Saudi cabinet affirms desire to avoid war and have stable oil markets in face of heightened Iran tensions

Saudi Arabia’s cabinet took the step of affirming the Kingdom’s desire to avoid regional conflict and ensure stable oil markets as tensions between Iran and the United States simmer, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency and Reuters.

The kingdom “will do everything in its power to prevent any war and its hand is always extended to peace,” a cabinet statement said, adding the government was committed “to achieving balance in the (oil) market and working toward its stability on a sustainable basis.”

A recent cabinet session in Saudi Arabia, chaired by King Salman.

A recent cabinet session in Saudi Arabia, chaired by King Salman.

A boil-over of tensions between Iran and the United States has the potential for widespread regional fallout and serious harm to the global economy. Both sides have indicated that war should be avoided while affirming that each side would not hesitate to defend their respective interests. President Trump has vowed to destroy Iran if it draws America into a war, while one Iran Revolutionary Guards member indicated that U.S. assets in the Arabian Gulf are now targets: “If (the Americans) make a move, we will hit them in the head.”

But in recent weeks, it has been Saudi Arabia bearing the brunt of alleged Iranian-backed provocations. Two separate attacks on Saudi oil sites last week and repeated attempts by Houthi rebels to attack sites within Saudi Arabia using drones or missiles launched from Yemen have tested Saudi patience.

So far, the Kingdom has yet to launch a significant retaliation against Iranian-backed aggressions.

Recent moves by the United States to deploy greater military assets into the region, while seen as provocations by Iran, were taken rather as a “posture…for deterrence” rather than war, according to the acting U.S. Defense Secretary, Patrick Shanahan.