi territory in the aftermath of the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen which began in March 2015 aiming to restore the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who fled the Yemeni capital in 2014 following an uprising and has sought to return to power ever since.
Riyadh and US officials have repeatedly alleged that the Houthis have received “Iranian assistance” to improve their military capabilities. Tehran has denied these claims, however, pointing to the naval blockade which has been in place against the southern Arabian country since 2015. In addition to energy infrastructure, the Houthis have targeted airports, air bases, and even Patriot missile batteries.
Earlier this summer, the militia showed off an arsenal of newly-developed domestically-build drones and missile systems, boasting that these weapons would give them more firepower to challenge the Saudi-led coalition.
According to the United Nations, the conflict in Yemen has resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis, including the deaths of over 60,000 Yemenis, with hundreds of Saudis also believed to have been killed in the cross-border clashes.